Addressing The Gray: Expert Tips From Eva Scrivo

Maggie Mulhern | January 18, 2015 | 9:19 AM

Eva Scrivo, the Master of Balayage, is best known for her fashion color designs and professional finishes. She is the "go-to" artist for many of New York's elite, including editors, top society and celebrities.

When it comes to gray coverage, Scrivo is both an artist and chemist. "Everyone obsesses about gray coverage," says Scrivo, owner of the Eva Scrivo Salons and the Eva Scrivo Academy, all in NYC. "It's not just about covering the gray, it's about emulating the natural base color she had in her twenties, usually a natural neutral level 7 or 8 if she’s a natural blonde.

“Learning how to control gold is one of the key takeaways in my classes," she adds. "Expanding your knowledge of color theory and range of expertise is the best way to grow your income and the secret to success as a colorist."

Scrivo loves a challenge. Formulating for the client with "assorted" natural shades along with a neutral base and existing highlights is actually exciting for the color master. "Clients are going gray younger than ever before and we have to learn how to address this. I have many clients in their twenties with pre-mature gray hair. We have to learn how to mimic virgin base colors."

To best represent the challenge, Scrivo offered up a typical guest in her salon with pre-mature graying hair. "This client is 50% salt and pepper throughout the back, 70% along the top, and 100% white in the front hairline. In just one service, we can address her different color needs, and match the existing base color and highlights."

Here Scrivo offers her top five tips for gray coverage and color excellence:

1. FORMULATE PROPERLY: to address coverage this head of hair requires 
multiple formulas. The front hairline needs more N than the back 
formula and a higher percentage of developer.

2. NOT GOING FOR THE GOLD: Gray hair has a tendency to "go gold". Use 
double ash pigments, which are the newest formulations in professional 
color lines.

3. CONSULTATION: Consult with the client on each visit. "It keeps you 
both from getting in a rut," she says. "When I asked this client if 
anything was new with her hair, if the color was holding or if she was 
seeing anything different, I learned she has been wearing her hair up 
and in a ponytail more frequently. Armed with this information, I was 
inspired to change-up the placement of her highlights to help 
complement these styles."

4. FREQUENCY OF VISITS: Educate your clients by explaining to them 
that heat can only radiate about ¾ of an inch off the body, which 
makes color process evenly, without banding, when the regrowth does 
not exceed that. This helps the client to better understand that this 
is for the sake of her color looking even and clear, and not just a 
sales pitch. It will also make it easier to pre-book her next visit.

5. EYEBROWS AND PIX: Prior to formulating, look at your client's 
eyebrows to determine her natural base. It also helps if she brings 
pictures of her natural color from her 20's or 30's. Both will help as 
a guide when formulating.

"If you're 50% booked you still have 50% to learn."
“When you stop learning, you stop caring.”
"Education is a career-long process."

Eva Scrivo holds regular color and design classes at Eva Scrivo Academy, held at her Bond Street location in NYC. For more information, go to



The finished color in natural light.





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