Every couple of years, something “new” seems to happen in hair, which appeals to a wide demographic of different people from all walks of life, and suddenly seems to be the look that every fifth person you see is sporting out and about. A couple of years ago it was lilac hair, then the ombre, and now, the look everyone seems to be going for with gusto is what is colloquially known as “granny hair”- steel grey or dark silvery grey locks, regardless of age.
Darling! You’re so 2012!
While the traditional Goth hair colour is widely acknowledged to be black, and the darker the better, my prediction is that granny hair is also going to become big with the Goth collective, and might be a serious contender in the hair stakes for an alternative Goth look that totally works with other Goth styling, while also likely to be acceptable to most workplace’s dress codes.
One word of caution- Googling terms like “Granny hair Goth” will return a lot of porn results. Why?????
So, granny hair. What’s it like, is it hard to achieve, and how can you do it? Read on to find out!
What kind of hair do you have?
As with everything else related to colouring, how you need to go about dying your hair grey and how effective this will be depends a lot on your hair at the outset, in terms of its colour, condition and any previous products that you have used on it.
If you have naturally blonde or light hair, granny hair should be a fairly easy job for you, but if your hair has red tones, is dark or has previously been dyed, things can get more complicated. You Beauty expands on hair type and how this affects your dye here.
As mentioned, blonde or light coloured hair will take the grey dye well, assuming that your hair is generally in good condition, but even so, you might want to consider bleaching it first in order to make the colour last longer.
If your hair is dark, red, or has a different shade of dye on it, bleaching is going to be a must for you, unless you’re looking for a basic, short-term colour that will wash out in a few days. This Pinterest board has loads of Goth hair ideas, including lots of granny hair shots too.
Home dye or salon?
Again, whether you opt to do your own hair or have it done for you in a salon is something that you should consider carefully. If your hair does not have any previous dye on it or has been dyed more than six months previously, and you’re confident about home colouring and using bleach, granny hair is something that you can probably pull off at home.
If, however, your hair is black, red, or has a recent dye on it, your best bet is to go to a salon, as bleach can do weird things to some types of hair, and a stylist will know how best to address that.
If your hair has been dyed with henna, a salon trip is a must, and be prepared to be told that you can’t have a commercial dye used on your hair until the henna has grown out. Sorry!
Dying your hair at home
There is an extra step involved in going granny with your hair, which most of us won’t have a whole lot of experience in-toning.
Basically, to granny up your hair at home, you’ll need to bleach it according to the instructions, then use a toner on it to remove any brassy tones that will potentially mess with your end colour. Toners are purple or violet in colour, and neutralise red, orangey or brassy shades in your hair. Then you do the grey colour itself.
It is also worth noting that grey hair dye appears purple when you apply it, so don’t panic and think you’ve picked up the wrong shade!
Buzzfeed shows the steps involved to going grey, plus some more tips, within this article.
The best home hair dyes for granny hair
There are a reasonable amount of choices on the market for going granny, and I’ll list a few of them here, along with some opinions of each based on my own experience of the brand and online comments about them.
This one is a semi-permanent colour and is ammonia free, so a good pick if your hair is light, you’re not going to bleach it and you want to use a product that will cause the minimum amount of damage to your natural hair. I haven’t used this brand myself, but it has received overall positive reviews.
Directions is one of the Goth hair dye staples, available in a huge range of colours including various shades of silver and grey. These can be used either after bleach or on their own, and tend to provide a very strong colour, but not great colour longevity.
Renbow Crazy Colour Silver
Renbow comes in bottle form, and again, can be applied either alone or after bleach. I have not used this brand myself, but most of its online reviews are positive-however, the negative reviews are fairly evenly divided between people whose hair turned out blue, and those for whom the colour didn’t take at all.
Berina Silver Ash Grey
Again, I have not used this brand, but based on the reviews, it seems best avoided. Many users commented that the colour didn’t take at all, and added to this, all of the instructions that come with it are in Tongalese as opposed to English!
Mellor and Russell Simply Bright Cool Silver
Mellor and Russell is a brand that I have never used and am in no hurry to try, as their online reviews for all of their shades are generally negative, with many people citing damaged hair after the event, and/or the colour not taking.
Some of my favourite online images of granny hair have involved Afro hair styles on PoC, but the thing is, I have no clue about what colouring Afro hair and caring for it properly involves, so I have no wisdom to share on that side, I’m afraid. If you have Afro hair and want to share some tips, let me know and I’ll cover it in a future blog post.