Hair Color Tips for Senior Women

Rebecca Wiseman
Middle-aged brunette woman

Coloring your hair can be a nerve-wracking prospect at any age, especially if you have never colored your hair before. Some stories of bad experiences are enough to make you change your mind. However, learning what to ask and knowing a little about the process can make the experience a positive one.

Choosing Color

Regardless of how long you have been seeing silver and white in your tresses, there is a rule of sorts to follow when choosing a color for your hair. Gray and white hair is stubborn taking color because there is no pigment in the hair itself and the hair is more coarse. Without a base color in the hair, it is a chore to get the color to stay without using harsh developers.

Go Light and Natural

Therefore, a good rule of thumb when considering hair color is to go with a lighter, more natural color. This solves two concerns. First, it makes the drastic change from gray or white to colored hair not quite as conspicuous. Secondly, it's less likely that hair color will make you look older if you stick with something lighter and more natural.

Match Shade to Skin Tone

You need to consider your skin tone when choosing a hair color. For instance, if you have a cool or light skin tone, you will want to stay away from warm hair colors like a copper auburn. Audrey Hepburn or Lynda Carter are great examples of ladies with that light skin tone. If you have a darker skin tone with an olive undertone, warmer colors will look amazing on you. Think Sophia Loren with this coloring. She had the perfect complexion to pull off auburn hair.

Keep the Gray and Remove the Yellow

If your gray has a yellow tint to it, you may consider toning the gray to a more flattering shade. Yellow tint in gray hair can be caused by minerals in the water or medication. You may also see yellow-tinted gray if you were a natural redhead. It is very easy for a colorist to eliminate the yellow tint in gray hair. Simply applying a violet-based toner to the hair will solve the yellowing. Toner is a pale hair color used with highlighted blonde hair, and it will need to be redone about every six to eight weeks.

Types of Color

Not all hair color is permanent. There are also semi-permanent colors and temporary colors. While there are many brands of hair color available in stores, your best bet for a natural looking color is to visit a professional colorist. If that is not an option for you, do a little research on brands or ask friends what they use for their hair.

Temporary

Temporary colors are rinses that last from wash to wash. They come in many shades that only darken or tone color. Rinses cannot lighten or brighten any hair color. They can be found at most drug stores for about $8 a bottle.

Semi-Permanent

Semi-permanent color will cover gray or white hair temporarily. It is made to color naturally pigmented hair and last about a month. However, when you use semi-permanent color on gray or white hair, it will wash out in a couple of weeks. Semi-permanent color is not made with strong developers and will only add or darken the color. They are not made to brighten or lighten the color. You will only get the color shown on the box if you have that color of hair already. There are many brands, including Natural Instincts by Clairol, that can be bought at most drug, grocery, or department stores for less than $10.

Permanent

Permanent hair color must grow out and will require touching up about every six weeks. Permanent color will generally lead to the best results and best gray and white coverage. While there are many brands on the market that you can use at home, these box colors are harsher than what would be used in a salon. A permanent color is best left for your colorist to develop the perfect shade for you. These colors can lighten and brighten hair as well as darken it. Colorists can add oils and moisturizers to the formula to keep from damaging your hair. Salon pricing varies but plan on spending $50 to $100 dollars for this service at a salon. Don't rule out your local beauty school for color services. Students are overseen very closely on chemical services and the cost is usually lower than at a seasoned professional salon.

Products to Keep Color Fresh

Color can dry your hair. Using a shampoo and conditioner that are specifically made for colored hair is important for keeping your hair looking healthy.

For Any Color

A good option for shampoo and conditioner for any color hair is Biolage Colorlast, which is paraben-free and has a low pH.

For Red Heads

If you decide to become a redhead, you will want to use styling products designed to keep the red from fading so fast, such as Pureology Reviving Red. Red will fade the fastest because the color molecule is so big. Pureology Reviving Red is a zero sulfate shampoo infused with oils and contains Oleo Antifade Complex. It can be bought from your local Pureology salon or at Ulta for less than $30.

For Blondes

Blonde color may become dull between salon visits. To keep this from happening, choose products that are made to keep blonde bright, such as Redken Blonde Idol. Blonde Idol is a sulfate-free shampoo and the conditioner is custom to the tone of your blonde - warm or cool. These products can be purchased from any JC Penney salon for about $20.

Tips for Getting the Best Color

Red Haired Senior

Your best bet for finding your best color is to visit your stylist. However, don't be shy about asking your friends to help with the decision on color.

  • Ask your friends what color hair she feels is more flattering on you.
  • Look at hairstyle magazines for colors you might like. Take the picture to a stylist for them to match up the color.
  • If you see someone whose hair color you like, ask them who does it or what color they use.

Questions for Your Colorist

If you are coloring your hair for the first time or changing your hair color, there are a few things you need to discuss with your stylist or colorist. These are key to making sure that you will love the color you choose.

  • Does this color choice match my skin tone?
  • Will this color make me look older?
  • Will the color damage my hair or make it thin?
  • What kind of maintenance schedule will the color require to keep up with new growth and fading?
  • How fast will the color fade?
  • What products should I use to maintain my color?

Loving the New You

Coloring your hair need not be a stressful situation. This is something that all stylists and colorists know and they are there to help you. If you are unsure of exactly what color you want, make that known at your consultation and let them make suggestions. The perfect hair color can take years off your appearance. You will feel like a whole new person!

Hair Color Tips for Senior Women