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Fade to grey

So, it turns out that getting up close and personal to bathroom mirrors while burning my nose on halogen lights, all so I could tweeze out the increasingly prolific silver strands appearing in my dark 'do, was for nowt: fashion's having a grey moment, ladies.

Apparently, nothing could be hipper right now than a mane of artificially aged hair. Yup.

And we know this because, um, Pixie Geldof has been spotted out and about looking like a cross between an auld wan and her more usual guise as fashion victim par excellence.

Equally keen to set trends, Kate Moss turned up to her recent Paris Fashion Week Longchamp bag launch sporting a tell-tale hank of graphite hair -- though it was later claimed she'd dyed it a pale blue and camera flashes leeched out the colour in the resultant pictures.

Teenage fashion blogger of the moment Tavi recently revealed her newly bleached and toned hair, but it was Kelis' crackers bionic-woman-meets-prematurely-aged-Statue-of-Liberty appearance at LA's recent Data Awards that sealed the deal -- grey is very firmly of the moment.

Are your eyes rolling to the back of your head in disbelief yet? Don't worry, you're not honour-bound to follow suit because, arguably, this is a look best left to youthful hipsters who've got the requisite lithe body and peachy skin to pull off the juxtaposition of supermodel-meets-supernan. Very much a London trend, has it sauntered our way yet? Nathalie Marquez-Courtney, deputy editor at Kiss magazine, says not, but adds, "it can take a while for hair trends to filter down".

As for inspiration, freelance hair and make-up artist Billy Orr, who can be found styling tresses at Dublin's Kazumi salon, reckons the fact celebs are rocking the 'do is enough to make Irish women try the trend. "These days most clients take cut and colour inspiration from celebrities. For instance, last year a lot of clients cut their hair short like Rihanna."

"It's cool," Marquez-Courtney confirms, "it could definitely work, especially with short hair."

Orr agrees and says: "This trend is going to be huge in Dublin for spring/summer."

What to ask for

A look best left to the professionals, turning silver foxette is less about going for a specific dye shade and more about bleach (and then a little more bleach) married with toner for a silvered finish. Talk to your hairdresser first and be specific about what you want. "Always go for a bleach and toner" stresses Orr, who adds, "it should always be ash, never golden!"

The Revlon Professional brand agrees: advising that this isn't a look to be attempted by under-18s, they say, "hair needs to start with a light base, so it will be bleached first, followed by the application of Revlon Professional's Young Colour Excel number 10.01 to provide an ash-grey hue". With Revlon salons nationwide, this particular piece of specific advice should be easy to follow.

At L'Oréal outlets, ask for Luo Colour. "The range has beautiful cool ash shades for toning pre-lightened and natural grey hair," advises Orr. Going graphite isn't a low-commitment process: "This can take a few applications," he warns, "so be prepared to be in the salon for four to five hours."

This look is best attempted by anyone whose hair is light to start off with. Bleaching dark brown to black hair will cause damage that could take months to rectify. So make sure you're up to the commitment before you succumb to the siren call of peroxide.

How to wear it

Arguably, this looks best on short, choppy styles: think less streelish, and more structured.

"Pixie's look may appear edgy," says Orr, "but she complements the colour with softness within the cut," he reveals. "It is so important that a colour and cut work in harmony together. Every face shape, natural hair colour and skin tone is different, so take inspiration from cuts like Pixie's, but adapt it to suit yourself," he advises.

how to maintain it

Bleached hair can be a nightmare to keep looking good. Hair can feel crispy, look fried and unhealthy post-bleach, so a good shampoo and conditioner are a must if you want to keep your grey gruaig looking good for as long as possible.

1 Joico Color Endure Violet shampoo and conditioner, €12.95 each. Maintaining and brightening cool-blonde and grey tones, this shampoo and conditioner are colour-depositing products that act to neutralise oxidation -- the cause of yellowing and brassiness. At Joico salons.

2 John Frieda Sheer Blonde Colour Renew Tone-Refreshing shampoo and conditioner, €8.49 each. A great supermarket option, these products contain lavender colour-correcting technology, and optical brighteners to reflect light.

3 L'Oréal Professionel Serie Expert Silver shampoo, €12.05

Designed to replenish grey and white hair, this shampoo contains anti-yellowing agents and amino acids to reduce unwanted yellow tones and strengthen the hair. At L'Oréal salons.

4 Schwarzkopf Professional BC Bonacure Silver Shampoo, €11.60. Another option for keeping colour looking good, this is targeted at those with grey and lightened hair. It contains silver pigments to enrich the silver tones on white and grey hair and eliminate brassy colour.


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