When I dyed my hair gray (or, as some called it, “silver”), it was met with mixed reviews. One of my dearest friends, Kathleen — you may know her as the beauty editor over at The Cut, likened it to when Kim Kardashian went blonde: “It’s a look, just not your best look." On dates, men mostly seemed confused by it, asking at what age I started to go gray. A lot of people loved it, saying it was a cooler, edgier me. My uncle asked me why I was doing now what was inevitably going to happen to me in old age. My dad told me I’d never looked gayer.
The truth is, going gray is a complete and utter shock to your senses — something I realized over dinner with celebrity hairstylist Peter Butler. Once my hair changed, my entire face changed. All of a sudden, my cheekbones, brow bones, and forehead looked as though they were pushed forward. My eyebrows had taken on a life of their own — it almost seemed as if they didn’t quite belong with the rest of my face. My eyes looked lighter, more watery. “Your hair is the frame of your face,” he explained. “So, especially when you have dark hair, that gives you definition. All that’s gone now.” Oh dear, I thought. What have I done?
Throughout this entire process, I was in the very capable hands of Aura Friedman, the legendary colorist who holds court at Sally Hershberger Downtown. “You’re going through something, so why not change up your look?” she said while preparing the lightener, alluding to my recent breakup. As soon as her paintbrush hit my head, I knew it was too late to turn back: I was going for it. Click ahead for how to do it right, every step of the way.