Friday, 6 July 2012

How to Create Kelly Osbourne Style Silver Hair

Creating a Silver Hair Colour

Sporting a pure silver hair colour can be a daring fashion statement and when pulled off effectively can look edgy and Avant-Garde.
Silver hair displays best on short cuts and 1950’s ‘Monroesque’ sets and should be avoided if you have longer or ‘big hair’ as it could look witchy and unkempt.  However, silver ends on Ombre (or dip dying) can look striking and can be safely carried off, simply because the silver shade is not displayed next to the face, so there is no conflict with skin tone. 
For those who want the coolness of silver and have a bigger, longer and more contemporary hair look I would actually recommend ‘Metallic Blonde’ which is a far more forgiving shade to carry off (on longer hair) but equally as striking as the Silver.  I will post a how to on achieving Metallic Blonde soon, so watch this space. 

The Kelly Osbourne Shade
Kelly Osbourne gets a degree of flak for sporting her silver hair, but in general she displays the shade very well because she wears the right cut and make up style.  I do notice with Kelly’s shade that it will drift into the realms of lavender occasionally, which may be by design but is more likely to be the result of her colourist trying to find the right tonal balance in the hair.

Be aware…..

In my experience, creating silver hair is by far the most complicated colour activity, shades of silver will only display in the hair when it is entirely devoid of warm tone.  For example, with Kelly’s hair, her base will have been bleached to a platinum blonde first and then the silver shade overlaid.

If you attempt to apply a silver shade to hair which has merely been lightened and displaying a vast amount of natural warmth (such as yellows and coppers) the silver will act as a neutraliser and begin counteracting these warm colour molecules, therefore the final result will not be silver but either an ash or neutral blonde.

If you have your heart set on achieving a silver result (be it via whole head or dip dye), you must understand that firstly you will need to achieve a pure platinum blonde and this in itself can be very difficult. Platinum blonde requires the hair to be lightened and free of all natural depth and displaying a palest yellow. 

Please note! Hair will never naturally lighten to white as the keratin (the protein within the hair) is a deep yellow in colour; it is for this reason hair becomes brassy and needs toning whenever bleached.  

Becoming a platinum blonde (as a base)

If you are naturally darker I would never advocate bleaching the hair (in one hit) and trying to get to platinum.  What will typically happen is the hair will start going very orange and begin losing condition before that yellow base is achieved.  This could ultimately lead to breakage and an inability to ever get the hair pale enough in the future.

For darker bases, I would suggest initially highlighting the hair for several months and suffering a more muted blonde.  When you start seeing a darker root strap growing through, I would then recommend switching to a lightening re-growth method every four to six weeks.

Hair lightens the best at the roots!

Heat from the scalp will accelerate lightening and therefore when only the regrowth areas are lightened the results will commonly be a very pale yellow which can be toned to white.  With each re-growth application, the hair will begin growing down and the pure even white hair will start overtaking the previously highlighted hair.  However, short hair (can be lightened well in one or two applications), achieving a pure platinum blonde must be undertaken over a period of quite a few months and with respect to the hair’s health and overall condition. 

If you are lightening your roots (at home), never attempt to use 40 volume (12%) peroxide. Applying this strength of peroxide to your scalp is very dangerous and can lead to burning.   

In many instances 20 volume (6%) peroxide will lighten the roots effectively, as it has added acceleration due to the scalp heat.  If you have particularly dark or stubborn hair you can use 30 volume (9%) but please never go stronger than this with scalp application.

In addition, always apply lightening products (to regrowth) with a tint bowl and brush and never attempt to apply directly from a bottle.  Ultimate precision is required when lightening roots, if you overlap the lightener too much (onto previous treated areas) the hair could start breaking.  

Once Lightened

Once you have your base colour (which should be a brassy or pale yellow) you need to tone to white.  If you are naturally fairer and find your lightened hair is appearing as a very, very pale yellow or cream you can wash the hair several times in succession (immediately after lightening) with a blue shampoo.  This should add sufficient enough colour molecules to create a white base.

However, if you are not naturally fair you will require a much stronger toning product.  I would suggest an intense application of Colour Restore Iced Platinum immediately after lightening as this will counteract all yellow tones and achieve a pure white result.   If you are aiming to go silver, the key is to apply the Iced Platinum perhaps two times to achieve absolute purity of the shade and counteract the yellow to white.  

Remember, the hair must be lightened to pale yellow and not copper or an intense gold, both of these shades are too dark to neutralise to white.

Going Silver from a Platinum Base

When you have achieved your pure white shade the hair will now display silver effectively – as there is no warmth or yellow tone remaining for it to attempt to counteract. 

Apply Colour Restore Cool Ash onto the newly platinum toned hair and leave to develop for 25 minutes.   Rinse and check the intensity of the silver shade to your preference.  If you require deeper silver, repeat the procedure with the Cool Ash immediately after the first.  

Whilst Cool Ash is designed as an anti-orange hair pigment infusion, its base shade is silver.  When applied to hair that is devoid of warmth it has nothing to counteract and will showcase a pure silver effect.

Silver Hair Upkeep

Retaining a silver shade requires regular upkeep.  Only use a shampoo designed for silver hair such as Pro-Voke ‘Touch of Silver’

This shampoo is designed for silver hair (which is naturally white) and for use twice a week.  However, with artificial silver shades (that deplete in tone) I would recommend using this product as a regular shampoo.

After washing use a 10p piece amount of Colour Restore Cool Ash as your regular conditioner and this will ensure the silver tone remains strong within the hair.  Once a week I would suggest a 15 minute intense treatment of the Colour Restore Cool Ash to retain the ultimate level of the silver tone.

Regrowth application

Every four weeks (or so) your roots will require re-lightening to retain your pure white base.  After lightening you will need to apply the Colour Restore Iced Platinum to ensure your regrowth hair appears white.  If you find (during this regrowth application) your mid-lengths and ends still look reasonably silver, I would suggest simply following the application of Iced Platinum with a 5 minute application of Cool Ash and then continuing your silver hair care regime as outlined above thereon in.

As you can see, the creation of Silver appears tricky, but ultimately it’s about 
a) starting with a pure white shade 
b) balancing your levels of silver throughout future washes. 

If you decide you don’t want to be ‘Silver Haired’ any longer, you can simply switch to using a regular shampoo and conditioner and those silver levels will reduce back to a more platinum blonde.  After this I would suggest treating the hair regularly with Colour Restore Iced Platinum to control any yellow undertones (that may start appearing) and keep the overall blonde pure.


  1. This was really helpful as I'm off to the salon to have my hair bleached tomorrow to dye it a lavender colour. Thank you!

    Samma x

    1. Good to hear it. Did you go for the Lavender colour? We would love to see it!

  2. I've been looking to turn my hair silver for ages. Thank you!

    1. Did you give it a go Emmie? Let us know via Facebook if you do, we bet Scott would love to see!

  3. I've used your Iced Platinum and Cool Ash to achieve the silver look to a large extent it has been very successful. However, after using hte Cool Ash there are patches in my hair that are a lavender colour which is ok but not really what I wanted. The parts that aren't lavender are a lovely pale silver. Perfect! What I wanted to ask is how do I get rid of the lavender? Thanks. Yvonne

    1. Try this, create a thick bicarb paste by mixing 1 teaspoon of bicarb with 1 teaspoon of warm water, rub this into just the areas that have gone lavender and run a hairdryer over the hair for 5 minutes then leave for another 10 before rinsing. This should clarifying out just these areas of the colour and kick out the lavender.

      It's likely that your seeing lavender because these parts are probably very porous from previous bleach treatments and the hair is grabbing the colour. The next time you apply the Cool Ash, if you rub a little conditioner into these areas only (on dry hair) before lightly dampening down and applying the cool ash to the whole head the porosity should be equalized in just these parts and it shouldn't grab in the same way.