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A Host of Hues

September 24, 1999|BARBARA THOMAS

Going gray doesn't have to mean staying completely natural.

Celebrity stylist and salon owner Jose Eber, perhaps most famous for his client Elizabeth Taylor, prefers using "silver" instead of gray. And going silver, he says, opens up a world of color possibilities.

"You can paint that beautiful silver hair. The choices are endless," he says.

A common technique is to keep about 40% of the natural color as a base and then paint in three or four colors as highlights and lowlights. Because the hair then has so many colors, a woman doesn't have to get her roots touched up every month, he says. "You get the best of both worlds and only have to go to the salon three or four times a year."

There is no one color rule to going silver, he says, except not to go too dark with dye. Eber, who owns 10 salons around the country, says snow-white hair can perk up with platinum highlights. A graying brunet can add warm gold tones or cool blonder tones.

"This is not something you can do at home," he warns, suggesting that a woman find a good colorist who takes into consideration her complexion, eye color and personality when choosing hair colors.

And for women who love their natural color, Eber says to go for it. "That confidence doesn't have to be covered up."

But he suggests keeping the hairstyle very modern and fresh because gray does make a person look older. "I like [gray] hair straighter. The texture of silver, white, salt and pepper is coarser." Coarse hair has enough movement without extra curl, he says. And he prefers to keep natural hair short.

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