Our experts share their tricks!

How to Highlight White Hair

It’s a fact of life that white hair will eventually take over, but there are many ways to deal with their progression.

First things first, the scientific name of this phenomenon is “canities”. Hair color is the pigmentation of hair follicles due to melanin, the same molecule that colors our skin and creates a tan. As we age, melanin secretion diminishes in the follicle, partly as a result of the hair cycle. The average lifecycle of a strand of hair is between two and six years until it falls off. To regain its pigmentation, the follicle must then pause until melanin regenerates, however concentrations taper with every hair cycle. After approximately ten cycles, around the age of 40, the follicle lacks sufficient quantities of melanin and remains white.


White hair is more porous than natural hair which makes them more susceptible to absorbing environmental and body impurities (pollution, cigarette smoke, and sebum). To address this problem, we recommend washing your hair with a clarifying blue/purple shampoo (L’Oréal Silver) to offset unwanted yellow tones and obtain a beautiful shine.

silver l'oreal

For optimal care of white hair, we recommend using a conditioner after each shampoo, as well as a weekly mask treatment to reinforce the hair shaft (Alter Ego’s Passion Color Mask Silver).

traitement passion silver alter ego

White hair is porous, so we also recommend using UV protection. It will shield hair against the yellowing effects of the sun (Alter Ego Quench & Care Nutritive Leave-in Conditioner). It works just like a sunscreen that you apply on the skin before exposing it to the sun.

Quench and Care - AlterEgo


  • Remain natural but opt for a shorter hairstyle because long white hair (below the shoulders) tend to age people.
  • Color your hair. In this case, your master stylist will choose a coloring strategy based on your percentage of white hair.

For men

REDKEN Color Camo offers partial grey coverage that leaves hair with natural-looking results that fade gradually. It’s recommended for men requiring 70% or less grey coverage and will make them look 15 years younger. Beyond 70% grey coverage, your stylist will instead offer a lowlight technique (using a comb for the most natural effect) and an ash-based color for a more masculine look. Both solutions fade over time with shampoos and won’t create a regrowht a few weeks later.

For women

With less than 30% white hair, which corresponds to the onset of white hair, we recommend a gloss or ammonia-free duotone coloring to achieve a transparent coverage. Beyond that, consider permanent coloring with 100% coverage, which also requires monthly maintenance for retouching roots.

Manufacturers now offer special colorings for mature hair, an ideal solution for customers who prefer to do their own coloring at home. No color mixing required: the coloring is neatly contained in a single tube and guarantees 100% coverage. Furthermore, the color formulation is designed for better penetration (for example, coarse hair vs fine hair). These products are all available at Jacques Despars boutiques.

We recommend highlights for women who prefer not to color their hair. To conceal white hairs without covering them, and depending on the percentage of white hair (maximum of 70%), the stylist will use a bleaching product to lighten the entire head of hair and give a natural look. If the percentage of white hair is too high, the technique remains the same but the product changes: the stylist will apply color because the hair is devoid of natural pigments.


The majority of women who keep their hair white without coloring realize that its texture has changed. In most cases, it becomes less manageable as the hair shaft becomes more rigid. If hair thins out, we recommend a perm to bodify hair or soften it with slight waves. Keep in mind that perms are far less damaging than they were years ago!

Finally, where styling products are concerned, we recommend thickening/densifying shampoos, mousses and sprays for women with thinning hair to achieve more body when styling hair. Conversely, denser hair will require smoothing creams and serums to tame its volume. The key is to continuously hydrate while maintain brilliance throughout the day.

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