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The “Gray Whisperer” Colorist Behind the New Sexy Silver

Jack Martin has become famous for creating gorgeous gray looks on the likes of Andie MacDowell and Jane Fonda. Here's how he does it.

We hate to admit this but we were wrong about a big story out of the 2020 Oscars. After the broadcast we published a short piece about Sigourney Weaver, finally getting her due for being the badass of all badasses in Aliens. But every other outlet focused on women was running an article about Jane Fonda’s exquisite gray hair.

Duh. Oh well, you can’t win them all, but you can make up for obvious obtuseness. Which is why we’re introducing the hot, hot colorist responsible not only for Fonda’s transformation but for the sexy silver locks of a host of other actresses (including Andie MacDowell) and high-profile women.

Since his dramatic debut on the public stage, Jack Martin has become known as “The Gray Whisperer” because he can coax gorgeous gray out of even the most unpromisingly mousy tresses. “Martin’s clients do the opposite of fade to gray,” wrote Anna Murphy in Airmail. “After a whopping eight hours on average in his chair their hair shape-shifts from tired-looking blonde or dead-looking brunette into a silver that is nothing short of spectacular.”

Read More: Going Natural: What to Expect When You Let Your Hair Go Gray

The Price of Silver

The Gray Whisperer, AKA Jack Martin, working his magic in his salon.

Martin’s gray job doesn’t come cheap. It will set you back $3,000 to $10,00, depending on the length and condition of your hair. Still so many women are craving his magic that he’s booked up six to eight months in advance and he located his salon in Tustin, California, because it’s near three airports, making it easier on clients jetting in from all over the globe.

The process is long. Not just the hours in Martin’s chair, but also the advance work. Martin asks his clients to not color their hair during the time they’re waiting for their appointment. He wants to see the natural pattern of the various shades of gray on their head so he can match it and amplify it. “I have never come across the same gray pattern in any two people I have done,” Martin says.

Though the price tag is hefty, the good news is that your days at the colorist can be behind you. Since Martin is matching your new hue to your roots, hair growth will be almost seamless.

The Roots of a Good Thing

Another happy gray transformation.

The role of Gray Whisperer was not something Martin sought out. He earned that mantle almost by accident. A woman came to see him in his salon about five years ago, asking him to change her bottle black hair to gray. She’d seen photos on his Instagram account, showing how he’d turned brunettes into blondes and thought it would be a cinch. It wasn’t.

“I thought she was crazy. That what she was asking was impossible. That her hair would fall out,” he says now.

After some experimentation, Martin figured out how to get to gray without frying her hair, and the client ended up with a lustrous head of white that matched her roots. “I had pulled off the hardest color on the color wheel,” he says.

With new confidence, he began advertising his silver touch, and since then has transformed some 600 women and his Instagram is full of the dramatic results. It’s probably fair to say that thanks to Martin—and the pandemic—women are more willing to go gray and do it with panache. He’s also become a leading expert on gray, and every client leaves with a 14-step plan to maintain their beautiful shade.

If you can’t afford or aren’t ready to fly to California for Martin’s services, don’t despair. Martin, in true altruistic manner, is training other colorists in the technique. Or you can show your colorist the section below, which was published in Modern Salon. 

The Process

The makeover that Modern Salon wrote about, with Martin’s formulas and techniques.

Step 1: Martin says he began the long process by removing the artificial color using Malibu C CPR for 45 minutes, followed by Pravana Color Extractor for another 20 minutes.

Step 2: “Then I bleached the whole head beginning from where her gray roots started in foils using Oligo Pro Extra Blonde + 20-volume developer, mixed with Olaplex.” Leaving out her gray growth, he foiled her hair based on her gray pattern at the root and took very thin sections for faster, even lifting until he reached level 10 pale yellow blonde.

Step 3: Simultaneously, Martin took the isolated gray growth and colored it with Kenra Professional New Ash 5NUA mixed with 10-volume developer for about 30 minutes to create a salt and pepper look.

Step 4: Next, he rinsed the hair, pre-toned with Redken Shades EQ 1/2 oz 9b + 1/2 oz 9v mixed with 2oz Cristal clear and 3 oz of processing solution. Process for 20 minuets to cancel all the yellow from the hair, rinsed again.

Step 5: He dried the hair and applied Wella Blond or toner 1/2 pale silver + 1/2 pale platinum with 6-volume developer. Processed for 30 minutes, shampooed, conditioned, cut layered bob and styled with round brushes.

Read More: Sexism & Ageism Alert: Was She Fired Because of Her Gray Hair?

By NextTribe Editors


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