Gloria Boyce-Charles in O, The Oprah Magazine

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The Goal: Cover Gray
Gloria Boyce-Charles, 54
Gloria is a home-haircolor virgin. "I dyed my hair a handful of times in my late 30s—but always in a salon," she says. "My hair is relaxed, so I was afraid it would break off if I tried to dye it myself." And for the past 15 years, Gloria, who runs a nonprofit learning center, has been committed to going gray. "Part of me felt sad as people started offering me seats on trains and calling me ma'am, though," she says. "So when I had the opportunity to color my hair for this story, I took it as a sign."

The Lesson Plan

Gloria is correct: "Relaxed hair is definitely more susceptible to damage," says Sharon. "You can dye it at home, but to be safe, use a demipermanent formula, which contains no ammonia and much less peroxide." For Gloria, Sharon chose Clairol Natural Instincts in Nutmeg Dark Brown ($10, drugstores). "I wanted to lighten Gloria's hair a shade or two to bring out the warm tones in her complexion—going darker would look unnaturally monotone and be too severe against her skin," she says. And Gloria doesn't need highlights to enhance her color: The dye won't stain her grays quite as much as the rest of her hair, creating natural dimension.

See Gloria's results