For a long time, men who let their hair turn gray were thought of as “dignified,” “sophisticated,” or “silver foxes.” Women who didn’t dye their hair when it started turning gray were labeled as “giving up” or “letting themselves go.” And when we do dare not to dye, we’re told that we should be “going gray gracefully,” whatever that means. Not only is this complete sexist bullshit, it totally overlooks the fact that women look pretty great with gray hair, too. Also, gray hair happens to be trendy right now, regardless of age. (So if you’ve seen people in their teens and twenties with the most perfectly balanced gray hair, that was probably intentional.) Whether you’re considering transitioning to gray hair, or growing out gray hair that has been colored or highlighted, here’s how to do it and what you need to know about the process.
Go Back to Your Roots
If you’ve been dyeing your hair regularly, one of the first things you can do to embrace the gray is to let your roots grow in. As L’Oréal puts it: “Consider it a different take on the rooted, lived-in hair color trend.” If you’re noticing a harsh line between your roots and your dyed hair, you can ask your stylist to try the root smudging technique using a shade that matches your gray strands, to make the whole process look a little more natural.
Dye It Gray
Yes, this is completely the opposite of what we were just talking about, but if you’re impatient and don’t want to wait for your gray highlights to slowly overtake the rest of your locks, you can take matters into your own hands. (Or a salon’s hands.) Whether you opt for an at-home box dye, or seeing a professional colorist, make sure to pick the color that best matches the gray hairs you already have. That way, when your dyed hair grows out, everything will match.
But, there’s a catch: If you haven’t gone fully gray naturally, your original hair color will accompany the grays in your roots. This mean you’ll probably want to keep dyeing your hair gray (or at least your roots) until the whole thing is gray. This can be just as annoying and costly as maintaining your original natural hair color. Plus it means that you’re probably going to want to invest in some products to make sure your gray hair doesn’t start looking brassy.
Try It for a Day
If you’re not sure whether you’re ready to fully commit to growing your gray hair out, you can always use a temporary dye to get a glimpse at what you’ll look like. Your best best for this is a one-day temporary hair color spray that comes out when you wash it. And even lower-commitment option is spritzing a little extra dry shampoo on the front of your hair before rubbing it in to get a sneak peek at future-you.
Get a Great Cut
Transitioning to gray hair doesn’t mean stopping all hair care and maintenance. In fact, getting a really good haircut can work wonders. Let your stylist know that you plan on growing out your gray locks, and ask them what kind of cut they recommend based on your hair type and face shape. And no, it doesn’t necessarily mean getting anything too short: Having a solid shape at any length will help the transition to gray hair go as smoothly as possible.