Gray hair first appears in both men and women generally between the ages of 34 and 44. Turning gray prematurely (under 20) is largely genetic. So why do you turn gray? Your hair follicles contain pigment cells that produce melanin, which gives your hair its color. When your body stops generating melanin, hair goes gray, silver, or white. In other words, your hair goes through natural cycles of falling out and growing back, and after age 35, it's more likely to grow back in gray.
When grey hairs first start appearing, it’s pretty easy to keep on top of them with a bit of colour gloss and an occasional squirt of root touch-up spray. But sooner or later, the maintenance gets serious. Semi-permanent colour glaze gives way to permanent dye, and the root covering schedules shifts from every few months to once a month or less.
Of course there’s no reason why you can’t carry on colouring forever, but there may come a point when you start asking, ‘Is it really worth the effort?’ The good news is, grey hair is officially on trend right now, so there’s never been a better time to make the transition to the silver side. If you’re ready to embrace the silver side, here’s our expert guide on getting it right. Because these days going grey DOESN’T mean having granny hair.
Contrary to popular belief, going gray takes more work than just cancelling your next salon appointment for a monthly root touch-up. (If it were that easy, who wouldn’t jump on that time-saving, penny-wise, and hassle-free scenario?) There are a few essential tips when you decide to embrace the gray that make sure the transition from color-treated to completely natural occurs without any moments of doubt or discomfort. Check out the three best tricks you need to go gray gracefully when you decide it’s time to give up the highlights.
- Going from colored hair to natural gray requires a transition stage that can be made a little less noticeable by getting a chop. Having a short haircut will keep your hair from looking conspicuously contrasted in color, and you can even bid farewell to hair color with one last job: some highlights or lowlights that blend the roots to the rest of your pixie, crop, or bob. No matter your base color, keep the highlights and lowlights in the ashy, cool-toned family to create a natural blend of color. Besides, you’ll love the low maintenance styling that a short haircut needs as you initially embrace the gray.
- Many good things can happen when going gray, but for most people, is a year-long process that certainly won’t happen overnight. If you are ready to commit to growing out your gray, know that patience is key. It will be a shock to the eye and maybe some emotions will arise too, but focus on the end result and keep in mind the reason you have chosen to make this decision. So don’t freak out and grab a bottle of die prematurely, because there are ways to make the transition easier.
- Use the right shampoo to avoid dull, yellowing gray strands. Whenever hair is dyed or highlighted, using the proper shampoo helps keep brassiness at bay. For colored blondes, violet shampoo keeps every shade vivid and balanced. For colored brunettes, blue shampoo keeps those caramel highlights rich and warm. Similarly, gray and white hair can skew yellow or look dull easily—due to pigment loss—when not kept in tip-top condition with the right shampoo. Grey hair is generally coarser and drier. Invest in a shampoo formulated just for gray and white hair to avoid dull, yellow, or brassy strands. For most, a violet-tinted shampoo will work wonders when used just once or twice a week. (Use an ultra-hydrating shampoo formula for the rest of your weekly washes.)