Gray hair has definitely found its moment in the sun for the past few seasons; this unexpected shade popped up everywhere with fans of this unusual (yet super cool) hue sporting all-over ashy, silver-looking strands. What once was a look to shy away from and cover up has now become the norm, as both men and women have been shelling out big bucks to lift their locks to this level.
The difference between finding a naturally-gray hair here and there and this deliberate, somewhat subversive color trend is that the latter is a more uniform, even-toned shade of icy-gray and silver, all which complement your skin tone. And that doesn’t even include the upkeep, which can score somewhat high on the maintenance level—it’s a shade that fades rather quickly, and requires a diligent home-care toning and conditioning routine to remain in top shape. A statement in itself, this hair trend requires a considerable level of work and confidence to master. However, as you’ll see below, the payoff is glorious! Read on to learn more about some of our favorite gray hair styles to discover if this trend is right for you:
All About the Gray Hair Trend: Looks and Upkeep
1. Get your hair ready for gray.
We all know that dyeing your hair can wreak havoc on your strands. If you are interested in going gray, you’ll need to make sure your hair is healthy and nourished. Prior to this big hair change, use a hair mask like Nexxus New York Salon Care Humectress Moisture Masque, whose formula can provide your hair with nourishment and moisture. Try to incorporate this into your home hair care regimen around two to three weeks beforehand, and consider getting a trim to get rid of annoying split ends before your actual color appointment.
2. Prep yourself—mentally, physically and product-wise.
Like with any hair color, going gray is a huge process to get just right, especially the first time. If you have dark hair, you’ll have to strip your locks of its natural color (similar to going blonde) and then reset the color with a toner. This also means you’ll have to bleach your hair, and in some instances undergo many steps to achieve the perfect shade of gray. Quicker and certainly edgier than going gray naturally, this process will take some time to get the right shade of gray. Prepare for hours in the artist’s chair and a color-safe wash and care system for your at-home routine (more on this later!).
3. Go to a professional that specializes in gray hair.
Most likely you have never tried gray hair before, and we don’t think that first time should be with on your own. Since this is a such a huge commitment, we think you should trust a pro with professional-grade dyes and formulas, particularly one who has done the look on other women with a similar hair type and coloring as you. Tip: Check their Instagram feeds! It will be much easier for them to get your desired hue if you give them a visual of what you want. Plus, they’ll know the very best solution for your hair and will understand your hair type and color to help you achieve the silver-vixen look you’ve been craving.
4. Gray hair requires some serious maintenance.
Low-maintenance gals may want to think twice: It’s not for the faint of heart, nor for those whose approach to hair color is just to get it then forget it. Ashy tones like blue and green fade and wash out the quickest, so you’ll definitely need to make friends with a toning shampoo several times a week, as well as regular touchups with your stylist to keep your color sharp.
5. There’s more than one shade of gray.
Well, maybe not quite fifty, but there are definitely tons of options to choose from when opting to go gray. We’ve seen a lot of white-gray, purple-gray, silver, white and white-silver hues on the street, all equally stunning and flattering, depending on the wearer’s complexion. The bottom line is to pick a shade that matches and complements your skin tone: Cooler and neutral undertones are flattered by the bluer grays, while purple grays pop against warmer undertones.
6. It can dry out your hair.
Again, anytime you dye your hair, you’re damaging it. Going gray can cause your hair to become dry, porous, brittle and even break off. Keep your locks looking and feeling healthy by treating them to a deep-conditioning mask, such as Suave Professionals Moisture Mask with Almond & Shea Butter, a couple of times a week.
7. You’ll need to keep your hair hydrated.
After the 24- to 48-hour no-wash period, make sure to keep your hair glossy, hydrated and moisturized. We recommend using a color-safe shampoo and conditioner, like TRESemmé Color Revitalize Shampoo and TRESemmé Color Revitalize Conditioner, that can help maintain the vibrance of your color for up to eight weeks.
8. You’ll need purple shampoo.
Another hair care product that you’ll need in your arsenal is a purple shampoo, like Bed Head by TIGI Dumb Blonde Purple Toning Shampoo. This awesome formula works to tone out the brassiness in hair while also brightening your shade of gray.
Convinced? See how the gray hair trend works on women of all ages, and get armed with more inspiration:
The Gray Hair Trend from Age 20 and Beyond!
1. Gray hair in your 20s.
During your 20s, you’re probably still figuring out a look that feels like “you.” Play up the gray hair trend in a fashionable way by pairing up the hue with a cool, edgy trend, like some blunt bangs or choppy long layers for an edgy yet fun twist. While you’re having fun trying out endless ways to make a statement with your new hair color, be sure to keep the look and feel of your hair in check. Opt for using a weekly hair mask, like Catwalk by TIGI Fashionista Violet Mask, which is a treatment that’ll work to repair damaged areas within the strands of your hair and protect against future damage.
2. Gray hair in your 30s.
In your 30s, you might find yourself purging your closet in an effort to streamline your wardrobe, or maybe you’re finally honing in on one hairstyle as your signature look. However, everyone has the urge to update their everyday look from time to time with a popular trend. Give your look a fun twist with an icy take on the gray hair trend. To preserve the healthy look of your new hair color, be sure to stock up on purple shampoo to keep it from turning into an awry tone, or worst, yellow.
3. Gray hair in your 40s.
If you probably haven’t begun to see grays prior to entering your 40s, chances are you’re seeing them a lot more now. Embrace those silver accents and hop on the gray hair trend naturally, or get some lilac-toned highlights you can ribbon in for a bit of polish. This way, you can focus more on the overall health of your hair type. But, if and when your grays do need a quick pick-me-up, you can use Nexxus New York Salon Care City Shield DD Crème to nourish and repair damage. In terms of styling, stick to chic, subtly-layered cuts that let your natural texture shine.
4. Gray hair in your 50s and over.
Wear the gray hair trend gracefully with a low-maintenance hairstyle. During your 50s (and beyond), you’re probably into hairstyles that require just a little bit of daily styling. Opt for a short ‘do like a classy bob haircut or a sophisticated pixie crop.
Looking for more gray hair color inspiration? Learn more about this hot color trend with the style-savvy Noemi Cara.