Gray Hair Can Have Drama and Beauty
Gray Hair Tres Chic
It's been a year since my hair went gray, and I still am startled when I look in the mirror.
Part of that shock comes from the fact that I went from brown to gray in less than an hour.
I'm also surprised by the number of compliments I get, and they are as much for the cut as the color.
If you have gray hair, chances are you're looking for a hairstyle to make you look younger.
You've got plenty of options. You can leave it long, cut it super short or choose a really edgy look.
In fact, the extreme styles many people wore in when they were in their twenties, look awesome on gray hair.
You may worry that you have premature gray hair, but gray hair isn't just for mature people anymore. Kelly Osbourne, Pink and Lady Gaga have all been seen sporting silver locks.
It's just a color. Embrace it. You CAN look younger with gray hair!
In just takes a great cut and proper hair care for a standout look.
Read on to discover what causes gray hair and tips on gray hair management.
How I Went from Brown to Gray
I was traveling on business.
My hair was driving me crazy!
For years I had been dyeing it, but as more and more natural gray came in, it was becoming more dye resistant.
The front and top were particularly troubling.
I felt like Friar Tuck with white roots around the top.
So I went to a hairdresser and asked for help.
I knew I would not be home for another two weeks, so I could always dye it back brown if I hated it.
She put a streaking cap on me and pulled out lots of hair.
She bleached the strands and applied a color called "smoke", which is really a kind word for gray.
It was a shock, but I had to admit my skin looked better with the new color.
It's also a great relief not to have to dye my hair every month.
Noboby Told Me About Why Gray Hair Is Different
My brown hair is now gray, thinner in places, and surprisingly thicker in others, Who knew this would happen?
My Mom always kept her hair curled (yes with old fashioned curlers) and neatly styled.
I'm definitely more of a wash and go type of person. so some mornings I get Albert Einstein hair,
I also inherited an interesting hair trait from my mother. My hair grows up; not just on top but on the back and sides as well. If I don't keep it very short or very well cut and styled I get these interesting little "wings" sprouting up everywhere.
Nobody told me.
Understanding Gray Hair
Quite simply hair goes gray after the body quits producing the pigments that color it. In some very rare cases it can be caused by a vitamin deficiency.
If you've just gone gray recently or the color change has been in progress for a number of years, chances are you've noticed it's not just the color that's changed.
Gray hair is drier and more wiry.
It's also more porous, which means it is more easily discolored by sun and pollution, so extra care is needed to keep it shiny and healthy looking. They are many great products on the market that reduce the yellow and brassy tones and highlight the beautiful silver or white accents.
In general, gray hair is more attractive when it is straighter, so the light hits more of the surface, and gives it more shine.
You'll definitely want some body and some curl is fine, so long as it isn't in a big poofy style. And definitely stay away from "helmet hair"- the heavily teased and sprayed style that Grandma used to wear.
Gray hair should have movement and look light and fresh.
Now, here's the fun part!
In my mind I'm still in my 20s. I cant run a marathon but I'm pretty fit, so looking in mirror with gray hair is still pretty strange.
Even stranger is the way people react. I jump to open the door for what I perceive to be older people, only to find they are leaping in front to open the door for me.
Sales clerks call me "Dear".
It's a shift in mindset, and sometimes a reminder to walk and talk with confidence and to embrace the shiny cap that surrounds my head and still very sharp brain matter.
Best Shampoos for Gray Hair
Don't use protein based shampoos. They may make the hair look dull and drab.
Use a clarifying shampoo to remove buildup of dirt and pollutants.
Look for shampoos with a bluish or purple color to counteract the brassiness and yellow tones. I'm a big fan of Pantene but there is an increasing number of other good products available at your local drugstore or department store.
These products are specially designed to add shine and body and reduce dullness.
It's important to use shampoos that are specifically designed for gray hair. I recommend these products.
Emmylou Harris - Sleek, Sophisticated and Silvery Long Hair
Tips for Growing Gray Hair Long
You CAN have long gray hair. Fortunately, the old rule that no one over forty should have long hair has been thrown out the window.
But long, gray hair comes with a price.
Chances are it's thinning and won't grow as long as it once did.
Make sure your long hair has some movement and body. Long, limp, lifeless hair is aging and unflattering.
Don't have a harsh part, particularly down the middle. It will expose more scalp, making your hair look thinner.
Wispy bangs and soft sides around the face are flattering.
Because it is so dry, gray hair is very prone to split ends. Use a conditioner especially designed for gray hair.
Get regular trims and apply the right conditioning products. In this case, a good stylist really is your best friend. If you've ever grown out your hair when it was a dark color, you know it takes patience. That hasn't changed!
Best Conditioners for Gray Hair
Some conditioners will leave gray hair flat, heavy and lifeless.
Choose a conditioner that is light, controls frizz and protects against harmful pollutants.
Jamie Lee Curtis- Pixie Perfect in Gray
The Pixie is the Most Flattering Cut of All
Today's pixie cuts are very versatile.
They are also easy to care for. All you need is a quick blow dry with some (non-alcohol) styling gel and you're out the door!
You can request a simple cut or something very current or edgy. Bring your hairstylist a picture of your favorite look and don't be afraid to experiment.
You'll also want to experiment with your makeup. Gray hair makes your most beautiful features stand out dramatically.
Have fun, experiment and take good care of your beautiful gray hair.
Here's another great tip for looking attractive with gray hair.
You you want your hair look bright and clean.
Your teeth should match.
Today's whitening systems and kits are effective and affordable.
Make them a regular part of your health and beauty routine.
(Image courtesy of Loguercia at en Wikipedia)
Do You Love Your Gray Hair?
wiserworld on October 01, 2020:
Thanks for sharing the tips on how to grow grey hair longer during the COVID lockdown. Stay safe!
M E Derby (author) on September 22, 2020:
Thanks Lin48. After COVID lockdown I went for 5 months without a cut. With curly hair, wash and wear is easier.
Lin48 on September 21, 2020:
I have curly hair, and when I decided to go gray, I wore it like Emmy Lou Harris for a year. I live near the ocean, so I had to spend a lot of time with a blow dryer and ten when I went outside, it would start curling. I used a flat iron and it turned yellowish! I now wear it in a chin length curly bob and get lots of compliments on it. I can air dry it, and never have to worry about the damp air ruining my style.
I have found the WEN haircare line to be the best for keeping my hair in great condition and shiny, and I use a violet shampoo once a week in whatever brand I can find in my rural small town.
ma45frost from USA on July 11, 2020:
I've been dying my hair ever since I started going grey in my mid 40's. I need to stop dying my hair and embrace it. Thank you for making me feel better with my grey hair.
Fleur on July 05, 2020:
When I decided to go grey and stop dying my hair it was a little intimidating. Grey is for seniors right? I have found it incredibly freeing and liberating. I have never received more compliments on my hair. When I was dying my hair my husband would always say it looks “dyed” nothing natural about that. Blessed with darker skin so the grey compliments my skin tone. I love it!
Carol on March 05, 2020:
I lost my hair due to chemo. It came in grey and I love it. I have gotten silver highlights and it’s great.
Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on November 12, 2018:
I am having gray hair and started to color it a few years ago. Reading this inspires me to just have a gray hair in the future. I have not color my hair for almost half a year. Thanks for the tips you have given on this hub.
Darcy Krause on July 11, 2018:
I love my silver hair!
Fiona from England on May 03, 2018:
Ever since I have gone gray l have had so many compliments
Kari Poulsen from Ohio on January 01, 2018:
I stopped dying my hair when I stopped having an income. It is now a beautiful white in the front. I love that Emmylou Harris cut. I bet my hair is long enough for it, lol. Great article!
Naomi on July 12, 2017:
After years of deliberation (painful at that!), I made the decision to stop dying my hair. I started getting gray hair when I was in my early 20's, and have been coloring and highlighting my hair for more years than I can remember. I just. got. tired of it. Fortunately, there were many beautiful examples of women who have let their hair go gray to rise as beacons for the rest of us, making my decision a little bit easier. It was definitely an adjustment, but at 45-I LOVE my gray/silver/brownish hair! I am choosing to let it grow out long, and did not choose to color it gray to give me a head start. I feel that this helped me to get used to the idea-I am aging...and there is no reason that I can't accept this part of me. I highly recommend for other women to embrace this natural process, and see what it may create for you!
Bev on October 25, 2016:
Much to my dismay I have had very bad reactions to a professional dye job. Being left without choices I've gone gray. As time goes on my salt & pepper is going to a wonderful bright silver. Not being able to dye my hair has preserved the thickness of my main! A hidden blessing, so many of us nearly kill our follicles trying to stop time. Age is a matter of mind set not hair color...so go out and blow some kid's mind with how young you are.
Michele McWilliams on October 23, 2016:
I started going gray at 13 and dyed my hair for 25 years. My older sister never dyed hers and she was completely silver by 40 so I followed suit. I am now 54, not quite as silver as Maryon but my hair is 3 feet longer. My hair is just now getting wiry for some reason but I'm thankful I didn't have to deal with that aspect all these years.
By the way, Maryon's second daughter was almost completely silver by 15 years old and her third daughter was born with gray hairs. Of course, both of our parents were completely silver by 25 (they both died young) so it was our inheritance.
Mel on June 16, 2016:
I stopped dying 3 years ago and never looked back. Get more compliments now than I ever did when I dyed it. Even have two friends who ditched the bottle because they liked my hair. If you're on the fence...just do it. You are only 45 minutes away from another color if you can't handle it. I am so happy I let my natural "highlights" come through.
Cynthia Beyer on May 09, 2016:
Thanks for the info. I've recently decided to stop dying my hair. I started going gray at 21 and am tired of the gray growing back so fast and being ultra resistant to hair dye, even salon jobs.
This gives me hope, I have medium length curly hair and can't decide if I want to keep it or go short. Wish ne luck.
M E Derby (author) on December 09, 2015:
Thanks for the feedback Christine, Good luck with your journey.
Christine on December 04, 2015:
My hair went from dark brown to a platinum gray. At first I colored my hair but it grows so fast it would need a touch-up within 2 weeks. I decided to cut if chin length-- it was waist length -- and let it keep growing in and not color, but I need a good haircut. I am overweight which prevents me from a pixie cut but until I get my surgery I guess I will have to live with it. I can't wait for the day when I am at goal weight so I can get my pixie cut! Then I will get my gray contacts and instead of turning heads as a homely old woman I'll be turning heads as a sexy silver fox. Thanks for the ideas, it gives me something to look forward to.
rockingretro2 on February 07, 2013:
I have long gray hair but it is dry. I am going to try some of the products you have listed.
SteveKaye on December 27, 2012:
Actually, I have so few left that I've given them all names.
blue22d on October 25, 2012:
I am headed that way and needed this lens. If I decide to go gray, I will start at a hair dresser's shop first and then maintain. Thanks for the tips.
Jo-Jackson on October 12, 2012:
I hate my gray hairs and use henna once a month to cover them up! Enjoyed this lens as it gave me some ideas.
anonymous on October 06, 2012:
Oh boy! that's great I can stop coloring it now then. You have some terrific suggestions for keeping it looking good. I have to share something. I was given some free shampoo a few weeks ago. And decided to give it ago after helping my husband working on the car. I poured some into my hand and got a shock. It was black. Sunsilk brand evidently for black hair. I thought my husband had played a trick on me with engine oil.
Deborah Carr from Orange County, California on October 06, 2012:
My hair is going gray and I haven't decide when I will let it stay gray rather than dying it. This is very helpful information!
Art-Aspirations on July 18, 2012:
I've had silver hair mixed in with the brown for many years. A year and a half ago I decided I didn't need to have short hair anymore. I like my new look much better, but your lens has started me thinking about letting it grow long. I have lots of body - it might work. Hmmmm.
Thanks for all the tips. Great lens.