How To Go Gray As You Age

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As we age, hair loses pigment, causing it to go from colored to gray. Most women fight every last gray to the bitter end, constantly dying their hair to regain a more youthful look. The price? Many salon visits and mid-morning freak outs over visible roots that seem to sprout up overnight.

Constant upkeep cannot only be annoying (both in terms of cost and time), but it can also weaken the integrity of your hair. So if you are naturally gray already and are ready to slowly stop the dyeing process, here are a few tips to start the transition depending on your natural hair color.

First, if you have hair that falls past your shoulders, consider getting it cut. Not only can you get rid of some of the damage from the constant coloring, but also the color transition will be easier and less noticeable the shorter your hair is. Add in layers as well. Long, aging hair needs layers to take off the weight, and give it more movement and depth. If you keep it long and let it go gray, it can make you look old and “witchy,” says celebrity hair colorist Beth Minardi.

For light hair
If you are naturally blonde, going gray is more like going white. White hairs have no pigment and the transition should be relatively seamless. Colorist Shannon Tackett of the Harlot Salon in Venice Beach, CA, says the best way is to wean off hair color. “Start by requesting the balayage technique.” Balayage is a freehand technique where highlights are applied by hand rather than using foil or cap highlighting. “Start with a heavy highlight, then on your next visit, and each one after that, have the highlights placed further and further apart,” she says. This technique will add dimension and help weave in the gray hairs for a more natural look and transition.

For darker hair
“As you age, you should make your hair lighter, and lighter,” says Tackett. Again, you are going to want to stop dyeing your hair gradually. Get the base color a light shade of brown, and then start adding in low lights until you eventually are able to blend the gray and phase out the color. The transition could take anywhere from six to 24 months, depending on how long you wear your hair and how naturally dark it is when you start the process.

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