So You’re Thinking About Going Gray? Tips From An Expert

How to go grey and love the result: a hair stylist and makeup artist shares expert tips. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

To gray or not to gray? It’s a question that many of us have wrestled with, especially in recent months with salon services either limited or unavailable.

My friend Brian is a colorist/stylist, and has been my “hair guru” for something like 17 years. (!!!) He’s also a skilled makeup artist who has worked with celebrities for awards show red carpets and other appearances. He kindly agreed to share his expertise and answer some of the most-asked questions about going “au naturel” with our hair color.

(Just FTR, I’m not there yet. When I have more silver in my hair than faded cardboard brown, I’ll consider it. 😉 But in the meantime I love my current color!)

Frequently asked questions

1. If someone is thinking about going gray, what are some considerations they should take into account? Hair texture, styles & cuts, etc?

You’ve been thinking of letting your hair color go natural—go gray or some version of gray, salt and pepper, silver or white. Here are two myths about gray:

  • Gray hair happens overnight. Not true. The follicle over time stops producing pigment. New hair grows in white. The follicle also stops producing sebum which adds moisture to the hair and scalp, giving the hair a more coarse and dry feeling. 
  • Gray hair is more wiry. Also not true. Hair texture stays the same after it loses its color. However, tweezing white hairs can damage the follicle and cause hair to change texture or even damage the follicle causing no growth.

Of Note: Hair doesn’t always go gray or white evenly across the head. Keep this in mind when thinking about letting the color go. We have expectations about what our hair will be like. While the ultimate result may differ from those expectations, we may still be pleased with the outcome. 

Styles and cuts I believe can be the same whether you have colored, gray, silver or white hair. 

In my experience, layered cuts are more airy and lifting which helps as gravity works to pull things down. I often see bobs or longer hair without layers, particularly no layers around the face which I see dragging down the face and features. 

I say, “Brighter and lighter as time goes by.”

2. What are some of the options/processes to let natural color grow out?

Three ways to get to your natural color. 

  • Grow your hair out, just stop coloring. This is the easiest but not the most graceful approach. One way to do this, is grow about two inches or more without coloring and then cut, you’ll have a cute pixie! How fun!! Now you’re all natural with this short and sassy cut. This may sound scary and it may be, but if you’ve made it this far, you’re probably not spooked by much! LOL
  • The next approach is to highlight the hair. This may be a very long appointment with your hair stylist depending on the darkness and length of your hair. Go to your colorist with two inches of new hair growth. The hair is lightened, low-lighted and tones added to match your natural hair color whether it’s salt and pepper, silver or white. This is is a great way to get back to your natural color. This process can be a gradual lightening and change or complete change to your natural color. 
  • Finally, if your natural new hair growth is more of a solid silver to white tone, I recommend removing all of the color with a color remover and then using a lightener to lighten further. Whether both the Color remover and lightener are used is dependent on the darkness of the colored hair. Two inches of regrowth, again is very helpful. This process may take a long time but  it’s worth it. Remember not to be in a rush during this process of change, this may take 6-10 hours to complete.

3. Are there tricks to keeping gray hair looking bright? Do we need to change our haircare products?

Highlights around the face and crown will help grey hair look much brighter and vibrant. Your stylist will probably tone the hair after highlighting. Brassy tones or yellow tones can make your grey or silver hair look dingy. Your colorist may suggest you come in between services just for a toning to brighten or soften the color.

At home use a purple shampoo. Ask me to recommend great shampoos for home use.

4. What about makeup? Do we need to change our makeup colors or emphasis after going gray?

Your makeup may change as your hair color changes. Going gray, silver or white removes pigmentation from the hair. You now may see true and natural tones with the color removed. Your hair color potentially will be cooler. You may feel washed out.

These are my skincare & makeup recommendations:

 Skin

Care for your skin with great love! Treatments, serums and moisture. Wear a foundation, tinted primer, tinted moisturizer or some kind of base on your skin, you’ll feel and look fresh. Bronzer, which I don’t use much of these days when teaching or applying makeup, is a great way to livening up your skin. If you’re feeling a bit washed out from either your light foundation or your bare skin, lightly apply bronzer. Applying the bronzer after your serums and moisturizer without foundation can be a great option. Use a bronzing and base cosmetic which is dewy or glow-y promoting softened skin texture, enhancing your beauty. Changing your hair color, especially going gray or white is a big change so go gentle on yourself by pampering your skin. 

Re-Creation Lip Treatment | Illuminate & Contour Eye Treatment | Firming Neck & Throat Creme

Features

Brows are very important for framing everything. Remember, brows have also lost pigment, so add in color to frame and highlight your eyes. Lips and cheeks need color for livening things up, have fun! I’m always a big fan of both pink and peach tones for both lips and cheeks. If your gray is cool, you may want to choose a more bluish pink tone. If you have a bit of warmth in your hair color you may like peachy tones best. Keep your cheeks and lips fresh, creamy and dewy. Find what works for you. Today we wear masks. In addition to framing eyes and face with your brows, I highly recommend playing up your eyes. Tight-line creamy brown or black eyeliner into your lash line and blend soft neutral matte/satin eye shadows from lashes up to and through the crease. Natural tones can be fairly universal, use of cool or warm tones or use of color may change with your new hair color. Ask me to make specific recommendations for you. Remember mascara after curling your lashes to keep eyes looking open and bright.

Tinted Primer | Natural Taupe Brow Pencil | Creme Blush | Sheer Moisture Lipstick | Max Defining Lash Mascara

I offer virtual makeup, skincare, hair color and beauty consultations.  

Brian Haugen of Makeover Workshop. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Brian Haugen is a professional hair stylist/colorist and celebrity, commercial and high-fashion makeup artist whose passion for teaching led to creating Makeover Workshop and Brian+MW Cosmetics. Makeover Workshop offers how-to makeup and skin care technique classes for groups and individuals. Classes are held all around the world virtually and in-person, these fun and very technique driven classes help all people of all ages learn how to select and apply makeup and skincare to make the most of their own personal beauty. 

If you have any questions for Brian, please post in comments below.

Stay in touch.

Affiliate links in posts may generate commissions for unefemme.net. See my complete disclosure policy here.

79 Comments

  1. Jill
    October 8, 2020 / 3:51 am

    How informative-thank you very much!

    • Kathy
      October 8, 2020 / 8:19 am

      Good tips! I did a lot of research when I started the growing out process 4 years ago. Love my gray hair! I wear it in a long lob.

  2. Debra
    October 8, 2020 / 4:23 am

    Hah! I love the term “cardboard brown” – it seems you and I have the same (natural) hair color. I did grow my hair color out – no highlights for 8 months – but caved in last weekend and am a blonde again. Whew! Since I have ashy blonde highlights these tips are very useful; thank you.

    BTW, your hair is looking fabulous!

  3. Katrinka
    October 8, 2020 / 4:28 am

    One method not mentioned in the three options above (and great for those of us with brown hair) is having lowlights (not highlights). I stopped overall coloring last November as I decided it was time to own my gray. I didn’t have a huge amount as yet and chose to have brown lowlights in February as well as last week. I doubt I’ll have this done again as all my old dyed ends in the back will be cut off at my next appointment. Lowlights can be done all over or only on top depending on the amount of gray. (I am lucky my colorist is the only person in the salon on Mondays so book far ahead to see her.)

  4. October 8, 2020 / 4:38 am

    Thank you so much. I am very interested in these discussions.

  5. Maria
    October 8, 2020 / 4:38 am

    I stopped colouring my hair 2 years ago. Best decision ever and just love my stainless steel silver hair. The decision was made for me when I started having a reaction to hair dye. The added bonus is the money and time saved.

  6. Mary DeSimone
    October 8, 2020 / 4:44 am

    I had about 3 inches of regrowth, and did not want to endure another 12-18 months of growing out my dark brown dyed hair. My hairdresser’s approach was simple, not time-consuming, and wallet friendly. I believe it is an updated process to one that you describe above. First, dye is stripped. Then intensive highlighting follows the natural colors, white, light gray, dark gray, matching actual roots. Olaplex products have improved this process from earlier versions. I entered the salon with skunk striped hair, and left 4 hours later with lovely gray tresses. My hairdresser cannot believe the time and money that others charge for this process. Her cost to me was $250.00.

    • Merrie
      October 8, 2020 / 10:05 am

      I am 75 and still have very little grey hair. Just at the nap of my neck in the back. I have colored it strawberry blond since I was a junior in high school. Husband doesn’t even know my true mousy blond hair color. I still will keep coloring it because it is baby fine and without color it lays flat to my head. You cannot get a lift. I am also very oily still. Most doctors and hair stylists can’t believe my age.

  7. Betsy
    October 8, 2020 / 4:52 am

    I went pure white two yrs ago after seeing Glenn Close in The Good Wife. Took a photo to my hairdresser and said I want this hairdo. It’s a little longer now but a shiny white. Blue Malva shampoo is the best.

  8. RoseAG
    October 8, 2020 / 5:15 am

    I had good luck with a third option on my brown hair. I choose a side part, and kept touching up the partline as I grew out the rest. I combined it with frequent trims, and at about a year and a half flipped my part to cover up the colored section and showcase the grown out grey. It didn’t rid me of the grow out but I didn’t feel self-conscious about a skunk stripe. I’m close to two years now and happy. My uncolored hair requires a lot less conditioning and I can wash it more than once a week without it drying out.
    I have natural highlights, they’re grey. For me the key is frequent trims. I was back at the salon the first week they re-opened in June.
    With that said, if I weren’t at the end of my career I would still be coloring and highlighting.

  9. October 8, 2020 / 5:20 am

    What a great article. I’m one who embraced my natural color this year. My husband kept telling me that it was a lovely silver. I had a consultation with my colorist and she agreed that I should go with it. She removed the color as highlights and used a toner. My hair is quite short so that blended it nicely. She repeated the process a month later and that’s all I needed. The bleached hair was very dry. She explained that the bleaching removes cuticle so I used a lot of conditioner as well as a repair spray in addition to the purple shampoo. Now that the the processed hair has been cut off my own hair is soft again. I have a short pixie and I love it. I was feeling washed out so I had a refresh of my color analysis. Initially classified as a “sparkling autumn” in the 80’s I’m now in the warm palette which includes a broader range of colors. I purged my closet of black (other than pants) and stark white. Now that I wear only my color range I look alive again.

    • October 8, 2020 / 8:19 am

      Love hearing about your experience with your hair color and newly classified palette. These blog post comments need pics!! Before and Afters. At least afters. Thanks!

  10. Susan
    October 8, 2020 / 5:24 am

    Thank you! Very interesting and helpful.

  11. October 8, 2020 / 6:10 am

    Great post on a topic of interest to so many. I find the tip about eyebrows the most important. I use a tinted eyebrow mousse. It counteracts the fading away effect. I have also learned that white hair will burn in the sun and turn yellow. Wearing a hat protects both your skin and your hair.

    • October 8, 2020 / 8:21 am

      thanks for sharing your experience about white to yellowing from the sun.

  12. Linda Simpson
    October 8, 2020 / 6:19 am

    At age 69, I still have very little gray hair (genetics), but my natural color is a dirty dishwater blonde. I have been highlighting it for years with mostly blonde since it fits my coloring. Five weeks ago, I decided this year had been awfully rough for my family and me, and I needed something different. I wanted red, so my hair is now a highlighted strawberry blonde, which I love. When it’s time, I will go gray, but not likely for several years.

    • October 8, 2020 / 8:22 am

      I love strawberry blond. Susan and I played around with red and golden highlights quite a bit early on.

  13. chrissy
    October 8, 2020 / 6:21 am

    I’m mid 50s and have spent the past two years growing my hair out naturally (from died lightbrown/blonde highlight to grey). Took a long time because I have long hair and kept it long (I like the option to pull my hair back). Going grey doesn’t have to be aging but I think the points that your expert makes are right on point. You have to have a great haircut or flattering hairstyle (I wear my hair long just past shoulders but it suits me…for most people I think a fun, flirty stylish cut like the ones above are key) and you HAVE to care about your appearance in general: wear makeup (even just a little), make sure your brows are on point, wear stylish clothing, change your eyeglasses to something fun and a bit bolder (don’t choose an “invisible” frame that will wash you out). Why do the women in the pics above look so great? Because they are doing all of these things. You don’t have to look “like an old lady” but women who don’t take these extra steps usually do.

  14. Carolyn
    October 8, 2020 / 6:31 am

    After enduring allergic reactions from the dye for years, I finally had enough. My hair then started thinning. It was a decision made for me. I have never looked back. Why didn’t I do this earlier??? My hair is so much healthier now. My hair stylist helped it along and I see that the darker hair was too harsh for my complexion. If you are on the fence, I’d encourage you to do it. Your complexion will thank you.

  15. Pink Azalea
    October 8, 2020 / 6:35 am

    I was brunette as a young woman but got my first gray hair in junior high. The amount increased slowly. In my late 30’s I went blond. It was pretty, but getting it colored took about 45 mins. In my early 40’s I decided to grow it out. My stylist put in some low lights and I never felt the need to go back. I did cut my hair from shoulder length to a chin length bob and that speeded things up. My hair is mostly white now. Since I am fair skinned with light eyes, soft summer clothing colors look best now. I look better in mid tones rather than very dark or very light colors. I would encourage anyone to give it a try. You can always go back to coloring if you like. My two blond friends still color their hair and I think it suits them very well. I would think some women could be happy with some highlights rather than overall color. A good stylist would know what to do. Susan’s hair is perfect, love the cut.

  16. Meg
    October 8, 2020 / 6:40 am

    I lost my hair last October ( Chemo) and when it started to fall out in large hunks, I shaved it and put it away in a box so I could show my hairdresser my color and highlights and reproduce my ‘colored’ hair. It grew back in April of this year and is fully 50% silver. (Oh , and curly too!) I have no desire to revisit color and highlights. I have gone natural and my adult daughters are floored to see I am a natural brunette. “Mom! We have the same color of brown hair!!” With a wink and a smile, I agreed.
    With the brave new world of silver, I have had to pay careful attention to my brows and color them with a brow product. I have had to readjust my makeup tones a bit. Darker eye colors no longer work. But my lips? I can rock a nice bright pink lip now.
    My hair is growing slowly and I now have an intentional looking pixie. I am learning how to deal with curls , having had poker straight hair before. But I LOVE LOVE my silver hair. I feel it’s sophisticated and a bit daring. When I see another silver lady, we sort of nod and smile. It’s wonderful to have shed the color routine.

    • October 8, 2020 / 8:37 am

      I love hearing about the community of other silver haired ladies! Great feedback about lighter eye colors, bright lips and brows that show up and frame. ❤️❤️

  17. Peg
    October 8, 2020 / 6:50 am

    I am 63 and have been gray-white for 20 years. I began graying and dying in my early 20’s.
    After a 6 month cancer vigil with my mother, where I was unable to keep up the hair process,
    coupled with hair loss due to thyroid issues and stress; I cut my hair to chin length
    just stopped dying and never looked back.
    Since then it is kept at shoulder length or longer (so I can ponytail) usually straightened.
    I have never had so many compliments! Seriously.
    Strangers, men and women, young, old, everybody comments positively.
    All the time. I never had that happen to me before when it was dyed.
    Women ask me how I decided to do it.
    Best thing I ever did! Besides marry my husband…who loves it too.
    My only caveat is to keep a youthful hairstyle if gray. For me that is no layers but YMMV

    • October 8, 2020 / 8:39 am

      This is when we need pics!! Youthful helps. I looked up YMMV…LOL
      ❤️

  18. Barb
    October 8, 2020 / 7:03 am

    Covid and quarantine were the impetus for my going gray sooner than I had planned. Since I wear my hair short, I went from dyed brunette to mostly white in a matter of months. I love my new look! I am a “winter” and still enjoy wearing black and navy. However, I find myself craving color near my face and am on the hunt for the jewel tones that are most flattering for my complexion. I’m also conscious of keeping my hairstyle, glasses, and clothing modern so as not to fall into frumpy mode!

  19. Book Goddess
    October 8, 2020 / 7:15 am

    Such a personal decision! My observation is that most of the people who look really great with “gray” hair have hair that has turned white or silver. I haven’t had my hair colored since February, so I have quite a bit of growth, and it’s pretty much battleship grey mixed with some medium brown. I was interested to see what it would look like, and in my opinion it is not pretty. It washes out my fair neutral skin. (On the bright side, my roots hardly show at all when I get it colored fairly regularly.). So next week I will be heading to my stylist – the salon is meticulous in their precautions – for a cut and color.

    I agree with Chrissy about stylish glasses, at least for me. Again, everyone’s own personal decision. But I prefer to look like I’m making a statement than like I’m trying to make my glasses disappear.

  20. Cindylou
    October 8, 2020 / 7:27 am

    This is a post near and dear to my heart. I decided to go gray during this Covid crisis since I wouldn’t be going out. I haven’t colored my short brown-dyed hair since March and have had it cut only twice. It has been fairly painless and for the last couple of months it looks like I’ve had lowlights. I’ve been trimming off the ends between haircuts. One thing I was not prepared for was the psychological effects. I’ve been a brunette for 68 years and loved it. That was my identity. It’s been a adjustment to have silver hair. Chrissy’s suggestions above are right on. It’s important to wear a little makeup, have a good haircut, dress as well as you can afford, wear attractive glasses,etc. It helps that my husband finds silver hair very attractive and for the last several years has pointed out women who look good with silver hair. He is a silver fox himself.

    • October 8, 2020 / 8:45 am

      Thanks for sharing your Covid-crisis induced experience. Love hearing about the visual and human adjustments. ❤️

  21. Eve
    October 8, 2020 / 7:31 am

    I was shocked to find my hair was turning this beautiful silver color. Everyone kept telling me what a pretty color It was. I always figured it would turn some ghastly color of muddy gray. I think the majority of women will find they really like their new natural hair. . Let it go gray to see what color it will be. You might find you love it. A very interesting post. Love the comments.

  22. avicennia
    October 8, 2020 / 8:03 am

    I went gray at 45 years of age (two years ago) and have not looked back! It’s a lovely silver color and I keep it up with a purple tinted shampoo once a week. I have a short pixie haircut. I receive compliments All The Time, from men and women, young and old. I couldn’t be more pleased! That said, I agree with comments above — going gray only works if you have the right coloring, the right color of gray and enough gray that it dominates. I’m a winter, still have strong black brows and a good haircut, so it works.

  23. Elizabeth
    October 8, 2020 / 8:17 am

    Question for Brian – what colour should my eyebrows be? Some background for you…
    My hair is mostly its natural colour now which is mainly black brown with silvery strands. Had dark reddish hair as a child. My skin is pale with pink undertones. I’ve just noticed that my eyebrows are a lighter brown compared to my natural dark hair colour (age 63 & 30 years of getting my hair coloured a warmer med. brown with subtle highlights). My brows are on the thinner side. I’ve never used an eyebrow pencil and/or products, so I need help. Thank you, so much, Brian for your advice.
    Thank you, Susan, for this timely post.

    • October 8, 2020 / 8:57 am

      Thanks for the comments and question Elizabeth. I believe your lighter brown brow hair color is right on for the color/tone. they just need a little attention. I would suggest my Natural Taupe Eye Brow Pencil. I’m happy to teach how to use the pencil virtually. Feel free to contact me through my link below and we can discuss further…a 5 minute virtual consult will help with choosing the right shade. I look forward to helping! Great question ❤️

      https://www.makeoverworkshop.com/contact

      https://www.makeoverworkshop.com/brow-pencil/blondi-y6clm

  24. Nancy Karpen
    October 8, 2020 / 8:38 am

    I went white about about 10 years ago a few months before I turned 60. My hair is pure white and I keep it that way with purple shampoo about once a week. Certain finishing creams can built up and make my hair yellow, so those I avoid. I started going gray in my early 20’s and dyed it for years until I had just had enough. My hair is white and shiny, which most people say isn’t possible, but it is. Yes, I’ve not only changed my makeup, I recently found a great taupe gel for my eyebrows. It’s much more obvious that certain colors just don’t work for me, if they ever did. I have never regretted going white;

  25. October 8, 2020 / 8:59 am

    your shared experience is priceless❤️
    we need pics!!
    Thanks

  26. October 8, 2020 / 9:09 am

    Trust me to come up with this comment…: what a dish that Brian is. Very attractive man.
    As for growing grey.. Hmm… one day I will. My mother kept on colouring her hair until she was 91. Only this year because of Covid, she decided to go grey as she became 92. It suits her much better, everybody is enthousiastic. But I will add that she still had the colour brown/red. And that makes you hard.
    For now, I will keep being blonde. Perhaps when I hit 70.
    Greetje

    • October 8, 2020 / 9:26 am

      ❤️❤️
      As I say, “Brighter and lighter as time goes by.”

  27. Sue
    October 8, 2020 / 9:17 am

    What a great post and set of comments! Like many of you, I decided that the Covid crisis was the right time to stop coloring my hair. I’ve been coloring my medium brown hair blond for 50 years, and it appears to have been graying unevenly. The front of my hair (about 2 inches grown out after 7 months sans salon) is a lovely shade of silver, but the back of my head is still quite dark. I suppose I should be thinking about color choices based on the silver and just ignore the back of my head (I can’t see it anyway), but any advice would be most helpful.

    • October 8, 2020 / 9:24 am

      I love hearing you’re growing it out. Being that you’ve been coloring it lighter, blond for years makes growing our a bit easier, unless your new hair growth is significantly darker, then low-lights may help. Color choices help for wardrobe or makeup??
      Thanks for commenting!

  28. Lynn
    October 8, 2020 / 9:35 am

    I’m 76 and finally went gray during the lockdown. My hair is very short and I had two inches of root so it was a quick process. I only wear black, shades of gray and cream, denim and white so my wardrobe works easily with my hair. My dilemma is makeup colors. I have three shades of gray – steel, silver and white: My skin which was once light olive is now fair/yellowish and I have light blue/green eyes. My teeth are all my own and naturally white. I’ve experimented with cool colors, but I hate pinks on me. It could be a bias because I hate the color. Warm colors and neutrals look better, but I read that only rosy shades should be used. I would appreciate Brian’s professional advice.

    • October 8, 2020 / 12:32 pm

      Thanks for commenting and asking for advice. Under this circumstance I may suggest a virtual meetup. You have fair/yellowish skin tone, blue/green eye color and your hair sounds cool in color with the silver, steel and white. As I’m writing this I’m thinking a green eye color may work. I’d need to see better your tones. Neutrals will work, as you have discovered, and knowing that you like the look of warm colors this helps with choosing. I’m not sure I agree that m “only rosy shades should me used.”
      Feel free to connect with me further. I’m happy to offer a mini consultation.
      ❤️
      https://www.makeoverworkshop.com/contact

  29. Lagatta de Montréal
    October 8, 2020 / 11:09 am

    Linda Rodin is a beautiful woman, but I think those glasses make her look her a bit Cruella de Ville. Idem the Advanced Style crew. Intellectual owly specs are part of my persona, so I’m faithful to them. If possible, I’ll find red wires rather than black or plain metal though. I also had very dark hair; almost black, and very curly-kinky (and blue-green eyes). Got my first silvers at 15 or 16, a trait that ran in my maternal family. My youngest uncle in his 80s still has a full haid of curly silver hair. Mine is all silver on top with still quite a bit of dark around the edges. Trying to convince my stylist to cut my hair a bit shorter – but NEVER a pixie. I’d only have such a cut if I were recovering from chemo, another disease or head injury. Doesn’t suit me at all.

    I’m so glad to be done with hair colouring. My favourite hair product is a mask named Ice Cream, but alas I can’t find the (Italian) brand. It really handles yellowing and never produces a weird bluish colour. I’ll have to find the plastic (pump-top) container, a squat bottle. Have to hunt through my hair stuff.

  30. Kiki's Grandma
    October 8, 2020 / 11:41 am

    I let my hair go gray at 40 and have not looked back since.

    I found my first gray hair among the brown ones at age 18 and had a streak noticeable enough to color for my wedding at age 23. I colored myself using semi-permanent products until I had so much gray it was not working. For about 8 years I had it professionally colored. The stylist was good but he noted that my hair was quite resistant to the coloring products available at the time (’80s). The color would be quite unstable and turn an unattractive orange tone by the time my next appointment came. An attempt to go a bit darker turn my hair nearly black. By this time I was a SAHM and had neither the time or money to keep up with salon coloring. I had it colored one Saturday (turned out nice) and took my kid to the playground three days later. A half hour of March sunshine that day turned my hair orange, a waste of a lot of money for me. I tried home products and was not happy so I let it grow out. It’s silvery white with still some dark hair in the mix. Others have complement me on how nice the color is. (I have been using purple shampoo for 25 years.)

    Because of covid, I have not had a haircut in too long and my hair is now shoulder length and scraggly. I am looking for an interim style that get rid of length but not need frequent cuts to look good. If this were normal times I would take that picture of the women in glasses to my stylist, but those layers will need more visits to maintain than I am comfortable with right now.

  31. Kay
    October 8, 2020 / 12:11 pm

    I have let my hair grow out. Funny thing: my mother had a strip of hair at the front go white in her 20s. Her natural color was black, so it was striking. When my hair went natural, I discovered that a strip like my mother’s, at the front, stayed dark brown while everything else had gone white! I look like Cruella DeVille!

  32. October 8, 2020 / 12:17 pm

    I just went the other way and dyed my hair teal and purple (which are my brand colors) this summer. My stylist did the whole head in purple and then pulled the top out in teal. It’s really amazing looking (I did a branding photoshoot this summer, and you can see pictures from it on my website). It was like a work of art on my head. I just saw my stylist today for a cut, and right now I have gray growing out but it’s kind of cool – the gray blends into the purple and then the teal comes out on top, and one of my students said it looks variegated. Like I meant that. Not sure what I’ll do when it looks like I DIDN’T mean that. It was a pretty pricy proposition.

    • October 8, 2020 / 5:25 pm

      It hair…have fun with it. I love that you went for it.
      Did you change any of your makeup routine?

      • October 8, 2020 / 6:08 pm

        Not really. I do darken my eyebrows. I had been a redhead and usually used an auburn pencil, and that doesn’t work now. My hair now matches my eyes (the teal part) and I’d worn makeup to bring those out. I did toss some olive green and orange-y red clothes.

  33. PatinCal
    October 8, 2020 / 12:44 pm

    I’ve always had my natural hair color–never in my life (now, late 70s) dyed my hair. Instead of grey, it’s turned a sort of taupe. Because I discovered the color seasons concept years ago, I look appropriate and still vital. It’s surprising what the right colors can do for a gal, as you know.

    One thing I noticed was that most of the example pictures show women who have lined their bottom lids, which, in older women, gives the effect of closing off the eye and making it look smaller. Obviously that’s not a look anyone wants.

    • October 8, 2020 / 5:30 pm

      Taupe is a great color. It’s natural and easy to complement.
      I’ll share this about lower liner. Soft smoky and smudgy lower liner is great it gives the eye expansiveness. I teach this technique in my virtual makeup workshops. If done to “liney” and dark it lends to closing off the eyes.

  34. margiemi
    October 8, 2020 / 1:37 pm

    I’ve had my gray/white hair for at least 20 years….I started out as a blonde and kept tinting it to keep blonde and then decided…heck! I went for low lights/high lights, probably did this twice and then couldn’t tell where my one color started/ended and voila! I’m white with blue eyes and everyone tells me they love my hair; obviously they don’t want it unless it changes to white overnight (lol). I find that I go heavier on my eye makeup and always wear “brows” and “eyes” and often complimented. I typically keep my hair short (with longer sides) because I, personally, feel longer hair makes me look “witchy.” Do it ladies; it’s amazing how much you can save and the compliments you will receive.

    • Lagatta de Montréal
      October 8, 2020 / 5:20 pm

      No way. It is shorter than I wore it at 30, but I look ghastly in short hair. To each her own.

    • October 9, 2020 / 2:43 pm

      I enjoyed your comments. Hair and makeup are so personal. Also, they are easy to change. Makeup especially. You choosing to do heavier eye makeup and brows since having gray/white hair is fun to hear. Others may do something completely opposite. I personally believe playing up the eyes and lips adds to the softened tomes of your hair color.
      ❤️

  35. Nancy MK
    October 8, 2020 / 2:50 pm

    If you like red hair, you would have been happy with mine, but I never was, too much like a fancy frame to which the painting did not live up. It was very curly, turned wavy, the color gradually turned to a mixture of white, light brown and red which reads as blondish and which some have thought is colored, ha ha ha. The woman who did a beautiful medium-length layered cut for me moved to Oregon (from Californian) early in the pandemic. I vowed not to cut until she returns and quite like my below the shoulder length especially when flat-ironed. It seems becoming even when down but of course a smooth pony tail is easy too. At 77 I don’t think any cut will make me look younger. Now I must develop an artistic talent to justify this new look which seems a bit bohemian.

    • October 9, 2020 / 2:47 pm

      Artistic Bohemian! The color of your hair from early on to now sounds divine. I do love the softened reddish blond. I’d love to see pictures throughout the years.
      What about your makeup then and now?

      • Nancy MK
        October 13, 2020 / 11:34 am

        Brian, I am not adept with photos but thank you.

        One thing that influenced me against coloring my hair is that I do not think red hair other than strawberry blonde be made to look natural. The late Ann Getty, well-known up here in the Bay Area, crossed paths with me years ago; she looked sternly at my hair, natural, and I at hers, obviously colored although as obviously once natural. She had the beautiful features, however, which can stand up to theatrical hair.
        I have not changed my makeup colors much. Bright lipstick never looked good, so I wore light corals and now thanks to your lip product my lips have a natural rosy, fresh color so I use a balm like Burt’s Bees and Tata Harper. I still use brown mascara and navy or taupe eyeliner, the latter only for going out in the evening, and peachy blush. Now I do use a light brown brow gel. My brows are so light that their urgent need of grooming is not evident. I could use advice on shadow. In the olden days, we used white or very light shadow on the bone, and I used grey shadow (blue eyes) and still do, again only on festive occasions.. One of these days I would love to consult you in person or virtually about that.
        All of your comments have been interesting and sensible.

        • October 13, 2020 / 4:13 pm

          I think a shift away from the gray shadow could be a nice change. the last couple years I’ve been showing a new way for the brow bone–its much more natural, drawing attention to the eyes. A virtual consult would be fun. In person when more possible.
          You know where to find me.

  36. Lagatta de Montréal
    October 8, 2020 / 5:24 pm

    I wear little makeup, but really miss my Burt’s Bees moisturiser in the darkest colour (plum) which was a sort of stain. Yes, I am very boho.

  37. Lauren
    October 8, 2020 / 5:52 pm

    Well Brian this is all the usual good advice……works just fine for anyone who actually has grey/white hair coming in, has some wave to their hair, etc. But nope none of that works for me. My hair has lost the blond of my youth and is now some sort of taupe/beige/light camel. It has a countable number of white hairs…..I could see them here and there with my 4 inches of “COVID19 No Hairdresser” growth (yes my hair grows like it is on rocket fuel). My hair is straight….yup that kind of straight that people try to achieve with a flat iron but a person with true straight hair can always tell the difference. And….I should add that I have tried many things over years (perms, cuts, etc.) that many hairdressers were sure would work. My hair ignores their best efforts and is straight…..no amount of cut to shape the face, or short hair for lift….my hair just doesn’t co-operate…..and yes they all look dejected and shocked when they realize my hair is not playing their game. So about 5 years ago I decided to just let my hair have its way….I grew it long and left it straight and I get blond highlights. Not sure what the blond will look like when I am in my eighties but looks just fine for now in my sixties. I would love to have the pure snow white hair my Grandfather had but that is just not mine to have

    • October 9, 2020 / 2:54 pm

      Smart move letting it have its way with a bit of “Lighter and Brighter” blonde highlights.

  38. Trish
    October 8, 2020 / 7:11 pm

    This is pretty much exactly what I did when I went gray – the 2 inches of growth and then high-lights. My advice is to choose a year (yes, it’s going to take about a year) when you have nothing huge going on. I stopped coloring when my youngest son began Med school right after the inDOCtrination ceremony. I knew I’d have no ceremonies such as school awards or weddings etc. I won’t lie, that was a rough year, but stick it out. Going to gray was one of my best decisions ever!! I got SO many compliments. Many women said, “I would do that but I don’t think my gray would be pretty.” which just means they’re scared, or vain. Have you ever seen gray that wasn’t pretty with a good style? I did find that I needed to change my make-up to pinker or plum-er tones.

    • October 9, 2020 / 2:56 pm

      Thanks for sharing your experience with going gray.
      What colors of makeup did you wear before?

  39. Audre
    October 8, 2020 / 8:27 pm

    I’m another one who ditched the hair dye during COVID lockdown. I’m nearly seven months into my transition and it will take me two years (?) to complete the process because I wear my hair long. This might sound crazy but after the first three months the process became less about hair color and more about patience and self acceptance. I’m loving my natural hair color which is starting to show my unique graying patterns. I had no idea my natural blend of color was so pretty. I’m seeing myself grow into (pun intended) my new look and I wouldn’t want to speed the process by bleaching or dyeing my hair to a uniform color. I’m enjoying the journey.

  40. Janet D.
    October 9, 2020 / 1:09 am

    I grew my grey out this year having NO IDEA what it was going to look like & am absolutely crazy about it. I was happy with the colour I was using as it was very close to my natural ashy blonde & as more & more silver threaded through it, I liked the effect. But I got sick & tired of fiddling with it. It was my husband who tipped me over, suggesting I grow it out to see what it looked like & reminding me I could always colour it again if I didn’t like it: “it’s just hair”. It was more teasing than anything: he’s been shaving his head for years after I got SO tired of listening to him complain about encroaching MPB & told him to either get used to it or shave it all off — that if he didn’t like it he could always grow it back as “it’s just hair”. But he was right: it IS just hair. For the record, nothing’s changed but the colour: texture, thickness, natural wave are all the same. The grey — charcoal with silver — is quite dramatic & I find myself dressing more dramatically to show it off. Quite truthfully, I regret that I waited so long! We women have been sold such a bill of goods about how we have to stay young to be interesting, vibrant & sexy — what nonsense! All that comes from inside, not from a hair colour or skin serum.

  41. chrissy
    October 9, 2020 / 9:36 am

    I am going to mention one other thing regarding on point brows. This can be tricky for some ladies with shaping and filling, especially when the hair is light and it is hard to see what you are doing. I go to a brow salon and have my brows waxed or threaded – even if you don’t have much brow you still need to get them shaped! – and then henna-ed. The henna colors the brow hairs and also temporarily stains the skin underneath (kind of like an eyebrow filler). It is temporary: the skin portion fades after a week and the brow hairs fade after 3-4 weeks. I go in about once every three weeks. The tech can adjust the shade/darkness for you. Even after the skin stain fades, it makes filling in with a pencil so much easier because you can still clearly see the defined shape of the brow. I swear that doing this to my brows took 10 years off of my face and made my eyes pop. (I’m 57).

    • October 9, 2020 / 3:08 pm

      So true. Love you shared your experience with this. I use a vegetable dye with the same results and fading effect. This changes everything is done well and consistently.

  42. kb
    October 9, 2020 / 2:32 pm

    Thank you both — such a timely post! Love the comments that “It’s just hair!” I’m 66. My natural color is an ash to medium light brown (85%) and is now growing in gray at the sides and top of my forehead and the top of my crown (15%). I’ve never dyed, so I have no demarcation lines but also have no idea what a “colorist” would do. It’s kind of exciting — since my hair was always one color — to consider the gray a kind of highlight, crazy as that may sound! My hair is thick, wavy, below shoulder length, and layered. Other than keeping a good cut to frame the face, how does one manage when the gray is not widespread? Should I start using a purple shampoo? Not do anything until it is more than 50% gray? Thank you again!

    • October 9, 2020 / 3:03 pm

      I don’t think you need to do anything. For fun you could add in baby-lights, delicate highlighting. These will brighten the hair. Completely for fun, also easy to maintain or just do once.

      • kb
        October 10, 2020 / 9:02 am

        Thank you, Brian, for taking the time to reply to a “late” comment. I may reach out to you in 2021!

  43. Kathy Garcia
    October 10, 2020 / 4:37 am

    I would like to know your prices for a virtual visit, thanks.

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