Grey Hair Dye - Ready to Go Grey?

Updated on March 2, 2016
Gorgeous Gray Hair Courtesy of The Daily Mail
Gorgeous Gray Hair Courtesy of The Daily Mail

Guess What? GRAY is IN!

Yes, it really is! Gray hair is appearing on the catwalks and in the trendiest of salons.

Guess who's gone gray recently? How about Nicole Richie, Rihanna, the Olson twins, and of course Stacey London and Jaime Lee Curtis.

Looking for Grey Hair Dye?

Whether you spell it "grey" or "gray" or want something silver, pewter, platinum, sterling, or salt-and-pepper, you can find all kinds of shades to suit your needs.

It used to be that grey was the only shade you couldn't find, but that's changing. In the past, people wanted to cover the gray, but more and more women and men are now embracing it. Some think it contributes to a more elegant and classy look. Others have been dyeing their hair for years and are tired of the maintenance and expense. Still others are worried about health concerns associated with repeated hair coloring and want to go au naturale. Of course, many people admire the beautiful pewter and silver tones and just want lovely gray hair!

Take the Plunge: Go Gray!

So, are you ready to take the plunge? Making the decision to go gray is a real relief for many women and can be very liberating. There are several approaches to "going gray" and one of them is sure to suit you.

  • You can go to a professional hair colorist and have them dye your hair with light shades approximating a gray or silver tone. The advantage of doing it this way is you will be able to discuss the different shades available with a professional, and perhaps even see a wider selection of strand samples. The hair colorist can look at your current hair color and skin tone and make a recommendation for what would look best on you. The disadvantage is of course the price. You will easily pay upwards of $100, and possibly much more, to get your hair dyed professionally. If you plan to do it more than once, it will add up quickly. Still, if you are really unsure of how to approach the transition to gray, you're making a major color change, or you simply want to talk it over with someone in-the-know, then using a professional hair colorist is your best bet.
  • Another approach is to use a temporary (semi-permanent) color on your hair. Luckily, this process is very easy to do in the comfort of your own home. From start to finish, you using a semi-permanent color takes less than an hour. Temporary colors last in the neighborhood of six weeks. You will have to do this until your natural color grows in completely.
  • You will most likely have to bleach it first to get the color you want.
  • Finally, consider cutting your hair short. There are so many cute hair styles now that are on the shorter side, that you are sure to find one you like. You can still use semi-permanent color every six weeks if you want.


What Causes Hair to Turn Gray

Graying is a completely natural occurrence that happens to almost all of us. Some people start getting grays in their late teens or early twenties, while others start late into their forties.

Hair is made up of two parts— the root and the shaft. The root is what attaches the hair to the scalp. (Sometimes when we pull our hair out, we can see the bulbous root at the end.) It is surrounded by tissue called the hair follicle. Each follicle contains a number of cells that contain pigment. This pigment produces a chemical called melanin. Melanin dictates our hair color as well as our skin color. The more melanin, the darker the hair.

As we age, the pigment in the hair follicle cells declines. This means less melanin is produced, which translates into less color and results in gray or white hair. Eventually, there is no color left and we experience a whole head of gray, white, or silver hair. This process can take more than a decade to be complete. In other words, if you notice your first gray hairs in your late twenties, you may be well into midlife or even older before you have a full head of gray hair. You will likely notice a gradual change and eventually will either embrace the gray or decide to dye it.

If you always had dark hair, say black or dark brown, you will definitely be more aware of the graying process. If you are a natural blond or have very light brown hair, the graying wil be less noticeable but will still occur. It's simply a natural part of the aging process.

This loss of pigment is what makes it so difficult to dye gray hair. Manufacturers have not been very successful in coming up with colors in the gray family that look natural when applied. Perhaps there will be more options soon, since gray hair dyes weren't in high demand until recently.


Ensuring a Successful Transition to Gray

  • If you decide to go with permanent color, ask your colorist to use a brightener every six to eight weeks. This will soften the hair and make it less coarse, as well as remove the yellow tint sometimes associate with gray hair.
  • Highlight your hair every three months or so to match the gray until you get the look you want.
  • Add low-lights and blended color streaks until you get the look you want. This will ensure the gray hair blends in nicely with the colored hair.
  • Distract! While you're in the awkward in-between stage, wear colorful and vibrant jewelry, scarves, and other accessories to take the focus off your hair.

Who Wants Gray Hair?

Remember, gray hair doesn't necessarily equate with being "old." It's a gorgeous color in its own right. Some Hollywood celebrities have even decided to embrace it. Anderson Cooper from CNN is known as "the Silver Fox." Jaime Lee Curtis has beautiful gray hair, as does celebrity chef Paula Deen. Richard Gere went natural long ago and so did Stacey London of What Not to Wear. Even sexpot actress Sharon Stone has experimented with it!

Questions & Answers


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    • Aqua profile image

      Aqua 3 years ago from California

      Hi MandiGirl!

      Yep - I get it. I'm not quite 'there' yet but I can totally understand it. :-)

    • MandiGirl profile image

      MandiGirl 3 years ago from Arkansas

      I have been coloring my hair for years. I'm seriously thinking about just letting it go. My gray starts to show back up within a week of coloring now, it's exhausting. Loved the article. Great info.

    • PenHitsTheFan profile image

      Amy L. Tarr 5 years ago from Home

      To dye or not to dye, that is the question. I honestly don't know what I'll do.

    • profile image

      Ash 5 years ago

      i have a slight dark brown hair colour and i want to dye my hair a silver grey, do i need to bleach it first or can i just dye it straight away?

    • profile image

      Jason 5 years ago

      Im 25 and u have always wanted silver colored hair, and now thanks to this I just may have it in about 2 weeks n_n

    • Zoemason2734 profile image

      Zoemason2734 6 years ago from Sheffield

      I cut my hair really short to grow mine out. IT took a couple of months of short hair cuts to get rid. Now I wear it gray with a bit of pink in it! I am 38 but get SO many great comments!!

    • profile image

      Nikki 6 years ago

      My hairstylist suggested I use a semi-permanent dye while growing out my grey hair, but it didn't actually wash out and the colour difference between the new and old growth was very evident. This didn't work for me. :(

    • profile image

      Rohan 6 years ago

      I like Jamie lee Curtis with brown hair better because it look good movies & awards party it's doesn't matter if it short or long in movies I don't mind ash light brown or mid red or ginda hair on her

    • profile image

      Mau 6 years ago

      May I comment that this is a well written article and gives lots of good advice. Will I think I will pop into my local hair dresser to see what they can do for me.

    • B. Ferguson profile image

      B. Ferguson 6 years ago from USA

      For men, the salt-and-pepper look really seems to be coming back in style. I read that a lot of men are actually asking stylist to add some gray to their hair. On my site I discuss the growing trend of going gray at a much younger age. It has always been easier than dyeing hair. Luckily it's starting to become trendy as well.

    • Aqua profile image

      Aqua 7 years ago from California

      Alex - if I were you I would just use spray on hair color!

    • profile image

      Alex Baca 7 years ago

      I really, really want a grey streak on each side of my head, im a 22 year old male, and i cant wait for grey hair. I really need to find a way..!!

    • Research Analyst profile image

      Research Analyst 7 years ago

      Richard Gere and Steve Martin are famous for having lovely Grey hair, but as you mentioned there are products that help with the process and gives a healthy shiny look to the grey color.

    • profile image

      curious5752 8 years ago

      I have been going gray since my late 30's and now at 52 am totally gray and won't go back.

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 8 years ago

      Great hub with clear and useful information. As for grey/gray hair, I'll leave it to those who dare to defy and that very attitude made them suitable to carry this particular shade. I always admire such ladies but no, I'm not going there...yet.

    • Aqua profile image

      Aqua 8 years ago from California

      lol - poetlorraine - gray hair is not for everyone, but I bet you would look better than you think! btw: love your pic!

    • profile image

      poetlorraine 8 years ago

      i hate my grey hair, been colouring it years, and will continue to do so, want not one grey hair when i am in my coffin..... i just hate the colour it is not nice to me anyway...... great hub////

    • Mindfulness profile image

      Mindfulness 8 years ago

      I have a friend who has actually done so. She is prematurely grey. Luckily, she looks good without any help but I, myself will need to be thinking about letting my hair grow out soon and it's good to know that there are enhancers along the way.

    • Aqua profile image

      Aqua 8 years ago from California

      Thank you for the comment tim-tim. Yes, there are many beautiful shades of "gray" now. It's pretty fun!

    • tim-tim profile image

      Priscilla Chan 8 years ago from Normal, Illinois

      Interseting hub! I didn't know that you can enhance the grey or gray. Nice to know before I get there, LOL. Thanks for sharing.