Grey Hair Dye: Are You Ready to Go Grey?

Updated on January 1, 2020
Aqua profile image

Aqua enjoys keeping up with the latest trends in hair, fashion, and beauty.

Gorgeous grey hair courtesy of The Daily Mail
Gorgeous grey hair courtesy of The Daily Mail

Guess What? Grey Is In!

Yes, it really is! Grey 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. Have you been thinking about hopping on the grey train? Read on to learn more about silver locks and how to get them.

Looking for Grey Hair Dye?

Do you spell it "grey" or "gray?" Whether 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 grey, 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 more 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 grey hair!

Celebrities old and young are going grey left and right.
Celebrities old and young are going grey left and right.

Take the Plunge: How to Go Grey

So, are you ready to take the plunge? Making the decision to go grey is a real relief for many women and can be very liberating. There are several approaches to "going grey," 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 that 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 hairstyles 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.

Lighter silvers are increasing in popularity as well.
Lighter silvers are increasing in popularity as well. | Source

What Causes Hair to Turn Grey?

Graying is a completely natural occurrence that happens to almost all of us. Some people start getting greys 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 amount of pigment in the hair follicle cells declines. This means less melanin is produced, which translates into less color and results in grey or white hair. Eventually, there is no color left and we experience a whole head of grey, white, or silver hair. This process can take more than a decade to complete. In other words, if you notice your first grey hairs in your late twenties, you may be well into midlife or even older before you have a full head of grey hair. You will likely notice a gradual change and eventually will either embrace the grey 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 greying will 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 grey 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 grey hair dyes weren't in high demand until recently.


Ensuring a Successful Transition to Grey

  • If you decide to go with a 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 grey hair.
  • Highlight your hair every three months or so to match the grey 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 Grey Hair?

Remember, grey 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 grey 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!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers


    Submit a Comment
    • profile image

      Karen Simonson 

      21 months ago

      To poetlorraine, I think you're doing yourself a great disservice. Your hair can be highlighted so that it's still gray, but not boring. I'm almost 70 years old and have been very late turning gray. I have a sister and brother who had completely white hair by the time they were in their early 30s. My hair color was a medium brown and when the gray started showing up it made me look washed and and drab. I began getting it highlighted by a true master in highlighting. She used 2 or 3 colors and each line that was being highlighted was so thin (she actually brings the end of the comb up and down so the amount of hair is very small but is not in a straight line). I had 2 different shades of blonde and one of brown for many years. I never went anywhere that someone didn't stop me and compliment me on my hair cut and tell me how beautiful my hair color was. However, in the past year I've realized that my roots are really getting gray. So, after a discussion with my hair dresser, we started using gray and blond. It looks great! I'm going in a couple weeks for my first "all gray" highlight. It will take several colorings before my hair is truly gray. However, I think that within the next year my natural color will be almost completely gray, so this is allowing me to work into it without an obvious, "Your letting your color grow out." I'll probably continue to highlight it even after I'm completely gray. Unlike my brother and sister, my hair is turning gray, not white. The highlights with lighten up the overall color and make my hair brighter. I would really like to hear what brand and gray colors are particularly good.

    • Aqua profile imageAUTHOR


      5 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


      5 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 

      7 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


      7 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


      7 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


      8 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


      8 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


      8 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


      8 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.

    • profile image

      Peter Merrill 

      8 years ago

      Ahh do u guys have any suggestion to wat i ought to do?

    • B. Ferguson profile image

      B. Ferguson 

      8 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.

    • profile image

      Rohan coates 

      8 years ago

      Jamie lee Curtis with very gray hair she looks like a grandmother in Hollywood and I like the brown hair on her & good for Hollywood & movies she should go back to brown hair & make more new movies again with her brown it does matter if it short or long for movies.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Good morning. I have been dyeing my hair for years dark red, but my greys keep comming in, it seems they are silver, what do I have to do to get my hair that color? Can I do this myself? Do I have to strip the color in my hair first? Or should I just see how it goes naturally?

    • Aqua profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from California

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

    • profile image

      Alex Baca 

      9 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 

      9 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


      10 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


      10 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 imageAUTHOR


      10 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


      10 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


      10 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 imageAUTHOR


      10 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 

      10 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.


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