Hair dye be gone! It’s time to sport your silver strands with pride. Here's how to effortlessly transition your style.

By Melanie Rud
July 30, 2019
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You may have heard the word ombré, but have you heard of grombré? If you haven’t yet, mark our words, you soon will. The Instagram account celebrating women who are embracing their natural gray hair color has nearly 130,000 followers. By the same token, the #grombre hashtag has racked up over 56,000 posts; other popular hashtags such as #ditchthedye and #greyhairmomevent all reflect the same thing—there’s an ever-growing trend of women choosing to go gray.

Image courtesy of Getty.

“I’ve had quite a few clients inquire about growing out their gray hair lately,” says Ren Yekulis, a colorist at Mixed Co. Salon in Chicago. “In a new, open-minded society that embraces body positivity, women feel more comfortable being their ideal versions of themselves, without being fearful of what others think,” Yekulis says. Deb Rosenberg, assistant vice president of education for Color & Co agrees: “Many women are choosing to take a more natural approach to beauty overall and are accepting themselves, and how they are aging, in a new powerful way,” she says.

Of course, practical, logistic life factors also come into play; time and money are major motivators, notes Rosenberg. “It’s quite freeing for women to not have to commit to hair appointments every four to eight weeks. That’s a lot of time and money that can be spent elsewhere,” adds Yekulis.

No matter what your motivation, if you’re ready to embrace gray-ombré hair or go gray all the way, here’s what you need to know about making the switch to silver.

Don’t Rush the Process

While transitioning is always a case-by-case situation, as a general rule, slow and steady wins the race. “The most important component to growing out gray hair is patience,” says celebrity colorist Joel Warren, founder of The Salon Project. “There’s no quick fix. Once the hair has been colored, there’s no way to remove that color and get back to the original gray,” he explains. Not to mention that you want to maintain the integrity of the hair. Gray hair tends to be drier and require a little more TLC (more on that later), so getting overly aggressive isn’t a good move. “Attempting it all in one sitting could be very damaging, and the client may not even get their desired results,” Yekulis adds.

So, how long will the process take? It’s mostly dependent on what color you’re dying your hair. For someone who’s coloring their hair blonde, it’s a much smoother transition; one that can be achieved in a few visits, Yekulis says. But if your hair is super dark? It can take up to a year or two.

Try Highlights and Lowlights

Rather than opting for single process, solid color to cover up your grays, switch to highlights and lowlights. (Though before we get any further, it’s worth noting that now is the time to get a colorist involved. Even if you’ve been taking the DIY route up to this point, transitioning really requires some professional assistance.) “The idea is to blur the line of demarcation between what’s colored and what’s natural,” Rosenberg says. “Highlights will bring the lightness of the gray hair from the top through the lengths, while lowlights will bring the shade of the color-treated hair up to the top,” she explains. At each appointment, you’ll want more and more highlights and fewer lowlights, until, ultimately, all of your gray hair has grown in and blended in. The one caveat: If you’re starting with a very dark base color, Yekulis advises first having your colorist lighten the base with a single process—going from dark brown to medium brown to light brown, until you’re pretty close to your natural color—and then following the highlight/lowlight protocol.

Consider a Style Change

You’re changing your color, so why not cut your hair, too? The benefits are twofold: Not only is it faster to transition short hair than long hair, Rosenberg says, but it’s also a good distraction as you wait out the awkward transition phase. “A new style takes the focus off the gray hair growing in,” Warren adds. Try one of these gorgeous gray hairstyles.

Treat Your New Gray Hair Right

Gray hair tends to be coarser, drier, and more frizzy, which means there should also be a transition when it comes to what products you’re using, says Warren. Moisturizing shampoos and conditioners are your BFF; try the new R+Co Atlantis Moisturizing B5 Shampoo and Conditioner ($29 each, R+Co). Yekulis also recommends using a mask weekly. Our pick: Hair Food Manuka Honey Hair Mask ($3, Hairfood).  The other part of the product puzzle? Gray hair can have a tendency to start yellowing and looking dull, so it’s a good idea to use violet-toned shampoo, says Rosenberg. The purple tint counteracts any unwanted yellow tones, keeping your new silver shade vibrant (talk to your colorist about how often to use it). Try John Frieda Sheer Blonde Violet Crush Shampoo ($10, Target).

With this pro-advice for making the transition—plus the easiest way to care for your stunning new silver shade—it’s time to go ahead and rock your gray with confidence. #Grombre, here you come.

Comments (2)

August 20, 2019
I let me hair go gray about 5 years ago, and I get more compliments on my hair now than I ever did before! My silver hair is much more flattering to my fair complexion and blue eyes than the dark blonde hair that I grew up with. The secret to not looking old with gray hair is to rock a youthful and simple hair style.
August 8, 2019
The reality is that many people practice ageism. Employers, colleagues, and others that can impact one's income potential.