Shopping the aisles of a drugstore for hair color can be a bit intimidating, so Ian Michael Black, Aveda Global Artistic Director for Hair Color, has decoded the boxes for you: A semipermanent color, which washes out of hair after four to six weeks, is designed to blend gray hairs, covering about 50 percent of them. A permanent formula, which won't ever rinse out of hair, will provide 100 percent coverage. Try Garnier Olia Oil Powered Permanent Hair Color, $9.99.
Your hair color will look the most believable -- and take the least amount of upkeep -- if you stick as close to your natural shade as possible. But because gray hair often grows in with a different texture than regular hair, "you may need to go a shade darker in order to cover grays completely," says celebrity colorist Rita Hazan.
If you’re coloring your hair at home, Black advises to concentrate the color just on your roots. “Only pull the dye through to the tip of your hair if you think you really need it, otherwise your ends could start to look too concentrated and darker than your roots,” he says.
If you prefer to get your color done at the salon, ask your colorist to add a few highlights at your next appointment, Hazan says. "They add a few other tones to your hair so that there's not as dramatic a contrast when your gray grows in," she says.
If you’re in-between root touch-ups, avoid drawing attention to any regrowth by wearing your hair in a loose, messy part. A clean, precise part, or hair pulled back tight from your hairline will only emphasize any gray roots you may have.
There are a multitude of innovative products to help disguise gray roots temporarily these days. If you’re at home, try Hazan’s Root Concealer, $25, a spray-on formula that has a targeted nozzle to get coverage right where you need it. If you’re on the go, Color Wow Root Cover Up, $34.50, is a brush-on powder that’s foolproof and easy to use. Both formulas stay on hair until you shampoo them out.
Tired of fighting it? Going gray can be a great style statement, and you'd be in great company -- plenty of celebs have embraced their natural gray hair and couldn't look better.
Helen Mirren shows how a short bob cut can make gray hair feel sleek and polished.
If you've been coloring your gray for a while but want to let it grow out for good, consider a pixie like Jamie Lee Curtis, to let your grays grow out all together.
Both Hazan and Black agree that a clear gloss will add luster to gray hair, which can sometimes look and feel brittle. Every other week, after you've shampooed, saturate your hair with a gloss and let it sit for five minutes, then rinse. Try John Frieda Luminous Color Glaze Clear Shine, $9.99.
Gray hair can sometimes develop a yellow tinge due to environmental factors. Make sure you shampoo and condition with a formula to combat that effect. (Black recommends Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo and Conditioner, $18 each). Moisture is also a big factor in keeping gray hair feeling soft. Once a month, alternate your usual conditioner with a hair mask, to give it a deeper treatment.