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Gray Hair, Don’t Care: How to Grow Out Gray Hair Gracefully

It's time to embrace those grays. 

Do you remember finding your first gray hair? Looking back, it’s funny to think how old we felt at the time. Now that we’ve collected more than a few gray stands, we’ve learned to accept the inevitable. And although growing out gray hair can feel like a major hassle and in no way an enjoyable experience, there’s no debate: Gray hair is beautiful!

If you’re feeling unsure about the whole thing, we’ve answered all your questions about growing gray hair out gracefully, including, “What’s the best way to let gray hair grow out?” Try these foolproof tips for letting gray hair grow out to achieve your most regal mane ever.

How do you grow out gray hair gracefully?

Many women are disheartened by the sight of gray hairs and frantically try to hide this sign of aging. But your salt-and-pepper tresses are nothing to be ashamed of. The rule of thumb is that 50 percent of people age 50 will have gray hair — so chances are you aren’t the only one pondering the gray hair grow-out process.

“There has always been a fascination with youth and preserving youth,” Grace Ilasco, co-owner of California’s the Color Lounge, tells the Huffington Post. “We need to change that by highlighting natural beauty, and that includes accepting the natural process of our graying hair.”

And considering the emergence of the gray hair trend (yes, young people are actually choosing to dye their hair gray), it’s possible we’re slowly moving in the direction of normalizing this change. Plus there are plenty of actresses and actors with gray hair — like Jamie Lee Curtis, Helen Mirren, Paula Deen, of course, silver fox George Clooney — who love their locks.

“I wanted to stop [dying my hair] way before I did,” Curtis admitted to Marie Claire back in 2007. Once she stopped with the dyes, “I had people who were emphatic in their disapproval, insisting it would age me. Now they’re all eating crow and saying how right I was to do it.” You go, girl!

How do you transition from dyed hair to gray?

Talking with a stylist you trust is the best way to make going gray easy. If you’re anxious about how gray hair on dark skin will look, or you’d prefer to ease into the gray hair transition by trying gray hair with blonde highlights, your stylist will be able to talk you through your options and give the pros and cons of each.

A stylist can also open your eyes to your possible gray hair styles — like short gray hair cuts. For example, have you given much thought to a gray-hair pixie cut à la Jamie Lee Curtis? What about gray hair lowlights? Gray hair highlights? If you’re starting to get overwhelmed, just relax. That’s why your hairstylist is there — to make the process as painless as possible and to give you results you’ll actually love. Don’t have a trusted hairdresser on speed dial? Start asking around for local recommendations.

What’s the best hairstyle for gray hair?

If you’ve never dyed your hair, you can simply let your roots grow out. But if you do dye your hair, stylist AJ Lordet says you have two options: You can cut your hair as often as possible to remove the old dye from the ends, or you can grow the gray roots and get a short haircut.

Not surprisingly, Curtis is an advocate for short hair. “It helps if you can be courageous and cut your hair off like I did,” she said in the same Marie Claire interview. “It’s much harder to transition with longer hair, since [sic] then you’re stuck with two inches of gray roots.” If you’d like to make the change as fuss-free as possible, the second option — transitioning with long hair — requires no prior prepping; you just let your hair grow! That said, roots do take a long time to grow out, so if you don’t like the look of gray roots against your dyed hair, this might not be the best choice for you.

Worried that gray hair will make you look older? The best way to defy this stereotype is by choosing a modern cut that will complement your daily routine and overall personality — another reason why communicating with your hairstylist is so important. “My stylist keeps my cut edgy and contemporary — otherwise I can go Bea Arthur very quickly,” Curtis said.

What are the best products for gray hair?

If you’re tempted to save money with store-bought dyes, you may want to think again. “I plead with people daily to leave the chemicals to the professionals,” Dallas-based stylist Stephanie Johnson told the Huffington Post. “[I’ve] had to fix many ladies who try to go the budget route. This is a journey left to the pros who are passionate about hair.”

While most at-home dyes can be harmful to your hair, there’s one in particular you should be careful to avoid: gradual gray-coverage dyes. This type of dye can cause your hair to fall out when you wash with hard water or try to fix the damage with professional grade dyes.

Another step to consider on your journey to gray hair is maintenance after you’ve gone gray. Over time, your light gray or silver hair can turn yellow or brassy with exposure to the elements. Fortunately, you can pick up gray hair shampoo online or any drug store to counteract any discoloration and make your hair appear more vibrant. There is also gray hair conditioner, although some stylists will tell you that using one is overkill and you’re better off saving your money. You can also ask for recommendations when it comes to taming products to fight that unfortunate frizz many women experience after going gray.

With these tips in mind, who wouldn’t want to try such a beautiful, natural look?

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