Here’s the first rule of going gray the right way: Keep coloring until those gray hairs or silvery strands make up your predominant color. Why? It’s during the salt-and-pepper stages that hair looks dull and old. “Letting yourself go gray can be very aging if not done properly,” says hairstylist and color expert Rita Hazan. “You need the right balance—I’d say about 70 percent gray and above.” If you estimate that you’re ready to make the transition, these tips will help:
Camouflage roots To avoid an instantly aging contrast between graying roots and dyed hair, stylists say you have two options until your color is all cut off. One is to add highlights and lowlights (no more than two shades darker, within your natural color family), which will blend gray and soften your allover hue. The second is to cover up roots with a temporary concealer, which lasts until you shampoo.
Get a clever cut Almost every expert agrees that gray hair looks best if it sits above the shoulders, so try a new style, like a chic bob with soft layers (they’ll help grays blend in) or a short pixie with a little volume on top. Not only will taking inches off speed up the process of growing in your gray, but it also sends an important message that you’re not letting yourself go. “You want to make a statement, and that statement is, ‘This is my new look—I’m embracing my gray!’” says Hazan.
Tame your new texture Coloring hair smooths out the cuticle, so you’ll need to add a little more polish to gray hair once you’ve stopped dying it all over. Use a shine-enhancer or smoothing product daily.