Those of us with gray hair often use color treatments to cover it up and stay looking younger.
But that brings its own problems – not the least gray roots! Whatever hair color you use those roots are definitely aging.
The more gray we get the more more time consuming it is to cover up and gray hair can become one of the worst hair problems associated with getting older.
One solution of course is letting your hair go gray - accept nature and wear your new color with pride.
If this is something you are considering it’s a good idea to set yourself a role model – focus on a stylish look like Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada”.
For some of us, gray happens early in life – sometimes as early as our 20s. Whether it starts that early for you – by 50 you’ll probably have quite a bit of gray hair.
Once seen as a liability to be hidden – smart women are increasingly choosing to see gray hair as a style statement. Since gray hair is notoriously difficult to color and color on gray is hard to keep looking good – for many women – letting hair go gray is a smart move.
No surprise then that stylish women are now arguing that they’ve spent too many years covering up what can be part of the beauty of aging. If men with gray hair are deemed attractive – then why shouldn’t women with gray hair look young and desirable too?
Stunning gray hair
There’s no doubt gray hair can look stunning – the issue is how to let your hair go gray and not give up half way through the process. Many women start and then give up because they can’t bear the half gray – half colored look or “salt and pepper hair” as my mother used to call it.
If you don’t want to go the whole way and you have blonde hair then you can go gradually more silver blonde.
Helen Mirren’s hair is a great example of a lovely soft blonde cut that merges into gray and lookes totally natural. As the years roll by the color is becoming more platinum which looks fabulous.
Managing the transition to gray
If you do want full on gray then looking good as you go gray is all about managing the transition. You have to put in a little effort and give your hair a lot of extra special anti aging care as it emerges. Otherwise you will despair and give up half way through.
The great thing is you can take advantage of the hair care products for gray hair that are now coming onto the market.
You may find yourself hesitating over some of the prices as I did. But the days of grabbing the family economy sized bottle of detergent like shampoo in the shower are over – at least for me.
My hair just needs something more – otherwise it ends up clean but stripped of shine and flying everywhere. The thing I found when I moved over to more expensive hair care – they last so much longer because you use so much less each time. Good products are worth it.
Here’s ten great tips for going gray and looking good:
1. Keep your hair in tip top condition. Hair texture changes when it loses color – you may find it’s more wiry or coarse and certainly drier than it was before. Step up the deep conditioning treatments to restore gloss and shine to your gray hair. Use an extra conditioning luxury shampoo and conditioner with every wash. Choose something specifically for older hair – try Frederic Fekkai Ageless Shampoo and Frederic Fekkai Ageless Conditioner.
Recently at the hairdressers I was recommended to try products from the Shu Uemura hair care range. Shu Uemura are a fantastic Japanese company making high quality beauty and hair care products. They are on the expensive side but worth it in my view for older hair. Try Shu Uemura Satin Design Polishing Milk which is actually a light leave in cream conditioner that you apply to towel dry hair. Lovely texture which builds up a slight body in thinner hair and leave a gorgeous silky feel and delightful fragrance. Look out for their light shimmer protecting shampoo which is also excellent.
2. Give your gray hair a treat – use a deep conditioning mask once or twice a week. Kerastase do some amazing intense conditioning treatments which you comb through damp hair and leave in for 15-20 minutes while you put your feet up. My favorite is Kerastase Masquintense in the thick version which you can use as an ordinary wash out conditioner or – as I prefer – a couple of times a week special treat.
3. Care for your hair while you style It’s easy to think that the conditioning bit is all you need to do – but styling (with hair dryers and flat irons) can inflict further damage on your emerging gray. To get hair looking its best at the in-between stage make sure you prepare it for styling. Use the Shu Uemura Polishing Milk or try Moroccan Oil Hydrating Styling Cream.
The Moroccan Oil line is full of lovely products based on Argan oil – used for centuries by North African women to protect themselves from the ravages of heat and dry winds. You need only apply a tiny amount of the Hydrating Styling Cream (pea sized for short hair) – just on the tips or comb right through damp hair. Leaves hair soft, shiny and enclosed in a protective gloss. From the same line – there is also a fantastic light as a feather hair spray if – like me – you can’t do without a spritz (or more) to ‘set’ your style. Moroccan Oil Hair Spray is a little pricey (got my hairdresser to thank for this one too) but it is in a different league to the usual glue like substances. It also smells gorgeous which isn’t something I thought I would ever say about a hair spray!
4. Eat to give your hair shine and body – make sure you get plenty of vitamins and eat a healthy hair diet full of anti aging antioxidants to boost condition from within.
5. Drink lots of water - 2 liters a of pure still water a day to keep your digestive system cleansed. A sluggish digestive system shows in dull hair.
6. Take a supplement for hair health or even for hair restoration to boost essential vitamins and minerals. Taking a supplement and eating well can help make your hair grow faster so your old color grows out more quickly. Make sure your supplement is heavy on Biotin – one of the essential hair growing B vitamins. Should also help regrow brows and lashes if that’s an issue.
7. Revamp your makeup – gray hair can make you look more pale and may lead to a washed out look. Treat yourself to some new makeup in colors that boost your complexion and strengthen your skin tone.
8. Pay extra attention to skin care – shiny gray hair and a younger looking skin is a great combination. If you haven’t given much tender loving care to your skin now is the time to start.
9. Fade to gray gradually if you have colored hair. Visit your salon more regularly to cut off the old color treatment and get some lowlights to blend in the new gray hair as it emerges.
10. Get a new hair style. Stylish gray hair means a great cut so talk to your salon and revamp your look. Remember the more you lose the quicker you get a complete head of gray.
That’s it – follow these simple tips and – whether you decide to go gray or not – you’ll be well on the way to having great looking older hair.
And if you want some inspiration on the way – I put together a pinboard on gray haired beauty here