07/19/2024

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Almost nothing in life is certain except getting older. As we age, life experiences and physical changes – including gray hair – occur.

While many of us go gray, the journey to full silver hair is different for each person. Some of us first notice a few white lines around our temples in our 20s, while others first notice gray patches around their hairline in their 40s. Either way, whether you decide to hide your grays with hair dye or leave them as they are is entirely up to you.

Since there’s no wrong or right way to go gray, there are multiple ways to blend silver lines with your existing base color to make them less noticeable or enhance them to make them shine even more.

Whichever side you prefer, we have hired two colorists to find the best highlights for gray hair. The future holds all the hair color inspiration you need before your next visit to the salon.

Video: Tia Mowry flaunts her gray hair while on vacation

Silver or ash blonde highlights
“Transitioning to gray with highlights can take years because highlights are very fine colors and require a lot of highlights to build up enough saturation to break up the harsh lines that appear when natural gray grows,” says colorist Emily-Claire Sacco at Robb-Pitom-Williamsburg. She suggests adding highlights to blend the grays, then blending them into an ash blonde or silver.


Facial Frame Highlights
These face-contouring gray highlights brightened Kelly Hu’s complexion. To ensure your gray hair stays soft, Sacco recommends washing your hair with ultra-moisturizing products. Davines Momo Shampoo and Conditioner is formulated to moisturize dry hair.


Warm semi-shine
Brunettes who are transitioning to full gray often have a harsh parting line that separates their lighter roots from their darker ends. For a softer, more seamless look, gloss is a great option. “A semi-gloss color can enhance the warmth or cool the hair,” says Kate Reid, design director and education manager for KEVIN.MURPHY COLOR.ME. “It won’t overshadow the gray, but it will add a beautiful sophistication to your existing color (and it will grow out without harsh lines).”


Bold short and fat highlights
“Consider taking thicker slices to create bolder and more solid areas,” says Reid. JoAni Johnson’s chunky highlights are a prime example of this technique.


Aluminum Foil Highlights
“Add reflections or foils in deeper areas to create more brightness and luminosity,” Reid suggests. “This technique will depend on your starting depth and percentage of gray.”

In between appointments, Succo suggests using a root touch-up product like Color Wow powder that will keep your highlights blended.


Gray Gradient
Another popular way to go gray? Gradient color highlights. In her film The Hummingbird Project, Salma Hayek wears a dark wig with fading gray tips. Her hairstylist, Jennifer Yepez, styled the wig with loose beach waves to showcase the various shades that make up her color.

Herringbone Highlights
This technique involves blending your gray into your base hair color. Celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Sarah Jessica Parker have used herringbone highlights in their signature blonde shades.


A cool semi-glossy
Blythe Danner’s silvery blonde is another example of how a cool semi-gloss seamlessly blends silver roots with butter-like blonde undertones. When caring for gray hair, Reid recommends using a color-safe shampoo designed to prevent brassiness, such as KEVIN.MURPHY’s BLONDE.ANGEL.

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