Growing gray hairs is an inevitable part of aging. But how do you know when to cover it up or put it on display? Read on for tips on transitioning through the graying process.

When our bodies' melanin production decreases, our hair starts to go gray. Eventually the production will stop entirely, turning hair white. The process can begin anywhere from our teens to our fifties, but most people in their thirties and forties are dealing with some stage of graying hair. Which statement best matches your stage?

  • I'm starting to see some gray hairsThe easiest way to normalize early stages of gray is to use highlights to disguise gray areas or strands. If you prefer a uniform color, the Clairol website recommends starting with a semi-permanent color that will be gentle on your hair and last about ten shampoos. Just note that most people don't have single-color hair so highlights may look more natural.
  • I've been using highlights to hide gray hair, but it's not enough. If more than 60% of your hair is still its natural color, it's probably too early to just let it go gray. You could end up with stripy hair and would be better off switching to a demi-permanent hair color, which will still be somewhat gentle on your hair and last for 25 to 30 shampoos. 
  • I've been dying my hair for years, and am ready to go totally gray. If approximately half of your hair is gray, it's ready. Consider cutting your hair as short as you feel comfortable with, so that the new growth takes over as much as possible. Using subtle lowlights or temporary colors can help blend gray hair with dyed hair. While you are in transition, be sure to keep the overall tone neutral and cool. Red tones can be harsh on older skin and don't do a good job covering gray.

Styling Gray Hair

Once you have made the move to gray, you may find that your hair is more dry, brittle, and sensitive than before. Gray hair is very susceptible to the elements and has a tendency to yellow. Choose quality moisturizing hair products and deep condition it periodically. You may also want to keep the style shorter than chin-length so it will be easier to keep healthy.



Source: "Selecting a Product and Shade." Clairol. Web. 2011