How can I go grey gracefully?

You are here


I am 52 and have been highlighting my hair blonde for the past ten plus years. I am about to get a shorter cut as it has become thin and miserable and also too blonde. I think more ash tones would suit me now.

The last time I discussed this with a hairdresser she said my roots were still quite dark and I was dissuaded. There seems to be no information out there on how to go grey gracefully so all advice will be gratefully received! My natural colour long ago was brown with reddish tones and my skin colour is tanned in summer.

Thank you,

Jo, Cornwall

There are a number of ways of going from coloured to grey. There is the 'cold turkey' method as I call it, which is where you just stop colouring your hair for as long as possible then have it cut short and you should then have a natural head of hair. Another way is to have areas of your hair highlighted and toned a silver grey shade to blend in the current colour with the emerging root shade.

But in your circumstance I cannot tell whether you are grey or still dark. If the hair is just too blonde then maybe having it low lighted with deeper shades and then glazed with a neutral blonde tone could be a good idea to create a more soft natural result.

John Clark, Head of Colour at Brooks+Brooks, London

Hi Jo,

I know exactly what you’re talking about, as a stylist I had my hair highlighted for years and never realised how much white hair I actually had. When I realised the amount of white I had on my front hairlines I simply stopped colouring my hair, which at that time was long. Once my roots where about 2cm long I had my hair cut slightly shorter, and after two months of more root growth I had it cut short showing my white and grey hair with pride in a new style and a new me.

Although I am a male I recommended these steps for many of my clients who wanted to show off their white and grey hair. Many of my clients let their hair grow longer and some kept the shorter style.

It is important that during the growing out stage of any natural colour you keep your hair in good shape and in perfect condition. The journey of letting natural hair grow out is less painful when your hair looks shiny and has a good cut.

Many people’s hair grows whiter on the hairlines and can look great with different shades of white and mixed dark white, and can emphasise a haircut immensely.

Jo, I would like to suggest that when you finally manage to grow your hair out to your natural colour, that you have regular haircuts and keep your hair in good condition. Bad cuts and condition on white/grey hair can make the hair look like a brillo pad if not taken care of regularly.

I wish you a happy journey through your growing out stage, I am sure you will look amazing very soon.

Pierre Alexandre of Pierre Alexandre, Manchester

Hi Jo,

So, the best way to go grey gracefully is to add some highlights with an ash-blonde toner so that as the grey comes through, it will blend with the light tones. It will have a softer look and then gradually, you’ll be able to add fewer highlights as the grey increases.

Alice Gazagnes, Senior Stylist & Colourist at Simon Webster Hair, Brighton

Hello Jo,

I'd suggest putting a few ash blonde highlights just through the top of your hair and then covering all the remaining old blonde with a colour as close to your natural shade as possible. That way you can just maintain the colour with a few highlights every eight weeks or so as needed and you won't have to worry about having nightmare roots as the base will be your natural hair colour.

Hannah de Frateschi, Stylist & Colourist at Simon Webster Hair, Brighton

Related Articles