How To Grow Out Gray Hair
If you haven't made a visit to the hair salon in a long time (thanks a lot, COVID-19), we can bet you're probably starting to see a few grays peeking out from those roots. Over the last year, lots of women have forgone their regular hair dye appointments and have instead tried growing out their gray hair at home. Below, you'll find two top stylists share their best tips on growing out gray hair flawlessly.
Go For The BIG Chop
If you're looking for the quickest way to grow out your grays, you can cut your hair short. Like, really pixie hair short. "I always suggest starting over with a nice, cute, big chop," explains Oliver Adams, a hair color specialist, editorial stylist, international educator, and salon owner of Splash Studios in Birmingham, Alabama, and Atlanta, Georgia. "Removing all the hair with previous hair color and actually growing it back naturally is going to always give you the prettiest result."
Grow Them Out, Naturally
If you want to save money and avoid a trip to the salon, you can also opt to just grow out your grays on your own. "After all, many of us are finding ourselves spending a lot more time at home these days," says celebrity colorist Jack Martin. "Will there ever be a better time for growing out gray hair?"
While you face the growing-out phase, you'll probably notice some harsh lines between your gray roots and your previous dye job. During these instances, a nice updo will help in hiding the grays while you grow them out. "There are lots of updos [you can do], but choosing the right updo depends on how harsh is the line of demarcation, how much silver you have in your roots, and is it 100% white or salt and pepper?," asks Martin. "During a salon consultation, a knowledgeable stylist should be able to give the client ideas on how to style the hair based on the client's hair color, how harsh the line of demarcation is, and how light or dark the hair is compared to the amount of silver hair in the roots."
Adams is a big fan of a structured updo with volume, as opposed to a tight, slicked-back look that will probably reveal harsh lines as you grow out your grays.
(Temporarily) Color Your Roots
Roots coverups, such as the L'Oreal Paris Magic Root Cover Up ($10, amazon.com) or the Color Wow Root Cover Up ($35, dermstore.com), make growing out your grays super convenient—they wash out with shampoo and conditioner, so you don't need to worry about them leaving any trace on your gorgeous grays.
Dye All Your Hair Gray (At The Salon)
Rather than wait for your grays to fully grow out, you can opt to dye all your hair gray, so that the natural grays grow out seamlessly and won't be noticeable. "If you can, try to find a stylist in your area that specializes in gray hair—just like how some stylists are amazing at pixie cuts, others are great at highlights, and some specialize in pastel hair colors, everyone has their specialty," explains Martin. "Going to a stylist who knows gray hair and all of its processes will save you heartache." Make sure you do a detailed consultation with the colorist to ask questions and discuss your options.
If you have a lot of grays and you've been coloring your hair for a long time, the line of demarcation between your colored hair and natural hair color may be very strong. "To blend that line of demarcation, ask your hairstylist to paint babylights (very thin highlights) throughout your hair," suggests Martin. "This will help to blend those grays in with your colored hair, creating an allover salt and pepper effect."
Finally, make sure you are maintaining the color and integrity of the hair, after your dye job. Adams recommends his clients use the Clairol Professional Shimmer Lights line to help give gray hair a nice, vibrant tone and maintain the gray color as you grow it out. "Specifically, I would recommend those growing out grays to use the Shimmer Lights Violet Toning Mask ($11, ulta.com)—it deep conditions and tones silver and gray hair to keep the color looking natural and vibrant," says Adams.
In between your salon visits, Martin recommends applying the K18 Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask ($75, k18hair.com) at-home, "as it effectively reverses existing hair damage while strengthening strands and significantly improving elasticity, all within four minutes of application," says Martin.