Relax, a few silvery strands doesn't have to be the end of the world.

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Woman Looking in Mirror
Credit: Huffington Post

True story: I saw my first gray hair at the tender age of 18. I guess I should've been more prepared, considering my grandmother had a full head of white hair when she was young, and my mother, who is 58, is headed down that same path. I, better than anyone, understand the role genetics play in my continuing gray streaks. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't freak out when I saw a bit of silver growing from my hairline before I finished my freshman year of college. I wish I knew then what I know now, which is that gray hair isn't a big deal. It's practically trendy now, with more and more millenials dyeing their hair gray—by choice.

One thing's for sure, though, going gray is about as certain as death and taxes, so we all might as well embrace the inevitable. But the good news is that you can choose to do it gracefully. However, if your first instinct is to panic, you might want to consider these five tips before making a hasty trip to the drugstore. Take it from me, a woman who has learned what to do about my own gray hair by doing everything wrong.

1. Don't Pluck

Contrary to popular belief and that old wives' tale, plucking gray hair will not make three more grow back in its place. They're going to come anyway, so don't add more stress to the situation and hair shafts. Many experts agree that carefully cutting those strands is better. Plucking tends to damage the hair follicles and may lead to hair not growing back in that spot over time. So, bald spot vs. flourishing gray hair? You decide.

2. Speak With a Color Expert Before Dyeing

The safest best is to book an appointment with a colorist for a professional dye job, instead of relying on permanent drugstore kits. Often, he or she can help you decide what color works best, how to maintain it and prolong it, and what you can do at home in between visits.

3. Start With Highlights

Getting highlights as opposed to settling for allover gray hair is a great way to even out gray hair before making the permanent plunge. Keep in mind, though, that a professional salon treatment is going to cost you. But highlights may be worth it, since they blend in perfectly with grays, creating beautiful ribbons of color. This way, the focal point will be the highlights, rather than the contrast between your natural color and the gray. Highlights are definitely more appealing than patches of silver or clusters of white hair sprinkled throughout.

4. Use Conditioner to Keep Hair Healthy

If you're going to just let the gray naturally take its course, don't neglect the TLC your hair deserves. Gray hair tends to be frizzy, coarse, and wiry. For smooth, sleek results, condition frequently to avoid split ends and breakage.

5. Cover With Concealers

When in doubt, use a non-permanent concealer. These can range anywhere from pens and powders to touch-up wands and sprays. Not only are these products less abrasive than chemical and ammonia-based dyes, they're also a temporary quick fix.

Even though you're graying, it doesn't mean you can't let your hair down and flaunt your mane with the best of the blondes, brunettes, and redheads out there.