How to Make Gray Hair Gorgeous

One fine day, the inevitable may occur: You could see strands of gray in your hair. After the initial shock, you may ask yourself this question: To dye or not to dye?

But coloring is not the only gray hair treatment available. Dyed hair requires regular touch-ups and can be expensive to maintain; if covering up the grays doesn’t appeal to you, then it’s time to abandon the old and embrace the new — a fresh and flattering gray hairstyle.

What’s really important to remember, says Maurice Dadoun, creative director of the Melrose Place Fekkai Salon on Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles, is that hair is probably your greatest accessory. Take this opportunity to really change your style.

If you want to keep your natural gray hair color, he suggests getting a fresh, new look. “You have to have a modern style,” says Dadoun. “It could be graphic, edgy, or modern, but it cannot be something simple.” Without style, gray hair color can make you look older, he warns.

Enhancing Gray Hair Color

You have options to brighten gray hair without resorting to coloring it, says Sharon Dorram, co-founder of Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger Downtown salon in New York City. You can opt to blend in other shades with the gray — either highlights or lowlights, depending on your natural color.

What’s most important is to balance hair color with your skin color and eye color. If you don’t, the hair color will be off.

Gray Hairstyles: Get the Right Look for You

Part of the allure of going gray is no more worrying about touching up roots and repairing the damage done by dye. With the right gray hairstyle and products, maintenance can be kept to a minimum.

Making it shine. When hair goes gray, its shine and texture are both affected. Dorram says gray hair can look dull because it doesn’t reflect light. Also, gray strands come in a little thicker, frizzier, and coarser. “That’s why grey hair strands stick out,” says Dadoun.

Both experts have recommendations for gray hair shampoos, the starting point for great gray hair treatment. In addition to their respective salons’ own brands, other gray hair shampoos to consider are Nexus Dualiste and Avon’s Lotus Shield.

If you have fine hair, Dorram says, use a volumizing shampoo and skip the conditioner, which can weigh hair down.

Styling tips. For gray hair that looks glam, it’s all about the style, and that often depends on texture.

  • With fine hair in particular, keep it short. Fine hair that’s allowed to grow long will end up looking unhealthy, says Dorram. Dadoun suggests an above-the- shoulder length for all women who want to stay gray — in his opinion, even if your hair has good texture, wearing it long will age you. Protect your strands by using a low setting on your hair dryer, and don’t ever pull hair.
  • If you have curly hair, don’t try to fight it. Use a shea butter shampoo, style hair while it is still wet, and let it dry naturally. Use a finishing product with olive oil to give the curl definition and shine.
  • If you have thick hair, Dadoun says, don’t wash too frequently — if you wash too often, your hair will become brittle and dry. Shampooing once a week is fine. A shea butter-based shampoo is good for thick hair, he says. “The concentration of shea is so rich; you feel intense moisturizing.”

Dadoun also recommends that women who want to use products to enhance gray hair color talk to their hairdresser about the right choices to make.

Special treatments. Dorram says vitamin E oil, available at your local drugstore, will improve the shine and health of damaged gray hair. If your hair is really damaged, she suggests leaving it on overnight. Apply the vitamin E oil to your hair, wrap your hair up with a bandana, and then go to sleep. In the morning, wash the oil out.

Dorram also recommends a conditioner called Phytobaume by Phyto: “It’s natural and has no harsh agents — you’ll see good results. I love their detangler.”

Dadoun says the outer covering, or cuticle, of gray hair is very porous. This means gray hair can attract pollution which may turn hair yellow or orange. To keep hair perfectly silver gray, use purple or violet-colored products to take out the yellow and an apple cider shampoo on occasion to rebalance the hair’s natural pH. Dadoun also recommends taking vitamins B6 and B12 and fish oils, which are good for the skin and hair.

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