Gray Hair: Photos of Gray Hairstyles

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These Women All Went Naturally Gray. Should You?

Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris. Michael Loccisano/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

In this photo gallery, I share images of women who have decided to go naturally gray. 

More and more women are deciding to let their gray hair go for many reasons: they have gorgeous gray coloring, they don't want the hassle and expense of covering up gray or they want to embrace life as it develops, wrinkles, gray hair and all.

Many of the photos in this gallery are of women who have done just that -- let their hair go gray, but there are photos of women who cover their gray with blonde hair dye (blonde is usually a good choice for covering gray since it's closer to gray than brown or black). In this gallery, I'll share tips on how to cover up your grays, how to solve the "growing in roots" problem and how to maintain your gray hair if you've decided to go au naturel.

More on gray hair:

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Some Women Go Gray or Silver Very Young

Sarah Harris's hair started turning silver when she was a teenager. Timur Emek for Getty Images

British Vogue editor Sarah Harris, pictured here, tells the wonderful blog Into the Gloss that her hair started turning silver when she was "16 or 17." Her mother had also gone silver early and dyed her hair for years before, says Harris, she gave up and just let it do its natural thing. Harris leaves her hair natural and gets tons of compliments on it, she tells Into the Gloss, "So often I have young girls come up to me in the street and they’re like, 'Who’s your hairdresser? What dye do you use?' I’m like, 'What dye?!' And not many people believe me—unless it’s a hairdresser who’s like, 'Yeah, you can’t get that color out of a bottle.'"

Read her interview here.

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Cool Gray Hair Shown From the Side

Digital Vision / Getty

Because gray is a cool, not a warm color like reds, browns and blondes, gray hair can wash out your skin color. To compensate, consider getting highlights or lowlights along the sides of your face to help make your face pop and to give your hair dimension.

Balayage is great for highlights and are often preferred over foil highlights. Read more about balayage and get the scoop on lowlights in this article, Hair Color: What are Lowlights?

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Mask Your All-Gray Hair By Adding in Some Blonde

Blythe Danner. Amanda Edwards, Getty

Many women who are almost all-gray color their hair blonde or get blonde highlights. Blonde blends in better with the all-gray growth as the crown and roots grow in. Blythe Danner, who is going gray, has a gorgeous hair color here.

Most colorists use permanent hair color to color gray hair. It offers much better coverage than semi-permanent dyes. If you are dye-ing your own hair, consider using a paintbrush to apply hair color. According to stylist Eva Scrivo in her book, Eva Scrivo on Beauty (buy it from Amazon), "Applying color with the tip of the nozzle does not have the same force or friction." Scrivo uses a brush to jab the color into the roots of hair.

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Linda Fargo's Sexy Gray Bob

Linda Fargo. Ilya S. Savenok for Getty

With gray hair, you may find you need to wear makeup more to warm up your face. You can do this with sweeps of bronzer, pops of blush on your cheeks and smudging your eyes with a bit of brown eyeliner. Never forget lipstick or a colored gloss. A pretty rose or pink will look gorgeous with gray and help bring out your lips.

Read more about makeup tips for older women.

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Stacy London's Stripe of Gray

Stacy London. Michael Buckner for Getty

Stacy London, a reality TV host, has had her trademark gray stripe since she was a child. She opts not to dye it to match the rest of her hair.

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Jamie Lee Curtis's Super-Short, Super Sporty 'Do

Jamie Lee Curtis. Frazer Harrison for Getty

Gray hair can have a wiry texture. To keep your hair as soft and smooth as possible, Scrivo recommends brushing hair every night and for several minutes. Regular brushing helps distribute the oils from the scalp to the rest of the hair, while keeping your scalp healthy.

Scrivo also recommends using a clarifying shampoo or rinsing hair with apple cider vinegar once a week or so to keep product build-up to a minimum.

See Make Your Own Natural Vinegar Hair Rinse.

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Get a Multi-Colored Hairstyle With Foils

Digital Vision, Getty

You can get hair with many colors streaked through it via the foil highlight process. You can get highlights and lowlights painted onto hair to great effect.

See Hair Lowlights vs. Hair Highlights.

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Long, Gray Hair Can Make a Statement

gorgeous gray hair. Taxi // Getty Images

Long, gray hair makes a statement. Just look at the woman in this picture. She seems strong, confident and smart. Maybe the smart part is because of her glasses, but this is the point: how you look should be a reflection of who you are.

Makeup artist and style guru Bobbi Brown interviewed her hairstylist Mario Diab for her book for older women called "Living Beauty," (buy it from Amazon). In it, he suggests different haircuts based on your personality. If you pride yourself on your casual nature, consider a textured, short to medium haircut, he suggests. If you are classic and polished consider a one-length bob or a medium-length cut with a few face-framing layers. If you want versatility, keep hair longer but add bangs.

Also consider your hair texture and face shape. The woman in this picture obviously has thick hair, which is why it looks good longer. If your hair is thin and you have precious little of it, you'll want to go shorter so you have body. Get layers cut in. When it comes to face shapes, there are all sorts of fun rules to consider.

Check out Haircuts: Best Haircuts for Every Face Shape.

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Helen Mirren Goes Blonde to Mask Her Gray Hair

Helen Mirren. Frederick M. Brown // Getty Images

So how often should you color your hair if you want to mask gray? If you're 100 percent gray, it's best to color your hair every 3-4 weeks. If you are 50 percent gray, you can make it every 5 weeks. Roots will need to be touched up every 8 weeks or when needed.

While some women opt for all-over color, sometimes it's best to mask gray with a mix of highlights and lowlights. Just remember, permanent color covers gray much better than semi-permanent color.

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Short, Silver Hair

Digital Vision /Getty

This is simply a gorgeous hair color. One problem many women with gray hair have is yellowing of hair from the sun, hard water and other environmental factors. To keep this from happening, it's best to neutralize the yellow. Do this by washing hair twice weekly with a color-correcting violet shampoo. Make sure you keep the shampoo on your hair long enough. You may find you need to keep it on your hair for up to 10 minutes.

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A Gorgeous Stripe of Gray

Millicent Shelton. Charley Gallay // Getty Images

One important part of your face that you should never ignore once you've gone gray is your brows. You can actually dye them to match your former base color or you can dye them just a bit darker than your hair.

If you're not into dye-ing brows, use an eyebrow pencil to fill in sparse areas and darken a light brow. For the most natural look, draw in short lines that look like hair. You can then soften your hand-painted brows by layering in a powdered shadow. Aim for the same color as the brow pencil and/or your hair. Keep your brows in place by spraying hairspray on your finger and brushing your finger over your brows.

See more on filling in sparse brows.

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Long, Silvery-Gray Hair


If you decide to embrace your natural shade, keep in mind that you will likely have to endure a 6-12 month awkward period as your new natural hair grows in. You can cut your hair short or slowly cut off as much of the previously colored hair as possible so the new growth blends in more quickly.

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Short Gray Hair

gray hair. Riser // Getty Images

Scrivo warns that some stylists will suggest applying a semi-permanent hair color over your hair to make it blend in better. "Don't do it," she writes in her book. A semi-permanent dye cannot cover gray hair and can stain hair. Also as the color fades it can leave a yellow tint on gray hair.

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Gloria Steinem's Brown Hair With Gray Highlights Around the Face

Gloria Steinem. Frederick M. Brown

This hairstyle on Gloria Steinem is fascinating. She has obviously colored her hair brown but left the sides gray and the contrast is quite striking.