How to Let Your Hair Go Gray or Silver Naturally

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Why You Should Embrace Natural Silver Hair

Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde on May 13, 2014. Adam Berry for Getty

When you first find gray hair sprouting from your head, your reaction might match many women's. You may think, "Oh no. It's begun." Or you might just shrug it off. You may think you're too young for gray hair or you might not be surprised because your mom went gray at your age, too.

What many women are surprised by is how gorgeous their natural grays and silvers are. If you love your grays or if you are into living as natural a lifestyle as possible and therefore want to embrace your grays as they come, then you've come to the right place.

In this gallery, see photos of women who have let their hair go naturally gray. This is a trend we're seeing more of as women embrace their hair's natural color. Also learn why and how you can let your natural gray hairs go.

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Why You Should Let Your Gray Hair Go

Laurie Burrows Grad. Alberto E. Rodriguez

Women tend to go natural for several reasons:

  • It's less maintenance. Root maintenance can be a huge time suck. Whether you do it yourself or you pay a pro, you are going to have to keep up with the grays as they grow in.
  • It's healthier. Keeping up with coloring every few weeks is also damaging to the hair — and the pocketbook.
  • It's socially acceptable (and preferable in many instances) to be natural. Minimal beauty is all the rage these days. This means less makeup and less time fussing with your hair. More and more women who let their hair go gray are not just admired, but they are revered.
  • It's natural. As more people become aware of the toxic effects of cosmetics, they turn to organic and natural beauty upkeep. This means products that aren't tested on animals and don't contain chemicals. Hair dye can be toxic and covering gray hair can be tricky — it takes a powerful dye to color grays. Many women don't want to risk it.
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How to Go Gray Naturally

Lou Eyrich. Frazer Harrison

If you've decided to go all gray, you have to let your hair grow out. If you've never colored your hair before, this can be an easy process because you just wait it out. If you've colored your hair, you'll want to make the growing process as easy as possible. The growing out phase can last a few months up to a year, depending on how fast your hair grows and how much needs to grow out.

Here are some tips:

  • Get a mix of highlights and lowlights to blend in the new growth with the old growth. The lowlights can be the color of your natural hair before it turned gray.
  • Get the old colored hair cut off. This may be fun. You can try out a pixie haircut like this one or a bob hairstyle.
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Why Does Hair Turn Gray?

Glenn Close. Carlos Alvarez

Gray hair typically begins in women in their 30s or 40s, although I know of at least one woman who turned gray in her 20s.

Why does hair turn gray? There are a number of theories but the two that everyone agrees with are:

  • The natural aging process
  • Genetics (thanks Mom and Dad!)
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How to Care for Gray Hair

Christiane Kubrick. Francois Durand

Once your gray hair has grown in, you'll have to properly care for it.

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Black and Gray

Frederick M. Brown/Getty

Here, the late Rudy Dee shows off beautifully-done makeup with her gray hairstyle. She lined her eyes and applied lipstick. Just make sure you apply the right amount of makeup. Dee, who passed away in 2014, had large eyes, but too much eyeliner can make small eyes appear smaller. And never line the inside rim of the eyes if you have small eyes.

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Laurie Burrows Grad

Laurie Burrows Grad. Alberto E. Rodriguez // Getty

 Grad's makeup and jewelry does justice to her beautiful gray bob.

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Blythe Danner

Blythe Danner. Amanda Edwards, Getty

 Danner's thick, long bob has hints of blond in it.

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Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie Lee Curtis. Frazer Harrison for Getty

Jamie Lee Curtis decided to go gray because she felt silly for dyeing her locks, she's said in interviews.

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Urmi Basu

Urmi Basu. Frederick M. Brown

 Umi Basu has a pretty ash-colored bob.

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Martha Kauffman

Martha Kauffman. Frazer Harrison

Martha Kauffman has a natural ombre look, with graying hair at the top and blackish hair at the bottom.

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Long, Gray Hair


 This is a beautiful, thick gray mane.

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Susie Elelman

Susie Elelman. Scott Barbour

 Elelman looks beautiful with shorn gray locks.

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Roseanne Barr

Roseanne Barr. Frazer Harrison for Getty

 Roseanne Barr rocks an ash-colored bob.

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Lisa Lu

Lisa Lu. Jemal Countess for Getty

 This isn't the most flattering look on Lisa Lu. Her hair is short but looks very thin.

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Rebecca Eaton

Rebecca Eaton. Araya Diaz

 Here, Eaton sports a curled gray bob.

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Felicity Green

Felicity Green. WPA Pool

 A headband gives Green's ashen locks a youthful edge.

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Dionne Warwick

Dionne Warwick. Samir Hussein

 Warwick has a blondish gray retro hairdo.