Those early streaks of gray always seem to come as a surprise. While they don’t mean you have to dye your hair regularly or decide to go fully silver, they can stick out like a sore thumb against a head of fully pigmented strands. Fortunately, with the right hair care routine, you can make them blend in with the rest of your locks. Here, a hairstylist tells us the easiest ways to make grays fade in with your natural color—no dye required.
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Semi-permanent glosses and toners are best known for adding a noticeable shine to hair. But according to Cindy Marcus, a professional hairstylist in Las Vegas and editor-in-chief of Latest Hairstyles, they can also help conceal grays. “Using these types of semi-permanent color is a great step for someone who just started going gray and is hesitant to color their hair,” she says. “Because they’re semi-permanent, they will slowly fade out of the hair, eliminating a root. For this reason, it is not a huge commitment as far as upkeep.” Even better, they’re not harmful to the hair and can be applied either at home or by a professional.
You’ve probably noticed that your gray hairs have a somewhat different texture than the fully pigmented ones. This is because they have less melanin, and therefore less sebum oil to keep them moisturized. Fortunately, there are easy ways to get this moisture back. Marcus suggests a deep conditioner. “This product helps the hair look less coarse and blend better with the rest of the hair,” she says. “This is something that can be done at home and is also great for all hair types.”
If you have a few pesky gray hairs that simply won’t lay flat—no matter how much you hydrate—consider changing where you part your hair, to minimize their appearance.
A color depositing conditioner or mask is a great way to temporarily cover or blend grays. “Moroccaniol makes color-tinted conditioners and they are excellent in adding a bit of color without anything permanent,” says Marcus. “They will last a few shampoos and will fade back out of the hair.” To apply, add the conditioner to the hair after shampooing and leave it on for the amount of time recommended on the bottle. Rinse, and enjoy your newly tinted color.
Too nervous to even add semi-permanent color to your hair at home? Try a color that only lasts until your next shower. “One of my favorite [touch-up solutions] is a powder from WOW that you brush on the roots to cover the gray,” suggests Marcus. “Another option would be an over-the-counter spray you can get just about anywhere (Walmart, CVS, Target). You would want to find a color that best matches your hair and just carefully spray on the roots.” Each of these products will rinse right out with a few suds and bubbles.
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You’ve probably heard to never pluck a gray hair—but do you listen? “There is a long-time myth that if you pull a gray hair ten more will come to its funeral,” says Marcus. “This is, however, just a myth. The problem with pulling hair from the root is that the follicle will go dormant and if you start pulling lots of hair out—especially around the hairline—you will start to thin.” Then your hair will never appear blended, no matter how hard you try.
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