Going grey is a natural and normal part of the ageing process. It affects 74% of people between the ages of 45 and 65 – though some people will go grey much earlier.

Over the years, hair dye has become a popular option for covering up grey hairs. However, more and more people are now ditching the dye and embracing their silver locks.

The benefits of going grey are vast, with saving money and time, looking younger, and mental freedom from the worry of grown-out roots being some of the top reasons that people choose to make the transition. Letting your greys grow out can also add warmth to your complexion and provide natural highlights, giving your hair new dimension and volume.

Hair goes grey when our oil glands (which are attached to hair follicles in the scalp) begin producing less oil than they used to – which is why some people say that their grey hair feels drier and coarser. But with some TLC, it’s possible to have soft, shiny, voluminous grey hair that you’ll feel proud to show off.

Whether you’re already grey, are making the transition, or feel ready to put away the hair dye, we’ve come up with nine tips to help you get the most out of your grey hair.

Why do we go grey?

Why do we go grey

Hair follicles (the holes in our scalp that anchor hair to the skin) contain pigment cells. These pigment cells make melanin, which gives our hair colour. As we age, these pigment cells die out and stop producing melanin, leading to white hair.

How early we go grey is usually determined by our genetics, and while it’s more common to go grey during mid-life, some people start going grey in their 20s, 30s, or earlier. The age our parents or grandparents started to go grey is often a good indicator of when we’re likely to ourselves.

The journey to going grey is usually very gradual. After noticing their first grey hairs, it can take a person more than 10 years to go completely grey. The process is usually more noticeable on people with dark hair, as it creates a ‘salt and pepper’ look, where the lighter hairs stand out more.

Aside from ageing and genetics, other factors that can affect people going grey include: stress, autoimmune diseases, thyroid problems, vitamin B12 deficiency, and smoking.

9 tips for gorgeous grey hair

1. Improve hair health from the inside out

improve hair health from the inside out

While there are plenty of external things you can do to care for your hair, the saying ‘beauty comes from within’ certainly rings true when it comes to the health of your tresses.

If you’d like to improve the strength and thickness of your hair, staying hydrated and eating a healthy, balanced diet can help you achieve this.

Research also shows that certain vitamins and nutrients can be particularly effective for helping your hair to grow strong and healthily. These include…

  • Vitamin A – is needed to make sebum (the oil produced by our scalp). Sebum keeps our scalp and hair moisturised and healthy, and we produce less of it as we get older. Sweet potatoes, carrots, and cheese are all rich in vitamin A.

  • Iron – helps to make sure that hair follicles are served by a nutrient-rich blood supply. If iron levels are too low, then hair loss can occur. Foods rich in iron include shellfish, spinach, and organ meats like liver.

  • Vitamin C – is particularly good for hair when eaten alongside iron-rich foods, as it helps the body absorb iron. Vitamin C also stimulates the production of collagen, which is used to build strong, healthy hair structures. Blueberries, strawberries, and broccoli are excellent sources.

  • Vitamin E – is a powerful antioxidant that protects and preserves a healthy scalp, giving your hair a strong base to grow from. It’s found in nuts (especially almonds and peanuts), vegetable oils, and veggies like spinach, avocados, and squash.

  • Zinc and selenium – are also good for scalp protection. A lack of these minerals can lead to a dry, flaky scalp and hair loss. They also play a key role in growing and repairing hair. Foods rich in zinc and selenium include eggs, beef, turkey, and shellfish.

  • Biotin – this water-soluble b-vitamin (also known as B7 or vitamin H) causes hair follicles to grow faster and stimulates the production of keratin (the protein that hair is made of). Foods with high biotin content include eggs, nuts, seeds (such as almonds, peanuts, and walnuts), and salmon.

  • Omega-3 – these fatty acids play an important role in oil production in the scalp. Oily fish like sardines, salmon, and mackerel, and plant sources, such as pumpkin seeds, avocado, and walnuts, all contain omega-3s.

As hair is made of protein (keratin), eating a diet high in protein can also help to give your hair a boost.

Check out our articles, 12 high protein meal ideas and 7 important vitamins and minerals for hair, skin, and nail health, to learn more.

2. Protect your hair from UV damage

protect your hair from uv damage

Like our skin, hair can also become burnt or damaged by the sun – and hair that lacks pigment is even more prone to this.

Luckily, there are lots of hair products that contain UV filters. This means they can reflect harmful rays and prevent them from penetrating the hair shaft and causing damage.

Examples of popular hair products that have UV filters include…

3. Smooth the transition

Smooth the transition

When transitioning to grey, it can be tricky to work with hair which has two different colours and/or textures. But there are some things you can do to make the journey to a full head of grey hair smoother.

Whether you have dyed hair or not, you could consider adding highlights to make grey roots less obvious and the transition seem more seamless. If you’re considering highlights, it’s best to speak to a professional hairdresser as they’ll know how best to help you blend your greys.

If you don’t want to resort to hair dye or bleach, you could consider using root cover-up products, such as Color Wow – a coloured powder you add to hair roots to help them blend in with the rest of your hair. Color Wow stays in while swimming or exercising but washes out with shampoo.

Another option for smoothing the transition to grey hair is to cut your hair short and let it regrow fully grey. This can be a big change though, so it won’t appeal to everyone.

However, even if you decide to keep your hair long, it’s worth getting regular trims to gradually remove old ends and to keep your hair healthy.

4. Be gentle with your hair

Be gentle with your hair

Because grey hair is often drier, it can be more likely to suffer from damage caused by heat styling or rough handling. Therefore, it can help to avoid heat and explore other ways to style your hair instead – such as heatless curls.

It can also help to keep hair brushing and combing to a minimum and use a wide-toothed comb, as it’s easier to detangle hair with these without causing breakage. Some people prefer to comb their hair gently when it’s wet and covered in conditioner, as this can help the comb glide through more easily.

You could also consider investing in a silk or satin pillowcase as, unlike cotton pillowcases, these don’t dry hair out. A silk pillowcase will also keep your hair neater and prevent it from tangling too much during the night – so that less combing or styling should be needed come the morning.

Other tips include not overwashing your hair (as this can dry it out further), avoiding shampoos that contain harsh chemicals (such as sulphates and silicones), and using a microfibre towel to dry your hair rather than a regular one.

5. Restore moisture with deep conditioning treatments

Restore moisture with deep conditioning treatments

Grey hair is often drier and coarser because it tends to appear when the sebaceous glands in the scalp have started to produce less oil.

While dry hair is more brittle and prone to breakage, this can easily be remedied by using hydrating hair products.

Hair professionals often advise using a cream to nourish hair strands, followed by an oil to seal them (which can protect them from splitting) and add shine.

Examples of good leave-in conditioners include…

It’s also worth using a conditioning mask at least once a week, as these can offer a deeper level of nourishment. For example…

If you’re looking to save money or keep things completely natural, you could apply a coconut, almond, or olive oil mask to your hair each week. Simply leave it on for an hour or so before following your usual shampoo and conditioning routine. Or, for an even deeper condition, cover hair with a shower cap, leave the oil on overnight, and wash it off in the morning.

You could also try making your own hair masks at home, which can help with everything from dry hair and dullness to a flaky scalp. All of the masks in this list from Good Housekeeping use natural ingredients, such as honey, eggs, and apple cider vinegar.

6. Consider using a bond builder

consider using a bond builder

If your hair is particularly damaged from bleach or heat damage, then, as well as keeping it hydrated, you might also want to try using a bond builder to repair strands from the inside out.

Bond builders strengthen existing bonds in hair strands, mend broken ones, and seal split ends – all of which help to prevent breakage.

Olaplex is one of the most well-respected, popular bond builders around – it’s pricey, but it can be very effective (just check out the reviews!). There are a range of different Olaplex products on offer, including shampoos, conditioners, and bonding oils.

Or, to save time and money, you could skip a few steps and just use Olaplex Treatment No.3 a couple of times a week (in the same way you would use a hair mask). Simply apply it to towel-dried hair, leave for 10 minutes (or longer if desired), and then shampoo and condition as usual.

7. Prevent yellowing

prevent yellowing

It’s easy for hair that has little or no pigment to pick up colour from the environment. Sometimes smoking (including second-hand smoke), certain medications, oil from your scalp, sun, or chlorine can cause grey hair to turn yellow.

To enhance your natural grey colour and reduce any yellowing, you might want to consider using shampoo and conditioners with violet or blue tones, as these will neutralise yellow tones and help to keep hair white. In the same breath, it’s also worth avoiding shampoos and conditioners with yellow tones.

Some popular shampoos and conditioners with violet or blue tones include…

A more natural method you can use to remove yellow buildup from hair is an apple cider vinegar rinse once a week. This cleans hair, improves scalp health, and makes hair stronger and healthier. If you’d like to give it a try, you can find out how to make your own apple cider vinegar rinse on the Bragg website.

8. Consider changing your hairstyle

consider changing your hairstyle

Hairstyles can determine a lot about how confident you feel about your hair and change your look entirely.

If you want to make the most of your grey hair, styles that are youthful, classy, and low maintenance are generally a good bet. It can also help to choose something that frames and compliments your face shape.

If you’re in need of some inspiration, Helen Mirren, Jamie Leigh Curtis, George Clooney, and Patrick Dempsey are examples of celebrities who’ve embraced grey hair over the years (and looked fabulous while doing it!).

Alternatively, check out our article, Get the look: Top 12 hairstyles for women over 50, which includes everything from loose curls to a sculpted bob. Or, to see some of the best grey hairstyles for men – including short waves and dreadlocks – check out this article from The Trend Spotter.

9. Wear colours that compliment your grey hair

Wear colours that compliment your grey hair

Grey hair can look particularly striking and elegant when worn with certain colours. Beauty experts recommend black, white, charcoal, and deep jewel tones (such as emerald green, sapphire blue, citrine yellow, and ruby red).

Check out our article, 10 tips for dressing with colour and confidence, for more ideas.

Final thoughts...

From saving money and celebrating your natural beauty to no longer having to faff about with hair dye or worry about grown-out roots – there are plenty of benefits to making the most of your grey locks.

Even better, grey hair has never been more fashionable, so much so that people are choosing to use hair dye to achieve a silver look.

Not all of the tips in this article will work for every hair type, as everyone’s hair is different. But we hope they will, at the very least, start you on a journey to feeling more confident about embracing your natural roots.

For more tips and advice, why not check out the fashion and beauty section of our website? Here, you’ll find articles like How to go longer between hair washes and 16 of the best beard and moustache styles to try.

Have you embraced your natural grey hair? Do you have any hair care or style tips that you’d like to share with others? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.