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

Over the years, hair dye has become a popular option for covering up greys. 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, looking younger, and mental freedom from the worry of grown-out roots being some of the top reasons that people are making the transition. Letting your greys grow can also add warmth to your complexion and provide natural highlights, giving your hair a new level of dimension and volume.

Hair often goes grey at an age when our oil glands (which are attached to hair follicles in the scalp) are producing less oil than they used to – which is why some people say that their grey hair is 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 hang up your 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?

Hair follicles (the holes in our scalp that anchor hair to the skin) contain pigment cells – and these pigment cells make melanin, which is responsible for giving our hair strands colour. As we get older, these pigment cells die out and stop producing melanin, which turns hair white.

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 even earlier. The age our parents or grandparents started to go grey is often a good indicator of when we are likely to go grey ourselves.

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

Aside from ageing and genetics, other factors that can play a role in people going grey are stress, autoimmune diseases, thyroid problems, vitamin B12 deficiency, and smoking.

9 tips for gorgeous grey hair

1. 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 want to improve the strength and thickness of your hair, then staying hydrated and eating a healthy, balanced diet can help you to achieve this. Research also shows that certain vitamins and nutrients can be particularly good for helping your hair to grow strong and healthy – mainly:

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

  • Ironhelps to make sure that the 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 such as liver.

  • Vitamin Cis particularly good for hair when eaten alongside iron-rich foods, as it helps the body to absorb iron. Vitamin C also stimulates the production of collagen, which can be 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 – also good for scalp protection. A lack of these important 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) is good for hair growth because it 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 3these fatty acids play an important role in oil production in the scalp. Oily fish such as 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 article, 12 high protein meal ideas, to learn more and get inspired. 

2. 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

When you’re transitioning to grey, it can be tricky to work with hair that’s 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.

If you have dyed hair and you’re waiting for it to grow out, then you could consider adding highlights to your hair to make grey roots less obvious. You can also add highlights to natural hair during the grey transition to make the process to a full head of grey hair seem more seamless (as it can take many years). It’s best to speak to a professional hairdresser about this, as they’ll know how best to help you blend your greys.

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

Another option for smoothing the transition from dyed hair to grey hair could be to cut your hair very short and let it regrow fully grey – though this can be a big change and 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 dyed ends as new grey hair grows in – and to keep your hair healthy.

4. 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. It can help to avoid heat styling and explore other ways to style your hair instead – such as these 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 one of these without causing breakage. Some people prefer to very gently comb their hair when it’s wet and covered in conditioner, as this can help the comb glide through more easily.

If you want to be really gentle with your hair, then 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 much neater and prevent it from tangling too much – so less combing or styling should be needed come the morning.

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

5. Restore moisture with deep conditioning treatments

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

Dry hair is more brittle and prone to breakage because it’s less elastic. But this is something that can easily be remedied by using some hydrating hair products.

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

Some good leave-in conditioners that you might want to try are:

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

If you want to save money and keep things completely natural, then you could also apply a mask of coconut, almond, or olive oil to your hair weekly. Simply leave it on for at least an hour, 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 some of your own hair masks at home, which can help with everything from dry hair and dullness, to a flaky scalp. All 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

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. 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 does work (just check out the reviews)! There are a range of different Olaplex products on offer, including shampoos, conditioners, and bonding oil – which can be used together for best results.

Or if you want to save time and money, then 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 a hair mask). Simply apply it to towel-dried hair, leave for 10 minutes (or longer if desired), and then shampoo and condition as normal.

7. 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, or too much sun or chlorine can cause grey hair to turn yellow – among many other things.

To enhance your natural grey colour and reduce the appearance of 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 that have yellow tones.

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

A more natural method that can be used to remove yellow buildup from hair is to use an apple cider vinegar rinse once a week (you can buy apple cider vinegar from most large supermarkets). This method not only cleans hair but also improves scalp health and makes hair stronger and healthier. If you want to give it a try, then you can find out how to make your own apple cider vinegar rinse at home, here.

8. Consider changing up your hairstyle

Hairstyles can determine a lot about how confident a person feels about their hair and can change your look entirely. If you want to make the most of your grey hair, then styles that are youthful, classy, and low maintenance are generally a good bet. When choosing a style, 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 celebs who have 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 the best grey hairstyles for men in 2022, including short waves and dreadlocks, check out this article from TheTrendSpotter.

9. 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).

For more tips on how to dress with colour and confidence, you might want to check out our article here.

A final thought…

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 some men and women are opting to use hair dye to achieve a silver look.

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

For more fashion and beauty advice, why not check out the relevant section of our website here?

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, and see your photos. Join the conversation on the style and beauty section of the Rest Less community forum or leave a comment below.

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