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Once silver hair started popping up here and there on Instagram (often hashtagged granny hair) and on the most fashionable streets of your city, a few years back, it just wouldn’t go away. There is something ethereal and unique about a young face topped with a mane of silver or grey hair – not to mention how beautiful it is when a woman owns her age and allows her hair to go gray naturally.
Because of the aforementioned reasons, I am a huge fan of the silver hair trend, and also in part because Storm was always my favorite of the X-Men.
Like many things in the world of beauty, however, achieving perfect grey hair is not easy – in fact, silver hair might be one of the toughest hair colors to maintain. It requires quite a bit of work and maintenance, and you have to go into it well informed.
We’ll give you some of the really critical information for perfect silver hair here: how to dye your hair grey, how to maintain gray hair, how to choose the perfect shade of silver hair for your skin tone, how to adjust your makeup and fashion to your new silver hair, and we also have tons of gorgeous silver hair pictures to get you inspired!
Silver Hair Trend/ Grey Hair Colors: Contents
- Preparation Before Switching to Silver Hair Colors
- How to Choose Grey Hair for Your Skin Tone
- How to Dye Your Hair Grey or Silver
- How to Choose a Salon for Hassle-Free Grey Hair Colors
- How to Maintain Silver/ Grey Hair Color
- Makeup Tips for Silver/ Grey Hair
- Fashion Tips for Silver/ Grey Hair
- How to Wear Grey Hair: 51 Silver Hair Color Ideas
• Decide what kind of gray hair look you are going for, and plan accordingly. Do you want just a few strands of gray? Silver hair tips? Silver balayage highlights? Are you going all out and dyeing your hold head gray? There are a ton of options, and you’ll see a lot of example pictures of silver hair colors for inspiration soon.
• If you’re not starting with virgin (undyed) hair, slowly begin the process of lifting away the old dye. Alternatively, wait and let the hair color grow out. It is much easier to start with virgin hair.
• Conduct a patch test with all of the different products that will go on your hair to ensure you won’t have an allergic reaction.
• Do a strand test to see how long it will take your hair to be adequately bleached. In other words, remove a strand of hair from your head, cover it in bleach, and check on it every 10 minutes to see how long until it reaches the lightest blonde hair color possible.
• Stop using sulfate-based shampoos – they strip the hair of necessary moisture, leaving it dry and much likelier to get damaged by the bleach.
• A few days before you start the silver hair color dyeing process, stop washing your hair altogether.
Grey hair comes in multiple undertones, and you want to make sure to opt for the right silver hair color for your skin tone. Choosing the wrong silver hair colors could have an unflattering effect on your skin.
Silver Hair Colors for Warm Skin Tones: If your skin has a yellow, orange, or olive undertone, opt for more neutral grey hair colors, and definitely avoid anything too blue based. Gunmetal grays and platinum-silver will both work beautifully with your skin.
Silver Hair Colors for Cool and Neutral Skin Tones: If your skin seems plain beige or a little pink, you are in luck, because that gorgeous true silver will look perfect with your skin, and you don’t have to worry about the color pulling too blue.
Before you start this process, make sure you have all of the necessary potions and tools. For perfect silver hair you will need:
• A bleaching kit (depending on how dark your hair is, you might need a few bleaching kits). The L’Oreal Feria Absolute Platinum Advanced Lightening System gives consistently great results, and can be purchased at Ulta.
• Saran wrap, or a plastic hair cap.
• A purple-based toner to get yellow and orange tones out of your bleached hair. If, after bleaching, your hair isn’t too warm, a purple shampoo like the Joico Color Balance Purple Shampoo from Ulta will suffice. For most people, an ammonia-based toner like the Wella Color Charm T18 from Amazon mixed with a 10 or 20 hydrogen peroxide-based developer will be necessary.
• Finding an adequate silver hair dye for at home can be tough. One option of a gray/ silver hair dye used by many professionals is the Pravana ChromaSilk Vivids in Silver, from Amazon. Wella Color Charm in Frosty Ash, also from Amazon will give you results that are more silvery-white.
• Gloves to protect your hands.
• A mixing bowl and hair dye brush.
• Petroleum jelly to protect your hair line and prevent your skin from staining.
• An old towel or shirt that you don’t mind getting covered in bleach stains.
Once you have all the necessary products, you’re ready to go. I recommend spreading the whole silver hair dyeing process over a few days (the darker your hair starts, the more time you should take for this process). Taking breaks between each bleaching/ dyeing session will help mitigate some of the damage that bleaching does to the hair.
Step 1: Bleaching
• Begin with dry, unwashed hair. You can even apply a bit of hair oil to it to strengthen it a bit and prevent dryness. Collect the bleach kit, and gloves, and make sure you’re wearing clothes that you do not care about.
• Apply petroleum jelly along the hairline to protect your skin from the bleach. Repeat this step for hair toning and dyeing as well.
• Follow the bleach kit instructions, and mix the bleach with the developer either in a bottle or in a mixing bowl.
• Part your hair at the crown, and tie up the top part of the hair. Part the lower part of your hair into two sections, and tilt your head forward so they fall over your shoulder and you can reach them.
• One at a time, take a strand of hair, and apply the bleach to it with the hair dye applicator brush. Begin at the center of the strand, and first work your way downwards.
If necessary, load your applicator with more bleach, and now work your way up to the roots. Repeat this for each strand of hair on the lower half.
• Let down the hair piled up on your crown, and begin the same process for the top part of your head.
• Once all of your hair is covered in bleach, put on the plastic cap or wrap your head up in saran wrap (leave your face uncovered!). Leave it on for as long as necessary based on your strand test. For some, 10 minutes might be enough, but most will need longer. Do not leave the bleach on your hair for longer than 30 minutes.
• Wash the bleach out with a purple shampoo. You can let the shampoo sit in your hair for about 10 minutes to take out some of the brassiness you might end up with.
• If one bleach session was enough to reach a light enough shade of blonde (we’re talking so blonde that it is nearly white), then you can move on to the next step. If it wasn’t, wait a couple of days, give your hair a deep conditioning treatment, and repeat the bleaching process.
Step 2: Toning
If your hair does not have warm yellow or orange tones in it after bleaching, you can skip this section. However, chances are you do have warm tones in your hair, so you have to tone it to achieve true grey hair colors. Toning is essentially another hair dyeing step, and since it does require some peroxide developer, it can damage the hair.
• It is best to wait a few days after bleaching, and only then do the toning. During those days, avoid shampooing your hair too much, but condition it as much as possible.
• Gather everything you need to tone your hair: toner, developer, gloves, mixing bowl, hair dye brush, and wear clothes you don’t care about staining.
• If your hair has just a hint of warmth in it, use a 10-volume developer. If there is a lot of brass or orange in your hair, use a 20-volume developer instead.
• In the mixing bowl, mix the toner and developer in a 1:2 ration. This means that for one part of toner, you want to use two parts of developer.
• Put on your gloves, and apply the toner to your hair. Follow the same process of parting the hair and applying the toner as you did for the bleach.
• Once you have covered your whole head in toner, let it sit for 20 or 30 minutes.
• Wash it out! First, rinse your hair with just water, and then condition. Don’t shampoo your hair! At this point, your hair might actually be a nice enough shade of silvery-white that you won’t even need to dye it!
Step 3: The Fun Part: Dyeing!
At this point, your hair has virtually no pigment left in it, and is ready to take on whatever shades of silver or gray hair colors you were hoping for. Since you won’t be using anymore hydrogen peroxide, you don’t have to wait between toning and dyeing the hair. This final step does not damage your hair.
• Into a mixing bowl, squeeze out the silver hair dye that you will be using. Some gray hair dyes, including the Pravana one, can end up looking quite dark. If that’s the case with yours, you can dilute it by mixing it with hair conditioner before applying.
• Part your hair in the same four sections, and apply the grey hair dye all over your head.
• Allow the dye to sit on your hair for half an hour. If you go a little over, it’s not a big deal.
• Wash it out, and rock your new, silvery look!
• At this point, you might also want to take a look at the ends of your hair – split ends become worse after all of the bleaching and dyeing processes, so it might be time for a trim or a haircut!
Going gray is a serious process. There are a lot of places to stumble and make hair-damaging mistakes if you do it at home. Salon dyeing is a safer choice, but it’s also a pricey one.
Switching to silver grey hair colors can cost anywhere between $500 and $1000 depending on the salon you choose. Be ready to spend a lot of money, and a lot of time in the salon chair.
When choosing a salon and a color technician, you want to make sure to look for experience. Skip the deals or discounts you might get from a newbie hair colorist – the damage they could cause will cost you a lot more in the long term.
Look for a reputable hair color technician/ salon with a lot of positive online reviews, and a big online gallery of unusual hair colors. Make sure you like the way they dye the hair, but also ensure that the hair in the photos looks healthy.
Once you’ve settled on a salon, book a consultation with the hair colorist. Bring in pictures of how you would like your final color to look.
Ask the color technician a variety of questions: how long will the whole process take? What kind of measures will they take to keep your hair from becoming damaged? Would they be okay spreading out the hair dyeing process over a few days?
If you like their responses (as well as their attitude! Remember, you will have to be in their chair for many hours), go ahead and book your appointment!
• Wash your hair as little as possible. Repeated washing will make your grey hair become dull faster.
• Use a special, sulfate-free shampoo for silver hair. The purple Joico shampoo I mentioned earlier is an excellent shampoo for gray hair, because it keeps brassiness at bay and does not strip the hair of oils.
• Nourish your hair as much as possible! Since all that bleaching and dyeing has taken a toll on your hair, a mask like It’s a 10 Five Minute Hair Repair from Ulta will strengthen your hair and keep it looking healthy.
• As the silver hair dye begins to fade (which is inevitable), you can do color rinses in the shower to refresh it. A popular silver hair rinse is the Roux Fanci-Full True Steel Temporary Color Rinse, which can be purchased through Sally Beauty.
• Avoid heat styling your grey hair too often.
• If you have to blow dry your hair, do it on the lowest setting.
• Extremely light hair becomes stained very easily. Be careful with makeup and heavily pigmented food and drink, because they stain your hair the same way they would stain your favorite white T-shirt.
• You may choose to regularly repeat the bleaching and dyeing process on your roots (carefully!), but darker roots and silver hair are a very trendy look that you can also enjoy.
The beautiful thing about gray hair colors is that for the most part, they are quite neutral. This means that you do not need to worry about your makeup choices clashing with your hair. However, there are definitely a few makeup tips for grey hair you want to keep in mind.
• Embrace the Color!
The risk of being washed out by silver hair is real, and a makeup look that is primarily about neutrals and nudes won’t help with that. Always have at least a touch of color in your look, which can come from a bit of blush, a lipstick, or a warm bronzer.
• Perfect That Skin!
Silver hair really draws attention to your face, and it can call attention to imperfections. Having your foundation on point becomes a little more important, so make sure you’ve been color matched correctly and that your application is as clean as possible.
• Get Your Glow On!
Dewy skin is the height of youthfulness, whereas overly matte skin can age a person. To create that beautiful contrast of gray hair and young, glowing skin, use either a strobe cream or highlighting powder on your cheekbones, down your nose, and anywhere else where you’d like a bit of shine.
• Complementary Brows!
You probably don’t want your brows to perfectly match your silver hair, or else you might lose the face-framing effect that they give, especially when you opt for really light grey hair.
However, you want their undertone to match the undertone of your silver hair. Good eyebrow filler choices are cool taupe or slate gray. Stay away from eyebrow powders, pencils, or pomades that have a red or yellow undertone to them.
Since gray is a neutral color, you do not have to worry about clothes clashing with your hair! On the other hand, silver hair does stand out as unique and unusual, and you should have your wardrobe reflect an attitude that’ll fit with it.
• Whites and grays can either be a cool monochrome look when paired with gray hair colors, but they can also wash you out and have an unflattering effect. Be careful of that when putting together outfits.
• Brighten things up with a lot of color! Colorful outfits provide a nice contrast to grey hair, and keep you looking youthful.
• Be aware of the undertones of your grey hair when color blocking outfits. Since most silver/ grey hair leans toward blue, you can create contrast by wearing warm shades like orange and purple, or you can match with cool shades like purples and blues.
• Unless you’re very careful, avoid anything that will age you. Tacky sweatshirts, mom jeans, and cardigans are best to avoid, unless you can pair them with other pieces that are really youthful.
• Gray hair colors go perfectly with edgy, punk or Goth looks. Embrace lots of blacks, and even match your silver hair with some metal spikes.
1. Metallic Gray to White Lob
This wavy metallic gray long bob features a bit of a gradient, with darker roots, and nearly white silver hair at the tips.
2. Gunmetal Baby Doll
These darker grey hair colors have a dramatic effect, so it can be fun to contrast them with feminine styling choices like these baby doll bangs and long, lush curls.
3. Braided Black and Silver Ombre
Bohemian braids lend a soft touch to what would otherwise be a very severe take on grey hair colors. This black to silver ombre, with different styling, would look edgy and tough.
4. Soft Silver Curls
These gorgeously soft, retro curls pair well with lavender-tinted silver hair colors. Note the decision to leave the roots dark, for ease of maintenance.
5. Silver and Ash Balayage
This is a great way of rocking gray hair colors without bleaching every single strand of hair. Most of the hair is naturally black, with some strands dyed a cool silver, with a hint of warm ash.
6. Lavender Silver Ombre
The striking transition from dark black roots to lavender silver hair is made doubly unique thanks to the warm blonde transition shade.
7. Silver Blue Braided Balayage
Hand painting with different shades of cool and platinum silver hair colors creates a really high dimension effect, accentuated by extra texture from a crown braid.
8. Feathery Grandma Lob
The blend of dark roots and a more matte take on gray hair colors ends up looking more similar to how hair looks when it naturally turns gray, so the youthful, feathery long bob is a mandatory style to prevent the color from aging one’s look.
9. Cool Silver Mermaid Hair
The gleaming undertones of lavender and blue in this gray hairstyle are breathtaking, as is the contrast of the dark roots. Long, wavy strands ensure that this look be worthy of a mermaid.
10. Romantic Grey Curls
High shine silver hair colors (even with contrasting dark roots!) can be extremely feminine and romantic, especially when they’re styled into loose curls.
11. Platinum Silver Pin Straight Hair
This bright silvery white take on gray hair colors is on the edgy side thanks to pin straight styling, and dark roots that add a sense of mystery.
12. Bedroom Grey Hair
Tousled waves, healthy roots, and pale, metallic silver hair colors – what’s not to love about this grey hairstyle?
13. Lavender Dipped Platinum Silver Hair
It is really easy to add more colors to silver hair, because it is already so light. These dip-dyed lavender hair tips are a great way to spice things up.
14. White Silver Dream Curls
Shiny bottle curls lend a dreamy and romantic effect to this nearly white take on silver hair colors.
15. Slate Blue Curls
This is an ultra cool, and fairly dark take on grey hair colors. It’s an edgy shade of gray that is softened by big curls.
16. Cool Grey Bob
This curly angled bob is a breezy way of rocking these cooler shades of grey hair, into which darker roots blend seamlessly.
17. Silver and Ash Balayage Lob
These gorgeous silver curls are accentuated and deepened with hand painted spots of ash. This is one of the most elegant ways of wearing grey hair, and it looks quite natural, too.
18. Ice Queen Curls
Dark roots, and a wash of blue over the crown and on the outer part of the hair give a multidimensional wintery feel to this icy silver hairstyle.
19. Silver and Violet Color Melt
The untamed effect these wispy curls create pairs beautifully with this metallic color-melt of violet, blue, and silver hair colors.
20. Retro Silver Wave
It’s the risky choices that pay off best. Styling silver hair in this retro curled bob could have looked dated, but instead it looks impossibly chic and sophisticated.
21. Dark Princess Gray Hair
These darker roots and slate gray hair colors, especially when combined with this layered, blow-dried style, have a darker, Gothic effect that is still classy.
22. Casual Gray Half Ponytail
With all of these classy curled looks, it’s easy to forget that grey hair colors also look incredible with more casual styling. This style is also a great example of how nicely silvery hair pairs with grown out roots.
23. Stormy Gray Balayage
This perfect blend of black and cool gray hair colors is incredibly textured, and simply projects stormy, dark movement.
24. Frosted Tips Balayage
For those with nearly black hair, a silver hair balayage provides the most extreme contrast in a unique yet maintainable way.
25. A Wave of Frost Balayage
This gorgeous balayage features a seamless blend of lavender, silver, and grey hair colors that are made all the more beautiful by a retro style of hair curling where all the hair is curled in the same direction.
26. Ash and Silver Balayage
Cool and warm shades of gray hair work together to create a fascinating dimension in this lightly curled silver balayage.
27. Undercurrent of Lilac
Bright colors stand out beautifully against silver hair colors, so adding them in a subtle way can create interesting moments, like this undercurrent of lilac hair dye coming from the roots.
28. Straightened Sleek Silver Balayage
While balayages can often look awkward when the hair is straightened, this never seems to be the case with a blend of silver hair colors and naturally dark roots.
29. Gleaming Silver and Pastel Balayage
This high shine balayage is not easy to achieve, but it is well worth the effort. The cascade of silver and pastel lavender shades is almost magical.
30. Blue Tinted Slate Balayage Bob
Darker balayages are totally possible with grey hair, and here it was event amped up with a touch of blue! This is one of the most chic color options for a bob haircut.
31. Iced Ombre Balayage
The most striking way of wearing silver hair colors is with an ombre, although here the front was balayaged for a slightly softer effect.
32. Side-Swept Icy Grey Hair
Casually side-swept bangs lend a casually fashionable twist to any long bob, and make silver hair colors seem a little less wild.
33. Blue and Silver Melting Ice Caps Color Melt
This gradient of blue and silver hair colors reminds me of the melting ice caps – cold, dangerous, and beautiful.
34. Frosty Feathered Lob
This silver hair is so bright it’s nearly white, which makes it look extra angelic and silvery when styled into feathery waves in this long bob.
35. Stylin’ Grandma Bob
This darker shade of gray hair looks a lot like naturally graying locks, so it is mandatory to pair it with youthful haircuts like this sleek bob.
36. Metallic Balayage with Half Ponytail
This gray and white balayage is gleaming with a healthy shine, and the twisted half ponytail is a perfect way of showing off darker contrasting roots.
37. White on Black Balayage
Sometimes you can achieve the grey hair colors effect by simply blending white and black shades, like in this gorgeous metallic balayage.
38. Cascading Platinum Gray Balayage
Can you imagine how much bleach was used to achieve this astounding silver hair balayage? Totally worth it, for such an ethereal effect!
39. Lavender Tinted Silver Long Bob
A light wash of lavender over a metallic silver does not take away from the gorgeous silver hair effect, but instead gives a bit of warmth and dimension like in this curled long bob.
40. True Silver Curls
This true shade of perfect, neutral silver is hard to achieve, but it’s universally flattering and works well with natural roots.
41. Blue-Threaded Silver Balayage
Hand painting techniques make a great way of interjecting some color into silver hair. In this grey balayage hairstyle, the blue nearly blends in because its undertone is similar to the silver’s.
42. Layered Slate Gray Waves
A little edgier, yet also a little more natural looking, dark grey hair colors are great for anyone whose hair just won’t go light enough (or for whom ultra light hair colors are not flattering).
43. Smoky Roots and Platinum Silver Hair
No hair dye is needed, just a ton of toner and bleach, and a skilled hand, to achieve this bright shade of platinum silver, and to blend it into the roots seamlessly.
44. Platinum and Gunmetal Streaks
The contrasting of dark and light shades in this take on silver hair colors is very true to the superhero gray hair look, with the front fringe dyed platinum, and the rest of the hair dyed gunmetal gray.
45. Curly Silver Ombre
It’s so much fun to curl the bottom half of an ombre hairstyle, and enjoy not just the contrast between black and silver hair colors, but also the contrast between the straight and curly texture.
46. Curled Silver Ombre Balayage
This grey hairstyle is still high contrast, but by starting the silver a little higher at the front, this gray hair gets more of a balayage effect.
47. Luxurious True Silver Curls
It’s easy to tell that this gorgeous silver hair is a Guy Tang creation, with perfect color, expert root fate, and the most lush curls possible.
48. Silver Baby Doll
The cutesy twist of long side-swept bangs, when paired with silver hair colors, makes for a pleasantly surprising look, putting youthful styling against more mature colors.
49. Luscious Silver and Black Balayage
This incredible balayage switches from black to silver hair colors in a subtle way that creates a ton of texture and dimension, so it would look good at any length, but when the hair is this thick and long? The effect is totally magnificent.
50. Blue Steel Long Bob Balayage
Black and steel grey hair colors go almost strand for strand in this balayage look, which creates a beautiful blend of colors in this curly long bob.
51. Stun Gun Balayage
This semi wavy styling is a perfect accompaniment to a stunning mix of ash and blue grey hair colors, with a prerequisite darker root color for dimension.
Photos via Instagram