Dealing With Gray Hair (And When to Color It)

To dye, or not to dye? For many men and women who spot their first gray, that is the question. If your first instinct is to scream, pluck, or pick up box dye in a panic, we can’t say we blame you; however, we also don’t want you to do anything drastic in a fleeting state of distress. So before you start searching for tweezers or routes to the nearest drug store, take a deep breath and consider these alternatives.


Seize the gray

Peppered locks are nothing to be ashamed of. With proper care, mature strands look polished, healthy, and marbled­—a look that many crave. However, if these shiny strands start to look dull, dry, or discolored, it’s likely due to product buildup. With routine use, shampoos, gels, and serums can build up over time. This accumulated product coats each strand, preventing necessary moisture, oils, and nutrients from reaching and benefiting your hair, thus draining it of color and leaving behind a yellowish hue. A Malibu conditioning treatment, with its patented blend of antioxidant vitamin crystals, gently strips strands of malicious mineral deposits, buildup, and other impurities that coat and dull your hair. For best results, treat your hair to this service every 6-9 weeks, or follow up between treatments at home with Total Results So Silver Shampoo to extend that sparkly shine.

Hair model with a sport coat
Don't panic at the sight of your first gray. There are a few courses of action you can take­—and your SmartStyle stylist can help.
Hair model with a sweather shawl jacket
Beautiful all-over color is one of the most popular ways to eliminate the gray.

Aging in disguise

Want to manage the gray the natural-looking way? Ease into your age with style, grace, and well-placed coloring. Color camouflage is a great, low-maintenance way to slow your transition while still looking age-appropriate and natural. Ask your stylist to add highlights and lowlights at your next visit to add dimension for a great disguise.


Blend in or strand out

Wishing for the hair that was? Tell your stylist to blend out the gray and bring in natural color—they’ll tint your gray strands with a demi-permanent shade that fits your natural hue. Gray blending is a moderately low-maintenance coloring service that's the most natural-looking way rewind your look. It's an excellent option for both men and women.


Duck and color

Maybe silver strands aren’t for you. Maybe you’re looking for full-coverage color, or perhaps, a whole new hue. Whatever your reason, an all-over treatment may be what’s best for you. Ask your stylist about the spectrum of available tones, and discuss any trends you’d like to try. Though a bit more maintenance than alternative options, full-coverage color can be a fantastically fun way to cover your gray.

To minimize upkeep and washout between visits, stay on the lighter side of the spectrum, and be sure to keep up with at-home care using color-preserving products like Biolage Colorlast Color-Safe Shampoo and Conditioner. This two-step product combination will help protect and prevent your new color from fading, and leave your hair with lasting shine.


So take a deep breath.

Don’t let dull grays darken your day. And whatever you do, drop the DIY dye. Whether you’re seeking full-coverage color, or just embracing your natural-gray shine, our professional stylists will help you comb through your options to find a budget-friendly treatment that works for you. Stop by your local SmartStyle salon with questions in mind and photos in hand—we’ll make your gray look great, together.

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