The Many Shades of Gray


By contributing writer Elyse Bradley

Glenn Close. Kate Moss. Helen Mirren. Nicole Richie. Joni Mitchell. Rihanna. These stylish women have all rocked gray hair, whether inspired by high fashion or simply a belief that the gray, white and salt-and-pepper shades that come with age deserve to be triumphed, not hidden.

We caught up with two Kansas City stylists to talk about the proper way to go gray.

Stylist: Arlen Wickstrum, Skyline Downtown Salon

Tips for women who want to transition to their natural gray hair color:

• Work with your stylist to identify a “bridge” hair color. This should be based on where you are now and the color you’re moving toward.

• Expect a series of lightening color applications or a professional color remover. Bleach may be involved (color does not lift color). If it is, make sure to pair it with a hair-strengthening product like Olaplex—which is what Kim Kardashian West used when going from dark to super light earlier this year.

• Be prepared to buy new products. Oribe Bright Blonde shampoo and conditioner will ward off brassy tones and a leave-in like Oribe Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil will smooth shocked tresses through the transformation.

Stylist: Rusty Phillips, Belle Epoque

Tips for women who want to dye their hair gray:

• I always recommend having this type of coloring process done in a salon. The types of products that are used to make hair blonde can sometimes be quite harsh, and if not used properly will cause breakage.

• As you’re lightening your hair and when you’ve made it to gray, make sure to maintain the color by having it touched up regularly.

• When lightening your hair, make sure to use good products for at-home maintenance. I recommend TIGI Bedhead “Dumb Blonde” shampoo and conditioner. It is formulated for hair that has been prelightened, and the conditioner has nourishing ingredients that helps to maintain the integrity of the hair as well as the color.