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How to Transition Your Colored Hair to Natural Gray

By Sandra Roussy January 20, 2023 Makeup and Fashion

Have you decided to let your natural gray hair grow out? Do you want to stop coloring your hair and embrace your grays? Unless you never dyed your hair in your life and/or your gray hair came in slowly over the span of years, you will have to deal with some type of transition. It isn’t always graceful and that’s why I asked some specialists who have professional advice for us who are thinking at letting our beautiful grays see the light of day.

During the pandemic and lockdowns, after several months of not seeing my hair colorist, I thought it would probably be a good time to let my gray hair grow out naturally. Unfortunately, I chickened out and ran to my colorist as soon as I could at the end of 2020.

When the world opened up and I started seeing friends again, I was blown away at how many of my women friends were now fully gray or salt-and-pepper.

The aging factor of letting our gray hair grow out is personally my main concern. I don’t know why, when I look at my beautiful friends, I think they look confident and stunning, and then, when I think of myself with gray hair, I think I will look 20 years older. One thing that the hair professionals say is that we have to be fully ready to embrace the change.

Tips and Tricks to Transition Colored Hair to Gray

Here are some tips and some useful advice from the pros themselves on how to do this transition successfully with confidence and as subtly as possible.

Watson Anthony is a professional hairdresser and the editor-in-chief for Hairstyle Camp. He shares with us his expert insight on how to transition from colored hair to gray hair.

Try Fun Updos

Watson states that the beginning phases of growing out your gray hair can be tough for some people as they are trying to embrace their natural color. “Learning how to create fun up-dos can help to make your gray hair feel more incorporated into your colored hair, and can also help to make you feel confident.”


Lowlights and Highlights

He recommends that, if you want to take this journey more slowly, you ask your hairdresser for some lowlights and highlights that can help to soften the transition of your colored hair to gray. “This can help when trying to grow it out, as it will be less of a contrast.”

Go for a Shorter Hairstyle

Cutting off a lot of your hair can help to make going gray a bit easier, Anthony says. “Opting for a shorter hairdo will help to make the contrast between your gray and colored hair less drastic, and it also helps to get to your goal faster of having all gray hair.”


Take Care of Your Hair

Watson Anthony reminds us that our hair still needs to be cared for during the transition to gray hair. “You want to use products that will help to keep your hair nourished and avoid constant use of hot styling tools. Look for ingredients with shea butter or argan oil to keep your hair shiny and healthy.”


According to hair professionals who follow trends and innovations, the best way to go gray is by matching your colored hair to your natural gray in a type of gradient. It also warrants fast results.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Are you thinking of growing out your beautiful gray hair? Have you done it and do you have any advice for our readers? What is your experience with transitioning from colored hair to gray hair? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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I had raven black hair. I coloured it for years when the grey started to show up. I used darkest brown because the black didn’t look real to me. It covered that natural reds and blue that black hair has. Anyway, when I decided to go grey, for reasons of animal testing and the environment, I did it in stages. I did not use premanent dyes. I used 28 day dyes that fade and wash out. I went to medium brown for a few months. No one noticed. Then I went to a lighter brown for a few months. Again, no one knew exept those who knew what I was doing noticed. Next it was darkest blonde, to medium, to light blonde. By the time it was light blonde, it barely covered my grey and because there was no peroxide, it didn’t alter the black that was left. I transitioned slowly and mostly not one noticed. Now my hair is shimmering silver but I have some black left, especially at the back. A hair dresser friend once told me to keep my beautiful silver from turning yellow, to used a purple shampoo about once every two weeks. People always comment on how beaufiful my hairs is and wish they could allow their grey to win. I always share this slow but easy proccess. Another way to rock the grey is to keep your eyebrows dark – with a pencil not dye. Good luck and go for it. The world needs more grey haired beauties!

Last edited 1 year ago by Aine

My white hair was getting impossible to color (red) burned my scalp, took forever and grew out a white stripe in week. As soon as my stripe was an inch of so, I had is buzzed and walked out of salon feeling sassy and ten times taller! It is what it is and I love it this short.

Patricia Ann Powell

Very cute! Looks natural and flattering.

Cynthia Stern

Make sure you get a GOOD cut that doesn’t make you look older. You don’t have to get a short cut just because you’re older. Also condition and then use products to help maintain it


This is a tough one. I’ve tried to grow out my Grey. The problem is that I have shades of white, mousy brown, strawberry blonde, and the indescribable filling in the rest. If my hair were to grow in platinum as it is on top there would be no cause for concern. I’ve been coloring my hair since 14 years old. The finiancial cost is ridiculous and the upkeep every 5 or 6 weeks costs time, so money and time are wasted trying to stay somewhat looking decent while still working in the public eye. At some point I’ll have the courage to let it go. But for now I’m trying to find creative ways to stay somewhat stylish and avoid “frumpery” while still in the workplace. Ageismnis alive and well, no need to shine a halo on my head.


My natural hair is pure white and I get it colored every 3 weeks because it grows so fast. My hairdresser and I have talked a lot about how I will transition when I am ready…. not an easy topic! I like the idea of the gradient and that is not one that we have discussed. Until I’m ready, I’ll just go in for my regular touch-ups and keep my fiery red! Can’t wait to hear stories of those that have completed the task!

Donalee Davis

Just before I turned 80, I stopped being a red-head. Took about 6 months to the grey. Now it is more silver-white. Looks great. My husband loves it.

The Author

Sandra is the middle-aged woman you hear about who sheds everything she owns and sets out into the world to rediscover and redefine herself. After more than twenty years spent in the fashion industry designing collections for brands such as La Senza, Victoria’s Secret, and JACOB Lingerie, she shifted her path and pursued her longtime passion for writing, traveling, and photography. Sandra was published in the NY Times best selling book Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It. A deeply personal essay hand-picked by Elizabeth Gilbert about loss, facing fears, and going after dreams. Visit her website:

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