If you've been coloring your gray hair for years, you know well the routine of touching up roots or recoloring every 6 weeks. You may periodically decide to stop coloring and just go gray, only to lose your resolve when those roots begin to show. While your gray grows out, you can ease the transition and keep your hair healthy and good-looking.
Let Your Roots Grow Out
Wait until your natural color is about 40 to 50 percent gray before letting it grow out, then grow the roots out to at least an inch or longer. Hair grows about 1/2 inch a month, so you'll just have to resign yourself to having a contrast between gray roots and colored hair for a few months. Wear a hat or bandana to hide it. Or just come clean with everybody in that you're going gray.
You may be tempted to use a semi-permanent coloring on your hair, thinking it will fade away eventually to reveal your grown-out gray. The problem is that your gray roots may not absorb the coloring the same way your colored hair will, and you'll still be stuck with a contrast. A better choice is lowlighting.
After you've grown your roots out an inch or more, ease into gray by having your hairdresser lowlight your hair. Lowlights are usually several shades darker than your natural color. Like highlighting, lowlighting is done by a hair colorist, who applies color to strands of hair and wraps them in foil. Lowlighting may also be done at home or at a salon by painting strands of hair with color. The result is that some strands of hair are colored and some gray, visually breaking up the line between the roots and your previously colored hair.
Cut and Style
After lowlighting, trimming your hair will eliminate some of your colored hair and give you a little lift. You may also want to lowlight again to keep the gray and old color blended. Regularly get a cut to maintain your look. Every time you cut off some of the old colored hair, you'll be reminded that you're making progress toward growing in your natural gray. Within 6 months to a year, you'll be sporting beautiful silver, salt and pepper or white hair, and you can let the lowlights grow out.