Lowlights information at iVillage Beauty & Style

I'm tired of dyeing my hair and want to go to my natural gray hair. But I'm also afraid it will age me. Any advice for going gray gracefully?

Have you noticed the growing number of gorgeous gray-haired models gracing ads for everything from L'Oréal to Banana Republic? Going gray can be very chic, and more women than ever are deciding to embrace it and put their coloring days behind them. Before you decide to go gray, though, you'll need to examine your roots to assess how much gray you have. It's best to be at least 40 percent gray before you stop coloring your hair. Less than that and the contrasting colors and textures could create a straggly or unkempt look.

Once you decide to take the plunge, remember that this will be a long process, so be patient. You won't have a head of silvery hair overnight, but in time you'll achieve a beautiful new look.

My first recommendation is to cut your hair as short as you comfortably can to eliminate the old color. Bringing the bottom up will make the growing out process much easier. Once your hair is gray all over, I wouldn't let it get longer than chin-length anyway. A blunt, chin-length cut with clean lines will keep your look stylish and fresh and your hair healthy.

Whether you have been using single-process color or highlights to cover your gray, I recommend weaving in some lowlights as you begin the growing out process. Lowlights that are a few shades deeper than your base color will effectively de-emphasize your roots as the gray starts growing in. Then you can slowly grow out the single process color and highlights and phase out the lowlights last.

Once you're allover gray, you'll need to take special care of your new hair. Gray hair is very sensitive to the elements. When it gets too long, it can yellow at the ends as it reacts with free radicals in the environment. There are shampoos specifically formulated for gray hair that help eliminate dulling yellow tones. They can be drying, though, so alternate with a moisturizing shampoo.

In addition, you should always deep condition once a week to keep your hair soft and silky. In terms of styling, avoid alcohol- or silicone-based styling products because they will dry out your hair. A little bit of gel will do the trick to smooth out your look and calm any flyaways.


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