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50 Cool Gray Hairstyles Anyone Can Pull Off

Linda Rodin
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At some point in our lives, many of us will experience that natural transition to gray hair. While some women may choose to color their hair, others go the route of embracing their natural hue. The latter can be a truly liberating decision and allows you to explore a brand new color. In our opinion, gray is just as beautiful and complex as any other shade, and a natural gray simply can't be replicated with dye (though we do love the look of platinum or silver hair as well).

To find out all there is to know about this trending color, we tapped hair and color professionals Denis De Souza, Nikki Lee, and Millie Morales for their expert advice. Whether you want to liven up your natural gray, emphasize some subtle streaks, or experiment with the shade artificially, we've rounded up our favorite gray hairstyles—complete with pro tips—to inspire you.

Choosing a Shade: When deciding to go gray, check your skin and undertone colors. Also, determine the level of gray hair you want to achieve based upon your skin tone.

Maintenance Level: Low to high. It will be less maintenance if you have more natural gray hair color and also light natural hair color.

Goes Great With: Anyone who can handle cool tones.

Similar Shades: Platinum, silver, and mushroom blonde

Price: $200 and up. This will cost more than most colors would because you have to start with bleaching the hair and then follow with coloring.

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Jourdan Dunn

Jordan Dunn

 Getty Images

The contrast of steel gray and black hair here creates a rich and versatile look. It's such a youthful way to go gray, but be warned: A look like this can be "very high maintenance because you have to bleach out the hair first," notes Nikki Lee, celebrity colorist and co-owner of Los Angeles-based Nine Zero One salon.

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Stacy London

Stacy London

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Stacy London has proudly sported her classic gray streak since she was a child. The fact that gray often comes in streaky is something that you can totally work into your style—almost like highlights. Whether it's natural or added with dyes, the subtle touch of color (or lack thereof) can work to frame your face and enhance your everyday look.

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Kelly Hu

Kelly Hu

Rachel Luna / Getty Images 

Kelly Hu's wispy grays add a certain playfulness to her long, dark locks. They also work to beautifully highlight and frame her face.

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Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman

Gregg DeGuire / FilmMagic / Getty Images

"Morgan Freeman shows off the beautiful contrast of his skin color and his gray hair and beard," says Denis De Souza, celebrity colorist at Mare Salon in Los Angeles. It lends a natural sophistication and harmony to his look.

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Kate Moss

gray highlights

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Hints of gray can be very flattering, something that Kate Moss effortlessly illustrates. While the rest of her hair may be a buttery blonde, she chooses to leave some natural gray streaks, an unexpected pop of color that really works here.

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Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol

Darlene Hammond / Getty Images


"Andy Warhol was known for his colorful pop art, but colorless hair. His gray/platinum piecey shagged hair is timeless, just like his art," says De Souza. 

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Cynthia Erivo

gray pixie

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Gray hair on a close crop is another beautiful look, especially when it's accompanied by natural texture. While this look on Cynthia Erivo at the 2020 Golden Globes is enhanced with platinum dye, a naturally full-gray short cut would look just as stunning.

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Ariana Grande

Give your gray strands added body and volume with a little help from a curling wand. To bring out and enhance hair's shine, work an oil from mid-lengths to ends.

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Blythe Danner

Blythe Danner

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For blondes, going gray can be a more subtle endeavor. Many women who are almost all-gray choose to color their hair blonde or get blonde highlights. Blonde blends in better with the all-gray growth as the crown and roots grow in.

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JoAni Johnson

JoAni Johnson

Mike Pont / Getty Images  

Long, silvery gray hair, when worn right, can be some of the most striking hair you will encounter. It imparts a certain elegance but can be fun and youthful at the same time.

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Lucy Boynton

Lucy Boynton revealed a dusty blue bob at the Met Gala and gave us serious ice queen vibes—in a good way. She achieved the color through a color rinse, which is a fancy way of saying a hair tint or really, just a non-permanent way to color your hair. Easy peasy.

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Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie Lee Curtis
Frazer Harrison for Getty

Jamie Lee Curtis wears her gray pixie like a glove. It's low-maintenance meets sophisticated—with a side of edge.

Grays hairs can sometimes grow in with a wiry texture. But using a color shampoo or rinsing hair with apple cider vinegar once a week can help to keep product build-up at a minimum and strengthen weakened strands.

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Cicely Tyson

Cicely Tyson

Steve Granitz / WireImage 

Cicely Tyson's blunt bob replete with glistening grays is stunning—not to mention, it even matches her dazzling outfit. Interestingly, when you go gray, your eyebrows can too, which can make them look a little thin; however, here, Tyson's brows are on point. To get her look, you can either dye your brows to match your former base color or go a bit darker than your hair. The alternative is to use an eyebrow gel, like Hourglass's Arch Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel ($28), to fill in sparse areas and darken a light brow.

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Silver Mauve

Brit model Iskra Lawrence dyed her blond mane a shade of stunning silver-gray for a campaign. The silver mauve color comes courtesy of L'Oréal Colorista permanent hair dye.

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Rihanna


"Rihanna added gray highlights that blend in with her natural color letting her have a taste of the gray without going full-on," says De Souza. He adds, "To achieve the silver ribbons all over her hair I would use a natural level 4. Her colorist likely highlighted her with bleach and toned her with a fashion teal tone. It gives you a taste without going for it completely."

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Chelito Villaflor

"Chelito Villaflor, beauty director for Materiae, looks very 60s mod. His hair cut is inspired by an original Vidal Sassoon cut and gives him a strong statement look," notes De Souza.

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Diane Keaton

Diane Keaton

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The long bob is a flattering look for gray hair, which lends it dimension. In fact, shoulder-length cuts are probably the most flattering hairstyle in general. Here, "Diane Keaton isn’t afraid to wear her gray locks long. Her hair is shiny and looks perfect with her fun style," says De Souza.

For this look, ask your colorist to add a few different shades to your natural hair. Traditional foil highlights will add gorgeous streaks, and you can also have them paint in highlights and lowlights to give the illusion of more volume. It's a great trick for straight, thin hair.

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Helen Hunt

Helen Hunt hair

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Helen Hunt's dirty ash blonde hair is the perfect base color for transitioning to gray as there isn't a stark contrast if you're trying to subtly introduce the silver. If you're looking to make the switch to your natural gray color, "start doing highlights only and stop doing single process bases, recommends Lee.

To keep gray hair (dyed or natural) from turning yellow—an effect of exposure to the sun, hard water, and other environmental factors—wash hair twice a week for 10 minutes using a color-correcting violet shampoo. This will neutralize the yellow.

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Tan France

Tan France

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images 

Tan France looks dapper with this signature gray coif. To replicate his look, blow-dry hair and follow with a light application of oil which will moisturize and add some shine to your strands. Finish off with a little pomade to style and shape.

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Ciara

Ciara silver hair

Venturelli / FilmMagic / Getty Images 

Another Met Gala look, Ciara's silver-gray wig is retro-chic. The metal hairpins make for a nice camouflaged accessory.

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Kelly Osbourne

Kelly Osbourne

 

Karwai Tang/Getty Images

One way to funk up gray hair is to add a tinge of purple. We love the lilac overlay coloring Kelly Osbourne's structured chin-length bob.

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Linda Rodin

When musing over Linda Rodin, De Souza admits, "nobody has ever matched perfect hair coloring with their dog like she [has]. This fashion/beauty icon looks amazing with her hair styled up and back away from her beautiful face." We couldn't have said it better ourselves. 

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Nicole Richie

Nichole Richie gray hair

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Nicole Richie rocked this look at none other than the Met Gala. Her teased white-gray hair with a tinge of blue is electrifying. If your skin's undertones fall under the olive, yellow, or orange category, consider opting for more neutral gray hair colors rather than going full-on silver.

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Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren gray bob

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Quite a classy look, it's hard to beat a sleek bob with gray hair. "Helen Mirren looks soft and youthful with this beautiful shade of beigey gray and swoop bangs with her short bob," says De Souza. If your hair is naturally straight, a bob like Helen Mirren's is definitely a look to consider.

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Lisa Lu

Lisa Lu gray pixie

Sean Gallup / Getty Images 

If you've been covering your gray, the trick is deciding when to go natural. Keep in mind that you will likely have to endure a period of six to 12 months that might look a little funky as your new natural hair grows in. As Garnier colorist Millie Morales suggests, you can cut your hair short. Lisa Lu looks stunning with her pixie, but if this look is too short for you, she also suggests slowly cutting off as much of the previously colored hair as possible so the new growth blends in more quickly.

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Idris Elba

Idris Elba

Bruce Glikas / FilmMagic 

Idris Elba has some of the most distinguished facial hair we've ever seen. Perfectly styled and trimmed, his beard's gray hairs make him even more devastatingly handsome—if that's even possible.

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Nafessa Williams

Nafessa Williams

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images 

This metallic-gray bob on Nafessa Williams is fierce. The silver color certainly works beautifully with her warm skin tone and we're loving how it brings out the texture of her wavy hair.

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Pink

Pink

JB Lacroix / WireImage / Getty Images

"Pink looks beautiful with this cut and gray hair that shows off her beautiful face," says De Souza. And we too have to admit that this pompadour-pixie hits all the right notes—pun intended.

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Cardi B

Cardi B gray hair

Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images 

The silver pearl color of Cardi B's shoulder-length cut is gorgeous and works best on pre-lightened hair. Brunettes will have to work harder to achieve the color by first pre-lightening hair and then toning.

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Emma Thompson

Emma Thompson

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Unlike warm colors (think: like reds, browns, and blondes), gray is a cool color, meaning, it can wash out your skin tone. To compensate, consider getting highlights or lowlights along the sides of your face to help make your face pop and to give your hair dimension. Balayage is often preferred over foil highlights for gray, especially if you want a subtle, natural look.

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Ruby Dee

Ruby Dee

 Michael Stewart / WireImage / Getty Images

For those with thin hair, a pixie cut can be your best friend. While longer hair can make thin strands seem even thinner, shorter hairdos can play up volume and texture. Ruby Dee's natural gray pixie is practical and posh.

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Linda Fargo

Linda Fargo gray bob

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"Linda Fargo is another fashion Icon. Her beautiful white hair cut and styled perfectly in an asymmetrical bob doesn’t show a single fly away," says De Souza. Although it would look great curled too, by styling her bob straight, she brings attention to the asymmetry of her cut.

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Amandla Stenberg

Amanda Stenberg gray, crimped hair

Steve Granitz / WireImage / Getty Images 

Amandla Stenberg wears gray well on her textured strands. To replicate her style, try using Amika High Tide Deep Wave Hair Crimper ($90) which works on hair of all types and textures. Her deep side-part serves to elongate and balance her facial features.

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Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brosnan

Leon Bennett / WireImage

"Pierce Brosnan—what a handsome fella—his hair and beard match perfectly and give him the ultimate distinguished look," says De Souza. His look is just as we would imagine a former James Bond to age, that is, with the utmost grace.

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Tamara Mowry

Tamara Mowry lets her gray hairs grow in for a chic salt-and-pepper look. By leaving your roots gray, you won't have to worry about frequent touch-ups.

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Cara Delevigne

Cara Delevingne braided bob

 Marc Piasecki / GC Images / Getty Images

"Cara Delevingne gives us a modern twist to this traditional bob done by my talented partner at Mare Salon, Mara Roszak," says De Souza. He adds, "For Cara, I would start at a level 6/7 to achieve this look. Cara was bleached all the way from roots to ends and toned with a silver toner to cut through any brassy tones. Love her and her rad style!" 

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Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda


Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

 

Jane Fonda's cool-toned silver hair transformation is fresh and modern at any age. Her bangs add extra impact to her otherwise sophisticated pixie.

If you're coloring your own hair, consider using a paintbrush or professional brush to apply color rather than a nozzle which isn't going to have the same force or breadth.

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Zosia Mamet

Zosia Mamet

 

Chance Yeh/Getty Images

Back in her Girls days, actor Zosia Mamet was known for rocking a blue-ish shade of granny gray. It just goes to show that there's no one way to go gray, whether you're dying your locks or letting your natural color grow.

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Dascha Polanco

Dascha Polanco


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Hair chameleon Dascha Polanco has gone gray quite a few times. One of our favorite iterations is this many-hued ponytail with long fringy bangs. Dark roots filter down to gray with a twinge of pink at the ends.

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Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg dreads

Paul Morigi / WireImage 

Whoopi Goldberg's natural grays weave their way organically into her dreadlocks. The varying lengths of her dreads keep her look more playful and youthful.

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Judy Dench

Judy Dench gray pixie

Piyal Hosain / Fotos International / Getty Images

"Judy Dench is just so awesome, she truly rocks this short and piecey hair and super short bang that frame her face beautifully," says De Souza.

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Lily Tomlin

Lily Tomlin

Tommaso Boddi / Getty Images

Lily Tomlin's scattered grays naturally highlight her dark strands. Coupled with her soft curls, the gray color works well in texturizing her hair.

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Winnie Harlow

Winnie Harlow

Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images 

Winnie Harlow's long, gray mane is simple, yet stunning. The contrast of her dark roots makes the gray color even more impactful.

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Carmen Dell'Orefice

Carmen Dell'Orefice

Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Getty Images 

"Carmen Dell’Orefice is a fashion model icon that never stopped working," says De Souza. Plus, "Hair off her face shows her stunning bone structure."

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Sharon Osbourne

"Sharon Osbourne got rid of her signature red hair color and totally embraced her natural, beautiful gray color but kept her hairstyle pretty much how she’s always had it. I just loved this transition," says De Souza. 

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Sevyn Streeter

Sevyn Streeter gray hair

Leon Bennett / WireImage / Getty Images

Sevyn Streeter achieved this lovely gray look with the help of a wig. The long, wavy length proves that when it comes to gray, more is more.

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Mel B

Mel B gray hair

Amanda Edwards / WireImage / Getty Images 

Former Spice Girl Mel B nails the glam rock look here. Playing with color and texture gives way to a contemporary interpretation of the more traditional pixie.

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Caroline Labouchere

One way to embrace the transition to gray is with an ombre look. Natural grays at the root blend into colored strands for a beautiful color melt of sorts.

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George Clooney

George Clooney gray hair and beard

Karwai Tang / WireImage / Getty Images

"George Clooney is an all-American man that looks classic, yet very sexy with his hair a bit longer on the top, parted on the side but short on the sides almost the same length as his beard," says De Souza. 

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Dilone

Dilone gray pixie

Peter White / Getty Images

Dilone keeps it interesting with her silver-gray buzzcut. While it's not for the faint of heart, this color and style combo sure make a statement. To add texture and shine, just apply a dime-sized amount of pomade and work through hair from back to front.

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