A Guide for Transitioning to Gray Hair, According to Pro Colorists

Everything you need to know about transitioning to gray hair, from process and maintenance to capturing the Anne Bancroft brand of silver fox.

Between the global pandemic hindering visits to the hair salon and a seismic shift in the culture, many women are contemplating transitioning to gray hair instead of concealing it. “The lockdown definitely helped encourage women,” says Jack Martin, the go-to colorist for seamless gray hair transitions, of silver strands being idolized rather than stigmatized. “Usually once a woman sees a little gray, they head straight to the salon. But while quarantining at home, they grew it out and it gave them a chance to realize how beautiful their natural roots are.”

While beauty ideals are evolving, the fact remains that the cultural obsession with youth means that many women find themselves considering the social implications of going gray, rather than just their own volition. “Sometimes women are nervous of this transformation,” admits Martin, whose most famous silver-haired clients include Jane Fonda and Andie Macdowell. “It’s a big, new thing and they might be going against people around them with people saying, ‘Are you crazy? Why do you want to look old?’” As Macdowell told Vogue earlier this year, that was the case for her while navigating her acting career in Hollywood in her early 60s. But it didn’t stop her from joining the burgeoning gray-hair movement—and as the excitement around her salt-and-pepper strands indicates, trusting her intuition and embracing the natural aging process of her hair has paid dividends.

“At first, I was so cautious because I didn’t want anybody to be upset [...] but then once I did it, it was just so clear to me that my instincts were right because I’ve never felt more powerful,” explained Macdowell of going gray. “I feel more honest. I feel like I’m not pretending. I feel like I’m embracing right where I am. I feel really comfortable. And in a lot of ways, I think it’s more striking on my face. I just feel like it suits me.”

Clients and colorists alike are enjoying this sea change. “To let go and fully love yourself naturally is one of the most freeing feelings ever,” says celebrity colorist Matt Rez. “Listen, I’m a hair colorist and I make my living by battling nature’s work all day, but what I love most about my job is finding ways to enhance what’s there already. That’s what looks best by nature’s plan.”

This story originally appeared on: Vogue - Author:Lauren Valenti