What Colors Look Best with Gray Hair?
Are you curious about what colors look best with gray hair? Read on for some tips and inspiration!
Before I decided to transition, I really worried about how my pale skin would look with gray hair.
I have lost a lot of color in my face as I’ve gotten older, and I pictured myself melting away into nothingness if I had white hair, white skin, white lips…all that would be left would be dark eyebrows floating in mid-air, like an even weirder version of the Cheshire Cat!
I should have known better. Mother Nature is one smart cookie and she knew what she was doing when she blessed people with silver hair. The silvers have brightened up my complexion considerably!
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But a strange thing happened….
Since my hair dye has faded, and my gray roots take up about 1/3 of my head, I find that I can no longer wear neutral colors (like taupe or beige) next to my face.
When I wear them, it’s like the life has gone out of my face – all the color is gone. I start fading away, as I had feared. But when I wear bright colors like hot pink or red, I look vibrant!
This got me wondering about what colors look best with gray hair. So I’ve spent the past few weeks reading all about it online and in books like Anne Kreamer’s “Going Gray.”
WHY AND HOW TO FIND YOUR UNDERTONE
There is a general consensus that bright, “jewel-like” colors are best with gray hair and that silver sisters should avoid warm (autumn-like) tones.
But I find that a bit simplistic. After all, we all have different skin tones, so it’s not JUST the color of our hair that affects how we look in colors, it’s also the undertones in our skin.
Here’s a great way to find out if you have a cool or warm undertone:
Look at the inside of your wrist.from Silver-Style-Life
Do your veins look blue or green?
If they look more on the blue side, you are likely to be cool toned.
If they are more on the green side, you are likely to be warm toned (because blue veins underneath a yellowish skin tone make the veins look green.)
What were you- cool or warm?
Now find a piece of jewelry, one in silver and another in gold?
What looks best next to your skin?
One is likely to look cheap and the other will look expensive and lovely. Do you get more compliments when you wear silver or gold jewelry?
If you suit gold, you are more likely to be warm and if you suit silver, you are more likely to be cool.
If you really want to dive into it, you can have your colors analyzed by a professional color consultant.
Back in the 1980s, when Color Me a Season was a Big Deal, I had my colors done and found out that, with my pale skin with pink undertones and with my dark brunette hair, I was a “Winter.”
This meant that I would look great in “jewel-like” tones like sapphire blue, ruby red, and emerald green. (Being a rebellious teenager in the mid-1980s, and an art student in the late 1980s/early 1990s, I, of course, ditched those colors and only wore black. For freakin’ decades!)
Since going silver, I have finally started embracing the jewel-like colors the experts recommended to me, and WOW – they do make my silver hair sparklier and my complexion brighter!
And even if I do wear taupe or beige, as long as I wear bright lipstick – I stop fading away!
POPULAR COLORS TO WEAR WITH GRAY HAIR
Let’s take a peek at some of my silver sisters who were kind enough to share their photos with me and see how great they look in various colors (whether clothing, lipstick, or jewelry).
Please note that the colors represented below turned up most often in their Instagram posts, so that does tell us that women with gray hair seem to gravitate towards these colors in particular.
Pink is one of those colors that works really beautifully with gray hair. Hot pink, dusky rose, light pink – try them out and see how you like them!
Violet, plum, aubergine… there are a number of variations to try!
Sapphire blue looks especially striking with white or gray hair, but navy, light, and bright blue are also very lovely.
What color makes more of a statement than red? Whether it’s red clothing, red glasses frames, or red lipstick, give it a shot!
I don’t know about you, but I LOVE gray hair with gray, charcoal or black clothing. I think it’s striking!
Nobody can beat Monique Parent for looking gorgeous in green (or in any color – she is a knockout)!
This is not a color that is supposed to complement gray, but I love the way these ladies look in it!
ADVICE FOR WOMEN WITH WARM SKIN TONES AND GRAY HAIR
Many warm-toned women have written to me and explained that their gray hair has profoundly changed their relationship to color. The colors that they wore before (the “Autumn” palette) no longer looked great on them since they went gray.
Carole Jackson, founder of Color Me Beautiful offers this advice in her Letter to Gray-Haired Autumns:
Dear Silver or Gray-Haired Autumn,Carole Jackson, Letter to Gray-Haired Autumns
If you choose not to color your hair in favor of letting it stay natural, you will find that a few of your Autumn colors may not look as harmonious as they were with your brown, dark blonde or red hair. Guess what! You may now add some Winter and Spring colors to make up for the colors you eliminate.
Eliminate Beige, Mustard, Pumpkin and any color near your face that you feel does not look great with your hair. You may add the colors listed below as guidelines for additional colors.
Be sure you wear lipstick colors that are a tad brighter or deeper than before since gray hair has less contrast with your skin and you don’t want to look “washed out”.
The colors below will be complemented by your normal Autumn makeup. You may now add lip and cheek colors in Mocha, Salmon and Brown-Burgundy.
If your hair is silver, white, or mostly gray, you will find that silver or pewter jewelry will now look great. In fact, your gold earrings may clash with your hair. Two-tone gray hair (with lots of brown or red still mixed in) can wear gold or silver. Earrings of mixed gold and silver are a good investment as silver will pick up the new tones in your hair, while the gold allows you to wear gold bracelets, buttons or other gold accessories. Enjoy the new you!
Terry suggests trying muted or darker tones (darker blue, darker red, etc.) if you are a warm-toned silver sister:
EXPERIMENT WITH COLOR
It’s all a bit confusing, as they say that hair color shouldn’t affect your clothing choices as much as skin tone, but in some cases, it apparently can, judging by the volume of mail I receive on the subject of warm skin tones/gray hair!
What if you hate restrictions or rules and just want to wear whatever color suits your mood, whatever your undertone or hair color? Go for it!
I don’t believe in restricting yourself. My only advice on color would be to hold colors up against your face and see how your skin reacts to that color. Have fun and experiment!
Marci did a great color experiment using bandanas. These little bursts of color really complement her silver hair!
Let’s all try a little experiment and add some new colors into our wardrobe and see how they work with our silver (or transitioning to silver) hair.
I’m planning to do more posts on this topic, so if you have any specific questions on color that you’d like me to address, please comment below. You can also follow my new Pinterest board, Colors to Wear with Gray Hair.
Please do me a favor and share this post to social media, as it helps me grow my audience and spread the word about our Silver Revolution! And remember to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and Pinterest Feed for more gray hair tips and product recommendations. Thanks!
All of the Instagram and other photos on this site are used with permission.
Check out my shop on Amazon for all your gray hair needs:
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Did you enjoy this post? If so, you might also like:
Lipstick Love Affair
How to Make Your Cold Turkey Gray Hair Transition Fun
To Hell with Going Gray Gracefully!
What Does It Mean to Be a Silver Sister?
Katie is the founder of Katie Goes Platinum. After constantly dyeing her hair for over 25 years, in 2018 Katie decided to stop the madness and embrace the gray. Since then, she’s been sharing her favorite gray hair tips, resources, and stories to empower women to feel beautiful during and after their transition to gray hair.