Gray Hair Blog / October 25, 2020

50+ Gorgeous Long Gray Hair Photos to Inspire You

Inside: Long gray hair inspiration, hairstyles & haircare tips!

When I was a little girl in the 1970s, I was dazzled by my sister’s godmother.  

She was beautiful and glamorous.  I couldn’t wait to grow up and be like her: slender, with platform shoes and long, feathered hair. 

My babysitters were the same: tall girls, with light-blue eyeshadow, thin eyebrows, and long Farrah Fawcett hair.  I always had short hair as a kid, so I was fascinated by their voluminous locks.

The 1970s were all about hair, and since I was little back then, it really imprinted on my brain that long hair was the epitome of beauty.

Now I’m 53, and sporting long hair, but it’s not the black hair I was born with. Instead, it’s gloriously gray!

image of katie emery blogger
New Haircut: Oct. 2020
image of side view of layered long grey hair
Lots of layers!
image of long gray haircut at salon
Back View

I stopped dyeing my hair in 2018 after 25+ years of coloring.  My natural hair is now silver on top and black underneath. You can’t get this color from a bottle, and I wish I hadn’t fought it for so long.  

It took me over 2 years to grow out the dye to shoulder length, but it was worth it – my hair is healthier than ever before, and I absolutely love the way it looks.

LONG GRAY HAIR IS GORGEOUS AT ANY AGE

Unfortunately, that old 1950’s mindset that a woman over 40 MUST have short hair is still going strong. 

And the majority of women over 40 dye their hair, so you can imagine the type of pushback women get when they decide to go gray with long hair. 

It doesn’t stop there: Young women are told they shouldn’t go gray because they’re too young, and older women are told they shouldn’t go gray because they’ll look older than their age.

And women of all ages who are growing out their gray hair get told that they must cut it or risk looking like a witch, or a crone, or Granny from “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

It’s time to throw out those outdated, sexist AND ageist notions and admit that women of any age can wear whatever hairstyle or hair color they so desire.

Check out the photos below and you’ll see how long, naturally silver hair is beautiful at any age!

Note: All of the Instagram and other photos on this site are used with permission. Please show your support to these awesome gray hair influencers by following them on social media. You’ll be inspired, I promise. ❤️

** Please Note:  This post contains affiliate links.  I only link to products that I personally like or that have been recommended to me by my silver sisters.  You can see my full policy here.**

LONG GRAY HAIRSTYLES

What’s so wonderful about long hair is that it’s so versatile.  You can wear it up, wear it down, wear it in braids, curl it or keep it straight.

STRAIGHT LONG GREY HAIR

Gray hair (or silver hair, which is my preferred term) looks gorgeous straight as that really shows off its shimmery, tinsel-like tones.

When you are thinking about growing out your grays, you may get told that your texture is going to change… that your hair will be coarse or wiry.

While that may be true for some women, in general, that’s just one of many gray hair myths. The majority of women I’ve spoken to are thrilled to find that their natural silver hair grows in smooth and shiny.

It’s a great bonus to ditching the dye!

Straight long silver hair is gorgeous on its own, but if you want to change things up a bit, think about adding layers or bangs:

LAYERED GRAY HAIRSTYLES

Some women find that their hair thins a bit as they get older. Layers are a great way to add volume and movement to thinning hair.

If your hair is thick, on the other hand, layers can remove weight.

Jin’s thick, long salt & pepper hair looks fantastic with this layered cut:

And Erica’s and Leigh’s layers provide movement and wave:

GRAY BANGS

Some of us have cowlicks in the middle of our forehead that make it difficult to get bangs to behave, but if you can make it work, gray bangs are a great look!

WAVY LONG GRAY HAIR

Sometimes it’s fun to wear your hair straight, and other times call for gorgeous long silver waves.

Make sure to check out the long gray hair tips at the end of this article to find a super-easy method of getting waves!

image of woman with long gray hair over 50
Victoria Marie, Producer/Director of “Gray Is The New Blonde

CURLY LONG GRAY HAIR

A lot of women find that, once they’ve ditched the dye, they also want to embrace their naturally curly hair.

Can you blame them? Look how gorgeous their naturally gray curls are!

Many silver sisters swear by the Curly Girl Method when they embrace their natural curls (or a modified version of it).

If your curls are coming out lifeless or frizzy, you can also check out this awesome course that helps you achieve gorgeous curls: Fabulous Curls Made Easy by Delilah Orphi.

LONG GRAY HAIR IN BRAIDS AND BUNS

If you’re dexterous, and have long enough hair, how about braids? There’s something super magical about silver braids, don’t you agree?

One cool bonus of braiding long white or gray hair (or putting it in a bun) is that our graying patterns are so unique, and these hairstyle’s really show off those patterns!

Carla, aka @silvergirlmx, sports an assortment of dazzling grey braids and buns on her Instagram channel. And she offers fantastic tutorials on YouTube if you want to try these yourself!

And @jjmua rocks an assortment of buns and updos on her Instagram channel:

LONG GREY HAIR AND GLASSES

Sometimes long hair can overwhelm your face a bit, so statement glasses really are a great way to draw attention to your eyes:

HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR LONG GRAY HAIR

Gray hair is not particularly high-maintenance, but there are things that you can do to help it look its best.

AIR DRY YOUR HAIR WHEN POSSIBLE

The most important thing you can do is to be very careful with heat products: flat irons, hot brushes, curling irons and blow dryers can turn gray hair yellow.   

To protect your hair from heat damage, try to air dry your hair when possible:

After showering, wrap your hair up in a t-shirt towel and leave it on for 10-15 minutes.  For extra shine, and to tame flyaways, add a little bit of hairdresser’s oil to your damp hair.

If you want to add some waves to your hair, try putting your damp hair up in space buns

Divide your damp hair into two sections, twist it into space buns, secure with bobby pins, and let it air dry for 2-3 hours.  Once your hair is relatively dry, remove the bobby pins, use your fingers to shake out your hair, and enjoy your beautiful waves!

Don’t have time to air dry your hair? No problem! 

USE HOT TOOLS WITH CAUTION

You can use hot tools, but you should still wrap your hair up in a turban or t-shirt towel for 10-15 minutes to try to get as much of the water out as possible.

Then, spray your beautiful gray locks with a thermal protectant and turn your hot tool to LOW to keep from damaging your natural silver hair.  

My favorite hot tool is the Revlon One-Step but I only use it on Low because it gets SUPER-HOT!  

USE PURPLE SHAMPOO – SPARINGLY

If, despite all precautions, you find that you do have unwanted yellow tones in your hair, you can always try a purple shampoo

Just try not to use purple shampoo more than once a week, as it can be very drying.  Always follow-up with a deep conditioner afterward.  If you have time, leave it on for up to 30 minutes.

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A SUPPORTIVE HAIRDRESSER

One of the best things about long hair is that you don’t need to get your hair cut as frequently.  But when do you go to the salon, you don’t want to be shamed for your choice to wear your gray hair long (or for having long hair after a certain age).

If you don’t have a supportive hairdresser yet, check out these tips on how to find one.  And then check out my Gray-Friendly Salon Directory to find a salon near you. 

If you can’t find a salon in that directory (it’s growing all the time, but still relatively new), see if you have an Aveda salon in your area.  They tend to be gray-friendly, although it doesn’t hurt to ask!

Conclusion

I hope these pictures have convinced you that long gray hair is gorgeous at any age and at any stage. If long hair isn’t for you, I’ll be doing features on Medium-Length and Short Hairstyles. as well, soon!

Have any questions? Let me know in the comments!

More Articles About Long Silver Hair:

Why and How to Go Grey with Long Hair
How to Keep Gray Hair from Turning Yellow

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!

Check out my shop on Amazon for all your gray hair needs: 
Katie Goes Platinum Storefront

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34 Comments

  1. Elisabetta

    Thank you for sharing these pictures! Years ago when I was a bit “obsessed” about long hair, I used to look at lots of pictures of hair, braids, updoes… It’s lovely now to look at pictures of gray hair as I am growing my own dye-free hair!

    24 . Oct . 2020 Reply
  2. Ada Chinery

    Wow!! What a lovely cross section of ladies who have decided to go with their choice of hair colour!
    As our ancestors did! My grandmothers did……. both had long hair. , both worn their hair up, no one told or even suggested that they cut their hair!
    I on the other hand like short hair. My total choice! Yes it is grey too!

    Thanks Kate for giving us a platform to discuss our “ grey” hair! The care facts too!

    23 . Oct . 2020 Reply
  3. Brenda Martino

    I love this! I went dye free a couple of years ago and discovered at age 67 I have salt and pepper hair. I like it so much better than dyed! Due to Covid, I have let my hair grow and now I’m thinking of keeping it. I like it much better than I expected. Keep up the good work Katie!

    23 . Oct . 2020 Reply
  4. Connie Brittelli

    Thanks Katie for the great photos. You have inspired me so much over the last few months and I can’t wait to be totally grey and embrace my natural hair color.

    23 . Oct . 2020 Reply
  5. Pam Thompson

    Katie, your hair color and cut look beautiful! You have made great choices! My hair is finally all silver/gray. Unfortunately, one of my sisters recently told me she does not like it, it makes me look 10 years older and that a mutual friend also does not like it. A second sister agreed with her.
    Funny how it takes a long time to get past a few insulting remarks. They did apologize later.

    23 . Oct . 2020 Reply
  6. Paula

    Great compilation Katie! I think this should be ongoing as we all morph along with our hair.

    23 . Oct . 2020 Reply
  7. Jen

    Thank you for this blog, sometimes my self-talk gets the better of me and I think my Grey hair looks terrible. But mostly, I love it! I can let is air dry and it’s curly or blow it out (cool and low j to get it straight

    23 . Oct . 2020 Reply
  8. Leigh Ann

    Thank you for all the inspirational pictures!
    I’ve often noticed that those who make negative comments about gray hair are usually not in a place to judge. The most recent person to criticize my graying hair was in her 70s and had dyed jet black hair. Not a flattering look on anyone that age if you ask me lol!

    23 . Oct . 2020 Reply
  9. Linda

    How I love all your long locks. I have never had good enough hair to have it long, but trust me if I did, I would, and it too would be gray as I think it is stunning. I am in my first year of growing out my hair color and I love my new silver and grey look. I do not care what people think, I am older so who am I kidding anyway that my dark hair is natural – I wish I had done it years ago. I am doing it now because I do not want my daughters thinking you have to dye your hair to be attractive. All of the ladies on here look wonderful.

    23 . Oct . 2020 Reply
  10. Shauna

    Hi Katie,
    These are all gorgeous women. But, what stands out even more to me is the light in their eyes and the look of confidence on their faces. They will be their authentic self and if other people don’t like it that is their problem. They give me courage to continue on my journey and ignore the unwanted comments of others. I may be an only child but I feel like I have joined a new sisterhood. Thank you for all the support on this journey.

    23 . Oct . 2020 Reply
  11. Pat

    Katie,
    Thank you so much for your ongoing encouragement and long hours it takes to prepare your pists👏🏻 Please know it’s appreciated by all following their own journey.

    Stay safe,
    Pat

    23 . Oct . 2020 Reply
  12. Tracy

    I always enjoy your positivity, Katie! It can be tough to go against cultural norms, but it’s rewarding when you wake up to the inner voice that says, “Be yourself, whoever that might be.” There are so many ways to be beautiful. Why limit yourself, or others? My hair may never make it past my shoulders, but I love seeing these photos of long silver hair.

    Keep up the good vibes, Silver Sisters!

    23 . Oct . 2020 Reply
  13. Kim Hailstones

    I wear my hair long and grey and I love it!!!
    It was time to ditch the dye and be natural. But that does not mean being messy or old or zero make-up! I’m doing it my way😁
    Be your own kind of beautiful 💕

    23 . Oct . 2020 Reply
  14. Heather

    Love these pictures! Thank you for the inspiration 🙂

    23 . Oct . 2020 Reply
  15. Anne Ahland

    What a great collection of wonderful inspiration! I am so glad to be making the change to natural silver! (I have had no negative comments, but then again, I’m still staying home due to COVID.) I have been admiring people with silver hair for several years, so I feel like I had my mindset right as I started this change.
    Your helpful tips on maintaining longer length are appreciated, as are your coverage of myths associated with silver locks.
    I’m very happy to be included in this group!

    23 . Oct . 2020 Reply
  16. Kathryn

    Great Inspiration, into growing out my hair 14 months and just do not want to cut it short…I’m on my way!

    23 . Oct . 2020 Reply
  17. KD

    Great article and inspiring photos! Thank you for sharing and I really appreciate the tip on being careful not to overuse purple shampoo (oops!) Going to deep condition today! I am 6 months in my grow out of (past my shoulders) hair and needed the morale boost of seeing these photos.
    Thank you!

    23 . Oct . 2020 Reply
  18. Amy

    I so enjoyed this! The thing that really struck me is how happy and confident all the women looked in these photos. It truly shows when someone feels good about their appearance and it makes me happy to see so many ladies taking charge! Bravo to another inspiring post!

    23 . Oct . 2020 Reply
  19. Sharon

    Thank you for this very inspirational post! I’m just starting the transition, so my shoulder-length, curly hair has about an inch & a half of silver, and the rest is various tones of brown and blorange. 😉 I can’t wait for the full transformation!

    23 . Oct . 2020 Reply
  20. Kathy

    The COVID quarantine was the final deciding point for me to go gray. I had debated for several years, mainly because it was harder to keep the color from fading and I had to color it more frequently. My stylist, who is much younger, always tried to dissuade me but she was totally all in when her salon reopened. I was thrilled with the result! 2 weeks ago I had her cut about 4 inches off the bottom so it now sits just a tad below my shoulders. My hair is very thin and fine and having it long was so easy, but I felt a cut would help at the time. It feels great and looks even healthier. I may let it grow out some more but whether I do or not, this 67 year old has never liked her hair better!

    23 . Oct . 2020 Reply
  21. Kelley Barber

    I’m 45 and finally letting my gray grow out. I’ve always had thick, long brunette tresses (that I promptly dyed after my first silvers made their debut in high school). When I started thinking of transitioning, my 69 year old father gave me grief that I’d look like a witch. I simply told him , “it’ll take a couple of years, so eat right and exercise so I can prove you wrong!” It’s only been about 3 months and I’m already loving the salt and pepper color I will have. Bonus, saw my dad the other day and he’s already changing his tune! Thank you so much for the resources and support!

    23 . Oct . 2020 Reply
  22. Michele @polished_grey

    Another great article Katie! I love long, luxuriant, silver hair…I’m truly inspired by these beauties to keep growing mine.

    23 . Oct . 2020 Reply
  23. Lisa

    I agree. The silver curls look fantastic. My hair is getting long enough to braid, but I might get it cut in a few months, to get rid of the “bottle brown”. Your new style looks great. I may show that to my stylist.

    23 . Oct . 2020 Reply
  24. Anne

    Katie – I have shoulder-length curly silver hair, and I love it! My hair looks the best it has in years, kind of like a big mane. No one has made any negative comments about it, and they’d better not. It’s my hair!
    While I would like to have it trimmed a little, that’s not happening now because my stylist doesn’t feel safe enough to work. So, the the meantime, I’m just making the best of it.
    Thank you, as always, for your beautiful pictures and inspiration.

    23 . Oct . 2020 Reply
  25. Lynda Canger

    I love long hair and will continue to let it grow (after transitioning for almost 2 years). My hair is healthy and thick. Why should age be a criteria? Thank you for all of the lovely postings. Next year I hope to be a picture as well – lol. I’m 61 and you get old because you stop playing. Love you Katie!!

    23 . Oct . 2020 Reply
  26. Nikki

    Truly inspirational! Now if I could only stop getting adult diaper ads on my phone. Stupid algorithms.

    23 . Oct . 2020 Reply
    • Katie

      I get those, too! I get insulted every time!

      23 . Oct . 2020 Reply
  27. Mae Lambert

    Thank you for sharing all these pictures of these beautiful women. I’m 8 months in and my hair is short so I look forward to the blog with short styles. After a few more trims, all the brown dye should be gone and I plan on growing it out to see how it looks. This was definitely encouraging.

    23 . Oct . 2020 Reply
  28. suzanna

    Hello Katie,
    I sure hope you can beat that pain syndrome soon.
    Sure love all the beautiful silver hair women’s looks.
    Fabulous! There is nowhere for me to get my hair trimmed
    into shape. We have a lockdown here in Wisconsin, so I rely
    on myself/never goes that well.

    22 . Oct . 2020 Reply
    • Katie

      Hi, Suzanna: We’re on serious lockdown here, too, and I only was able to recently get my hair cut. You’re brave to try it yourself – I am TERRIBLE at it but I’m sure you’re better than me. I feel so sad for the salons that are impacted. And thank you for your kind words – slowly getting better!

      23 . Oct . 2020 Reply
  29. Shelley

    Hello Katie, thanks so much for featuring me in this article in long hair. I am honored to be featured among these heroines of mine. How glamorous! How proud we all are. What a beautiful community of support to have help us normalize and accept something that has been shunned for so long. Silver Sisters are the best sisters! @silvertransitions

    20 . Oct . 2020 Reply
    • Katie

      Hi, Shelley! Thank you! I love your photos and am so happy you let me use them! I love our silver sister community for sure! xoxo

      20 . Oct . 2020 Reply
      • Seagypsymermaid

        Wow. What a beautiful collection! Thank you for being such a huge inspiration to so many silver sisters in this amazing community, Katie!

        22 . Oct . 2020 Reply
        • Katie

          Thank you, Sherry!

          22 . Oct . 2020 Reply

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Katie

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.