It seems like there’s a new hair trend every other day, but few are as beautiful as the gray ombré hair that’s currently blowing up on Instagram. It’s a look that’s equal parts edgy and pretty and complements literally every skin tone. It doesn’t matter what your hair texture is, either. Women with curly hair, straight hair, frizzy hair, and sleek hair all look incredible with gray hair. And because it’s an ombré style—dark at the top and graduating to light—the overall effect is laid-back and easy to wear. The darker shades are perfect for fall, too. So if your golden summer highlights are feeling a little stale and you’re itching for an update, allow this new trend to provide you with all the gorgeous hair inspiration.
If your hair is naturally dark, this look is a little easier to achieve. It’s all about getting superblonde ombré highlights and dyeing the lightest strands gray. If your hair is naturally light, you would have to darken the base to achieve the overall look
“To get your hair that smoky gray color, you need your strands to be platinum blonde,” hairstylist Brittan White tells Allure. White recommends asking your colorist to use Olaplex, a hair-strengthening treatment that will take you from black to blonde without too much damage.
Then it’s just about doing your basic blonde ombré highlights. You can put in as little or as many highlights as you want, depending on how much gray you want. The goal is as white as possible (which may mean bleaching twice, and that’s where Olaplex comes in). “Make sure your colorist uses a strong blue-purple pigmented toner afterward to get all the yellow out of your hair,” adds White.
Once you have white-blonde highlights, you just need to dye them gray. Brands such as Pravana make gorgeous silver shades that come out gray on your hair.
Sadly, this hair color doesn’t last very long, and there’s a lot of upkeep. White recommends using a blue shampoo, like Joico Color Balance Shampoo, to help keep the gray tones in your hair as long as possible. For conditioner, White likes Evo Fabuloso Platinum Blonde Colour Intensifying Conditioner for its toning properties.
You’ll probably still have to hit the salon for a refresh every month, White adds. It’s a lot of work, but for the hair of your dreams? Worth it.