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The Best Gray Hair Dyes for an At-Home Silver Mane

From shampoos, to smokey silver dyes and temporary sprays, here's how to get the job done.

andy warhol and actress edie sedgwick seated on stairs
John Springer CollectionGetty Images

Kim Kardashian has done it. Evan Rachel Wood has done it. So has Gaga. Back in the day, Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick did it. During lockdown, Bella Hadid did it, albeit using a filter, and showed it off on TikTok, spawning a bazillion Google searches: How to I dye my hair gray?

You might think of gray growth as something to conceal, an irrepressible secret to paint away with root touch-up kits or monthly salon visits—but thanks to the aforementioned celebs, and a trending #grannyhair hashtag on Instagram, there’s a new wave of appreciation for the beauty of silver strands. Women of all ages are embracing shades of gray—some by letting their natural gray grow in (quarantine helped with that), and others by dipping into dye. Either way, this isn’t matte, mushroom gray: A good colorist or DIY dye job can deliver shiny, luscious, bright, silvery hair like moonlight on water. As a bonus, steel-colored hair suits every skin tone, as evidenced by gray hair dabblers from Nafessa Williams to Cara Delevingne. An interesting side note? The human eye can distinguish more than 500 shades of gray—not just 50.

A word of expert wisdom: If you have brown or black hair, pros caution against trying to go silver at home. This is because hair will likely need to be bleached out in order to be light enough to hold the gray dye—a tricky, and potential strand-frying process. To keep your hair healthy, it might be best to take it slow, lightening over time, or speak to your favorite stylist first and ask them to weigh in. At-home color will give the most dramatic results for those with blonde or ultra-light hair, and can add richness and dimension to natural grays—but that’s not to say there isn’t something to suit everyone, including temporary options so that you can take the shade for a test dive before you commit.

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1
Best for Blondes
L'Oreal Paris Feria Multi-Faceted Shimmering Permanent Hair Color, Smokey Silver
Amazon
L'Oreal Paris amazon.com
$8.97

If you already have fair or gray hair, this is the way to go: A permanent dye that will deposit a smoky, dimensional silver while also conditioning and protecting the strength of strands.  

2
Best for Brunettes
Got2b Metallic Permanent Hair Color, M73 Smoky Steel
Amazon
Got2B amazon.com
$9.97

A steel shimmer atop dark hair can be a beautiful, eye-catching thing—Got2B Metallics will add a subtle silver sheen to black or brunette shades, and will take dark blonde and light brown to a radiant pewter.   

3 Oribe Silverati Shampoo
Amazon
Oribe bluemercury.com
$46.00

This luxe shampoo will maximize gray and white tones in hair, counteracting any brassiness to keep silver bright.  

4
Best Temporary Color
L'Oreal Paris Colorista 1-Day Temporary Hair Color Spray, Pastel Blue
Amazon
L'Oreal Paris amazon.com
$8.99
$5.83 (35% off)

This one-day spray is perfect for those who want to tiptoe into the granny hair trend. Applicable for all hair types and hues, the vivid color easily washes out with shampoo. 

5 Clairol Color Crave Temporary Hair Color Makeup, Shimmering Platinum, 1 Count
Amazon
Clairol amazon.com
$9.99
$7.96 (20% off)

Another way to play without commitment? Paint a platinum silver "hair makeup"  onto strands with the enclosed sponge, creating dramatic streaks or an ombre effect that washes out in one or two washes. 

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