Your Biggest Hair Problems—Solved!
"I'm Going Gray!"
You have three options to do away with gray (all involving dye, of course).
When you notice only a few grays, a vegetable dye is enough to conceal them. This low-peroxide color stains gray hair so it's just a little lighter than your natural color—"which gives the effect of beautiful highlights," says New York City stylist Lisa Chiccine. The color fades (so no roots) over about 12 weeks.
When you start getting large streaks of gray, you'll need to move up to a semipermanent color. It blends gray with your natural color and shampoos out in eight to ten weeks. Semipermanent dye doesn't contain enough peroxide to lighten much, but you can match your natural color or go darker.
When you're about 30 percent gray, you'll probably want to upgrade to a permanent dye. It contains the highest level of peroxide, which you'll need to color larger areas. Permanent haircolor doesn't shampoo away; you'll likely have noticeable roots in about four weeks. If you add highlights around your temples and part, the regrowth will be less noticeable, says Chiccine. You can also try TouchBack ($30; touchbackgray.com), a temporary-haircolor marker, to extend your time between dyeing.
Ever wondered why your gray looks coarser and feels more wiry than the rest of your hair? You're not alone. No one knows. Cosmetic chemist Mort Westman of Westman Associates in Oak Brook, Illinois, has a theory, though: Because grays are missing the melanin that gives hair color, they don't absorb light and emit shine the way pigmented hair does. Without melanin, they're also more vulnerable to hair-dulling UV damage. The solution: a silicone-based styling product that adds shine and protects against UV rays. (Try John Frieda Frizz Ease Finishing Creme, $6; drugstores.) And if you have just a couple of grays, pluck them. (Forget the three-will-grow-back warning—it's bogus.)
Feeling like a renegade? Learn how to play up your gray at oprah.com/grayhair.
Next: Our step-by-step guide to taming frizz first thing in the morning