Stripey gray hair transformation

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Problem: Stripey mix
Alicia Clarens, 54
Writer and administrator at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City

First gray sighting: "I was in my mid-40s. It started to come in around my temples and ears."

Her reaction: "It amused me."

After the amusement, what she did about it: "I dyed it. I thought that was what I was supposed to do."

And she changed her mind about dying because: "I've always loved gray hair. I think it's elegant, smart, and sexy. So I quit dyeing and got black lowlights to kick up the contrast between my natural color and the gray. It keeps me from looking faded as more gray comes in. My hair is very thick and healthy, and I want to keep it that way. And I don't like to follow the crowd, so wearing my hair long is my way of showing independence."

Her favorite expression: "'Gray is the new black.' You remember when it wasn't considered appropriate to wear black? Then it became fashionable. I think it's going to be the same with gray hair."

Rita Hazan's solution: "The contrast between the gray and the black in Alicia's hair was too stark; the color needed to be better blended. So I wove black lowlights evenly around her temples and gave her a clear gloss to boost shine."