How to grow out your grey hair

Josh is known for his love of grey hair. He’s put grey on the runway, worked with some of the world’s most famous silver-haired women (enter Kristen and Sarah), and he just happens to be grey himself, too.

Josh’s mantra when it comes to wearing grey hair is to own it, so if you’re thinking about growing out your grey, this is the post for you. Read on for invaluable tips from Josh and Matt Hawes, Creative Master Stylist at the Josh Wood Atelier, to help you embrace your grey, if you want to.

Be prepared to wait it out

Josh: “When you do decide you want to start to grow the grey out, you’ve got to be realistic about the timeframe that it’s going to take to start to feel like you don’t have a very hard regrowth. The quickest I’ve ever seen anybody be able to transition was around nine months, but realistically it probably takes around 18 months on average.

“The first step in the process is to purposefully leave a little bit of grey regrowth around the hairline so it starts to break up that harsh regrowth. It looks a bit more natural and helps to introduce a bit of grey gradually. If you’re going to a salon, the way to deal with that is to talk to your colourist and talk about having a lighter brown tint around the hairline for a few weeks, then introduce some kind of highlights or balayage, which will breakdown the demarcation (the line between the grey and your coloured hair).” 

Think about your ends as well as your roots

Josh: “If you’ve got mid to shoulder length hair, that hair’s been on your head for two - three years and it’s going to be a slower process to expose grey hair. First things first, you should start using deep cleansing shampoos to help to lighten up the intensity of your colour very naturally, then it’s worth thinking about getting the ends of the hair lighter as that will ease in the idea of your colour not looking too solid. Talk to your colourist about adding bigger, thicker highlights that’ll give you the appearance that your hair is slightly more contrasting between very light or grey and the shade you’re starting to grow out.”

Conceal regrowth until you’re confident to go natural

Josh: “When you start to see a noticeable regrowth, there are temporary root concealer products you can use that’ll just start to ease out the very harsh line of regrowth. These wash out so you won’t be putting yourself back towards having a colour when you’re trying to grow it out.”

Consider cutting your hair shorter

Matt: “Obviously the more hair you cut off, the easier it is to transition to grey, but cutting hair short isn’t an option for everyone. I always say go as short as you dare and, if you have the kind of hair that works well with the technique, try layers to add texture and distract from the ‘tramline’ grey regrowth. Hair that’s perfectly straight and one length tends to have a more obvious regrowth.”

Learn from your stylist

Matt: “Grey hair tends to be more wiry or coarser than naturally pigmented hair so actually if you’re going to wear grey it’s all about knowing how to manage it. Having a really good blow-dry will smooth grey hair which can naturally look very brittle. Ask your stylist to share some tips so you can blow-dry your hair yourself when you can’t make it to the salon.”

grey hair blow-dry

Hydrate your hair as much as possible

Matt: “Your natural grey hair is often in better condition than your coloured hair but, due to the texture of grey hair, it can look worse. Grey hairs naturally have an open cuticle, unlike tinted hairs where the cuticle has been chemically shut down. This means that grey hairs can often look dull, frizzy and in bad condition in comparison to tinted hairs. 

“You’ve got to find conditioners that’ll really help to hydrate and moisturise the hair. I also recommend oils like argan and jojoba throughout your routine – these will feed the hair, make hair softer, encourage shine and counteract dull tones.”

Don’t completely ditch the colourist post the process

Josh: “There’s probably under 10% of people who have grey that’s silky and beautiful and silver platinum. Most people will need a little bit of help after they’ve grown out their colour as it’s rare to grey evenly. I would always advise that adding some highlights or lowlights for contrast will always make your natural grey hair look more premium.”