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Tips for Keeping Silver Strands Gorgeous

If you’re on Instagram, you may have noticed that young “influencers” are prolific on the social media platform. Yet, as a mature woman, on Instagram I have amassed more than 155,000 followers. Maybe that's because mature women are alive and well and like to see themselves represented on social media.

My signature is long, gray hair. It is something I embrace and encourage my followers to embrace their grey hair, too. Many women went this route during the pandemic, deciding to keep their grays after salon shutdowns forced them to take a hiatus from coloring their hair. For me, I commenced my gray hair journey several years prior, and have since collected a wealth of knowledge on how to make gray hair look its best — from both personal and professional experience. Let me share my expertise with you.

Remember that the journey to acceptance isn’t always easy.

When I found my first gray hair at 27 years old, I wasn’t ready for that change! I plucked it out, praying it wouldn’t damage my career, and proceeded to dye my hair for the next 10 years — until I reached a point where I got sick of monthly salon appointments, using strong chemicals, and trying to cover up who I was. Just as I was about ready to give up on modeling, as fate would have it, my gray hair gave me a unique look in the fashion industry. Years after finding that first gray, I'm working more than I ever expected. While you may worry and fear that grays will reveal your own natural aging process, I urge to jump into that fear — after all, you never know what the results might be. You may end up accessing a newfound confidence, plus you’ll inevitably save money skipping all those salon appointments!

Find the products that work for you.

It's been years since I stopped dyeing my gray hair, but that doesn’t mean I quit following a haircare routine. There’s been a lot of trial and error involved in finding the best products for silver locks. I’ve tried a lot of hair products in the past. Today, my favorites are Redken and Kerastase, for both regular and purple shampoos and conditioners. Purple shampoo can restore the smoothness and luminosity of gray hair. My favorites are Redken Blondage Color Depositing Purple Shampoo (Buy from Amazon, $25) and Kerastase Blond Absolu Bain Ultra-Violet Shampoo (Buy from Amazon, $23.46).

I'm also a fan of Olaplex, a brand who makes a leave-in styling treatment (Buy from Amazon, $30), as well as Oribe’s Silverati line, which is specifically made for silver hair, and includes an Illuminating Pomade (Buy from Amazon, $39). I'm always open to discovering new products, and lately I'm particularly interested in using ones that are vegan and environmentally friendly. Recently, I've been enjoying Authentic Beauty Concept’s Hydrate Cleanser Shampoo (Buy from Amazon, $31), which features naturally moisturizing ingredients like mango and basil extracts. You can find more of my favorite products on my Shop tab.

Follow these three styling tips.

Once you’ve let your natural gray come through, there are some tips I recommend for styling it. The many professional hair stylists that have worked on me over the years have taught me a lot, and I enjoy passing on what I've learned to other women. Because gray hair is more porous, over time, hair products and heating tools can change the color and give it a yellow tinge. Here are the three ways I prevent this from happening, and keep my silver hair soft and looking shiny and smooth.

  1. Avoid using heated tools.I air-dry my hair as often as possible, as heat can cause breakage and dryness — both things you want to avoid when maintaining your grays.

  2. Wash off styling products as soon as possible. Don’t let styling products stay on your hair for days at a time. Why? Product buildup can give gray hair a brassy tone and weigh down your strands.

  3. Avoid dryness with a leave-in conditioner. Gray hair tends to be dryer than other hair colors so it’s vital to keep it hydrated. My favorite leave-in conditioner is the Oribe Silverati Illuminating Treatment Masque (Buy from Amazon). There are many other conditioners at different price points you can try. Just be sure not to leave the conditioner on longer than the package advises, to avoid product buildup.

Embrace mindfulness.

In addition to being a model and influencer, I also work as a life coach and meditation teacher, and even recently published a memoir, More Than Just a Pretty Face: Lessons Learned from a Lifetime in Front of the Camera (Buy from Amazon, $17.99).

Radical acceptance, or accepting situations that are outside of your control, is an essential part of mindful living — and it applies not just to existential issues, but also physical ones. I have convinced many women to go gray, have had countless conversations about the joys and challenges of the process. Too often women have shared that they fear their family or friends won’t like how they look if they go gray, even though they long to do it. I urge women to consider why they are willing to put the concerns of others before themselves. So, if you’re starting to feel tired of covering your grays, try to get past your fears of what others might think. If you make yourself happy first, then you’ll be in a better position to make others happy.

My journey toward accepting and ultimately embracing my gray hair has been a long one — but it has resulted in tranquility. Having gray hair has strengthened me as a woman and given me more self-confidence and a sense of peace. With gray hair I show up in the world as I truly am — and in a time when mature women so often feel pressured to appear younger than their age, the notion that gray hair can be a source of peace rather than stress is a welcomed one indeed.

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