Misty Wind
Published on June 04, 2022

“My gray hairs make me look old!” That’s a classic statement we hear as stylists when asked to cover our client’s natural “life sparkles” (my favorite term for them). But what if I told you that salt and pepper hair can make you look and feel younger, more vibrant, and garner a TON of compliments? Read on for some winning salt and pepper hair color ideas that will make you fall in love with the trend!

Is Salt and Pepper Hair Aging You?

Letting salt and pepper hair grow in may be quite painful, but it is a beautiful dimensional hue that can eventually shave off the years from your entire look! Believe it or not … that’s what I experience daily as an almost-40 woman after deciding to “ditch the dye” and grow out my own salt and peppers after 30. I’ve even had random strangers run across the street, going out of their way to come and see my hair.

To ease the process, I went fully silver color from root to tip and allowed my own salt and pepper to grow into it! It was so well received, and I have never colored my hair again since. Now, I’m specializing in Silver Hair Secrets, and many of my clients can also enjoy the beauty of silver hair.

While some people don’t want to wear the painful color demarcation line, many still prefer growing salt and pepper hair out in a natural way. There’s even a community known as the Grombre movement that has become a lifestyle for thousands of women around the globe who take pride in wearing gray hair.

Woman Taking Part in a Grombre Movement

Instagram / @grombre

If you feel like you are ready to transition to natural gray hair or have chosen salt and pepper hair color for your next big transformation, there are a lot of options to make a fashion statement out of this unique color combination.

1. Lovely Waves and Curls

No matter what tone of silver you prefer to rock, salt and pepper hair color creates a stunning combination with waves and curls!

2. Salt and Pepper with Shadow Roots

You can go full silver or white from root to tip and remove all of your previous color, but you can also go for a shadow root that blends in your new regrowth with your new silver strands. As an alternative, you can blend down your root with salt and pepper locks that are already growing out.

3. Long Salt and Pepper Hair

Salt and pepper hair works gorgeously as a natural root shade at any stage of growing out your gray color. And you don’t necessarily have to cut your white hair short as you age! Doesn’t this long gray hair look stunning?

4. Salt and Pepper Bob with Bangs

Bob going just an inch or two below your chin is a great idea if you prefer wearing your natural salt and pepper tresses short. Bangs and messy waves add a cute youthful vibe.

Salt and Pepper Bob with Bangs

Instagram / @6footsilversister

5. Silver Extensions

Once you choose to leave your own salt and pepper completely, you can always add some silver extensions to inject some fun and youth into your style.

6. Platinum White with Dark Roots

White tips with dark hair at the roots is a great variation of salt and pepper color. Just remember, the process of mimicking your own “life sparkle” canvas requires a substantial amount of time, effort, and skill. So, both you and your stylist should be well aware of the time investment for this one! On the low side, you’re looking at 6 hours including the color removal, and on the high side (for very long and thick hair) it’s in the double-digit hours!

7. Salt and Pepper Balayage

This stunning look took a whopping 13 hours. First, I removed ALL warmth in all of the hair (sometimes referred to as a platinum card). Then, I re-created an entirely new root color in my bowl that was pulled halfway down the length in places to really give it that depth. Quite a challenge, isn’t it? However, if you happen to want the Ferrari of salt and pepper hairs, steal this look!

8. Salt and Pepper Reverse Ombre

If you have reached a gray stage where your dyed hair is just an edge of your salt and pepper tresses, take advantage of it and rock this gorgeous reverse ombre. It’s an elegant and stylish option for older women.

9. Silver Highlights and Lowlights

Adding distinctive silver highlights to dark hair is an awesome way to tap into the salt and pepper trend. The contrast makes this hair look absolutely amazing.

10. Salt Pepper Hair with a Pastel Touch

You can inject a fresh, romantic vibe into your salt and pepper look with the help of pastel hues. Lavender ombre looks exceptionally great with salt and pepper color.

Salt and Pepper with Lavender Toner

Instagram / @hairsbytania

11. Salt and Pepper Pixie

Getting a big chop is a smart way to get rid of dyed locks and transition to natural hair color. Salt and pepper pixie is simple, elegant, low-maintenance, and suitable for women of any age.

12. Subtle Warm Highlights

Do you feel like your salt and pepper hair lacks warmth and doesn’t complement your skin tone? Well, you can always give your hair a slightly warmer finish with a subtle ombre or semi-permanent dye that will wash out seamlessly, without any demarcation lines.

Salt and Pepper Hair with Warm Medium Brown Ends

Instagram / @mychampagnehair

Salt and Pepper Hair Color Ideas for Men

Many men don’t want to be left out of the salt and pepper hair color trend, and going full silver and letting their own grays grow in is a good choice.

Still, there are many variations to play with on men’s hair too. For example, salty silver slicing can add drama to salt and pepper hair.

A short cut with an ultra-clean lineup is the perfect choice for men with natural black hair that is turning gray.

Salt and Pepper Cut for Natural Black Hair

Instagram / @randycuts

How To Make the Best of Your Salt and Pepper

Despite the ease and beauty of salt and pepper color, there are definitely some things to avoid to make it look good:

1. Banding

Banding happens for various reasons, including uneven heat distribution often called “hot roots”. For example, when something like a box dye root touch-up overlaps previously colored hair, or the worst, and potentially most harmful to your length, overlapping of lightener on the regrowth and the previously lightened length. This can also cause major breakage and damage.

2. Brassiness

Not keeping up with your at-home shampoo-toning can give you less of that salt and pepper silver look. Instead, you can start getting more and more of the yellow gold blonde look. To avoid this, get into the routine of washing your salt and pepper tresses with quality blue or purple shampoos. Just compare these before and after pics below. The difference is more than striking, isn’t it?

3. Not Conditioning

The lack of pigment in gray hair affects the texture, so you might notice that your salt and pepper locks get dry and wiry over time. If you want to keep graying hair soft and healthy, my advice is to take conditioning seriously and treat your hair with a hydrating mask once a week.

The fun and beauty of silvery salt mixed with ashy pepper hair will always be a stunning sight to behold from anyone you come across. So don’t shy away from responding to your friend, your client, your mom, or even your dad that their gray hair doesn’t make them look old. Instead, silver hair is a crown of glory and when done right it will be a beautiful sight to behold.

Long Silver Hair VariationsWoman Taking Part in a Grombre MovementWavy Salt and Pepper HairSalt and Pepper Shadow RootsLong Natural Salt and Pepper HairSalt and Pepper Bob with BangsDark Base Color with Grays and Silver HighlightsHigh Contrast Salt and Pepper BobSilver Balayage Blending Salt and Pepper HairSalt and Pepper Reverse OmbreDark Hair with White Blonde StreaksSalt and Pepper with Lavender TonerSalt and Pepper Color PixieSalt and Pepper Hair with Warm Medium Brown EndsPurplish Silver Hair Color for MenMen Hairstyle with Silver Highlights on Salt and Pepper HairSalt and Pepper Cut for Natural Black HairHot Roots Bleached Hair MistakeBefore and After Color Correcting Salt and Pepper Hair with Purple Shampoo