Andie MacDowell set tongues wagging recently when she strutted down the L’Oréal Paris runway rocking a one-shouldered sequin and marabou-trimmed gown with a thigh-high slit. And it wasn’t just the sexy flash of leg that captured the public’s imagination: It was the riot of silver curls that tumbled from the 64-year-old’s head like anti-ageist freedom fighters.
MacDowell isn’t alone in embracing her roots. Actress Sarah Jessica Parker was spotted shooting And Just Like That ... with a little more of her natural gray peeking through her famous mane. (“I can’t spend time getting base color every two weeks. Can’t do it. Nope. Too much,” she told Allure magazine.)
The Wall Street Journal dubbed the stereotype-defying trend for women to go gray at work the new “power move.”
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A color correction
For many women, the pandemic offered an opportunity for a reset. While some took matters into their own hands during lockdown, attempting to color their hair at home themselves, many did what MacDowell did — let nature take its course — and never looked back. (MacDowell was inspired to let her roots grow in during quarantine when her daughters said the silvery regrowth looked “badass.”)
In addition to saving countless hours and thousands of dollars, eschewing biweekly appointments in your colorist’s chair can simplify your daily routine. “When I was coloring my hair, I used to get blowouts all the time because my hair was so dry and damaged from all the color,” says Cindy Weber Cleary, a New Jersey–based fashion consultant (and former fashion director of InStyle). “Now I can just let my hair air-dry. It’s so much healthier that I don’t even need to use hot tools. The texture is softer and silkier than it’s been for years.”
Thinking about kissing your colorist goodbye? We asked the experts for some tips on how to minimize the uncomfortable grow-out phase.
1. Allow at least two months of regrowth
There is no getting around the fact that regrowth — which, depending on your level of gray, can look like somebody spray-painted your hairline — is an awkward but necessary step. Hair grows about half an inch per month, so it will take a while for this transition to be complete. To make regrowth less obvious during this phase, spray or dab on a tonal root touch-up product. “I love Color Wow [Root Cover Up; $35, amazon.com] and use it myself,” says NYC colorist Sharon Dorram. “It blends in perfectly and completely covers the gray.” Another option: Kiss Quick Cover Gray Hair Touch Up ($16, walmart.com).