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5 Makeup Tricks You Need to Know If You Have Gray Hair, According to Beauty Experts

Your eyebrows might be more important than ever.

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Gray hair can take some getting used to. Sure, it requires a different haircare routine and styling techniques. But above all, it changes your look in a major way. So, while you may have spent your entire life styling yourself to play up your pigmented locks, the transition to silver might require a few alterations. A great place to start is with your makeup routine. Ahead, makeup artists tell us their top tricks if you have gray hair. Psst: this is a great excuse to invest in new products.

READ THIS NEXT: The Best Colors to Wear If You Have Gray Hair, According to Stylists.

Play up one facial feature.


Sometimes, less is more—especially when it comes to makeup. "My favorite general tip for using makeup to your advantage when you have gray hair is to punch up one facial feature," says Kerrin Jackson, four-time Emmy-nominated makeup artist and creator of The Makeup Refinery.

"For example, wear a strong or vibrant lip shade, and if you do this, go more subtle with the eyes and cheeks, or vice versa." Wondering why? Jackson notes that going full silver is striking on its own. "You want to keep it simple and not overdo everything with your makeup look," she adds.

Ace your base.

Woman with gray hair laughing
Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock

Applying your complexion products properly is key. First, start with quality skin prep. "Be sure to moisturize, and use an eye cream," says Jackson. "Everything with makeup works better on a well-moisturized face."

Proceed to foundation with caution. "It is incredibly easy to get the makeup into your hair, and it will show," Jackson advises. "Silver and naturally white or gray hair are incredibly porous, and your foundation will be evident, even if you simply brush your foundation brush or sponge into your hair by accident." To avoid this, Jackson suggests starting with your products at the center of your face and working your way outward.

If you like to use bronzer, apply it sparingly. "It's going to naturally appear stronger than it is, because of the optical illusion caused in contrast to your light hair," says Jackson. "So go lightly, or not at all."

READ THIS NEXT: The 5 Best Hairstyles for Gray Hair, According to Experts.

Define your brows.

Older Woman With Healthy Gray Hair

As the hair on top of your head grays, so do your brows. And because they're so important in framing your face, you may want to fill them in.

"As far as color is concerned, you may want to start by revisiting what your hair color used to be before the grey and then pick a lighter variation of that, like what a medium highlight used to be for you," says Matthew Waitesmith, makeup artist and founder of the makeup brand Artis.

Add strokes of color with a thin pencil; you can also add strokes on top of the gray hairs to cover them. "Then soften the effect using a stiffer brush to feather your addition of makeup so that it just looks like natural hair," says Waitesmith. "Having the eyebrows a nice grey-free color will help keep your eye area looking fresh."

Skip harsh hues.

Close up portrait of beautiful older woman with blonde/gray hair smiling and standing by wall
mimagephotography / Shutterstock

As your hair becomes lighter, dark colors can appear stark against it.

"I am a strong believer in wearing whatever color you like, but if a client feels that black eyeliner or mascara feels a little too harsh against their silver hair, I like to introduce them to brown liner and mascara, which can still be impactful but will not clash with silver hair," says Julisa Martinez, makeup artist at G2O Spa + Salon.

"Those with cool undertones can also reach for an aubergine or navy-colored liner to complement their skin without using a stark black," Martinez adds. A quick trip to the makeup counter can help you choose your favorite.

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Finish with a lip.

curly gray hair.png

Lipstick puts the finishing touch on every look. Fortunately, there are many hues to choose from.

"Pink and gray is such a beautiful combination in general," says Jackson. "Based on your undertone, you can decide whether a coral or nude pink (for warmer skin tones) or a cool pink, coral, or even heading into a light berry or mauve for cooler undertones could work really well also."

If you want to go bold, Jackson notes she also loves a vibrant red on people with a full head of silver or platinum strands.

Juliana LaBianca
Juliana is an experienced features editor and writer. Read more
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