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How French Women Go Grey Gracefully

How French Women Go Grey Gracefully

french women grey hair

If grey hair used to be something women avoided as it was seen as a mere symbol of age and a sign of “letting yourself go,” now it’s a look women of all ages aspire to. White, silver, grey hair has well and truly shaken off the stigma long attached to it. Now, it’s a statement of confidence and intent. It’s a powerful and unique hair color only the boldest and most vogue can pull off. That’s why many daring and audacious young women in their twenties and thirties choose to dye their hair this unique achromatic color to look edgy and stylish. After all, a light-reflecting tone of silver is incredibly flattering, no matter your age.

In France —as is probably the case in other places— many women now confidently wear their gray hair like a badge of honor. Not only did they find it liberating, but even a source of new power and beauty. And in Paris, every day, you can notice women with half-white, half-brown hair. Now is probably the best time to show your grey hair if you feel ready for it. Remember that you can always go back to the hair color you had if you don’t like it.

Whether your hair color is fading naturally or you try to maintain your salt-and-pepper look with monthly touch-ups at a high-end salon, grey hair is incredibly gorgeous. Keep scrolling below to learn how to transition to your grey hair naturally, how French women wear grey hair without looking old, plus get inspired by seven stylish French women who prove that grey hair looks très chic!

Transitioning to Your Grey Hair Naturally

Whether you have a full crown of grey hair or you are just starting to see some signs of it, you have the power to determine how you embrace it.

Sophie Fontanel, a famous French writer and journalist, decided to go grey by letting her lengths grow over time, even if the transition period was not easy. Fontanel was, as she says, “living a lie”: the life of a woman with dark hair. She first developed a white streak at age 14, but by her late 20s, she began covering it up “to look younger,” she says. It was in her 50s that a series of random encounters with white-haired beauties convinced her to go grey. Fontanel opted to let her lengths grow over time, and she documented the entire awkward process on Instagram (search for #uneapparitionsophiefontanel) and in her book called Une Apparition. Now, Fontanel’s hair is a silvery shade from root to tip—and she is “happier than ever.”

If you’re going grey naturally, the transition period can be difficult. Here are a few tips to make the switch to your natural grey color a little bit more easily:

  • First, in order to introduce grey gradually ask your colorist to purposefully leave a little bit of grey around the hairline so it starts to break up that harsh regrowth.
  • Then, to look a bit more natural, introduce some kind of highlights or balayage to help break down the demarcation, where the line of grey meets the colored hair.
  • If you’re not ready to go completly grey, you can ask your colorist different ways to conseal grey, rather than covering it completly. You can tweak your grey for it to look brighter, more sparkly, modern and even. Ask for strategic highlights and color treatments that brighten locks, rather thank blanketing hair tip to root.
  • Finally, if you just start seeing some signs of grey hair, discuss a plan of action with your colorist instead of jumping to disguise grey as soon as it makes itself known.

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How French Women Wear Grey Hair Without Looking Old

Here are a few tips from French women on how to wear grey hair without looking old or “négligé”, and to avoid “granny grey”. Keep reading below to see the five ways you can add a youthful glow to your grey or silver hair.

1. Find The Right Cut

With the correct haircut and style, you can prevent your grey hair from making you look older than you’d like. Whether you choose long or short hairstyles, keep your hair healthy and frequently trimmed. Indeed, natural white and grey hair can ooze sophistication when worn well. And a good haircut will always make you feel better and look more youthful.

From bouncy bobs and pixie cuts to bangs and layers, work with your stylist to find a shape that flatters your hair texture and features. Consider long layers to encourage movement in your style. Avoid any blunt cuts, as these can harden the face and make you look older. Instead, go for something softer and with more volume and texture. If you’re looking for inspiration, see the ten hairstyles French women always ask their stylist.

2. Wear Fun Hairstyles

Believe me, one of the easiest ways to wear silver hair without looking old is by twisting your hair up in trendy hairstyles that embody youthfulness. When you have silver hair, try to avoid outdated hairstyles like flipping your ends outward —the way women used to do in the 60s— or low buns, for example. Instead, try to tie your hair in ponytails, fishtail mermaid braids, a high bun, or a half-up half-down look. Also, add texture to your hair by opting for loose beachy waves for a modern tousled look. And if wearing your hair down all the time can get quite boring, try using hair accessories like a silk scarf or some hair cuffs.

3. Eliminate Brassiness And Yellow Tones

When your grey hair has some yellow tones and brassy locks, you may look a bit unkempt and old-fashioned. That’s why it’s essential that you maintain grey hair’s naturally cool undertone. And sometimes, a slight change in the undertone of your grey hair can make you look decades younger.

Using purple shampoos and conditioners will help combat grey hair’s tendency to take on a yellowish tinge by giving it a silvery glow. Purple conditioners typically have a more subtle effect. You can use either or both, but you should commit to using shampoo with purple pigment at least twice a month. Here are below six best hair products to enhance grey hair.

  • L’Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Magnesium Silver Shampoo — Fortifying amino acids and anti-yellowing agents make for an excellent (and affordable) shampoo.
  • —An illuminating shampoo that undoes dullness and yellow tones, revealing softer, brighter, and perpetually vibrant hair.
  • Redken Color Extend Graydiant Conditioner —This conditioner is brilliant for day-to-day use, promising to revive luminosity in tired grey hair.
  • —An ultra-violet, color-correcting shampoo made with hyaluronic acid that neutralizes grey hair.
  • Klorane Shampoo with Centaury —A gentle shampoo that enhances the natural radiance of white and grey hair.
  • Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk —This dry shampoo was Karl Lagerfeld’s beauty secret to get bright white hair.

4. Wear Makeup Looks That Complement Your Hair

When you’ve gone grey or silver, your skin can look washed-out and dull. That’s why it’s very important to wear makeup looks and colors that’ll complement your hair color. Opt for a natural makeup look with colors that’ll make your silver hair pop out.

First, to even out skin tone, use a moist sponge or foundation brush to apply a sheer, hydrating foundation like the . Then, use a robust yet lightweight creamy concealer that blends easily like the . Concentrate on the under eyes and inner corners to effectively counteract dark circles. Use a bronzer like the —down the sides of the nose, across the forehead, and under the jawline— to warm up the skin in a natural way. To lift your face by applying blush at the top of the cheekbones and then blend inward. Adding a flush of color to your cheeks will ensure that the coolness of your grey hair won’t wash you out and make you look dull. In terms of shades, I prefer muted rosy shades like the .

Then, open up your eyes and make them look as big as possible because it’s more youthful. Curl your lashes with an eyelash curler, starting at the root, and add a layer of mascara —one of my favorites is the . Eyeshadow is optional, but stick to light, neutral colors like beige, light brown, or grey. These colors will work to bring your eyes forward. Make your eyebrows a little bit thicker by using brow mascara like the . Finally, clear red lipsticks or those with a blue base will make the silver in your hair pop out. Silver women look great in coral, geranium, and vivid rose as well ad the berry shades.

5. Always Look Put Together

When they have grey hair, French women pay attention to their style and their appearance in order to avoid looking “négligé” (untidy in English). As ever, the French trick for women over fifty is to look purposefully put together. Here are below a few French style tips to dress like a chic French woman over fifty.

  • Wear timeless, versatile, and chic basics that can go easily together. These French wardrobe staples are pieces that won’t fade away.
  • Try to mix stuffy items with more casual pieces to rejuvenate your outfit. Think blazers with well-fitted jeans, a trench coat with white sneakers, a black leather jacket with a silky midi dress, etc.
  • Avoid over-accessorizing your outfit, and always prefer wearing minimalist pieces of jewelry instead of big statement necklaces, rings, and bracelets, which can look unsophisticated.
  • Define your waist with a classic black leather waist belt.
  • Avoid wearing too many prints at the same time in an outfit. Avoid animal prints like leopard or floral prints which can make you look older.
  • Wear shapewear underneath your clothes, as it will give you smooth lines no matter your body size. And make sure you’re wearing the right size bra.

Et voilà! I hope this guide will help you to show your grey hair if you feel ready for it. Let me know if you have any questions.

View Comments (4)
  • As a woman with salt-and-pepper hair, I was delighted to see this post about french women celebrating their gray hair. As a former blonde, I am very happy with this natural coloring.

  • Love this, great to see an article on going grey with style. One thing I always said I’d never do, was the helmet of one colour hair dye!
    I’ve been salt and pepper for a few years now, after a transition of high and low lights that were never the same twice. I started with warm lowlights and we gradually moved towards the cooler tones until I stopped colouring my hair all together. People ask me if my hair is coloured, when I tell my hairdresser, she laughs and says she couldn’t colour my hair that well!
    I work in a hospital, which gives a few limitations as far as hairstyles go, but I tend to have it longer in summer as I always have it up (I hate a sweaty neck), but come the cooler weather, my hairdresser cuts some long layers in my hair, so it’s effortless to have my hair down when I’m off duty.

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