How to Get Brown Hair Back to Gray

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A sassy hair cut revives gray hair.
A sassy hair cut revives gray hair. (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Whether you have been coloring your brown hair gray for years or recently noticed straggling gray hairs and decide it's not worth the time, energy or money to dye your hair any longer, you can wear gray hair with confidence and panache. Letting your hair return to its natural gray means anything but dull, drab and boring.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic gloves, disposable or reusable
  • Towel or cape
  • Old T-shirt (optional)
  • Color stripper
  • Gentle shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Gray hair color (optional)

Put on the plastic gloves to keep the color stripper off your hands. Drape a plastic cape or a towel around your neck to keep the hair stripper from damaging your clothes. Wear an old T-shirt for extra protection.

Apply the entire bottle of color stripper, according to the package directions. Divide the hair into sections. Begin the application ¼-inch to ½-inch above the scalp and work down toward the ends. Most brands recommend you leave the color stripper on your hair for 25 to 30 minutes, but check the directions for the brand you use.

Rinse your hair thoroughly with warm water for about five minutes. Keep your eyes closed to avoid getting stripper in your eyes.

Wash your hair as normal, lathering it well with a gentle shampoo. Repeat washing it to ensure you removed all the hair stripper. Condition your hair with an extra rich conditioner to add moisture.

Recolor the hair gray. This will make the transition from brown to gray hair smoother. Start applying the color all the way to your roots at the scalp. Allow hair to process for 25 to 30 minutes or according to package directions. Wash and condition the hair.

Tips & Warnings

  • Allow your hair to grow out naturally as you quit coloring your hair. The dye can fade over time as your natural color grows out.
  • Keep your hair style updated and cut regularly, about once every four to six weeks.Opt for a shorter style to reduce the amount of time it takes your hair to grow out. Letting your hair go gray naturally gives you the advantage of using no additional chemicals.
  • If you choose to go the natural route and let your hair grow out, give your hair the time it needs to grow. Hair grows an average of 1/2 inch per month, so it will take about a year for your hair to grow 6 inches. Be patient.
  • Using a hair stripper can dry out your tresses. Limit harsh treatments that can damage your hair immediately after you strip it.

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