How to Make Your Hair Look Old and Gray

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Gray hair isn't just for grannies. Celebrities like Kelly Osbourne and Lady Gaga have made gray hair a hot look even for teenagers and young women. You can permanently change the color of your locks by dying them, or you can try out gray color with temporary solutions like baby powder and colored hair spray. These temporary solutions offer the ideal choice for your next costume party.


Permanent Hair Dye

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Things You'll Need

  • Hair bleach

  • Purple toner

  • Gray hair dye

  • Deep conditioning treatment

  • Petroleum jelly

  • Latex gloves

  • An old shirt

Step 1: Remove Color First

Bleach your hair before you dye it to ensure that the color shows up properly, as gray is a light color. Even if you have naturally light hair, bleaching your hair will help it better absorb the color, which enhances its tone.

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Step 2: Bleach It

Apply the bleach all over your hair and allow it to sit as long as the product directions specify. If you have dark hair, you may need to bleach your hair a second time to get it light enough for the gray hair dye.

Step 3: Apply Toner

Wash the bleach out of your hair and apply a purple toner. The purple offsets the yellow tones left behind by the bleach, allowing the gray to show its true color. Allow the purple toner to sit in the hair as long as the product directions specify, and then wash it out.


Step 4: Dye the Hair

Section the hair, and apply the gray dye one section at a time. Applying the dye in sections results in more even coverage. Allow the dye to remain in the hair for about 25 to 30 minutes, or as long as the product directions state.

Step 5: Rinse and Style

Rinse out the gray dye and style your hair as you like.



Put on an old shirt or cover your clothes with a stylist cape, and wear gloves to protect your hands.


Bleaching your hair can cause serious damage. Give your hair a deep conditioning treatment a couple of weeks before you bleach your hair to protect it.

White Powder

Things You'll Need

  • Hairspray

  • Baby powder or cornstarch

If you have dark hair and just want to experiment with gray hair temporarily, you can create the look with a bit of white powder, such as baby powder or cornstarch.

Step 1: Style Hair

Style your hair the way you want it before you start "coloring" your hair. The powder is applied to the outside of the hair, not infused throughout.


Step 2: Set the Style

Spray your styled hair lightly all over with hairspray. This sets the style and provides a sticky foundation for the powder.

Step 3: Add Powder

Sprinkle the baby powder or cornstarch throughout your hair. Sift your hair gently through your fingers so that clumps of powder do not settle in it. Smooth out the powder with your fingers when you are finished.


The powder should create a dusty look that is perfect for costumes where you want to look much older.


Stage Makeup

Things You'll Need

  • White or light gray stage makeup

  • Makeup sponges

Just like with the powder, you can create a temporary gray look with white or light gray stage makeup.


Step 1: Style Hair

Set your hair in the style you want it before you begin, just as you would when using powder. updos work best with this method since the hair is pinned in place.

Step 2: Apply Makeup

Dip a sponge in the makeup and start applying it to your hair at the temples. Dab the top of your hair the way you would your face when applying makeup. Apply the makeup more heavily around the temples and the roots to create a more natural look.


Step 3: Work the Strands

Continue working the makeup through the strands of your hair until you get the saturation to create the look you want.

Colored Hairspray

Many costume shops sell colored hairspray that you can apply to your hair as easily as you would your regular hairspray. As with the other temporary methods of colors, this hairspray applies color on top of the hair, so it is best to have your style set before you begin. Otherwise, you risk combing it out of your hair as you work.

When the style is set, spray the color all over, keeping the nozzle at least 6 inches from your hair to ensure even coverage.


Check all ingredients listed for any product for potential allergens. If you are unsure, use a small bit of the product on an area of your skin to check for a reaction.



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