How 11 Stars Embraced Their Gray Hair
OUR FAVORITE CELEBRITIES SHARE THEIR THOUGHTS ON CELEBRATING SILVER STRANDS.
While we often hear about female stars going from blonde to brunette or showing off new highlights, we rarely celebrate the beauty of doing none of these things and embracing gray hair. But if you pay close attention, you'll see more celebrities rocking gray locks proudly. A-listers like Sarah Jessica Parker are letting their natural silver strands peek through, while others, such as Diane Keaton, are proudly displaying a full gray mane. If you're thinking about going the same route (or if you already have!), keep reading to hear how some of today's most beautiful stars embraced their gray hair.
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Salma Hayek, who recently wowed crowds at the Miami premiere of Magic Mike's Last Dance, is as famous for her acting chops as she is for her dramatic eyebrows (she portrayed Frida Kahlo in the biopic about the artist's life) and beautiful thick hair. In a 2017 interview with the New York Times about her beauty routine, the 56-year-old actress shared that she only tends to these famous features when she's working on a project or getting ready for a publicity tour. Otherwise, she keeps her hair color, white strands included, natural.
"One of the reasons I don't dye my hair is because I don't have the patience to sit through it," she said. "I don't want to spend what's left of my youth pretending I'm younger and then not enjoying life." In fact, in a 2020 Instagram post, Hayek shared a makeup-free selfie that showcased her grays, captioning it "The white hair of wisdom."
Sarah Jessica Parker
From her time working on Sex and the City in the late '90s to its recent reboot And Just Like That, Sarah Jessica Parker has been no stranger to public discourse on female aging. And when it comes to her gray hair, she's on the same page as Hayek.
"I can't spend time getting base color every two weeks. Can't do it. Nope. Too much," the 57-year-old actress said in a 2022 Allure interview. This was in response to the magazine telling her that she'd become somewhat of a poster child for the herringbone highlight trend ("highlights woven in and around natural grays," Allure explained).
Previously, Parker had been called "brave" when she was photographed out and about with said highlights, a claim she was not so on board with. "It became months and months of conversation about how brave I am for having gray hair," she told Allure. "I was like, please please applaud someone else's courage on something!"
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In the summer of 2021, Andie MacDowell made headlines for her freshly debuted gray hair. The 64-year-old actress decided during COVID that she'd stop coloring her strands and has since become seemingly one of the most-photographed gray-haired beauties.
In an interview with Vogue shortly after she rocked her new look on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival, MacDowell shared that it was actually her three children who encouraged her to ditch the dye. "They kept telling me I looked bad*** with my gray hair." The actress also said that she was inspired by Jane Fonda's gray 'do and her stylist Jack Martin.
When her managers told MacDowell that it might not be the right time to make the transition, she told them, "I think you're wrong, and I'm going to be more powerful if I embrace where I am right now. It's time because in two years I'm going to be 65. If I don't do it now, I won't have the chance to be salt and pepper. I always wanted to be salt and pepper!"
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Speaking of Jane Fonda, as an Academy Award-winning household name, the 85-year-old actress has never been shy about speaking her mind. After becoming the face and body of all-ages fitness, it's no surprise that her looks are as much a topic of conversation as her prolific career.
She revealed her new hair color at the 2020 Oscars, at which time Martin, her colorist, shared a photo of himself and Fonda, explaining that it took him seven hours to transform her hair. "Jane had about 3 inches of her salt and pepper natural roots and the rest was a little tired warm golden blonde, her goal color was a silver icy blonde to surprise everyone at the 2020 Oscar," he said.
When she appeared on The Ellen Show in 2021, Fonda said of her mane, "I tell you, I'm so happy I let it go gray. Enough already with so much time wasted, so much money spent, so many chemicals—I'm through with that."
Tia Mowry spent her teen years in the spotlight, starring in the sitcom Sister Sister. In Aug. 2022. interview with InStyle, the 46-year-old actress shared that she used to straighten her hair for the show since that's what she felt "society was pushing as beautiful." Growing up, she explained, "there were just no visuals or representation of someone who looked like me — Black girl with curly hair. All I saw being showcased was blonde, straight hair, blue eyes, white skin."
She also shared with InStyle that her gray hair started to "come in heavy" in her early '40s. Now, Mowry embraces and celebrates her "uniqueness" and says that her gray hair "actually is a blessing because it means that, yes, I'm getting older and I'm still here."
"I was working on a film, and someone on set told me, 'You really need to cover those gray hairs! Girls shouldn't be seen that way.' And I said, 'No. I'm going to keep my gray hair. This is normal, this is what happens,'" Mowry continued. "Because at the end of the day, no matter what the trends are or what people tell me about how I should look, I define what beauty is for me."
Mowry regularly shows off her hair's natural beauty on Instagram, as she hopes that it will help other women to celebrate themselves.
The Criminal Minds star debuted her salt-and-pepper waves in character last summer. In a Tweet that accompanied a photo of her new look, she said, "I like my grey hair. I have felt pressure to dye it, pretend to be 35 again, no thanks."
In a New Year's day Tweet this year, the 53-year-old actress shared another photo of her stunning gray tresses and said, "It's hard getting older and not doing injections or surgery but I choose that. I'm older. I'm still hard working, inquisitive and sexy. Very sexy."
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Jamie Lee Curtis
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It's hard to imagine Jamie Lee Curtis without her signature gray pixie hairstyle, but the 64-year-old actress wasn't always as accepting of herself.
In a 2021 interview with ITV morning show host Lorraine Kelly, Curtis said, "I tried to do everything you can do to your hair. Personally, I felt it humiliating. I would go into a hair salon, the smell of the chemicals, the feeling of that color on my hair, the wearing the things, sitting under the hair dryer, I was like, 'For what?'"
Curtis shared with Kelly that, early in her career, she had a perm and subsequent dye job that burned her hair. "I have been an advocate for natural beauty for a long time, mostly because I've had the trial and error of the other part," she said. "I did plastic surgery, it didn't work. I hated it. It made me feel worse.
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Stacy London began her fashion career as an editor at Vogue and Mademoiselle, but she became a household name when she began hosting the popular reality television show What Not To Wear in 2003. While filming the show, London's face-framing silver streaks became her trademark look.
In a 2021 interview, the 53-year-old entrepreneur told Cup of Jo that she first got her streak when she was just 11 years old. "I've never felt uncomfortable about it. I think it puts me in the same category as Cruella de Vil or Rogue from X-Men," she quipped. "There are actually easy ways I could hide it — I could part my hair a certain way and it wouldn't show. But I would never. It's a part of me."
London continued to say that she is now going gray throughout her hair and, though it does cause her some anxiety, she is working to embrace it. "Because the whole world tells us that aging is bad, and I just don't buy it. Change is scary, and yeah, it is weird to look in the mirror and be like, 'That's not me. That's not what I looked like at 38.' But I want to be welcoming to those changes. So, when I notice more grey hairs, I'll say little things to myself in the mirror, like, 'I can't wait to see more of you.'"
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Dame Helen Mirren has received nearly every award an actress can get and has portrayed everyone from Cleopatra to the Queen. The English superstar is also a style inspiration, rocking pink hair at 67 and becoming a brand ambassador for L'Oreal Paris at 77. And when it came to going gray, Mirren shared that it wasn't difficult for her.
"I have to say it was very easy for me because my hair was always blonde," she told Vogue in an Oct. 2021 interview. "I was a natural blonde and although it was quite dark at times, in the summertime when I'd spent time in the sun, it would basically go white. So the process of me losing the color of my hair was very easy—it just looked more and more as if I had been in the sun, but year-round."
Mirren added that she dabbles in low lights but always does it herself. "I never went to have my hair colored; I couldn't be bothered, it's so boring and expensive."
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It was back at the 2014 Golden Globes that Diane Keaton first debuted her gray hair, styled into a shoulder-length, layered cut and paired with a sleek black pantsuit. Within a few years, the now-77-year-old actress had begun sporting an even lighter hue. "My hair is now white. It's better to have light around your face–I think it looks better on older people. Darker hair is not as softening," she told People in 2017.
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It isn't only female celebrities who must live up to expectations while doing human things like aging. For George Clooney, his famous salt-and-pepper hair, which he's been sporting since 2009, has landed him the nickname "silver fox" and earned him People magazine's "sexiest man alive" spot twice. But this doesn't mean the actor hasn't received his share of questions about his gray hair.
"I will say that there's nothing fun—and I know for actresses it's infinitely worse because of public perception based on nothing except studios not hiring them and those sorts of things—but I think for all of us, you have to come to terms with getting older and not trying to fight it," he told BBC Radio 4 in a 2015 interview.
When asked about dying his hair, the 61-year-old actor said, "For me, it isn't an issue or an option. I don't think it would make much sense, quite honestly…I've seen it happen and…particularly on men, I don't think it really works well. I actually think it makes you look older." There you have it!