6 Makeup Tips for Gray Hair

Deciding to let your silver shine and looking for makeup tips for gray hair? Look no further!

Firstly, why would a women interested in beauty let her gray hair show?

Gray hair is cool now. Did you get the memo? Lots of women are letting their gray grow naturally rather than coloring it.

Myself included! When “shelter in place” began, I decided it was a great time to stop covering the gray hair that’s been peeking out of my dark locks since my late 20’s!

Like many women, I’m tired of the hassle, the expense… and hating my hair. Instead I’m embracing the natural look. And I’m loving it! Apparently other people love it too, because I’ve never gotten so many compliments on my hair as now, when it’s about 50% gray.

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I noticed that I needed to make a few tweaks to my makeup routine once gray hair was framing my face.

Incidentally, when I look at photos of myself when I was coloring, my skin appears very pale. Some people say that gray hair “washes you out”, but that has not been my experience. Letting my gray hair grow has warmed up my complexion considerably.

Photo by Natasha Brazil on Unsplash

Makeup tips for gray hair. Image is of a woman lying on her back, gray curly hair dangling off a couch. She has a happy expression on her face.
Gray hair = freedom!

Makeup Tips for Gray Hair

When you have gray hair, your goal with makeup is to make your features pop. Here’s how to do it.

#1: Lighten up the Foundation

Opt for a lightweight, moisturizing formula for your base. For example, a tinted moisturizer, which is less likely to settle into fine lines and wrinkles than a matte foundation.

My favorite is Beauty Society’s Cream Foundation Stick (when you click this link you’ll get access to a 20% off coupon). It goes on effortlessly, wears beautifully, doesn’t accentuate fine lines and wrinkles, and gives your skin a natural coverage that glows.

#2: Brows Are Where It’s At

Eyebrows frame your face. Don’t forget about them! Using a cream-to-powder shadow, or a brow gel shapes your face and draws attention to your eyes. Since gravity pulls our faces down gradually, we need to bring the focus back up.

#3: Switch Up Your Eyeliner

The black eyeliner of your youth might look too harsh. Have fun with bold shades like plum, green, and navy, or stick to classic warm brown. Avoid applying eyeliner to the insides of your eyelids, as this visually “closes” the eye.

#4: Blush!

Blush is definitely your friend if you have gray hair. Soft, rosy tones add a youthful glow. Be sure to apply blush directly on your cheekbones, not below them. Remember (as I said in tip #2) that makeup applied properly can bring the eye “up”. This video has a demonstration on proper blush application for women over 50.

#5: Liven Those Lips

Pinks, mauves, and reds can be a lot of fun when you have grey hair. Neutral tones and browns may wash you out because it makes everything match your hair. Don’t be afraid to go bold when you have silver hair.

#6: Add Dimension

If you use foundation alone, it might be too one-dimensional or “flat” on the face. This is where highlighters and contouring come in.

To start with, apply a radiant primer before your foundation (or mix it together) to create a brighter base. Use a creamy product two shades darker than your skin tone to contour under your cheekbones and around your forehead.

Makeup Tips for Gray Hair: Image shows a middle aged woman with a short gray hairstyle wearing sunglasses, coral lip color and an orange blouse.

I love that there is a movement to embrace your natural gray hair! Silver hair is so beautiful when it’s well maintained. It’s not a sign that you’ve “let yourself go”. There are many communities of women on Facebook who offer support and tips to other women growing out their gray. Check them out!

Letting your gray hair grow out says to the world that you are a woman who is happy being herself.

When we’re comfortable in our own skin, we give others permission to love themselves too. It communicates that you’re no longer weighed down by societal expectations that you must spend your time, money and energy conforming to a certain beauty standard. And that is beautiful!

If you want more information on caring for your gray hair, and even more makeup tips to flatter your face when you go silver, check out this book.

(This is an Amazon associates link, meaning I earn a tiny commission if you make a purchase. Thanks for supporting this site!)

Silver Hair: Say Goodbye to the Dye and Let Your Natural Light Shine: A Handbook

Does gray hair wash you out?

There are conflicting opinions on this one! As I shared above, I found that my complexion actually warmed up when I stopped coloring. But everyone’s skin tone and gray pattern is different, so it’s hard to say for sure. Even if your gray hair does seem to wash out your complexion, you can add color back to your face with the tips above.

Can I do bold makeup colors with gray hair?

YES! In fact many woman find that experimenting with bold tones makes a lovely contrast between their skin and hair even more pronounced.

What colors should I wear with gray hair?

The most flattering colors for clothing and makeup will depend on your unique undertone. I highly recommend consulting a color theory expert. Or, take note of what colors you gravitate towards the most, feel most likely yourself in, and what colors you’re wearing when people compliment you. Those will give you some clues.

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  1. Kimberly McGraw

    May 27, 2020 at 12:32 am

    Great tips! I’m so glad I’m seeing more of these beauty posts!

  2. Suzanne

    October 28, 2022 at 1:15 pm

    Hi, I would like to know if you also can advice on hair cuts?


    December 30, 2022 at 12:49 pm

    Please give advice on eye bags

  4. Pauline elley

    July 31, 2023 at 11:28 am

    Y silver is more at the from and darker grey at the back. Have been light blonde and how do I get rid of the remaining blonde which looks quite yellow now .


    August 5, 2023 at 3:03 pm

    Thanks for all the advice to deal with grey hair.The makeup is wonderful.It brings life to the face

  6. Marilyn Holsten

    August 18, 2023 at 1:53 pm

    Please give advice on eye bags?

  7. Carrie

    August 18, 2023 at 11:22 pm

    Hi Marilyn.
    I suggest a good eye cream and a product that tightens the eye area. I like the SeneGence eye cream (one pot lasts me one year: https://web.senegence.com/en_us/3055d-eyecreme.html?distributor_id=363557) and the Revitalizing eye treatment (https://web.senegence.com/en_us/3392-neotight-revitalizing-eye-serum-1.html?distributor_id=363557). I like to apply both and use a jade roller (it feels naturally cool) to get the fluid to move away from the eye area.
    Hope that helps!

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