Skip to Content

What is salt & Pepper look?

The salt and pepper look refers to a hair color trend that embraces and enhances the natural process of graying hair. As both men and women age, their hair tends to lose pigmentation and turn gray or white. The salt and pepper look celebrates this natural process by allowing the gray to show, rather than covering it up with dye. It creates an elegant, distinguished look that can be very attractive.

The Appeal of the Salt & Pepper Look

There are several reasons why the salt and pepper hair trend has become so popular:

  • It’s low maintenance – No more monthly trips to the salon to cover up roots!
  • It’s natural – No harsh chemicals from hair dye.
  • It’s unique – No two heads of salt and pepper hair look exactly the same.
  • It’s striking – The contrast between the dark and light strands makes the hair color really stand out.
  • It’s sexy – Many find the mix of gray and darker hair alluring and attractive.

In a society that often emphasizes youthfulness, the salt and pepper look provides a refreshing alternative that embraces the aging process with style and sophistication.

How to Achieve the Look

If you’re interested in trying out the salt and pepper hair trend, here are some tips:

Grow out your natural gray hair

First, you’ll need to grow out your gray hair from the roots. This may take several months, depending on how often you normally color your hair. Be patient during the growing out phase when roots are visible.

Get a cut that complements the mix

Once your natural gray is visible, get a haircut that enhances the contrast between the light and dark strands. Layers and feathering around the face help show off the salt and pepper blend.

Use styling products to reduce brassiness

Gray hair can sometimes pick up unwanted brassy or yellow tones. Use a purple shampoo once a week to keep hair looking cool and bright. Styling products like mousse also boost shine.

Consider highlights if needed

Some find their hair grows in too unevenly gray at first. Subtle highlights blended with the natural color help create a more seamless salt and pepper effect.

Maintenance Tips

Once you’ve achieved the look, maintaining your salt and pepper hair is easy. Here are some tips:

  • Wash hair 2-3 times per week to prevent brassiness
  • Use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner formulated for gray hair
  • Apply masking or gloss treatments to boost shine
  • Use a heat protectant before styling hair
  • Get regular trims to prevent split ends and keep hair healthy

Best Candidates for Salt & Pepper Hair

While the salt and pepper look can be attractive on anyone, there are some factors that make it more favorable:

Best Candidates Why it Works Well
Natural brunettes The contrast pops more on darker hair.
Straight or wavy hair Shows off the blend nicely.
Medium to thick hair Thinner hair can look more sparse and uneven.
Fair to olive skin tones Cooler complexions suit silver hair.
Heart shaped, oval faces The mix framing the face is flattering.

Those with very curly or coarse hair may want to soften the texture a bit for a more blended look. People with warm, yellow-undertone skin may want to go platinum rather than salt and pepper.

Styling Tips for Men

Salt and pepper hair is a stylish option for men of any age, but does require some styling finesse. Here are tips for guys:

  • Go for a shorter cut – Faded sides with length on top helps minimize patchiness.
  • Use a matte styling product – This adds grip and makes hair look thicker.
  • Invest in a beard trimmer – A neat beard adds contrast to the hair.
  • Try a side part or comb over – This helps cover up sparse areas.
  • Get a quality haircut every 4 weeks – Regular trims reduce frizz and shagginess.

The key is keeping hair well-groomed overall to complement the salt and pepper mix.

Celebrity Examples

Many celebrities have embraced the salt and pepper movement and showed off their natural gray locks with style. Some influential men include:

  • George Clooney
  • Anderson Cooper
  • Steve Carell
  • Patrick Dempsey
  • John Slattery

For women, stars like:

  • Helen Mirren
  • Jamie Lee Curtis
  • Andie MacDowell
  • Emmylou Harris
  • Judi Dench

have embraced their silver strands and the sophistication it brings.

Who Should Avoid It

While the salt and pepper look has many fans, it isn’t right for everyone. People may want to avoid this look if:

  • Their hair is prematurely graying unevenly or in patches
  • They have naturally very dark hair with low contrast
  • They have dry, brittle hair prone to frizz
  • They have an uneven hair growth pattern
  • They dislike seeing any gray hairs

For those whose hair grows in very sporadically gray, it may be best to either dye hair uniformly darker or lighter. Very curly or coiled hair types can also sometimes make the contrast seem less blended.

Going Gray Gracefully

While genetics ultimately determine when and how quickly someone grays, lifestyle can play a role too. Here are tips to encourage graceful graying:

  • Eat a nutrient-rich diet with antioxidants
  • Take supplements like biotin, vitamins B & D
  • Use sun protection for hair and scalp
  • Don’t smoke and minimize stress
  • Be gentle when brushing and styling hair

Making healthy hair a priority gives the best chance of transitioning to salt and pepper strands gracefully.

Embracing Your Authentic Self

At the end of the day, the salt and pepper hair trend is about embracing one’s authentic self and natural beauty. The mix of dark and light strands tells a story and represents the unique journey of aging with wisdom, confidence and vitality. Rather than viewing gray locks as something to hide, the salt and pepper look celebrates silver strands as a distinctive and compelling part of personal style.


With its gorgeous contrast and ease of maintenance, it’s no wonder the salt and pepper hair look has become so popular. By celebrating the natural process of graying hair rather than fighting it, the trend empowers both women and men to embrace their age with style and panache. Salt and pepper hair represents personal growth, distinctiveness and a striking beauty that comes with time. More than just a fad, this is one hair trend with true staying power and meaning.