Salt and Pepper Hair For a Gray Glow-Up (+ Inspo Looks)

December 20, 2023

What Is Salt and Pepper Hair?

Salt and pepper hair is a unique blend of dark and light shades, often featuring dark or brunette hair from a client’s original or colored hair intertwined with white or gray. When a hair strand has less melanin, it appears more transparent, resulting in colors like gray, silver, or white. This combination of dark and light tones is known as salt and pepper hair, and it’s a stylish statement celebrated by both men and women. It’s about time!


Embracing Salt and Pepper: Why It’s in Demand

The salt and pepper hair trend is no longer confined to a particular age group; it’s embraced by individuals of all ages. Several factors contribute to the growing demand for this sophisticated look:

  1. Natural Process: Salt and pepper hair happens to nearly all of us! Rather than trying to hide those stubborn gray hairs and ending up with the dreaded stripes it’s finally become a strong fashion statement and we are here for it!
  2. Low Maintenance: One of the primary attractions of salt and pepper hair is its minimal upkeep. Clients appreciate the reduced need for touch-up appointments and a hassle-free routine.
  3. Unique Versatility: Salt and pepper hair complements various skin tones and personal styles, making it a versatile choice for anyone looking to enhance their natural grays.

Consultation and Client Considerations

When a client expresses interest in transitioning to salt and pepper hair, conducting a thorough consultation is essential. Here are key factors to consider during this process:

  1. Transition Plan: Assess your client’s readiness for the transition. Sometimes we need to give the hair a helping hand by pre-lightening sections to achieve a more dynamic or balanced look. Determine whether they prefer a gradual change to enhance the gray or a more dramatic transformation.
  2. Lifestyle: This look is generally low maintenance but that doesn’t mean No maintenance! Provide realistic expectations and create a customized plan tailored to their long term needs.
  3. Maintenance: Recommend regular trims and toning sessions with Color Excel to help add additional movement and shimmer and to avoid brassy tones.


Achieving the Salt and Pepper Look

Creating the perfect salt and pepper is possible with a few tweaks! Follow these steps to achieve a polished beautified gray look that is anything but dull or dreary.

  1. Balayage Technique: Utilize the Balayage technique to create a gentle and blended contrast between the natural hair color and gray tones. This approach ensures a dynamic but  natural look.
  2. Specialized Products: For those transitioning to salt and pepper hair, preventing the brassy yellow tinge that often affects gray and blonde hair is essential. The key to success lies in using Revlon Professional’s Best Hair Products for Enhancing Gray Hair. These professional products are proven to help achieve and maintain the true and neutralized gray tone. With  Nutri Color™ Filters, you can ensure impeccable color from root to tip. In just 3 minutes, you can restore color and shine and get a soft, healthy looking gray glow-up!
  3. For clients who are looking for a semi-permanent color that will offer shimmer and softness, we recommend Color Excel Gloss. This ammonia-free* acid toning range offers an exclusive in-salon service to beautify natural gray hair. It softly tones and provides uniformity to gray hair, reducing its typical oxidative appearance. It’s perfect for neutralizing yellow residues on natural gray hair as well. Here are some shades that are perfect for beautifying gray hair:
  • .123 Nude Satin: A sophisticated nude tone that enhances and blends natural and dyed gray hair.
  • .22 Intense Iridescent: A pearly shade with a touch of violet for medium neutralization and toning.
  • .11 Silver Ash: Perfect for strong neutralization, this titanium silver shade creates great uniformity for all gray hair.
  • .821 Mushroom: A modern earthy shade with a powerful pigment


The Gray Hair Journey

To support clients on their personalized gray hair journey, you will need effective toning and neutralizing products. Be sure to recommend professional care and styling products formulated with direct dyes that coat the outer layers of the hair surface to maintain vibrancy and enhance salt and pepper hair. We recommend these products for use in and out of the salon:

  1. RE/START™ STRENGTHENING PURPLE CLEANSER: This cleanser is ideal for those with blonde, bleached, white, or highlighted hair. It neutralizes brassiness, strengthens hair and helps restore bleached hair. It also helps reduce breakage, enhances color gloss, and improves vibrancy.
  2. RE/START™ COLOR ANTI-BRASSINESS PURPLE DROPS: These drops are perfect for removing yellow tones and preventing brassiness in white, blonde, or gray hair. They can be mixed with hair care products for customized toning on light hair.
  3. EKSPERIENCE™ COLOR PROTECTION BLONDE & GRAY HAIR CLEANSER: This sulfate-free hair cleanser is infused with violet pigments that prevent and neutralize brassy and yellow tones.
  4. REVLON PROFESSIONAL EQUAVE™ ANTI-BRASSINESS INSTANT DETANGLING CONDITIONER: Blonde, gray, and bleached hair often loses its beautiful natural tones and becomes yellowish. Reformulated with a high concentration of purple pigments, this powerful leave-in detangler and conditioner effectively neutralizes any undesired yellow tones, making it easier to achieve ideal natural shades while leaving hair bright and shiny.

At Home Care

To get extra neutralization and ultra-luminous effects at home, clients can use the Nutri Color™ Filters DIRECT Nutri Color™ cream with intense COLOR, CARE and SHINE. The following shades are recommended:

  • 1011 Intense Silver
  • 1022 Intense Platinum
  • 1002 Pale Platinum
  • 821 Silver Beige

These at-home color care treatments offer a convenient way to maintain gray hair’s vibrancy and toning.

By following these expert recommendations and tips, you can provide your clients with a flawless salt and pepper hair transformation, ensuring they embrace their natural grays and wear them with pride.

For more inspiration and pro tips, head to our 24/7 online educational platform, #AlwaysOn, to learn about new techniques and to perfect those you already know. To purchase all of our products, access our Revlon ProShop.


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