2 Must-Know Makeup Tips for Gray Hair

April 16, 2021 (updated April 9, 2024) — Written by

If you’ve recently embraced gray or silver hair and are unsure about which colors or products complement your new look, I’ve got you covered. Transitioning to gray hair can be daunting, especially when it comes to adjusting makeup choices. As someone who prefers a simple makeup routine, I struggled to find the right products after going gray. That’s why I consulted a makeup artist to create a super-simple makeup routine that requires just 2 steps and 5 minutes!

By: Lisa Fennessy


Over the years, my makeup routine has been pretty simple. Through my 20s and 30s it was mostly mascara and lip balm. I mean, I never even tried brow makeup until I was 37. Then I became a beauty blogger (lol) and things changed. I got to try all the latest and greatest and I really started enjoying playing with and wearing makeup. Now that I’m in my 40s I still keep it simple. Most days I don’t wear any makeup but when I do, I like a little of everything. Here’s my before and after makeup for gray hair. 👇

My no-makeup look.
A woman wearing makeup with long gray hair smiles at the camera.
An everyday makeup look.

All of this to say, I am not a professional makeup artist. That’s why you don’t see “how to” makeup tutorials here on TNK. I am a casual makeup wearer and my looks are very natural and very simple. So if you are someone who is like, “I don’t wear makeup and I don’t know how!” or if you are a casual makeup wearer, like me, I am here for you! 

And if you are someone who loves makeup and knows all the tips and tricks but now your look is changing and you need help figuring it all out, I’m here for you too.   

This post is all about how to create the BIGGEST IMPACT with the least amount of products and effort. It’s also about choosing shades that will compliment your natural coloring. That’s right, I’m talking about the best makeup colors and tips for people with gray or silver hair.

Also, be sure to check out this guide to going gray and for more I’ve also got the scoop on the best purple shampoo and how to keep your gray hair shiny.

Gray hair makeup basics 

I’m going to define the basics here and then let you build off of that. I really want to make this look approachable for all of us—even if you are a no-makeup kinda girl. It’s amazing how just a couple of products can really make a look pop.

Clean beauty makeup artists agree; there are two major takeaways for women who have gray hair: 

  1. Brows, brows, brows 
  2. Add a pop of color

Professional makeup artist and founder of Sacred Beauty Collective, Rebecca Casciano explains, “Adding some color to the face and making sure that brows are defined are great ways to enhance features and create contrast, especially when the hair is gray or white.”

Rose-Marie Swift, a top makeup artist and the founder of RMS Beauty, agrees in a recent conversation with goop saying, “Brows frame your face beautifully, and when they’re a different shade from your hair, it adds so much dimension. And a bright lip really flatters your face and makes everything pop.” 

Here I am with Rose-Marie back in 2019 before she went gray.
Rose-Marie in 2023 after going gray.

Keeping all of that in mind, I’m going to recommend my top picks for brows and my top picks for adding a bit of color to your face for people who have gray hair. 

1. Brows, brows, brows

To be honest, I’m so mad that I didn’t start filling my brows until my late 30s. I mean, I missed out on all those good years of having really great-looking brows. 

Says Rebecca, “Filling in the eyebrows helps to frame your eyes and facial features. It can bring definition, balance and symmetry to the face.”

Maybe one of the reasons I waited so long is because applying brow product seems so intimidating…like how do you do it? Or maybe it was because I didn’t have any brows? Thanks to my 7th grade finishing school experience and that over-pluck-technique they taught us. (Yeah, I just said “finishing school.”) 

But that’s neither here nor there because now I have brows and now I do them.

Best brow products for gray hair

When I do my brows, I usually use two products. A colored product to fill in brows and then a clear product to keep them in place. These are my faves. All are really easy to apply and deliver big impact. 

And if you’re trying to nail a good color match, take Rebecca’s advice: “Generally speaking, you’ll want to choose a product 1-2 shades lighter than your brow hair color. If your brows are very thin or mostly gray, try a grayish brown that best matches your hair or adds a bit of depth.”

A chart of how to choose your brow makeup shade.

You can see it applied in the video below.

I also like recommending these products because they come in shades that compliment my salt and pepper grays—not all brands do that.

​​Want more? hit up Best Eyebrow Makeup for Gray Hair

2. Add a pop of color

Lisa holding up ILIA Multi-stick

The other product that can drive big impact is a blush or a lipstick…or both.

Makeup artist and beauty mogul Bobbi Brown says, “Blush adds a healthy look to your skin, so don’t skip it. A cream formula is always better for dry skin since it doesn’t settle in lines, but pass on anything with sparkles.”  

And I agree, it’s cream blush all the way. I have a couple of cream blush faves, but for the sake of driving big impact with as few products as possible, I’m going to recommend a multi-stick. 

Multi-sticks are great because you can use it—you guessed it—in multiple ways. I love multi-sticks for cheeks and lips but you can also use them on eyes as a shadow too. 

They are also v easy to apply. You can apply them directly to your lips like you would a lipstick or a lip balm, And you can also apply them directly to your cheeks and then blend with your fingers or a brush

Best multi-stick for gray hair

If you are looking to add color in additional ways, these are also some of my go-to blushes and here is a look at basically every clean beauty red lipstick. Remember, you can also use a dab of lipstick as your cheek color too so technically any lipstick is also a “multi-stick”.

Shopping guide

Sappho Brow Pomade in Taupe Gray

Sappho Brow Pomade in Taupe Gray

Kosas Brow Pop Nano

Kosas Brow Pop Nano

Rye Beauty Brow Serum

Rye Beauty Brow Grooming Serum

The Multi-Stick Dear Ruby

ILIA Multi-Stick in Dear Ruby

ILIA Multi-Stick in At Last

Kjaer Weis Confidence lipstick

Kjaer Weis The Red Edit Lipstick Refill

What makeup is your go-to for gray hair?

xo, lisa in cursive

TNK Team Note: This article may contain affiliate links, including Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. TNK uses affiliate links as a source for revenue to fund operations of the business and to be less dependent on branded content. TNK stands behind all product recommendations. Still have questions about these links or our process? Feel free to email us.

By Lisa Fennessy

Lisa is the founder of The New Knew. Passionate about clean beauty, organic eats and nontoxic lifestyle, Lisa writes to create awareness. Conscious consumerism and informed decisions will impact the marketplace, our health and THE WORLD!


  1. Reply

    Rose Marie Russell

    I’m an old gal,going on 80,always had auburn hair with blond and brown stands in it. I began to see white in my part in my late 60’s so I’d have a bit of a dye job. which worked well for years. This year I’ve seen a brassy look with a coarse look and feel to the top layer of hair. –with a “STARK WHITE PART”! Watching your post just now I’ve decided not to dye my hair any longer. I’ll probably be scared but at least I’ll be honest to myself!
    Thank you for your sensible and enlightening post!

    1. Reply


      Hi Rose Marie! It’s been a couple of weeks, how is it going!!?? So excited for your new look. You’ve got this. xo, Lisa

  2. Reply

    Suzanne W

    I stumbled upon The New Knew on Pinterest and I’m so happy I did! I started going gray before 25. Now, at 33, if I part my hair right I rock a solid salt-n-pepper look. My hair is brunette with a little red tint in the sun but I’m letting the grays do their thing. The most makeup I’ve worn in my adult like was on my wedding day. Now it’s just a little (really little) eye makeup and a tinted moisturizer for date night. I’ve been waiting for years for my eyebrows to fill in a little, so I’m happy I’ve found this post.

    1. Reply

      Lisa Fennessy

      Hi Suzanne! Sounds beautiful! I would love to see pics! xoxo, Lisa

  3. Reply

    Bernadette Duboff

    Hello Lisa,
    When I turned 60, I gave myself the gift of not dyeing my hair brown anymore. I have curly, frizzy, thinning, shoulder length white/steel gray, brassy, messy hair now.
    I don’t hate it, I try not to look at it.
    I am going to try purple shampoo, but am really worried about losing any more hair. (I know worrying will make hair loss worse, so I am in a catch 22).
    Thank you for your column.

    1. Reply

      Lisa Fennessy

      Hi Bernadette! I love this idea as a birthday gift to yourself! These are the purple shampoos I recommend. The BRUNS option is especially moisturizing and I don’t see it contributing to hair loss in anyway. I also haven’t seen any reviews with this shampoo that bring up that experience either. If you try it, be sure to let us know what you think! xo, Lisa

  4. Reply

    Ellen Friedman

    I started dyeing my dark brown hair to blonde in my 20s. Every 3-4 weeks! Then covid hit. I am now in my 60s. I wasn’t working or going out, and the 3-4 weeks stretched into 4-6 weeks! Then I saw a picture on Pinterest and I fell in love with it. It was dark hair with patches of gray/white… absolutely gorgeous! I sent it to my hairdresser and now I absolutely LOVE it! It took us 3 appointments to get it to where I wanted it.
    I went to a family Thankgiving event and all my sisters-in-law were amazed and couldn’t get over how good I looked! The last time they saw me, I was blonde! When they asked me why I did it, I told them I was finally embracing my age, and who I am!
    BTW…I do use purple shampoo & conditioner mixed with my “high-end” shampoo / conditioner.

    1. Reply

      Lisa Fennessy

      That’s amazing Ellen! Love that you had a successful experience…I wouldn’t be surprised if your sisters start following in your footsteps ; ) That’s what happened to me! xo, L

  5. Reply


    Hey there, you are gorgeous, I’ve been gray for about 6 years and at 63 I’ve realized that because I decided to go gray I’ve unconsciously ensured that the rest of me is fit and moisturized!! I would never go back to highlighting my hair, I feel so myself and actually people seem to admire the guts and confidence it takes to be unafraid to take on aging without fear or shame.

    1. Reply

      Lisa Fennessy

      It’s it wonderful! Embracing our age actually can make us feel stronger than not. That is SO IRONIC and NOT IRONIC all at the same time. So glad you have had a positive experience Molly! xo, L

  6. Reply


    Thank you for this article. I am about 5 months away from being totally natural and no more color in my hair!! Has been an exciting journey and I couldn’t be doing it without your advice. I just ordered samples from Vapour to start working on my makeup so I don’t looked washed out with my natural gray.

    1. Reply

      Lisa Fennessy

      Hi Aimee! CONGRATS! So happy for you that you are almost done. Did you get the samples? What did you think? xo, L

  7. Reply


    Thank you for the inspiration! I’m 54 and starting my grey journey. Your are right…the little voice has become much louder and after a previous attempt I think it’s time now to be liberated from dying my hair. My main issue has been that after having breast cancer I no longer want to put chemicals on my scalp every few weeks. I’ve got a few low lights to ease myself and my family into the process, and I’m
    Looking forward to the journey. I see friends who have embraced their grey and it looks so natural and stunning on them.

    1. Reply

      Lisa Fennessy

      So happy for you Penelope! Enjoy it all! xo, Lisa

  8. Reply


    I will be 50 in just a few months so I decided that my last dye job in May 2022 would be my last. My hairdresser told me then that my gray is a beautiful gray that I was crazy for covering. I let it grow until the first of August and had her cut approx 3-4 inches off so now I am excited to see my progress in a few more months! Thanks for the articles!

    1. Reply

      Lisa Fennessy

      Amazing! And I love that you had a supportive hairdresser. Makes a world of a difference. Keep going! xo, Lisa

  9. Reply

    Stacey O'Hara

    I have been battling my grey hair since I was 28. My grandmother had beautiful grey/silver hair. I promised myself at 60 that was it. No more coloring. Mother Nature and I where going to have a meeting of the minds. When I finally turned 60, for my birthday I had my hair dresser chop the mop. It actually took only two short cuts to remove all the colored hair. I am now 61 and so enjoy the liberation of having my silver grey hair. The underneath is still naturally dark and I get so many compliments. I know I’m rocking it!!
    I am so grateful I found your page. Keep on encouraging other women to be themselves with the grey. I actually refer it as the “Silver Fox Club”, wink wink, but I won’t share the secrets of this club. You just gotta be brave, go for it and you’ll see the benefits.. Welcome to the Club!!

    1. Reply

      Lisa Fennessy

      So excited for you and that’s great it only took two haircuts. You go! xo, Lisa

  10. Reply

    Julie Gatenby

    I have been following you Lisa for many years, from New Zealand, Taranaki. You are a, fresh, honest and a joyful lady to follow, though I am quiet as far as comments go, but I suck up like a sponge a lot of your knowledge……You are appreciated. 😊
    The last time I went to my hairdresser was 3rd August 2021. I am now too far along to go back to dying my hair. I am a Mum to my 2 boys back in my 30’s, now I am 58 and have a 11, 10 and 8 year olds’ and am going grey, so some days are hard.
    ♥️ Love this experience though, as there are soooo many women sharing their experiences and wonderful women like you Lisa who give great tips and advise. ♥️

    1. Reply

      Lisa Fennessy

      Hi Julie! Thanks so much for writing in. We love hearing your story and we are so proud of you! Keep up the good work. This is so much bigger than gray hair. You are designing the life you want to live (beyond the construction and expectations that surround), and it will not only benefit you but through your example, you are paying it forward to every woman you come in contact with. You’ve got this! xo, Lisa

  11. Reply


    You look great!Just seen you for the first time. You remind me of Ali McGraw…remember “Love Story”?

    1. Reply

      Lisa Fennessy

      Hi Dar! I never saw that movie! Do you recommend it? And I see a resemblance for sure too ; )

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *