Salt and Pepper Hair Color – Make Your Gray Hair Look Super Trendy

by Kremy

While gray hair used to be something we all wanted to hide, now it’s actually a huge hair color trend. In 2021 one of the hottest trends is the Salt and Pepper hair color. It is a successful mix of gray, silver and black hair that looks very elegant and attractive. In the article we reveal where this trend comes from and how you can color, care for and style your hair with a salt-and-pepper look.

the salt and pepper hair color looks so beautiful

Not only is gray hair normal, it’s beautiful too and has been upgraded again in the beauty world in recent years. The transition to gray hair, coloring the hair in ash gray, platinum and cool blonde has now become a trend. Going gray is the perfect way to get out of the endless cycle of dyeing, bleaching, and the fight against aging. Nowadays you can feel confident about your natural look while keeping up with the trends by wearing your beautiful natural hair color.

Salt and pepper hair color or how black hair turns gray

salt and pepper gray hair ideas


Women who have naturally brown or black hair will get strands of silver hair when they transition to gray hair. These are then mixed with the natural hair color (if the hair is not colored) to create the trendy salt-and-pepper look. Over time, more and more hair will lose its color and the hair will either turn completely gray or platinum white. In comparison, natural blondes reach the gray stage much faster.

As the natural transition to beautiful salt and pepper hair can take a long time, a visit to the hairdresser is recommended. You should possibly have your dark base color bleached first so that the gray color is visible on the strands and not just at the roots. Then some dark highlights are added and the salt-and-pepper hair color is ready.

natural gray salt and pepper look for the hair

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in more and more women around the world opting for a natural gray. The hairdressing salons were closed for a long time and many women realized how beautiful natural gray hair looks. If you also have a gray hairline, it is the perfect canvas to turn completely gray.

Salt and pepper hair color: where does the trend come from?

Salt and pepper hair styling long bob

The Salt and Pepper hair color trend can be traced back to a famous colorist from California. Jack Martin is a true expert in silver and gray hair transformations. He is responsible for the hairstyles of celebrity ladies like Sharon Osbourne and Jane Fonda and helps many women to accept their graying hair. Instead of covering up the gray, he offers his customers a different approach. The colorist dyes the hair silver, transferring the color from the roots in the lengths. This makes the transition from coloring hair to naturally gray hair much faster, and without having to cut it short.

salt and pepper look for gray hair

Martin’s transformations are typically done in a 10 hour session. As the famous colorist explains on Instagram, he first uses a color extractor to remove any remaining artificial colors. Then he bleaches the rest of the hair without removing the gray roots to prepare the hair for the new silver color.

salt and pepper with the balayage technique

Next – and that’s the trick – he aligns the new color with the hair’s natural gray pattern. He asks his customers to come to him with their hairline eight to ten centimeters out so that he can study how their hair is naturally colored. Then he recreates this pattern for the rest of the hair. For the ladies with naturally dark hair who have salt-and-pepper on the front with a dark neck on the back, the colorist adds dark highlights to the gray hair. Ten hours later, customers are leaving the hair salon with an upgraded version of their natural shade.

gray roots transferred to the hair length

In contrast to other hair colors such as brown or blonde, the salt and pepper look does not need regular re-coloring for gray-haired women, as the outgrowth is no longer a problem. The use of a silver shampoo against yellowing and possibly a tint of the color every 4 to 5 months should, according to Martin, be completely sufficient to keep the color beautiful and well-groomed.

Further down in the picture gallery you will find some of the most beautiful hair transformations with the salt-and-pepper look by Jack Martin!

Andie MacDowell is another famous client of the California colorist


Salt and pepper hair color is not just for naturally gray hair

black hair gray highlights salt and pepper hair color

Even if you don’t have gray hair but still love this look and like to experiment with new hair colors, you can try the salt-and-pepper look yourself. But who is this hair color trend best for? For example, it is well suited for winter-type women who have skin with a cool undertone and very light or very dark eyes.

Salt and pepper hair coloring with highlights

The salt-and-pepper hair color can be found in many variations. For example, you can opt for an ombré look or try the classic balayage. Gray highlights in black hair are another cool variant. Salt and Pepper Hair is suitable for long hair as well as for stylish short or medium-length hairstyles, but requires significantly more care.

How to properly care for your Salt and Pepper hair

gray hair with highlights salt and pepper hair color

Coloring your hair may mean changing your entire hair care routine. First, find a shampoo and conditioner specifically designed for colored hair. Swap the conditioner for a hair mask once or twice a week. Wash your hair with lukewarm water, as water that is too hot will strip essential oils from the strands, which can cause it to feel dry and dull. Regular treatment can also help keep hair plump and shiny.

How to combine Salt and Pepper hair color with clothes and jewelry?

Style and combine gray salt and pepper hair

If you go for a salt-and-pepper look for your hair, then you may need to tweak your wardrobe and style too, especially if your previous color is very different. So that you can dress and style to match your new hair color, we have put together a few tips and tricks for you.

  • Don’t wear colors like camel, rust, avocado, and ivory. Instead, go for clear, vibrant shades like royal blue, pure white, emerald and fuchsia.
  • Replace yellow gold with silver, white gold, and platinum.
  • Do not wear bronze, rimless, or pastel colored glasses frames. Go for black, pewter, navy blue, or a deep royal purple.
  • Avoid coral and turquoise. The right pieces of jewelry for you are lapis, onyx and ruby-colored stones.
  • For a stylish look, avoid light brown or earth-colored accessories. Your basic set of handbags, boots, shoes and belts should be black, deep red and navy blue.

Emphasize gray hair with makeup

Salt and Pepper hair and makeup ides

The right makeup plays an important role if you want to accent on your gray salt-and-pepper hair because gray hair demands a little more color. Here we have collected a few makeup tips for women with black and gray hair.

  • Use the powder sparingly – If your hair is a salt-and-pepper color, your skin can look pale and dull. So use a glowing, moisturizing foundation and only apply powder where you absolutely need it.
  • Wear blush – blush makes every complexion livelier. If you have fair skin, go for a light pink. For olive skin, on the other hand, a peony red is suitable. Ladies with dark complexions should go for a rich pink. Spread the blush on the cheek apples for an instant lightening effect.
  • Line your lips – with age, lips lose their natural contour. Restore them by lining your lips with a nude lip liner before applying gloss or lipstick.
  • Choose a bold lip color – Try juicy-looking lip colors in shades of pink, berry, peach, or apricot. Choose a color that is a few shades more intense than your natural lip tone.
  • Make your eyes shine.
  • Forget plain black – the contrast between jet black eyeliner and gray hair looks more daunting than dramatic.
  • Take care of your eyebrows – Fill in sparse brows with a matching brow pencil.

The best hairstyles for salt-and-pepper hair

Curly salt and pepper hairstyle

When it comes to styling the Salt and Pepper Hair, it is best to look for hairstyles that emphasize the multi-faceted color. Step cuts are great and bring the hair color to a completely different level. The steps do not have to be too short, they just give a structure. Curls and soft waves look really great on a long black and gray mane. A pony should be avoided with this hair color, at least with long and medium hair lengths. Short haircuts, on the other hand, look good with slanted bangs, even on gray hair.

A long bob is one of the most popular variations for straight hair

black gray hair is the trend

Gray highlights look very nice on black natural curls

natural curls medium long hair

The most beautiful salt and pepper looks from colorist Jack Martin

Salt and pepper gray hair balayage

Before dyeing, the hair is bleached

Before and after coloring gray hair salt and pepper look

The gray hairline can be transformed into a stylish bob hairstyle

Salt and pepper gray hair classic bob

The stepped cut brings out the salt and pepper hair

Salt and pepper hair color trend for gray hair

Even the long mane can look elegant in this hair color

salt and pepper hair color long gray hair coloring before after

Short hairstyle in a salt-and-pepper look

short hair salt and pepper look before after

Salt and pepper hair with soft waves

wavy hairstyle for long hair


* For more of Jack Martin’s hair transformations, check out his Instagram profile

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