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Grey Balayage: The Styling And Hair Care Guide

09 April 2018
photo of hair with grey balayage
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Emily Arata

Senior Editor, Hair.com

As an employee of L’Oréal, Emily works with celebrity stylists to make finding the right cut, color, or style easier than ever before. She's previously written for Allure, Elite Daily, and First We Feast.

No single hair color has experienced a glow up quite the way grey has. The sultry color can run icy or warm, depending upon the complexion and skin tone of the wearer. Like blonde, grey has become a go-to neutral shade for many women.

Notably, grey comes with its own maintenance routine. That’s why so many women love grey balayage, which utilizes hand-painted highlights to achieve a more natural (we’re using that word loosely) look. Instead of growing out with a visible line of demarcation, this beautifully applied grey will leave you with ombre ends.

If you’re ready to make grey a part of your life, scroll down. Our favorite grey balayage hair looks will make you want to head to the salon right now.

How To Wear Grey Balayage

Every beautiful hair look starts with a little inspiration from the internet’s beauty community. We’re partial to grey balayage looks created with muted pastels or romantic shades. Feel free to bookmark this article for your hair color consultation—your stylist will thank you.

photo of grey balayage with lavender

Grey And Lavender

Purple and grey may not seem like an obvious duo, but we’re enchanted by the way both pastel shades look together. In this particular look, extra violet accents add depth to the color.

photo of brown with grey blue balayage

Greyish Blue And Brown

Is subtle more your vibe than, say, disco pink? Try this beautifully natural-looking combination of chocolate brown with a blue-grey balayage. Instead of letting your hair color rule your look, you’ll feel like an amped up version of yourself.

photo of rose and grey balayage

Grey And Rose

Do you love to incorporate a little romance novel drama into your everyday life? You’ll love this grey balayage over rosy roots. The look is practically made for a heroine in a gothic novel.

photo of charcoal and silver balayage

Silver And Charcoal

Movies and television may not be in black and white anymore, but that doesn’t mean the silver screen has lost its charm. To channel the film stars of yore, give this silver and charcoal look a try. Ask your colorist for bright silver balayage over a very dark grey base, then watch the magic happen.

photo of steel blue and grey balayage

Grey And Steel Blue

Powder blue has ruled the fantasy hair world for some time, but it’s a grey-inspired hue that really gets our beauty-loving hearts beating faster.

photo of violet and grey balayage

Grey And Violet

As a general rule, well-blended colors are our favorites. This mix of cool violet and grey creates such drama that we like it best on blunt, short cuts. When you have a powerhouse color like this, length isn’t mandatory.

photo of slate and silver balayage

Silver And Slate

Celebrity stylists often talk about their passion for using carefully placed highlights and lowlights to contour the face, bringing out the cheekbones and narrowing the face. This dramatic color look proves hair contouring can work with just about any combination of shades.

photo of silver and baby blue balayage

Silver And Baby Blue

Intrigued by denim hair? You should be. This washed-out combination of silver and blue is the perfect fantasy look for spring and summer.

photo of turquoise and grey balayage

Grey And Turquoise

Halle-blue-jah! This grey and turquoise blend has us believing there’s still more life in pastel blue. This shade will look particularly beautiful in festival-inspired braids and updos.

photo of honey and silver balayage

Silver And Honey

Not all grey balayage is about moody shades. We’re totally in love with this silver and honey look for warmer days ahead.

Caring For Grey Balayage

Hair color is an investment, so it’s important to create a care routine that protects it. If you’re interested in trying a grey balayage look, your colorist will likely need to use bleach to lift the color from your hair before laying down the grey. Bleach is synonymous with damage in the hair world, but don’t let that spook you! Your hair professional will work to leave you with a mane that looks and feels beautiful.

Once you’re home from the salon, begin using a hair care system that supports the unique needs of the grey shade you’ve chosen—be it slate or silver, you’ll want a formula that keeps those brassy tones at bay. We love Matrix Total Results So Silver Shampoo to help neutralize yellow.

Care doesn’t end once you turn the shower off, however. Hot tools can wreak havoc on fresh color, so be sure your chosen styling products do double duty to protect your strands from heat and maintain the integrity of your color as much as possible. Silver is famously prone to fading, so be wary!

Are you ready to take the grey balayage plunge? You won’t regret it.

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