In this post I’ll share how to adapt makeup for gray hair in five steps. This will take the guess-work and confusion out of the process for you.
STEP ONE: Know your skin’s undertone
Gray hair creates a great canvas for color but doesn’t actually determine what makeup colors will look best on you.
Everything from hair to skin and eyebrows, and even our eyes get lighter as we age. While this is inevitable, one thing will stay the same: our undertone. Even if your skin goes from fair in the winter to medium in the summer, your undertone stays the same.
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How is it different from skin tone?
Skin tone ranges from very fair to very deep. Undertone applies to all skin tones and is either warm, cool, or neutral.
What colors bring you the most compliments or make you look more fresh and “alive”? These are the colors that flatter your face regardless of hair color.
The easiest way to determine your undertone
Consider how your skin reacts to the sun. If you burn easily and rarely tan, you are cool, if you tan easily and rarely burn, you are warm. If you burn but eventually tan, you are neutral. There are many other ways to determine it, but this is the quickest.
Summary: regardless of your skin tone, which changes over time and seasonally, undertone stays the same and should help guide your color choices, which I share more about later in the post.
Note: Yes, these are considered color rules, but I am all for breaking the “rules” sometimes. If you love a color that doesn’t traditionally fit your undertone recommendations, wear it! Makeup and fashion should be fun.
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STEP TWO: Increase Facial contrast with color.
Because our skin and hair get lighter together, we lose facial contrast with age, especially those who had dark hair originally. Bringing back the contrast in crucial.
If you love pale cheek colors and super neutral lids and lips, these might not look as good as they used to when your face had more contrast. But this doesn’t mean you need to become a makeup artist or start wearing heaps of makeup. In fact, when it comes to application, less is more!
STEP THREE: Choose lip and Blush colors based on undertone and do not be afraid to make bolder choices
Choosing a stronger or brighter blush or lipstick color than we’re used to wearing can feel daunting. But brighter doesn’t mean garish or harsh- just more flattering and appropriate for the contrast we are looking for. Experiment with colors best suited for your undertone until you find the best fit.
Warm? Try peaches, corals, or orange-based reds. Cool? Look for brighter pinks, like rose or raspberry, and blue-based reds (even fuchsia). Fun fact: Blue-based reds also make teeth look whiter! Neutral? All colors will work well, so play around and find your favorites.
STEP FOUR: Pay attention to your eyebrows.
The eyebrows frame the face and can provide instant contrast and an immediate visual lift. They should be filled in to bring that much-needed contrast I keep referring back to. This can be tricky because the color this time really does depend on the hair. Finding the right color takes trial and error. Look for brow products with cool undertones. Check out my gray eyebrow products list here. Always check it in natural light. The color should complement your hair and match your current brows.
STEP FIVE: Enhance your eyes.
This goes hand in hand with facial contrast, but a little eyeliner and mascara will help your eyes pop. Our favorite colors and techniques from the past may be too harsh now. Instead of black, consider switching to green, plum, or navy.
Your favorite eyeshadow can even double as liner when applied with a wet or dry brush.
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I hope you found these tips helpful and are feeling more confident and ready to step into some bolder color choices!