The best color palettes to complement gray hair

by guest writer

The best color palettes to complement gray hair |

Going grey is a popular choice these days whether you have never coloured your hair or after many years of colouring, you have decided to embrace your grey. If you’re still wondering if gray hair is for you, you may like to enjoy the article and comments in To gray or not to gray.

Once you have chosen to go gray, the question that I often get asked is “what colours look good with grey hair?”. Let’s explore the best color pallettes for gray hair in today’s article.

Gray hair is the lack of pigment that naturally occurs as we age, as does a softening of our skin tones and even eye colour.

50 shades of grey? Not quite, but there are many variations depending how much grey is in your hair and what your natural colour was. Grey ranges from salt & pepper, steel grey, champagne, silver, platinum and all the way to pure white.

And the percentage of hair that is grey compared to that which is still pigmented also changes the look of your grey and will change over time as more pigment is lost. The colour grey is naturally a “cool” colour, so depending on the amount of gray in your hair, you may look “cooler” even if you have a warm complexion and eye colour.

With all these changes you may not suit some colours that you wore when younger. Let’s discuss the best colour pallets to complement your gray hair.

color palettes tips for gray hair |

Pastels may wash you out now as there is less contrast between your hair and complexion. Avoid muddy colours as these may dull your complexion. Dark colours may be too harsh. Mid value colours to bright and jewel tones will be more complementary. Now let’s explore that in more detail. I was trained in the colour analysis concept and believe that your skin undertone remains the same as you age.

That means if you have a cool undertone, you will always have that, so I will review the colour pallets for warm and cool.

Cool Complexions

Cool tone color palettes to complement gray hair |

Those who had naturally dark brunette or black hair would be best in these colours: Purple, royal blue, cobalt, red, fuchsia, emerald green, all greys from silver to charcoal and icy colours. Browns in your pallet may not work as well next to your face but would be fine as neutrals for trousers, skirts and jackets. You may find black a bit too harsh, so you may want to substitute with navy. White may be too draining next to your face especially if you have a high percentage of grey in your hair.Color palette outfit ideas for women with gray hair |

Best color palettes to complement gray hair |

Those who had blonde or lighter brown hair will look best in these: French blue, cornflower blue, periwinkle blue, denim blue, jade green, deep lavender, rose red, raspberry, magenta, bright pinks, pale greys and off-white. The browns and taupe in your pallet may not work as well next to your face but would be fine as neutrals for trousers, skirts and jackets. You may want to avoid the soft pastels as these may wash you out.

Warm Complexions

Warm tones and color to complement gray hair |

Those who had warm brown, strawberry or golden blonde hair will look best in these: Lilac, turquoise, royal blue, bright aqua, kelly green, watermelon, corals, warm pinks. Warm cinnamon browns will be better than a tan or buff colour next to your face. Beiges would be fine as neutrals for trousers, skirts and jackets. Ivory may be too pale for you now, so wear it with an accent colour.

Ideas on how to style you outfits for women with gray hair |

Warm toned outfits for women |

Those who had auburn or red hair will look best in these: Burnt orange, terra cotta, teal, plums, aubergine, deep coral, tomato red, forest green and goldenrod. Choose the warmer and richer colours in your pallet as the paler colours may wash you out. Neutrals in the richer warm browns and camel will be better next to your face than olive or khaki.


Wear make-up colours that complement your skin tone. You may feel you look paler now as your skin and hair colour are a lower contrast, so you may want to try a brighter lip colour. Lip and blush colours should be clear and slightly bright. Warm complexions would use corals and warm pinks and cool complexions pinks and berries. Red lipstick is another great option, but perhaps go a bit lighter or with a sheer red.

Quick Tips

  • Wear your most flattering colours next to your face.
  • If you wear mostly neutrals, add colour with scarves and accessories.
  • Play up your eye colour with your clothing choices. Blue eyes will really pop with turquoise and cobalt blue and hazel and green eyes with greens and purples.
  • Try on clothes in colours you may never have worn before.
  • Try on different lipstick colours. Do a lipstick swap with friends and try new shades.
  • The pantone colour of the year, Ultra Violet will be gorgeous with grey.

Keep in mind everyone is unique, so now is a perfect time to experiment and try something different. What colours are you loving with your grey hair?

Author bio: Yvonne Grzebien’s passion for fashion started at a young age through modelling and then progressed to working in the fashion and cosmetics business for many years. She also has training as a Colours Consultant. Yvonne lives in Canada and when the weather permits you will find her on the golf course.




Like this article? Share it on Pinterest!

Best color palettes to compliment gray hair |

Top photo is of Susan
Other photos, photographed by Denton Taylor and submitted by readers
Find them at at our inspiration articles on grey hair: Women with long gray hair, middle long hairstyles, long silver hair


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Susan Street

I always enjoy reading your guest posts, Yvonne. You share tips and information in a way that is easy to understand. Thank you!


2 Yvonne Grzebien

Thank you Susan for the kind comments. And thank you for allowing us to use your gorgeous photo.


3 Beverly J. Taylor

Thank you so much for the cool color palette for those of us who used to be brunette and are now gray.

It’s good to know that i’m wearing the right colors.


4 Stella

Fabulous article at just the right time! I was only saying to my husband the other day that I need to get some colour in my wardrobe. I’ve bought things thinking they will go with my other clothes and have ended up with a wardrobe full of black, grey and navy.


5 Greetje

It is obvious that grey hair needs a different approach in colours of your clothes near your face. As I have (fake) blond hair, I find it already applies a little to that as well. Love all the bright colours, so if I ever decide to go grey I won’t have any trouble adjusting.


6 Margie

Wow! I’m a blue-eyed blonde who went from gray to white hair, which everyone thinks is gorgeous except they don’t want it! Very interesting about colors (I am a cool) and I am finding that pastels aren’t working for me and I’m not liking how I look when I wear black. I’m not fond of the bright pink lipsticks that have a lot of blue. Any more ideas for someone like me to has to start rethinking her wardrobe? I really enjoyed this particular subject since it fits me to a “t.”


7 Yvonne Grzebien

Hi Margie,
Sorry for the delay in responding. Instead of a blue based pink lipstick, have you tried something like a raspberry, berry or even a rose red? You could even go to a softer taupier pink.
Hope that helps.


8 Annie Stewart

Been a “grey” for 4 months..this spring and summer I need my right colors..confused if I am a cool or warm.


9 Pat

I have stark white hair and love it! I very seldom wear gray or dull colors like beautiful blues and various greens. Black is very striking.


10 Carol

I have quite olive skin and my hair is white/grey I am not sure what colours I should be looking at I used to be able to wear corals but find I no longer can. I used to have brown hair, I desperately need advice


11 Hillary

Thanks for featuring me I’m the model in the orange sweater


Cancel reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: