How to Accessorize Grey Hair


Dear Imogen
Do you have any advice on how to accessorize with salt and pepper hair? After ceasing to color my hair, my natural color is revealed to be a combination of multicolored warm/neutral grey streaks from ivory, to ecru, to silver, to taupe, to charcoal to a few streaks of seal grey. (I wear my naturally wavy hair slightly below my chin in soft long layers). I love the variety of colors in my hair and have received many compliments, but I now have no idea how choose accessories, especially jewelry, to complement rather than compete with my new hair color(s).
One might think with such busy looking hair I wouldn’t need jewelry, but I think it’s important when one lets her hair go naturally grey not to look unkempt (or too severe). Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you!


warm grey hair earrings


Earrings that have multiple metals are great as they replicate elements of your hair and look harmonious. An earring that isn’t just smooth and flat will create a more interesting look.

As we grey, our colouring mutes and softens, so it’s important to think about this when choosing earrings and clothing.  You want to think about the simultaneous contrast of the earrings and your face and hair and how they are interacting.  Don’t go for really bright colours, but some jewel tones will help the earrings to shine through your hair without looking garish.

Find earrings with some sparkle, particularly if they are just in a metal such as silver, as it helps them to cut through the hair and draw light and attention up to your face.


earrings for cool grey hair


Also, with grey hair comes maturity and the expectation of quality, so stay away from cheap or plastic looking earrings (they are for the young).  Your jewellery doesn’t have to be all ‘real’ as such, there are so many great costume pieces available these days that you’d have no idea of the cost.  Don’t go too small and fiddly either as it can start to look fussy and conservative as you mature.

necklaces for grey hair


As far as necklaces or brooches go, of course there is always your personality element coming into the picture, but I’d advise that you wear bolder pieces rather than small. You are older and more mature and are assumed to have more confidence, so jewellery that makes more of a statement is much more flattering than insignificant pieces that are more discreet.

Be careful with small strings of pearls, if you are not really classic, they can look very old-fashioned.  Pearls in updated settings such as the one in the picture above on the right are a modern way to wear pearls.

Brushed metals are also great as your colouring is fading, as they are less garish, and harmonise well with a more matte skin and hair.

Gone grey already? What have you noticed working well as your hair has greyed and you have matured?  Share your tips please!


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  • I’m 4′ 11″, 60 with salt & pepper hair, golden brown eyes and pale skin with freckles. I can clearly see with my eyebrows that as each hair goes grey there is a definite transition stage with a dark brown hair going red before becoming white. I have a pixie cut and always wear two semi-precious stud earrings (top stud is smaller than lower stud) on each ear. If I wear a necklace I feel over-dressed. My earrings are often a combination of blue topaz, violet blue iolite, turquoise or emeralds -colors I wear in my tops. When my hair was brown on a ‘sassy’ day I’d wear a wild cat patterned top, but now those tops seem wrong -competing with the busy-ness of my hair, too young or maybe it’s just that now I read as less brown. When I look at your 2 earring groupings above I definitely would chose those for cool grey hair, but the lavender ones seem too pale for me (I’d also prefer a teardrop over a rectangular shape) and I have trouble finding the right pinks & reds so tend to favor blues, purples and teals. Your blog has been such an education for me – Thanks! cheri

    • Cheri you can go for any shape that pleases you! These were just some ideas – and not all of them will suit you as just because you have grey hair, doesn’t mean you have the same colouring as everyone else with grey hair – some will be lighter and some darker, so it’s a bit of a mix there just to give inspiration.

      • I was inspired by your choices, and only thinking out loud about what I would look for in an earring to suit my coloring and face shape. I had your recent contrast video in mind when I made my comment about the lavender earrings. Having had dark hair & eyes but pale skin until recent years I still prefer higher contrast colors against my skin -favoring the darker jewel tones to pastels. The contrast between my skin and hair has already lessened and when my hair has totally transitioned to white a pastel will look great. It’s a big change for me and I have to remind myself to not make choices based on habit. I especially liked your comments on buying quality and confidence. It makes me happy to invest in a few pair of quality earrings and wear them as my signature pieces. cheri

  • Thank you so much for this. I really felt empowered by this statement-

    ” You are older and more mature and are assumed to have more confidence, so jewellery that makes more of a statement is much more flattering than insignificant pieces that are more discreet.”

    I am finding my new style, along with my new hair and you have really inspired me. I usually just wear earrings, and have been hesitant to wear statement jewelry. I feel inspired to try some out.


  • Thanks for this. My hair has finally shed the last of its dye and I really wonder why I spent so much time and money to look awful! My hair is naturally very ashy so the transition to grey would have been painless without the dye. However, I am now happily silver grey around my face and darker on top. I have noticed that I need stronger colour in my clothes and makeup. My style has also changed. I now feel happier in dressier clothes and bolder accessories. Luckily I have you, Imogen, to guide me along this new path. Aging is VERY exciting!!!

  • Is it? I can’t share that sentiment. I’ve watched many people I know age, including Father and Mother and 11 older brothers and sisters, and when we get together infrequently for a family function 3-4 times a year, I’m stunned by what I see. I am not looking forward to it, but I have made a firm decision not to age naturally as most people I have observed. I have watched and made mental notes that I believe agree with the nature of this site, that we should do the very best with what we have and not allow nature to take its cruel course unfettered.

    • I personally plan to dye my hair for some time yet (probably into my mid 50s or so) but I know it’s not everybodies choice, and sometimes people can’t dye due to reactions to the dye. I think if my hair was pure white or silver, rather than white at the front and salt and pepper at the back, I’d rock the silver, but it’s not, so until that time I dye!

  • That includes an excellent diet and exercise regime that gives glowing skin and health like nothing else. Add to that some clothes that suit and accessories that enhance and … viola.

  • Recently I was very ill for a long time. After that I have made conscious choices regarding cleaning products, soaps, laundry liquid etc., and hairdye. I now go to a salon that uses natural flower and herbal essence dyes with no ammonia or other harmful substances like mercury and lead. Not that these things were in themselves the culprit, but I felt I wanted purity and recovery in the fullest. I know that one day the effort will just be too much, but an 80 year old couple I know still get their hair dyed in a natural softer shade…so each to their own, and I have seen The Makeover Guy do some wonderful things withe people who were ready to go pure grey at 40 and even… 35. If you can do it and look nice and you can swing it with great clothes and accessories that work, and you’re comfy, then save the money. It is expensive fighting nature! Oh and I found that the herbal and plant essence dyes, in salon, are about the same cost, give or take $10. Some people go grey from a trauma and when they revive they need a pick me up. Some go grey slowly and can accept it. We all are at different stages along the path of life. My niece is 30 and beginning to have grey hairs show and she says to me, I am going to dye my hair like you aunty, and I say, you have a long time to wait before that. Laugh…she’s so cute.

  • I’ve been silvery grey for years ( 65 now – went grey in my early 50’s and gave up dying it ). In Hawaii, where it’s always warm weather wear, most clothes reveal a lot of skin ( sunscreened- of course). But necklaces have to be simple and light weight. A single, large mm Tahitian pearl on a rope or cord works really well, and I look for one that reflects the light coolness of my hair color in its coloration. And don’t forget forged glass jewelry. I have one white glass shell pendant that always gets compliments and it also matches my hair color. White with white can work

  • Hello everybody,
    I do believe that while it’s important to show a clean nice hair cut no matter what the color of your hair is, what really make us look aged is the shape of our body. It doesn’t matter how black, blond, brown or gray ones hair is, if we don’t take care of our figure, we can added years in our appearance. So, to me, be in shape is more important than the color of our hair.

  • I want to thank you for the inspiration you’ve given me, Imogen! I’ve been dying my hair to keep it charcoal brown since my 30s. Getting rid of the “skunk strip” required me to sit at the salon for 1.5 to 2 hours a month. Seeing you go white gave me the courage to let it go. I had the color bleached out 6 months ago and now I need the salon only 1.5 hours every six months! You are a delight and and education for so many of us around the world. At 65, I feel more confident than ever.

    • How exciting and what a major change for you Rebecca – glad that you’re now feeling like you’ve got lots more time in your life for other fabulous things! I love that you are 65 and still find some joy in learning something new about your style. What an inspiration!

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