Herringbone Highlights Are the Celeb-Approved Secret to Going Gray Seamlessly

To go gray or not to go gray? If this is a question you’ve been contemplating recently, here’s an emerging color trend that might help you make your decision: herringbone highlights. As seen on celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow and Sarah Jessica Parker, this hair coloring technique is named after herringbone flooring because of the blend of tones and patterns used.

According to Tom Smith, a celebrity hairstylist and international color creative director for evo hair, “Using a herringbone pattern as a guide, you’ll weave in various shades amongst the gray strands, which will create a finely balanced mix of warm and cool tones throughout that integrates the grays with the rest of your hair, so you have a more natural-looking grow out.” Below, he explains why herringbone highlights could be the secret to going gray seamlessly.

Meet the Expert:

  • Tom Smith is a celebrity hairstylist and international color creative director for evo hair.

“This technique really celebrates gray hairs by including them in the overall hair color as an additional highlight,” Smith explains. “To get the look, ask your colorist to include your grays into your highlight pattern by adding a warm and a cool toned highlight and mixing them throughout in an irregular placement. You’re not alternating each shade. Rather, you’re adding the various shades in an irregular pattern around your existing gray hairs, since they tend to grow in sporadically and scattered.”

In short, herringbone highlights are meant to blend your grays, not cover them, meaning you will still see the grays, they'll just look softer and more seamlessly integrated into the rest of your hair.

Before You Go

As anyone with gray hair will tell you: At-home care is extremely important to keeping your strands from turning yellow or dull. Use a gentle shampoo and a nourishing conditioner regularly and swap in a purple, blue or violet-tinged shampoo occasionally. Adding a shine spray or smoothing cream can also help tame frizz and boost shine.

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Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...