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“You need pops of color, there’s no question.”
Thanks to celebrities like Andie MacDowell, Jane Fonda, Helen Mirren, and more—gray hair is no longer something to hide. It’s a change that many women (in and outside of Hollywood) are choosing to embrace, and makeup artist Bobbi Brown is here to elevate the transformation with her beauty tips that make silver strands shine.
The longtime celebrity makeup artist and founder of Jones Road Beauty, 65, recently shared her makeup tips for gray hair with Good Morning America. And they’re not only easy, but they encourage experimentation and creative expression—something that women of all ages should tap into every once in a while. Keep reading for her wisdom.
“Keeping your skin well-hydrated and drinking lots of water is the first, and most important step,” Brown said. “But it’s especially important as we get older.” She advises beginning every makeup application by prepping the skin with moisturizer and eye cream.
“Put it on as the first step in your makeup routine and reapply it before you go to bed,” she said. She also recommends using an exfoliator once weekly to remove dead skin and “let the natural radiance of your skin shine through.”
“Our skin is dryer; it loses elasticity, and if we’re not exfoliating, it starts to look dull as we age,” she added.
“When our hair goes gray, the eyebrows don’t always follow suit,” Brown explained. If you have light eyebrows and light hair, they can tend to make you look washed out. That’s why Brown recommends going in with a brown-toned shadow to make the brows more pronounced and face-framing. You can use the same product to fill in any sparse areas around the hairline.
Another option is to use a brow pencil that matches the color of your arches. Brown recommends first using a spoolie to brush through them, then using soft upward strokes to create hair-like markings along the brow’s natural shape.
In the same effort of looking alive and not washed out, Brown recommends leaning into color on the eyes, lips, and cheeks—even if that means stepping away from your normal neutral tones.
“You need pops of color, there’s no question,” she said. “Pink is my favorite color because it truly works on everyone, and it adds the perfect pop of color while still looking natural—as if you’ve just come from a brisk walk outside.” To find the rosy shade that works for you, Brown’s pro tip is to give your cheek a pinch. The natural tone that surfaces is the one to look for while makeup shopping.
To give the eyes some contrast against gray locks, Brown uses eyeliner. “It’s really great when you use an eye pencil that works with your color—so for women with blue eyes, there’s nothing more beautiful than a navy,” she added. “Navy is great for women with white hair.”
For people with medium-toned skin and gray or white hair, she suggests using a dark brown liner. For those with dark skin, she said black liner will help the eyes stand out.
Despite what others might say, you never outgrow a little sparkle—there’s no such thing as being “too old” for a beauty trend. (See: MacDowell’s emerald green bejeweled eyes at the Cannes Film Festival.)
“My general rule of thumb is to choose two places on your face to add sparkle to, and it will add just the right amount of shimmer to complete any makeup look,” Brown said. That could be in the form of a glimmery eyeshadow, a cream highlighter, or a sparkly lip gloss.
And that’s it! Salt-and-pepper hair is a statement of beauty on its own. Add these simple steps, and you’ll wonder why you might’ve questioned going gray in the first place.