Herringbone Highlights Are the Effortless Way to Embrace Gray Hair

Going gray has never been chicer. No longer something to hide, the past couple of years have seen us embrace the shades nature gave us—gray and silver included. But most women would acknowledge those first silver strands can come as something of a shock. If that’s you, and you’re looking for a way to ease yourself into adjustment, allow us to introduce herringbone highlights.

Herringbone highlights help marry natural shades with any newfound grays—and celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow and Sarah Jessica Parker are sporting the look. “I’ve always used the herringbone highlight technique, which involves applying foils at an angle in a herringbone pattern—because I like delicately blended color,” says super colorist Zoe Irwin. “It’s about seamlessly blending a mix of shades together, as opposed to completely hiding the gray.” 

Photo: Getty Images

This combination of different shades doesn’t just create beautiful, multi-dimensional color that looks natural and effortless, it’s also a great way to slowly segue to all-over silver—as and when the time comes. “The technique involves highlighting tiny little pieces of hair at an angle. When you’re going gray, you should avoid a chunkier highlight, because it makes the contrast appear too obvious,” explains Irwin. 

If you look at SJP—who happens to have one of Irwin’s most requested celebrity hair colors—and Paltrow, their hair is full of different tones, all of which help to illuminate the face and bring youth and luminosity to the skin, while framing their features. You’d never think they were trying to hide their grays, rather, they make a feature of them.