Life Style

20 Celebrities Who Prove Salt and Pepper Hair Is Always in Style

Gael Garcia Bernal salt-and-pepper hair

With age comes maturity, wisdom, and the inevitable gray hairs. And while many of us try to do whatever we can to turn back the clock, some of us are starting to challenge this antiquated mindset and instead, embrace signs of aging—gray hair and all. According to hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons, “Oftentimes, there is a want to hide the natural aging process as much as possible, but [salt and pepper] hair color embraces that and celebrates the real, natural you. This can be extremely liberating for those who are looking to make a statement against standard beauty norms.”

Salt and pepper hair has become a sought-after style, even among some of Hollywood’s leading men. But it’s not just the hair that makes the man. “[Hairstyles] work for each man individually, not because of their salt and pepper color, but because the styles complement their face shape, hair texture, and overall aesthetic,” says stylist Frederic Boudet. To show you just what we mean, we’ve put together a gallery of salt and pepper haircuts inspired by our favorite celebrities with pro styling tips from Fitzsimons, Boudet, and hair expert Robert-Jan Rietveld.

 

Keep scrolling for our celeb-inspired gallery of 20 men’s salt and pepper haircuts.

SALT AND PEPPER HAIR

  • Maintenance level: Low to medium. If you’ve got lighter-colored hair, it will be easier to blend your grays. However, those with darker tresses may need to put in a little more work to maintain their color, especially if grays are not natural. Going in for a glossing treatment every three to four months will help to combat any brassiness and add shine. And regardless of your base color, using color-safe shampoo is key.
  • Goes great with: All skin tones and undertones
  • Similar shades: Gray, white, silver
  • Price: Those with dark hair will most likely need to bleach hair first for gray color to show up. It’s best to go to a colorist if you’re looking for a customized salt and pepper look. Pricing will vary by salon, stylist, etc. For as little as $10, you can also purchase a DIY coloring kit and dye hair at home.
01of 20

Classic Quiff

Chris Pine
GETTY IMAGES

Low-maintenance yet versatile, haircuts that are shorter on the sides and longer on top are some of the most popular styles for men. Here, Chris Pine is sporting one such look: the quiff. “Since he has lighter brown hair with soft, natural highlights, the gray helps blend the color of the grow-out,” says Rietveld. “It also showcases the fullness of his hair, and the cool gray undertones pair well with his cool blue eyes.” To get Pine’s dapper ‘do, Rietveld suggests spritzing a salt spray onto damp hair, then blow-drying to add texture and volume.

According to Fitzsimons, if you’ve got a square-shaped face, show off your jawline. A low beard with minimal amounts of gray will add some softness to angles.

 

02of 20

High Skin Fade

Idris Elba
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Unless you’ve got serious clipper skills, it’s best to head to the barbershop to replicate Idris Elba’s tight high fade. “I like to call this one ‘with a touch of gray’ because, as you can see, he lets his natural hair color shine through with some gray peeking through in his beard,” says Fitzsimons. “A full beard like this complements his heart-shaped face by drawing attention to his upper face and eyes to balance it all out.” Just don’t forget the beard oil, notes Rietveld. Velvet Noir Signature Beard Oil ($17) is one of our faves.

03of 20

Tousled Waves

Patrick Dempsey salt and pepper hair
STEPHANE CARDINALE / CORBIS / GETTY IMAGE

If you have naturally wavy hair, show off your texture with a lifted, tousled style à la Patrick Dempsey. We love how the salt and pepper color scheme serves to highlight this cut’s dimension and movement. A little bit of pomade, like Bumble and bumble Sumotech ($32), will help to add further texture to strands and keep this look lifted.

04of 20

Natural Crop

Kingsley Ben-Adir salt-and-pepper hair
GARETH CATTERMOLE / GETTY IMAGES

If you like to rock a beard—or are thinking of growing one—let Kingsley Ben-Adir be your guide. His impeccable beard seems to echo his close natural crop and makes for the perfect face-framing look. Fitzsimons advises styling with light oils and leave-in conditioners to moisturize curls while enhancing gray hair’s shine. Scotch Porter Smooth & Shine Hair Serum ($20) will get the job done.

05of 20

Loose Pompadour

Kumail Nanjiani
GETTY IMAGES

Kumail Nanjiani’s pompadour is a 1950s style that remains popular today. Shorter on the sides with a little fullness and lift on the top, he finishes off this look with strong sideburns. “Because he has a square jaw, this cut softens the lines and his overall look,” says Rietveld. Meanwhile, “His salt and pepper hair color is elevated with the soft tussle above his head, which I think gives it a more boyish look,” adds Fitzsimons. To style, Rietveld recommends towel drying hair and working in a thickening, matte-finish paste-like Reuzel Fiber Cream ($16). Then, blow-dry the front for added fullness, and follow with more paste for extra structure and volume.

06of 20

Caesar

Antonio Banderas Caesar haircut
JB LACROIX / WIREIMAGE / GETTY IMAGES

All hail, Antonio Banderas! His Caesar haircut is a classic style that features a short fringe. Those with thin or thinning hair will appreciate this cut since it doesn’t require much of a mane to pull off. And not only that but Banderas’s version sports gray sides with a dark top that naturally draws the eye upward, giving the illusion of more hair atop the head.

07of 20

Wavy Crop

Mark Ruffalo
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Working with your natural texture will not only cut down on style time but in Mark Ruffalo’s case, it will also give you a covetable red carpet look. “It would be a crime to have beautiful waves like Mark’s and not let it grow out,” Fitzsimons says. “The curls sit nicely on the top but cut down at the sides to give them some attention, which continues in length to his full beard.” It also opens up his face, making it more proportional to the longer length of the hair, adds Rietveld.

08of 20

Short and Side-Swept

Jackie Chan with salt-and-pepper hair
MICHAEL LOCCISANO / GETTY IMAGES

Skip the trip to your colorist—a shimmer of gray hair is the equivalent of natural highlights. Here, they add dimension to Jackie Chan’s dark, straight hair. To style, simply brush hair to the side and spritz with non-scented Fragfre Hair Finishing Spray ($16) to boost volume and shine.

09of 20

Curly Crop

Nick Sagar curly salt-and-pepper hair
EMMA MCINTYRE / GETTY IMAGES

Nick Sagar’s curly crop has got the best of both worlds: It’s short enough to manage thick hair and long enough to show off natural texture. Glistening with grays, “It’s a nice mixture of salt and pepper,” says Rietveld. “Plus, being higher on top, this style lengthens his face.”

A cut that features volume, texture, and/or lift on top works well on oval-shaped faces but would be especially flattering on round face shapes. It draws the eye upward and elongates a rounder face, bringing balance.

 

10of 20

Wavy and Grown-Out

Jeff Bridges wavy gray-blonde hair
STEVE GRANITZ / WIREIMAGE / GETTY IMAGES

Talk about salt and white pepper hair at its finest. Jeff Bridges has been donning this undulating longer ‘do for some time now, even before grays came peeking in. It’s the perfect style to transition to gray hair as grays blend seamlessly into blonde color.

11of 20

Ivy League

Ryan Reynolds
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A slightly longer version of the crew cut, Ryan Reynold’s Ivy League features soft tapering, length on top, and a side part that goes into a slight comb-over. “It’s a salt and pepper ombré, so to speak,” says Rietveld. “He doesn’t have a ton of gray on the top of his head, so he keeps the gray sides shorter and the top longer to accentuate the brown tones. You can also tell his hair is receding a bit, and the gray helps to camouflage the recession.” To add shine and keep hair in place, Fitzsimons recommends using a bit of styling wax.

12of 20

Comb-Over

Ken Watanabe
ARNOLD JEROCKI / GETTY IMAGE

Salt and pepper color plays out wonderfully in Ken Watanabe’s gentleman’s cut and perfectly groomed facial hair. His short comb-over is a go-to style for thin hair and flatters a receding hairline. Style by sprinkling on some volumizing powder, such as Slick Gorilla Volumizing Matte Effect Hair Styling Powder ($17), then follow your natural part line—or create your own—and comb hair over ever-so-slightly to one side. Baxter of California’s Comb ($23) will ensure every hair is put in its place.

13of 20

Crisp Crewcut

Laurence Fishburn salt-and-pepper hair and beard
VENTURELLI / WIREIMAGE / GETTY IMAGES

Clean, neat, and low-maintenance, Laurence Fishburn’s crewcut pairs perfectly with textured tresses. “You can see his grays have a coarser texture, so he keeps it short all the way around with no harsh lines. He embraces his gray, so it ends up making him more youthful,” says Rietveld. To keep this style moisturized and frizz-free, Fitzsimons suggests a bit of styling gel or curl cream.

14of 20

Short and Textured

Gael Garcia Bernal salt-and-pepper hair
GEORGE PIMENTEL / WIREIMAGE

Gael García Bernal’s clean-cut look gets some edge with salt and pepper color and a few wispy strands. If you have straight locks like García Bernal, ask your barber to throw in some texture by cutting the longer, top portion into varying lengths. The effect is a cool and effortless aesthetic.

15of 20

Classic Sideswept

Viggo Mortensen salt-and-pepper hair
STEVE GRANITZ / WIREIMAGE / GETTY IMAGES

Viggo Mortensen’s hair is a timeless classic. “His ‘do is perfectly coifed with medium ends to give him both a relaxed yet elegant look, which works perfectly for a rounder face like his,” says Fitzsimons. To get the look, apply a dime-sized amount of Oribe Hair Cream for Style ($42) to hair and brush through using a fine-toothed comb.

16of 20

Stylized Crewcut

Steve Carell
GETTY IMAGES

Steve Carrell’s ‘do is short and neat all the way around, but natural enough to allow hair to do whatever it wants. “What’s great about this is that the sideburns blend down into the beard line, which works well on his face because the rounded soft haircut meshes with the rounded hair on the beard and rounded glasses,” says Rietveld. “This style is super simple and highlights Steve’s longer face naturally,” adds Fitzsimons. After towel drying, apply a low-shine styling product like Reuzel Grooming Cream ($14) with fingertips to hydrate and define hair.

17of 20

Hard Part

Charles Venn salt-and-pepper hair and beard
EAMONN M. MCCORMACK / GETTY IMAGES

If your hair is too short to part naturally, follow Charles Venn’s lead and get a hard part. It’s what makes this minimalist style so eye-catching. That, and his salt and pepper color, of course.

18of 20

Sideswept Quiff

Chris Noth salt-and-pepper hair with mustache
ASTRID STAWIARZ / GETTY IMAGES

Another quiff haircut to make our list, Chris Noth’s iteration accentuates volume and movement—with a side of ‘stach. Its streaky monochrome palette lends depth and dimension to this side-swept style. Fitzsimons recommends using a light-hold pomade to give some structure to this look while still allowing movement. Tussling out ends with a little product will lock in volume at the root.

19of 20

Modified Quiff

Tan France salt and pepper hair
JEAN BAPTISTE LACROIX / WIREIMAGE / GETTY IMAGES

From its voluminous style to its salt and pepper color, Tan France’s hair is iconic. Keep color fresh with a shampoo for gray hair and your ‘do on point with Kiehl Grooming Solutions Texturizing Clay ($18) for texture and hold.

20of 20

Full Beard

Joe Manganiello salt and pepper beard
STEVE GRANITZ / WIREIMAGE / GETTY IMAGES

If the only grays you’re sporting happen to be in your facial hair—as is the case with Joe Manganiello here—you may be tempted to shave it off—but don’t. A full-on salt and pepper beard shows confidence and is incredibly attractive.

FAQ
  • What’s the difference between gray hair and salt and pepper hair?

    According to Rietveld, the answer comes down to numbers. “Over 75 percent gray is more silver fox, while between 25-75 percent gray is salt and pepper.”

  • Can you dye your hair salt and pepper?

    If you are looking to reduce gray hairs rather than dye them all (which can sometimes look unnatural), there are at-home coloring kits, such as Just For Men Touch of Gray ($9), to DIY salt and pepper hair. You can also reach out to your colorist to see what the best option is for you.

  • How can you maintain salt and pepper hair?

    To keep salt and pepper hair looking its best, cleanse with a purple shampoo

    up to a couple of times a week to fight any brassiness and deep condition once a week to lock in moisture. When choosing styling products, shine-inducing sprays will take grays from dull to glossy.

 

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