Although there are many platforms nowadays where the image is everything, that's always been true in Hollywood. So when stars get older, the traditional strategy has long been to hide it in as many ways as possible. And while this can often involve cosmetic surgery, a simpler so-called "anti-aging" tactic is to keep hair routinely dyed when it gets gray.
However, recent years have seen more celebrities of all genders push back against this convention. Whether it's because they want to have a healthier attitude about aging or like the way it looks, these stars are keeping their hair gray and look fabulous doing it!
Although Keanu Reeves has long shared a reputation with Pharrell Williams as someone who "doesn't age," it seems that it's something he's taken in stride because recent years have shown he's not afraid to age naturally.
Although much of his hair remains dark, his beard has now adopted a salt-and-pepper look, and it's added some character to his face.
Diane Keaton has been rocking her natural hair since 2014, and it's worked well both for her aesthetic and for her sense of self-satisfaction.
As she told People, "My hair is now white. It's better to have light around your face — I think it looks better on older people. Darker hair is not as softening."
Around 2017, Steve Carell's fans started to notice how gray his hair had become since his breakout tenure on The Office. Moreover, they really noticed how well that look continues to suit him, and this widespread admiration has made Carell synonymous with the term "silver fox."
And as Time reported, this attention has been very flattering. As he put it, "I'm bursting with pride. That's very nice."
Helen Mirren has long carried herself with the kind of poise that makes her seem effortlessly beautiful, and when it came to embracing her gray hair, it turns out that looks weren't deceiving. Although her role in The Madness Of King George inspired her to let her hair stay gray, she told Vogue that it wasn't such a difficult adjustment.
In her words, "The process of me losing the color of my hair was very easy—it just looked more and more as if I had been in the sun, but year-round."
For the distinguished British actor, a little gray is nothing to worry about. This shot from the 64th BFI Film Festival in London saw Colin Firth adopt an air of relaxed confidence and charm.
His look also matches well with his horn-rimmed glasses, which further present him as a figure of timeless taste and class.
Glenn Close has always stood out as an actress, but she was also known to rock silver hair years before it became fashionable among her peers.
That choice has always brought an air of smart sophistication to her looks, and she's typically paired it with short pixie cuts like this or more voluminous updos.
Jamie Lee Curtis
Jamie Lee Curtis has long stood out as a role model for aging gracefully, which she makes a point of doing naturally. Because the Oscar winner explained that she's been on the other side of the "anti-aging" fence. And in the end, rejecting both the relevant techniques and even that term has made her happier and more confident.
As Today quoted her as saying, "I have been an advocate for natural beauty for a long time, mostly because I've had the trial and error of the other part."
According to People, Andie MacDowell had long considered ending her hair coloration treatments by the time the world paused in 2020, but that event seemed to be the final push. And the results have proved stunning and something she's felt comfortable embracing.
As she said, "I just want to embrace the time where I am and be as real and honest as I can — not only with everybody else but also with myself."
Jane Fonda has always had an eye for style and an interest in exploring all sorts of different aesthetics and hair colors, but it wasn't until she was 83 that the Hollywood legend decided that embracing her natural gray would fit her best. And even if the results weren't as lush and dynamic as they are, it sounds like it would still have been liberating for her.
As she told Ellen DeGeneres, "I tell you, I'm so happy I let it go gray. Enough already with so much time wasted, so much money spent, so many chemicals—I'm through with that."
In an Instagram video promoting her hair care line Lolavie, Jennifer Aniston casually showed off the gray streaks in her hair. And while it was a simple decision, it was one her fans were excited to see. It's also in keeping with how she's typically regarded hair in the past.
In her words to Glamour, "If you want to go grey, go for it! If you want to keep coloring your hair, that's great too. I think everyone should feel confident in whatever choices they make, including embracing natural color or texture."
It can be a little hard to tell because Idris Elba tends to like keeping his hair closely cropped, but both his shape-up and his beard rock a clear salt-and-pepper look when they're grown out a little.
Admittedly, it would be pretty hard for the debonair actor to look unattractive to his adoring public. Nonetheless, it's definitely a look that works for him.
Hugh Grant's handsome face and flustered charm have enchanted fans for decades, but those fans are now loving how distinguished he looks now that she's embracing his natural hair.
He's still at the salt-and-pepper stage in life, and it's a great fit for that winning smile. And there's no doubt that he'll look just as good when more gray sneaks in.
For Salma Hayek, going a little gray in recent years has been something of an adjustment. In an Instagram post from June of 2023, she wrote, "Me waking up and counting how many white hairs and wrinkles have crashed the party this morning."
But ultimately, similar posts have made it clear that she's proud of the white hair that's creeping into her look, which only accents her undeniable beauty.
In an interview with E! News, George Clooney expressed a realistic attitude to aging and explained why he's never really been tempted to dye his hair. He looks handsome the way he is and figures it might be a different story if he tried to hide his grays.
In his words, "I don't think it would make much sense, quite honestly...I've seen it happen, and...particularly on men, I don't think it really works well. I actually think it makes you look older."
Former James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan had always had an enviably lush head of hair, which had certainly added to his handsomeness both before and after he took on the legacy role.
And while the Irish movie star has proven time and time again that his look compliments a beard, his "silver fox" status is just as secure when he's clean-shaven.
Sarah Jessica Parker
In an interview with Allure, Sarah Jessica Parker learned there's a name for the style she tends to rock nowadays: Herringbone highlights. This refers to the practice of weaving highlights in naturally grey hair.
But to Parker, this wasn't a deliberate style choice on her part as much as one borne from practical considerations. She said, "I can't spend time getting base color every two weeks. Can't do it. Nope. Too much."
Although it's clear that Matt Leblanc has his share of grey hairs, the lesser-known truth is that this has been the case for much longer than people realize. According to Today, he started to go gray during the second season of Friends and found that the hair department had to add more and more dye as the show went on.
But once he no longer had to play Joey Tribbiani, he didn't see much point in pretending his hair was still mostly dark. During an interview, he said, "I took about five or six years off and said, 'Screw it!' I couldn't be bothered anymore."
Although Meryl Streep famously colored her hair a stark silver for her iconic role in The Devil Wears Prada, she's also letting nature take its course with her hair in real life.
The results are almost like an ombre, as both her light gray and her darker hair hanging around her neck come together to add variety to her look.
Mark Ruffalo's mystique has always combined his handsome looks with the kind and approachable vibe he often gives off, and both of those traits have only become heightened as he's aged.
Because while his facial hair started showing gray before the hair on his head, both have a fairly even salt-and-pepper look, which makes his overall style seem more complete.
Although Allison Janney told Drew Barrymore that she's enjoyed traveling around in an assortment of wigs even before she became an actress, she was particularly happy to start embracing her natural gray hair in 2021.
As she said, "I cannot tell you how amazing it is to feel free. Free from hair color and hair extensions and hair tapes and blah blah blah."
Ted Danson has embraced his natural gray hair since 2006, but it was something he told Deseret News he could have done earlier if not for the demands of the networks behind his hit sitcoms Cheers and Becker.
But as he put it in the time since those series ran, "I'm out of the closet. It's very nice not to sit around with a bunch of ladies with silver things in my hair getting dye jobs. So I'm happy to be gray."
Downtown Abbey actress Elizabeth McGovern can pull off gray hair like nobody's business, but it's not something she's inclined to draw much attention to. And as she told Tonic Magazine, she's more than a little tired of being asked about it.
During an interview, she said, "I can't tell you how many times I'm interviewed, and the first question is about plastic surgery, or 'How do you feel about making a statement with your grey hair?' It's like, 'Would you ask a guy any of these questions? No!' No, there are other things. Life is full of other things."
Jeff Goldblum has long set himself apart as an eccentric actor with an eye for a wide range of eclectic styles, and the way he presents his hair is no exception.
Because while he's keen to embrace his natural gray, the way he shapes it contributes to a look that is distinctly his own.
Jon Bon Jovi
While Jon Bon Jovi has certainly embraced his gray hair and has aged quite gracefully with or without it, the New Jersey rock star also made a connection between the way his looks have matured and the similar progression in his music.
As he told the BBC, "My hair is turning grey. I'm cool with that. I'm just who I am. And if you want to come along for the ride, amen."
Lily Tomlin has developed a reputation for being outspoken and doing things her way. And while that tends to come out in how she tackles socially relevant topics, she's unlikely to let anyone tell her what to do with her hair.
Hence, this natural look that sees some gray streaks creep into the brown hair she's rocked for decades.
After 12 years of playing Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd on Grey's Anatomy, Patrick Dempsey's fans have gotten very used to the salt-and-pepper coloration that developed in his hair over the course of his breakout role.
It's often the kind of look that bears well with some facial hair, and Dempsey's frequent practice of rocking stubble suits him just as well as his gray streaks do.
Although America has always recognized CNN journalist Anderson Cooper by his coiffed silver hair, he said that this was only because his brown hair started to turn gray in his thirties. And while Cooper is commonly complimented as a "silver fox," he told Kelly Ripa that he honestly prefers his old hair color.
Cooper said, "If I could, I would probably color my hair, but I couldn't imagine sitting in a salon with tin foil in my hair reading old issues of Rosie for hours. At this point, it’s too late — the cow has left the barn."
Although former One Tree Hill actress Hilarie Burton was inspired to let her naturally beautiful hair work its magic, she mentioned what a struggle she found growing it gray in an Instagram post.
That is until she started working with stylist Amanda Winters, whose work made her feel more comfortable with her aesthetic. She wrote, "'Make me look like a hot witch,' I said. 'No problem,' she answered."
For the fashion designer, former Vogue editor, and What Not To Wear host Stacy London, the gray streak that sits front and center in her hair did not appear with age. As she told The Baltimore Sun, it appeared after an illness she experienced at the age of eleven.
But while she felt inclined to cover it before, the disastrous results of that led her toward a kinder view of her unique streak. She said, "Nobody else in my family has it. I'm going to keep it. In my contract with Pantene, they are not allowed to dye it."
Since Jon Stewart helmed The Daily Show for 16 years, the way his hair matured from dark brown to the salt-and-pepper look seen during the peak of his tenure was gradual enough that it was hard for fans to notice without looking back to the beginning.
But since he took a sizable hiatus before his return to television, the more prevalent gray in his hair and the beard he's grown since then have given him a distinguished, wizened look befitting a man who's seen the world change in real-time.