If you've started noticing gray strands or your roots are looking gray, you're probably in your 30s, or you've been through a stressful period. At first, it may shock you and even scare you a little, but you already know that this is completely natural. Then you start asking yourself "How to cover greys?"
And just as children change their baby teeth, adults change their hair. This should not discourage or depress you. Instead, embrace the fact and accept that comes the best part of life. When you were a kid, you probably dreamed of growing up… Well… that dream came true! You are now an adult and as such, you have to accept reality as it is.
Foremost... What's up with the gray hair? I personally think it looks great if you take care of it. There are thousands of examples of good-looking grayscale hairstyles. I think if you take care of your hair and keep it nice and smooth, it shouldn't bother you at all. Here are some examples of grayscale hairstyles. I personally like them a lot.
For most people with dark hair (black or brown), silver streaks are a concern because they stand out more than on light hair. Light hair has the advantage of better masking silver strands or gray roots. For this reason, in the article, I will mainly talk about greys on dark hair.
The best 3 ways to deal with gray hair
Temporary solution (root cover-up / hair touch-up)
You might see people less often and have less social interaction, then you shouldn't bother that much. If you work from home or are a freelancer, your most frequent contact with people is probably over the Internet in low-resolution video calls. This is not a problem and there is no need for permanent hair color, which in some cases can exhaust or damage the hair.
Instead as short-term solutions for gray coverage, I would recommend:
Color Wow Root Cover-Up - The best way to cover gray roots. The product enhances your natural color, and it's great for hiding grays in a short-term solution.
Hair Touch up by L'oreal Professional - Root spray that perfectly cover grey hair and lasts until the next shampoo. It's the perfect solution for dynamic situations because it's sweat-proof and water-resistant.
Use permanent hair dye (Hairdresser or at home)
If you want a permanent solution, then permanent hair dye is your best choice for coloring gray hair. Since permanent hair dyes often contain ingredients that can be harmful to the hair, it is good to choose a hair dye with natural ingredients or a safe dye if you have had allergic reactions to the dye.
With permanent color, you're either going with your natural shade or finding the best color that suits you.
How to cover greys at the hairdresser
It is perhaps the easiest way to deal with gray hair. Your hairdresser will offer you the best solution for your case, and you have the certainty that a specialist does the coloring. This means less risk and better results. Of course, this pleasure has a price, and it is more than if you do it yourself.
How to cover greys at home?
Hair coloring is a process that requires caution and preparation. Before heading to the hair dye aisle, there are a few basic things to consider.
Choose a hair color
Choose a dye that has proven qualities and matches your hair color. It's good to go with popular brands of hair dye such as Schwarzkopf Igora Royal, L'oreal Majirel. Another option is to choose a hair dye with natural ingredients, which will color and nourish your hair. An example of such paint is Tocco Magico Multi Complex.
If you have ever had an allergic reaction, go with safe hair brands such as Wella Kolestone Perfect, Goldwell Elumen, or L'oreal Inoa. They provide not only safety (in terms of allergies) but also good hair care.
To choose the color of the dye, you need the color palette of the selected brand. This palette can be found on the collection page of all brands listed above. However, it is important to note that different monitors display the colors of the palettes differently, so it is best to visit our store in downtown Toronto, where our consultants will help you determine which color you need.
Do a patch test
If you have never used the selected color brand, you need to do at least one of the following:
(Recommended) Do a patch test to check if you are allergic to any of the ingredients of the hair color.
Apply a small amount of the dye (dot) on your neck and wait for at least 48 hours before you dye your hair.
This is important because the consequences if you develop an allergic reaction to any of the ingredients are quite severe. About 2% of people have some form of allergy (severe or mild) to PPD (including "lucky" me 🙃). And trust me it's a really bad thing to have an allergic reaction to something that stays permanently on your scalp.
Prepare the painting area
It is good to have prepared everything you will need for dyeing in advance, including a dyeing cap, gloves, hairdressing cape. Choose the lightest possible place in your home and add more lighting if necessary.
Take your largest mirror and cover any furniture you are handling around with plastic wrap or thick paper. Basically, try to recreate the conditions in a hair salon as closely as possible. Most people choose the bathroom, but there might be some other place in your home which is more suitable for an improvised hair salon.
Dye your hair
Since I'm not a professional hairdresser, I think it's best to leave things in the hands of professionals. I found a video from a professional hairstylist showing how we can dye our hair ourselves.
To be honest, I've never dyed my hair alone without a hairdresser around me, but it seems like something that I might try soon. What I can say in summary is this:
- Brush your hair well
- Coat your hairline, ears, and neck before applying dye to your hair
- Put on your gloves
- Use the supplied bottle or a bowl to mix the dye
- Mix your dye with a developer
- Use a comb to separate your hair into four different sections
- Apply the dye to your hair in sections
- Set a timer for how long you need to leave the dye in your hair
- Rinse Your Hair
- Shampoo and condition your hair
- Let it dry
PRO TIP - Do not wash your hair for a few days before coloring, so the natural oils in the hair can act as a barrier and protect your hair from the harmful chemicals in the dye.
Done! You managed to cover your gray hair yourself at home.
Go with the flow!
Personally, I would prefer this method because it involves less maintenance and the effect will be better. In this case, you can choose between Highlights or Balayage, both types of hairstyles will mask future gray locks quite successfully. Moreover, they are best for blending gray hair with your natural hair color. Here are some before and after examples of people with gray hair who have chosen to take this step:
Well, I personally find this type of hairstyle quite attractive. It shouldn't be exactly white, you can do highlights with other colors or match your natural hair color, but the white sits pretty cool though. Here's a video I found of the dyeing + results - before and after.
I mean... the video speaks for itself. I would probably go with the highlights, but... it's up to you!
Frequently asked questions:
What is the best way to cover gray hair?
The highlights or balayage would be your best way to blend gray hair. These are the techniques that hairdressers most often advise their clients to undertake for grey coverage. The reason why it is an effective method is that this type of hairstyle easily blends in with newly grown white hair and cannot be noticed as it would be on dark hair.
How to cover greys naturally?
Although these methods will not be as effective, you can try things like coffee, henna, alma powder, black pepper remedy, apple cider vinegar, potato skin, and onion juice. Rima from Makeup and beauty has made a great selection and explained in detail how to use the listed products to cover gray hair.
Is it better to go lighter or darker to cover gray hair?
It is always better to choose a lighter color. It is for this reason that gray hair is more noticeable on naturally dark hair. Light colors merge with white hair and thus mask the silver strands.
Is it better to highlight or color gray hair?
It is better to choose a highlight, because as I mentioned above if your hair is one color, the white strands will stand out much more easily. With Highlights, the effect hides gray hairs and helps them blend in with the natural hair color
Why is hair going gray?
Hair turns gray because as the body ages, the pigment cells in the hair follicles stop reproducing and renewing. Since these cells are no longer there, there is nothing to add pigmentation to the hair
What age do most people get gray hair?
Most people start to notice gray hair around the age of 30. The duration until the hair turns completely gray is between 20 and 30 years. That is, the hair becomes completely white at around 50-60 years of age.
Is gray hair caused by stress?
It has been proven that in very stressful situations hair can turn gray in a very short period of time. At the same time, it is a natural process that is due to the aging of the body and stress is one of the factors that can affect it.
Are grays more often seen on dark hair?
"Seen" is the right word. People with dark and light hair have the same pigment cells and their regeneration is the same in most people, regardless of the pigment they produce. So in people with dark hair, it's literally seen more often.
Having gray hair is something completely normal. If you're practicing good hair care there is no need to panic. There are a few ways to cover gray roots.
The first one is temporary and it's suitable for people with all hair types. You simply apply either spray or powder and you have dark roots and strands again.
The second one is permanent. Simply coloring gray hair with permanent hair color in order to cover grays. It's a simple yet a bit engaging method for gray coverage of dark hair.
The last method is my personal favorite and I called it "Go with the flow". You blend gray hair with your hairstyle, by using highlights or balayage. Blending gray hair with your hair color is the most effective way because it requires less maintenance.
If you go with the permanent hair color, and you decide to do it yourself, be careful with the hair dyes. Not all hair dyes are supposed to be used at home. Also, make sure you've taken all the safety precautions and test if you have any allergies to hair color in advance, at least 48 hours before dyeing.