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How to cover gray hair?

Serena Piper
I have stubborn grays poking out around my crown.. even though it’s a few strands, here or there, I can notice it, and it bothers me. How can I cover my gray hair?

Something we are not taught to do but all want to know with years passing by is how to cover gray hair. We’re all different, so finding out what works best for you can be a grueling task. We have done a little but very useful research for you. In this article, you will find out how to cover resistant gray roots and stubborn gray strands in the salon and at home and make it all last longer.

Why Is Gray Hair so Stubborn and Resistant to Color?

Grays are harder to dye than younger hair because of their altered texture. Firstly, they lose melanin. Secondly, gray hairs become coarser, rougher, and wirier. Especially the roots. The reason is the lack of sebum (natural oils). Less hydration means drier and more unruly strands. Here comes the first secret to how to deal with stubborn grays – moisturize your hair, and use conditioners and masks to replenish the lack of natural oils in it.

Is It Better to Go Lighter or Darker to Cover Gray Hair?

There is no general rule. You will have to find your own success formula here. Pros recommend darker roots and lighter strands, but does this option suit you?

20 Best Hair Color Ideas to Cover Gray Hair

So, what are the best ways to cover stubborn gray hair? The most popular coloring is balayage. It can be full or partial. What hair colors hide grays best of all? Blonde for blondes, medium brown tones for brunettes, red hues matching base color for red-heads. You can match the tone of your hair, and you may always either go darker than your natural hair color or go a few tones lighter with highlights.

We have investigated 20 methods you can either use at home or ask for in the salon. So, whether you’re a blonde, brunette, or natural redhead, you may find useful ideas below and then decide what suits you best.

1. Bold Balayage to Cover Grays. A dark-to-light balayage is one of the cleverest ways to cover gray roots as your hairdresser can target those pesky strands. This is something to do in the salon as your stylist will have the advantage of seeing all the angles and where the coverage is needed. High-maintenance, pricey, but worth the effort.

2. ‘Houdini’ Highlights Hiding the Grays. Several strands of highlights can do a great job to help distract the eye from grays in a very subtle way. If you don’t want something over the top, this is a nice approach to bring that youthful look back to your hair. The appointment usually includes covering gray roots, highlighting, toning, and the cut itself.

3. Jane Fonda Blonde Hair Color. This classic blonde bob style can help you a lot with gray coverage. Shorter hair is easier to color, and blonde shades make the outgrown grays not so visible. This is great for accepting a mature look but using color to keep people guessing. Asking your hairdresser for feathered layers helps to add thickness if you have fine hair.

4. Covering Grays on Curly Hair. Darker hair can have even more resistant roots. Try the one-tone coloring in one of the trendy brown shades. The benefit of having a solid hair color is that you can further do touch-ups at home using pens, brushes, and sprays specifically designed to cover. A curl-defining cream, a nourishing shampoo, and a conditioner are a must for post-salon curly hair care.

5. Copper to Cover Grays on Brown Hair. If you’re looking to keep it bright, you can use a rich red color to camouflage gray hair. There are various options for this. However, only a permanent dye or a demi-dye which formulas are longer lasting will be used on your hair. Semi-permanent and temporary dyes aren’t good for stubborn gray hair makeovers, they only create the ‘blended’ effect that fades with time.

6. Blending Grays on Short Bob with Bangs. If you’re looking to conceal gray hair on a bob, experts recommend using highlights that match your natural color and grays. A good haircut and feminine styling will distract attention from tiny gray silver hairs here and there. They will not be visible if the base shade and highlights will blend and create the dimension like in this photo.

7. Covering Grays for Dark Brunettes. You can try to dye the grays yourself at home with one overall color. First, provide good lighting. Prepare a brush and protect the surfaces. Mix your dye as it’s recommended in the instruction (or as your hair colorist recommends – you can buy a consultation online, as well as formulas and hair dye kits from various hair salons). Soak strands well in the product, starting with the most resistant areas. Mind that any color looks darker when it is wet.

8. Blonde Lob with Bangs. If you’re looking to use something more natural than a silver hair dye, try one of warm blonde hair shades to conceal the grays. If you need to color the resistant roots, it will be a good idea to leave the color on your roots longer than needed for the rest of the strands. Between the salon visits change your parting, use braids, headbands, or tinting sprays/sticks to hide the outgrown roots.

9. Mature Pixie Cut. Despite the trend to wear long gray locks, a lot of women still ask how to hide gray hairs with a pixie cut. No wonder, short hair is much easier to style and manage. Choose a shade that fits your eye color and skin tone. Just look how beautifully the new hair color emphasized her natural beauty! If your heart is not with transitioning to gray, don’t follow trends and change your color as you wish.

10. Youthful Blonde Hairstyle. These highlights are done very close to the roots. A great tactic for blondes who want to conceal gray hair and take 5 years off the face. Lighter hair can be easier to camouflage and is the most natural option. Gray strands will appear almost unnoticeable. As we see, grays are not so stubborn in the skillful hands of a good hair colorist.

11. Covering Gray on Afro Hair. We have found that the best hair color for stubborn grays on African-American hair is darker roots and lighter ends. At-home foam dyes are best for you.

12. Sun-Kissed Highlights on Dark Brunette Hair. Other alternatives to gray hair dye are getting balayage highlights and dark chocolate lowlights. Not necessarily targeting the gray strands but the areas around them to blend it all. Also, don’t be afraid of getting a chop, as chopping off some hair will only add health to it. So glossy and shiny!

13. Honeycomb Lowlights. Shadow roots and highlights help to cover the grays on light hair. This is a great example of how a properly chosen and done haircut and hair coloring can completely transform the look.

14. Covering Stubborn Grays on Short Curls. Naturally curly hair can better absorb color so be careful when dyeing it at home. Curly hair also fades faster. What hair dye to use? Foam dyes are great for adding color to curls.

15. Covering Stubborn Grays with Highlights and Lowlights. Blend the grays into the lighter layered hair. The darker strands called ‘lowlights’ will help to add volume for thinning strands. Impossible to recreate at home, but so worth a salon visit!

16. Piece-y Layers and Caramel Highlights. Cover the gray completely with this unique color and style. In such an organized mess newly-grown grays will be undetectable. A full head of balayage and a finishing gloss service make magic in the right hands!

17. Short Unnatural Colored Hair. Resistant grays on dark hair? Try adding some color. Something dark on the roots and lighter on the ends helps camouflage unwanted strands. Moreover, unnatural hair colors are usually applied as highlights and lowlights, and it will be easy to blend in the grays into such hairstyles.

18. Face-Framing Front Highlights for Dark Short Hair. There are brushes and sprays you can now buy to use at home to cover gray roots without dye. But if you need a more drastic change and decide to use a hair dye, the best way is to read the packages and check out available options. There are hair dyes with a higher color concentration that have more pigments.

19. Beautiful Golden Ash Balayage. How to cover gray without dye? You have got a beautiful low-maintenance hair coloring, but now you want to rest without any chemicals. Try touch-up hair wands or brushes at home to keep gray hair color hidden. There are many various products available to help with this.

20. Stylish Layers and a Head of Highlights. Decided to visit a hair salon and get highlights? Ask your hairdresser for tips on how to disguise stubborn gray hairs that will start to appear before your next hair appointment, how often you will have to refresh the coloring at the salon, and what products they can recommend to avoid yellow-orange-green or any other unwanted tones in your hair. They know what they’ve put in your hair, and only they know what exact hair care you need now.

If you have been thinking about a hair makeover and want to know how to cover gray hair, then the above is your inspiration for styles and colors to help you feel fabulous. Whether you want to treat yourself to a day in the salon or give yourself a pamper day at home, the above tips and products mentioned will make sure your hair looks and feels fresh until your next appointment. Asking your stylist for tips and tricks will help you out too if you’re a first-time dyer. And if you’re looking for a box dye or a hair dye kit to do at home, most will have the instructions on them for you to get started straight away. Covering stubborn grays is not so hard, you just need to find the best solution for you and practice, practice, practice.