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How to blend gray hair with highlights?

I’m interested in blending gray hair with highlights. Will this trick work for me?

One of the most regular questions in our inbox is ‘Can highlights disguise gray hair?’ Yes, highlighting in most cases is more effective in blending grays with the rest of your hair than traditional dyeing.

A simple formula: highlights to disguise gray hair are recommended when there’s no more than 30% of gray hair if you’re brunette or 40% if you’re blonde.

An experienced colorist will advise you the right way and cope with a task of any complexity. Our aim here is to reveal the most working ways to cover gray hair with highlights and tips on gray coverage that you need to know before booking your hairstylist.

How to Blend Highlights with Gray Hair: The Classic Method

This technique helps to hide minor gray hair. It means coloring gray hair with highlights throughout the entire hair length, and the width of the colored strands can vary depending on the desired result. Stylists recommend choosing the thinnest possible strands to achieve a more natural effect. This way, the difference between dyed and natural tresses will not be noticeable.

Best Color to Disguise Gray Hair: The Salt and Pepper Method

The name of the technique speaks for itself: staining suggests the usage of two contrasting colors, but the transition between them should be smooth and barely noticeable. Usually, it’s a transition from light-gray (salt) to black (pepper). This method is applied if you have a lot of gray hair or if your hair is colored ash. Remember that only a pro colorist will be able to find the optimal colors and create a smooth transition with a WOW effect.

Growing Out Gray Hair with Balayage Highlights

Balayage highlighting suggests a slight hand-painted toning of individual strands. This way, gray shades can be safely combined with shades of another color. If the colorist is skillful enough, your gray regrowth will turn into a very stylish and interesting hairstyle. Thanks to smooth transitions from one color to another, the balayage dyeing technique is perfect for masking gray hair.

Blending Gray Hair with Highlights and Lowlights

A purpose of lowlights and highlights is disguising gray hair. Using shades that are darker than your natural color (lowlights) will darken your locks. In contrast, highlights use colors that are lighter than your natural shade, which, in turn, make your hair have a lighter color.

Having a blend of light and dark colors can help to distract from new gray-hair growth and create an all-around natural look. Furthermore, lowlights are perfect for covering gray on brown and red hair for those who worry that blonde lights would look unnatural. You can tactically place them over gray strands to add richness and depth to your hair.

Gray Blending with Babylights

Babylights are “baby-sized” highlights. It is a technique of lightening strands only on the top hair layer and in the gentlest way. Firstly, a colorist only takes thin strands in small numbers. Secondly, instead of wrapping your strands in foils, this method suggests using thermal paper or film, which makes the process gentler. A perfect idea of disguising gray hair with highlights that doesn’t include major changes, isn’t it?

Massive Gray Coverage

If your wish is to camouflage the gray entirely, you can get your gray roots touched up. As your gray starts to grow in, adding in highlights with your standard root color will help to diffuse the hard line. This will make you feel like you can’t see your few silver sparkles as soon as before because they will blend right in with those highlights.

There are two easy ways to cover gray roots. The first is a demi-permanent option with non-permanent pigment that will gradually fade over time, and the second is a permanent technique that camouflages the grayness completely.

Coloring Gray Hair with Highlights: The Post-Salon Care

Is gray hair with highlights low-maintenance? Preserving the gorgeous hair palette you gain thanks to the highlighting coloring is easy; still, you should be careful. The first thing you’ll need to make would be picking the right shampoo. The best choice would be the one that’s tailored to colored locks as it will maintain your hair’s shine for longer. Pay attention to antioxidants in its composition as well.

It will also be a great solution to hydrate your scalp. As we become older, our skin produces less oil, which is why gray locks can sometimes feel coarse in texture. If you feel that after the procedure, your hair is drier than normal, try to use a hair mask instead of a conditioner.

Last but not least is the temperature. A high index on your hairdryer, curling iron, or hair straightener ultimately damages the hair. If you aren’t ready to give up these styling tools, you can use heat protection to safeguard your strands such as thermal protection sprays.

More Questions on How to Hide Gray with Highlights with Pro Answers

Now let’s see what our readers ask about covering gray hair with highlights:

Can I Make My Gray Hair Look Like Highlights?

If your grays are not patchy, everything is possible. For example, if you are a brown-haired woman, you can use a honey-toned semi-permanent color at home, which would not affect the brown but would make your long grays look like remarkable highlights. If you didn’t like the result, it will only take 10 to 20 shampoo washes to remove it.

What Color Highlights Look Good with Gray Hair?

Some basic rules suggest considering blonde highlights if you’re generally or mostly gray, and silver accents if you have black curly hair. Redheads can successfully apply blonde, pale yellow, and ivory highlights, i.e., a warmer palette. For straight brown and straight black hair, the general recommendation is to play with darker shades of gray.

What Is the Best Color to Disguise Gray Hair?

A lot of colors, actually. The natural salt ‘n’ pepper look will work, as described above. The most popular easy ways to disguise the grays among women are blonde highlights, silver balayage, soft lowlights, icy and ashy hair dyes, red and brown colors. The best hair color to cover gray with highlights for you will depend on your base hair shade, the number of grays, and your desired result.

Have you ever tried one of these ways to disguise gray hair with highlights? Possibly, you have other ideas of blending gray hair with highlights or how to transition to gray hair with ease? Comment below and share your experience!

Featured Image: karlyukav – freepik.com

by Donna Sullivan
Donna is a hairstylist with 8 years of experience. Ask her about any hair-related problem (haircuts, hairstyles, colorings, hair care) and get a pro advice!