Skip to Content

How do you neutralize grey hair?

Going grey is a natural part of the aging process, but some people prefer to cover up their grey hairs. Neutralizing grey hair means using color to camouflage the grey and blend it with the rest of your hair color. There are a few options for neutralizing grey hair at home or with the help of a professional colorist.

What causes grey hair?

As we age, our hair follicles produce less melanin, which is the pigment that gives hair its color. Less melanin results in grey, silver, or white hairs. Genetics plays a role in when and how much greying occurs. Stress and other factors like smoking and nutritional deficiencies can also accelerate the greying process.

Should you color grey hair?

Whether to color grey hair is a personal choice. Many people embrace their natural grey locks as a mark of wisdom and life experience. However, others prefer to cover up greys to maintain a youthful appearance or enhance their hair color. If you decide to color your hair, be sure to choose safe, high-quality products applied by a skilled colorist.

Permanent vs. semi-permanent gray hair dye

There are two main types of hair dye that can neutralize grey hair:

  • Permanent hair dye – Penetrates the hair shaft and lasts 4-6 weeks until new hair grows in. Provides opaque, long-lasting gray coverage.
  • Semi-permanent hair dye – Coats the outside of the hair shaft and washes out over several weeks. Subtly blends in grey hairs for a more natural look.

Permanent dyes tend to be more damaging to hair than semi-permanent options. However, semi-permanent dyes don’t fully cover all greys. Choose the option that best suits your needs and preferences.

Permanent hair dye options

Here are some top permanent hair dyes for covering greys:

Brand Key Features
Clairol Natural Instincts Uses 80% naturally derived ingredients. Conditions hair while coloring.
L’Oreal Paris Excellence Creme Rich conditioning formula for silky, shiny results.
Revlon Colorsilk Ammonia-free. Provides multi-tonal natural grey coverage.

Semi-permanent hair dye options

Here are some top semi-permanent dyes for blending in grey hair:

Brand Key Features
Clairol Color Crave Conditions hair while depositing subtle color. Free of ammonia and peroxide.
JOICO Color Balance Purple Purple pigment counteracts yellow tones on white and grey hair.
Overtone Coloring Conditioner Gentle daily conditioner that gradually colors hair over time.

How to dye grey hair at home

Follow these steps for coloring grey hair safely at home:

  1. Choose your dye and purchase color tools like gloves and applicator brushes.
  2. Read all instructions and do a skin allergy test 48 hours before coloring.
  3. Wash and dry your hair before applying the dye. Use petroleum jelly on hairline to avoid staining.
  4. Mix the dye and developer according to instructions.
  5. Section your hair and use the applicator brush to apply dye evenly from roots to ends.
  6. Allow the dye to process for the recommended development time.
  7. Rinse thoroughly until the water runs clear. Shampoo and condition.
  8. Be patient – it may take a few rounds to cover all your grey hairs.

Take your time and follow all safety precautions when coloring your hair at home. Consider asking a friend for help applying the dye to the back of your head.

How to maintain dyed grey hair

Here are some tips for keeping dyed grey hair looking its best:

  • Use a purple shampoo 1-2 times per week to keep blonde tones bright and avoid brassiness.
  • Wash with cool water and sulfate-free shampoo to preserve color.
  • Apply a weekly hydrating hair mask to condition dry hair.
  • Use leave-in conditioner and heat protecting sprays before heat styling.
  • Get a root touch up every 4-6 weeks as the grey hair grows back in.
  • Use dry shampoo between washes to soak up oil and extend time between color treatments.

Risks and considerations of dyeing grey hair

It’s important to be aware of the potential risks before dyeing your grey hair:

  • Skin irritation or allergy – Do a patch test before each application.
  • Hair damage – Permanent dyes can be abrasive to delicate grey hair over time.
  • Color disappointment – Expect subtle, blended results rather than complete coverage.
  • Regrowth – Grey roots will show faster on color treated hair.
  • Expense and time commitment – Frequent root touch ups are required.

Discuss your options thoroughly with a hair stylist. They can assess your hair’s condition and determine if dyeing grey hair is advisable. Be prepared to adjust your hair care routine to nourish color treated hair.

Should you go to a salon to color grey hair?

Getting your grey hair colored professionally at a salon has some advantages:

  • A stylist can provide an expert consultation and evaluation of your hair’s health.
  • They have access to high quality professional hair dyes.
  • A skilled colorist can perfectly blend and tone grey hairs for a natural look.
  • Professionals are trained on proper application techniques to minimize scalp irritation and hair damage.
  • The salon environment is comfortable, convenient, and mess-free.

However, salon coloring can be pricey with regular root touch ups. Weigh the pros and cons relative to your budget and hair needs.

Professional grey hair coloring techniques

Here are some techniques salon colorists use to neutralize grey hair:

  • Single process color – Covers grey evenly from roots to ends.
  • Highlights and lowlights – Strategically lightens and darkens select strands to blend grey.
  • Gloss – Sheer semi-permanent glaze adds shine and blends grey hair.
  • Ombre – Dark roots fade into light ends helps disguise the grey regrowth line.
  • Balayage – Freehand painted highlights look natural and grow out gracefully.

Be sure to have an in-depth consultation with your colorist. Show photos of what you would like your hair to look like. Trust their expertise for the most flattering results.

Alternatives to dyeing grey hair

If you’re looking to camouflage greys without hair dye, consider these options:

  • Natural henna – Conditions hair while adding a red or orange undertone to blend greys.
  • Root touch up powders – Color sticks cling to hair to disguise new growth.
  • Root touch up sprays – Quick color blends by spraying roots for temporary coverage.
  • Hair thickening fibers – Keratin microfibers cling to hair for thicker, fuller appearance.
  • Headbands and scarves – Accessories conveniently cover greys and complement your style.

However, most non-dye options don’t fully opaque grays. Focus these solutions at the roots between color appointments.

Embracing your natural grey hair

Rather than fighting the greys, embrace this new chapter! Going grey doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Here are some tips:

  • Get a stylish haircut to complement your grays. Consider short pixie or bob cuts.
  • Use a clarifying shampoo to keep grey hair shiny and bright.
  • Try a gloss treatment for healthy, moisturized strands.
  • Look for hair products specifically for grey and silver tones.
  • Update your makeup to coordinate with your evolving hair color.
  • Make healthy lifestyle choices to feel your best at any age.

Grey hair can be striking and sophisticated when cared for properly. Embrace your new look with confidence!


Neutralizing grey hair through coloring is an option if you prefer to conceal the greys. Permanent dyes provide complete coverage, while semi-permanent dyes blend the grey subtly. Either option requires regular touch ups as new grey hair grows in. To keep hair healthy, condition frequently, use a heat protectant, and don’t wash every day. Consider having your color done professionally at a salon for beautiful, low-maintenance results. Alternatively, let your grey hair shine through as a graceful, shining crown of wisdom.