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Is Garnier hair dye good for GREY hair?

As we get older, many of us start to see those first grey hairs popping up. While some embrace the salt and pepper look, others prefer to cover up the greys and maintain a youthful hair color. If you’re looking to camouflage your greys, you may be wondering if drugstore hair dyes like Garnier can get the job done effectively and safely.

How Garnier Hair Dye Works on Grey Hair

Garnier is a popular drugstore brand that makes haircare and hair coloring products. Many of their hair dyes are designed to cover grey hair. Here’s an overview of how they work:

  • Garnier hair dyes contain color pigments that are deposited into the hair shaft to cover and conceal the natural grey color.
  • Most Garnier hair dyes utilize oxidation technology using peroxide as the developer. This opens up the hair cuticle to allow the dye pigments to penetrate.
  • Ammonia is included in some Garnier dye formulas to help swell the hair shaft for more complete color saturation.
  • After the development time, the hair cuticle closes trapping the artificial color inside. This provides grey coverage that lasts 4-6 weeks before root re-growth becomes noticeable.

So in short, Garnier hair dyes use peroxide and/or ammonia to deposit permanent or demi-permanent hair color that masks the natural grey shade.

The Pros of Using Garnier Hair Dye on Grey Hair

There are several advantages that make Garnier an appealing option for covering grey hair:

  • Wide range of colors – Garnier offers a huge selection of natural and vibrant shades from light summer blondes to rich chocolate browns.
  • Ammonia-free options – Some Garnier hair dyes exclude ammonia to be less damaging and irritating, especially for sensitive scalps.
  • Conditioning formulas – Many of their dyes contain oils, fruit extracts and ceramides to condition hair and counteract dryness from the coloring process.
  • Multi-tonal dyes – Products like Garnier Nutrisse Multi-Tonal Dye helps recreate natural-looking hair color with dark, medium and light shades blended together.
  • Easy application – The dyes come with handy all-in-one applicators making it simple to achieve complete grey coverage at home.
  • Affordable price – Garnier hair dyes cost a fraction of what you would pay at a professional salon.

The Cons of Using Garnier Hair Dye on Grey Hair

While Garnier offers some perks, there are also a few downsides to consider:

  • Can dry out hair – The peroxide in Garnier dye can cause dryness and damage, especially with repeated use.
  • Risk of skin irritation – Some people experience scalp itching or burning from the chemical ingredients.
  • Uneven color results – If you don’t apply the dye carefully, it can turn out splotchy or discolored.
  • Quick fading – Compared to salon hair color, the results from Garnier dye tend to fade more quickly.
  • Limited grey coverage – It may not fully cover or tone down very resistant grey hairs.
  • No custom blending – You are limited to pre-made color formulas rather than getting a custom mix.

Tips for Using Garnier Dye on Stubborn Grey Hair

For best results when using Garnier dye for grey coverage, here are some handy tips:

  • Pick a shade that matches your natural or desired hair color – going too light or dark can look unnatural.
  • Perform a skin allergy test 48 hours before each application to check for sensitivities.
  • Use the included conditioner or a quality hair mask to add moisture back after coloring.
  • Apply petroleum jelly around your hairline to prevent skin staining from the dye.
  • Always follow the product directions carefully and leave on for the full development time.
  • Use the included gloves to protect your hands and avoid transfer of color.
  • Rinse with cool water and avoid shampooing for a couple days to extend the vibrancy.

How Garnier Nutrisse Compares to Excellence Creme for Grey Hair

When looking at home hair dye options, Garnier Nutrisse and L’Oreal Excellence Creme are two top contenders. How do they stack up for grey coverage?

Brand Garnier Nutrisse L’Oreal Excellence Creme
Key Features – Ammonia-free formula
– Avocado, olive & shea oils
– Multi-tonal dye option
– Includes ammonia
– Soybean oil
– Collagen & ceramide
Shade Range 60+ colors Over 75 colors
Developer Hydrogen peroxide Hydrogen peroxide
Application Brush bottle Applicator bottle
Grey Coverage Gets decent results on lighter greys Effectively covers and tones down grey hair
Damaging? Less damaging than Excellence Can be more drying to hair
Price $$ $$$

In summary, L’Oreal Excellence Creme edges out Garnier Nutrisse when it comes to grey coverage power and options for toning down grey hair. However, Garnier is gentler, more affordable and offers enough effectiveness for lighter greys.

How to Do a Strand Test Before Dying Grey Hair

It’s highly recommended to perform a strand test before applying any permanent or demi-permanent hair dye all over your grey hair. Here are the simple steps:

  1. Select a section of hair near your temples or nape where it won’t be very noticeable.
  2. Separate out a small strand or snip a tiny hair sample.
  3. Follow the product directions and apply the ready-to-use hair dye only to this isolated strand.
  4. Leave on for the full development time, usually 20-45 minutes.
  5. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water.
  6. Examine the strand after drying – the color should appear even without irritation.
  7. If the test strand shows your desired shade without damage, you can safely proceed to color your full head of hair.
  8. If not, you may want to tweak the application, try a different product or consult your stylist.

Doing a quick strand test takes the guesswork out of at-home hair coloring and helps avoid any unexpected or unwanted results on your grey hair.

What Level Developer Should You Use with Garnier on Grey Hair?

Hair dye developers contain hydrogen peroxide to open the cuticle and allow color to penetrate the hair shaft. For Garnier hair dye, here are some developer guidelines for grey hair:

  • 10 Volume (3%) – Best for touching up roots and minimizing damage on fragile grey hair.
  • 20 Volume (6%) – In most cases, this is the ideal developer strength for covering grey hair with Garnier dye.
  • 30 Volume (9%) – Only recommended for very resistant grey hair when lifting hair more than 2 shades lighter.
  • 40 Volume (12%) – Too harsh for grey hair. Should be avoided.

Choosing the right developer volume is key – too high can dry out and damage grey hair but too low may lead to incomplete color results. Ask your stylist if you need guidance.

Can You Dye Grey Hair Without Bleach?

Bleach refers to products that use higher volumes of peroxide developer to drastically lighten hair. Many people want to avoid bleach when coloring grey hair because it can cause significant dryness and breakage.

Thankfully, it is possible to dye grey hair without bleach. Here are a few options:

  • Permanent dye – Contains ammonia and peroxide to deposit color without pre-lightening.
  • Demi-permanent dye – Uses lower peroxide levels to gently coat grey strands.
  • Semi-permanent dye – Deposits temporary color that washes out over time.
  • Vegetable dye – Uses natural ingredients like henna rather than ammonia and peroxide.
  • Root touch-up markers – Disguise new grey growth without altering hair color.

Any of these more gentle alternatives to harsh bleaching can help you cover greys without causing excess damage. However, the results may not last as long as an all-over permanent color.

Can You Dye Hair After Bleaching Grey Hair?

If you decide to use bleach to dramatically lighten your grey hair, you will need to wait 1-2 weeks before applying permanent dye over the bleached strands. This gives your hair time to rebuild lost proteins and oils so it can better tolerate a second chemical process.

Here are some tips for dyeing after bleaching grey hair:

  • Opt for a demi-permanent or vegetable-based dye that will be less damaging.
  • Pick a darker shade close to your natural color – bleached hair struggles to hold onto lighter dyes.
  • Use a nourishing hair mask before and after dyeing to condition and protect the hair.
  • Lower the developer volume to 10 or 20 if the formula allows it.
  • Limit dyeing sessions to 6-8 weeks apart to prevent excessive drying.

It is best to avoid back-to-back bleaching and dyeing because it puts grey hair at risk of severe damage. Give your hair time to recover in between processes whenever possible.

Does Garnier Hair Dye Work to Cover White Hair?

Once grey hair goes completely white, it can become even more resistant to hair dye. So does Garnier work well on pure white hairs?

Overall, Garnier can help minimize white hairs but may not provide full opaque coverage:

  • Light golden browns and medium blondes have the most success blending with white.
  • Darker shades like black and brunette can look artificial and uneven on bright white hair.
  • Adding highlights or balayage around your face can help distract from stubborn white roots.
  • Multi-tonal dyes like Garnier Nutrisse Multi-Lights help gray blend more naturally.

To boost results, use a clarifying shampoo before dyeing to remove product buildup and maximize pigment uptake. Leaving the formula on for the full time is also key for the most white hair coverage.


Overall, Garnier hair dye can be a good option for covering and blending greys, especially lighter greys and partially grey hair. While results may not be as dramatic or long-lasting as professional color, the gentler formulas with nourishing ingredients make it less likely to damage fragile grey strands.

To maximize your results, carefully follow the instructions, always do a strand test first, stick close to your natural shade, and limit dyeing to every 6-8 weeks. With the right techniques, Garnier can help you keep grey hairs from showing until your next color session.