As we get older, grey hair becomes inevitable for most of us. While some may embrace their salt and pepper locks, others prefer to cover up those telltale signs of aging. If you’re looking to camouflage your grey hair, you may be wondering what hair color hides it best.
How Hair Turns Grey
Before we look at the best hair colors for covering grey, let’s first understand why hair turns grey in the first place. Grey hair occurs when melanin, the pigment that gives your hair its color, starts to decrease in the hair follicles. This causes new hair strands to grow in lighter and appear grey or white.
Melanin is produced by melanocyte cells at the base of each hair follicle. As we get older, these melanocytes become less active, resulting in reduced melanin in the hair shaft. Genetics, stress, smoking, vitamin deficiencies, and autoimmune disorders can also impact melanin production and cause premature greying.
Choosing the Right Color for Covering Grey
When choosing a hair color to conceal grey strands, it’s important to pick a shade that matches your natural or desired hair color. Going drastically darker or lighter may look unnatural. Here are some tips for selecting the best color:
- Go two shades darker than your natural color to seamlessly blend greys.
- Warm brown and auburn tones complement greying hair nicely.
- If you want to go lighter, stay within two shades of your natural color.
- Avoid ash and platinum tones as these accentuate grey.
- Try adding lowlights and highlights for extra dimension.
Permanent vs. Semi-Permanent Color
You’ll also need to decide between a permanent or semi-permanent hair color. Permanent color lasts longer, but can be damaging if done too frequently. Semi-permanent washes out over time and is gentler on hair. Here’s an overview:
|Permanent Hair Color
|Semi-Permanent Hair Color
Best Permanent Hair Colors for Grey Coverage
If you want longer-lasting grey coverage, permanent hair color is the way to go. Here are some top-rated permanent dye options:
|Clairol Natural Instincts
|L’Oreal Paris Excellence Creme
Top Semi-Permanent Colors for Grey Hair
For low-commitment color that gently blends grey hair, semi-permanent dye is a great option. Here are some top picks:
|Clairol Color Crave
|John Frieda Precision Foam
|Schwarzkopf Simply Color
Application Tips for Covering Grey
Once you’ve chosen the right hair color, proper application is key to optimizing grey coverage. Follow these tips for best results:
- Prep your hair – Shampoo and condition hair the day before to remove styling products.
- Divide into sections – Use clips to section hair before applying color. This ensures even coverage.
- Start at the roots – Apply color first to the new growth at your part and hairline where grey hair is most visible.
- Use the right tools – Use the applicator brush provided to thoroughly work color into every strand.
- Follow timing – Leave color on for the full processing time indicated in the instructions.
- Rinse thoroughly – Rinse until water runs clear to avoid staining skin or clothes.
- Condition after – Use a good hydrating conditioner to counteract any dryness from dye.
Maintaining Your Color
Preserving your hair color between salon visits requires diligent maintenance. Here are some tips:
- Wash hair less frequently, around 2-3 times per week.
- Rinse with cool or lukewarm water instead of hot.
- Use sulfate-free shampoo and color-safe conditioner.
- Allow hair to air dry instead of heat styling when possible.
- Avoid chlorine by wearing a cap when swimming.
- Use an anti-fade gloss or glaze between colorings.
- Get a trim every 6-8 weeks to remove faded ends.
When to Re-Color Hair
Knowing when to re-apply your root touch-up is also important for keeping grey hairs at bay. Here are some signs it’s time for a color refresh:
- Regrowth at roots measures 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 inch long.
- Noticeable differences between colored and regrowth areas.
- Grey hairs become visible against your natural hair color.
- Color starts to fade, appear brassy or washed out.
- Colored lengths feel dry or damaged.
Aim to re-color your roots every 4-6 weeks if you use permanent color, or when fading becomes noticeable with semi-permanent. Stay within 2 shades of your natural color, and avoid re-coloring hair when it’s feeling especially fragile or over-processed.
Consider Temporary Root Concealers
Between regular colorings, temporary root touch-up products offer a quick fix for hiding new grey growth. Some options include:
- Root powders – These adhere to hair and wash out gradually over several days.
- Root touch-up sprays – Spray formulas coat greys and rinse out with shampooing.
- Root touch-up crayons – Waxy crayons fill in greys along the part or hairline.
- Mascara wands – Use mascara-like wands for precision touch-ups.
Look for temporary root cover-ups in a shade that matches your permanent or semi-permanent hair color. They provide a quick fix but won’t alter your actual hair color.
Other Ways to Blend Greys
In addition to coloring, you can help seamlessly blend grey hairs using these techniques:
- Lowlights and highlights – Adding lighter pieces around your face can help distract from grey regrowth.
- Gloss treatments – Clear glosses boost shine and smooth the cuticle to help blend colors.
- Purple shampoo – Violet and blue toner pigments in the shampoo neutralize yellowy grey tones.
- Perms or waves – Textured styles help disguise the grey root area.
- Layered cuts – Shorter face-framing layers around the hairline can minimize visible greys.
When to Embrace Going Grey
Although grey hair can be concealed with coloring, there are benefits to embracing your natural silver locks. You may want to consider letting your grey hair grow in if:
- You’ve experienced scalp sensitivity or reactions to dye.
- Your hair feels damaged from constant coloring.
- You want to save time and money on maintenance.
- You’re interested in a lower-maintenance look.
- You want to flaunt your grey as a stylish statement.
Going grey doesn’t mean giving up on style. With the right haircut and care regimen, natural grey hair can look utterly chic. Consult a stylist to determine how to best transition your color and enhance your gorgeous greys.
Disguising grey hair with the ideal color for your complexion and tone can give you the boost of confidence you need. Now that you know which permanent and semi-permanent options provide the best blend and coverage, you can tint away grey strands and maintain soft, youthful-looking locks. With proper techniques and maintenance, you can keep unwanted greys hidden and your color looking freshly done.