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Coloring Gray Hair

Category Coloring
Coloring Gray Hair
Although coloring your hair to hide gray is one of the most common reasons for dyeing hair, it can difficult. Gray hair often resists dye. This is a guide about coloring gray hair.
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Solutions

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By 10 found this helpful
February 17, 2015

I like my gray hair but I did want to glam it up, so I got creative (after speaking with multiple salons who either wanted to color it a totally different color (until it grew out in a month), lighten it (I am just NOT a blonde) or add a few expensive highlights.

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Instead I LOW LIGHTED my hair myself, inexpensively! Of course I have shorter hair which simplifies the process but I get quite a few compliments (even from my hair dresser!) and I really like the look.

Total Time: 1 hour

Supplies:

  • boxed hair color or Just for Men Hair Color
  • a firm brush
  • a highlighter cap (reusable too!)
  • a hooked tool or crochet hook
  • shampoo
  • Vaseline (optional)

Steps:

  1. I bought a box of my original hair color and a highlighter cap at a beauty store. I've also used the hair coloring product 'Just for Men' since it's quick at only 5 minutes to process and I find good sales for it.
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  3. I wore the cap then pulled only what hair I wanted colored darker. I mixed the boxed color just like I was coloring the whole head, and painted on the color onto the hair that was sticking out of the holes of my cap.
  4. The cap even gives you choices how to color your hair: face framing with holes only around your face or for your crown, back or entire head.
  5. I pulled strands of hair out of the holes in the cap with a tool, I used a crochet hook : ) You can also ask a family member or friend to help, especially if you choose to do the entire head. This is the longest part of the process.
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  7. I think it looks more natural, like salt and pepper hair rather than the totally gray that I am, since it's not EVERY hair strand that's colored. It's not the one solid dark color that coloring hair can look like. It blends beautifully and naturally and it doesn't ever look like it's growing out.
  8. I even separated a few bunches of gray hair and put Vaseline on them (to repel any color) to give myself some thicker gray highlights around my face.
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  10. After the time identified on the box (only about 5 minutes for Just for Men or about 15 to 20 minutes for regular boxed hair coloring), I use the metal kitchen sink or the shower/spray attachment to rinse off the hair coloring first, being careful about covering my eyes with a cloth. Then pull off the cap and gently wash the whole head of hair.

Looks professional and really saves me money! I redo it the same way whenever the color wears off (your coloring will tell you how many washes) or whenever I feel like it!

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By 4 found this helpful
March 30, 2015

I have just a few strands of grey hair but it bothers me. Someone mentioned tea. I either make a very strong cup of tea or coffee and comb it in and let it set 30 minutes or so. It helps blend in the bit of grey.

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October 2, 2015

Brush 30 developer on the resistant grays. Wait 10 minutes, then dye as usual. You will find the color will hold.

Source: A hairdresser blog on the internet.

Comment Was this helpful? 2

Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
August 31, 2008

I am brunette and I am graying. I color my hair myself however I have trouble with resistant grays. I start applying the hair color on the grays first (new growth and temple area). I leave it on these areas longer then apply to the whole head. I use shampoo for color treated hair but approximately a week later the grays are back!

I did an internet search and it said to get hairdressing peroxide and apply to the grays before coloring. This is supposed to get the hair ready and make it absorb the color better. Do any of you have any ideas? Have you used peroxide? Any other tips. Thanks so much.

Edith from CT

Answer Was this helpful? Yes

Answers

By guest (Guest Post)
September 2, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

I've had good luck with a product that seems fairly new called Perfect 10 by Clairol. If you don't mix it together all at once, I can get 3 applications out of it.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
September 4, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

Clariol has a few colors that are made for gray hair. Now some of the gray will be lighter but it looks like natural hi lights. The one I used was made for gray hair and it works great. Try that and good luck.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By guest (Guest Post)
September 4, 20082 found this helpful
Best Answer

Go to sally's beauty supply and get some "Grey magic" which comes in a small bottle and add 10 drops to your hair color. It helps hold the hair color.

Cathy from MA

Reply Was this helpful? 2
By guest (Guest Post)
September 28, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

I also am a licensed cosmetologist. I am just starting to go grey myself, but have been helping other's battle the grey for years. Personally, I highlight my hair through a cap. This blends the grey in. For my grey clients I do one of two things:

1. Primarily I use a semi-permanent hair color. This is a color that fades off in 4-6 weeks, and does not cover the grey, but instead blends it in. Very easy to apply, and hard to mess up.

2. Otherwise I use a color formulated especially for grey hair. This does make a difference, because they can be very resistant. Also, it helps to cover your head with plastic (shower cap, walmart bag, etc) and stay out of the air conditioning. Keep your head warm and this will open up the cuticle to allow your hair to absorb the color molecule. Also, when rinsing the color out, use cold water!!! This seals the cuticle back down.

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By 0 found this helpful
October 31, 2009

I naturally have dark hair and am now having to dye it every six weeks in order to keep the grays at bay (I'm probably 5 -10 percent gray). I like dark hairstyles with a few chunky blond highlights around the crown. I am unable to budget such a beauty treatment at this time and I am also the do-it-yourself type.

Could I dye it my normal dark color to hide the grays and then follow it with a highlight kit from the grocery store? If so, how do I handle it six weeks from now? Would I re-dye the entire head of hair and create new blonde chunky highlights all over again?

I have googled, but can't seem to come up with a good answer, as most of them do not have to dye their hair for grays. Thanks for any detailed answers you can give.

By Marla from MO

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
Anonymous
November 4, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

Personally, since you're only 5 to 10 % gray, I would suggest simply doing the chunky highlights around the crown. At least try it for three or four months and you just might find you like it and you'll be saving yourself an added step headache and money too ;-)

The other thing you can try is using Clairol Natural Instincts two or three shades lighter than your natural color and your gray will be your highlight because a lighter color was deposited on the gray and barely any lifting of your natural color. It might not look like chunky blonde highlights but it will look slightly highlighted and looks really natural. This is what I do ;-)

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By 0 found this helpful
February 22, 2006

I have been coloring my hair since it has started turning gray. I don't like the texture of my hair for about a week or longer after I've colored it. The dye makes it very slick without any body. I can't even keep it in a ponytail because the slick texture causes the elastic to slip right off! I don't have thin hair really. Anybody have a suggestion on how to avoid this slick texture after coloring? After about two weeks it feels normal, then in two more weeks it's time to color it again.

Mary from Denver

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
By guest (Guest Post)
February 22, 20060 found this helpful
Best Answer

It sounds like you're skipping the step where you add water and work into a lather - the places you miss will be slick. Also, you might want to use a deep conditioner after you color. The slick hair could be damaged. Hope this helps :)

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

By 0 found this helpful
August 29, 2012

I have a dark brownish real color hair, but I just turned 44 this month and the grey is totally stubborn when it comes to coloring my hair. I like to keep it a blond color with highlights and have noticed that after going to the salon my longer grey pieces of hair were still grey, like the color was only sticking until the first wash. I use the color shampoo and the color leave in conditioner. I know that there is nothing that I can do for the new hair growing in, but what should I do about the hair that has been colored or highlighted that goes right back to grey? I have asked at the salon and they just say yeah well some hair is more stubborn than others. I personally don't like paying people who answer me with a response like that. What would you do? I mean they have nothing at all to help me out and the lighter highlights make it look like it is just blond, but I am still so mad every time a professional can't help me! It drives me nuts.
Thanks.

By Katy M

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
August 30, 20120 found this helpful

Try another salon. There are things to be done that they apparently are not addressing. You might even have to have color applied and then highlights done in order to cover the gray strands that show up. You can maintain it with root touch ups and highlights just when needed. Gray hair can be very resistant but a good beautician will know what to do! There are solutions!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
August 30, 20120 found this helpful

If you are dissatisfied with the job they do or their attitude, go elsewhere. Find someone whose hair you do like and ask where they have it done. Flattery will get you the info/referral you want!

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August 30, 20120 found this helpful

Go to a different salon with a good reputation. The salon you are going to probably uses cheap products.

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Anonymous
August 30, 20120 found this helpful

I was a hairstylist for 35 years and color was my specialty. If you'll answer my questions here I'll be happy to give you advice. Just leave the answers in the same comment section that I am writing to you now.

1) Are you having 'all' of your hair colored one color and then adding the blonde highlights or are you leaving your natural color alone and simply having highlights.

2) Is your gray hair white or silver.

3) Is your hair coarse or fine.

4) Do you know whether your stylist is using highlift color or bleach for the highlights.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Anonymous
August 30, 20120 found this helpful

PS - In regards to Lilac's comment, cheap hair color products have absolutely nothing to do with the outcome of hair color. It's the type of color products being used that makes the difference. For example, permanent, semi-permanent, demi-permanent, bleach, etc. and grey hair is indeed the most difficult to deal with.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
August 31, 20120 found this helpful

Hi Katy M. My hair is white and I have an all over permanant colour ( Nice and Easy ) which I do myself at home. It,s a well known fact that grey or white hair can become coarser with age and this makes it especially resisitant to colour. A semi permanant or wash in colour will not cover grey or white hair. I always colour my hairline and crown first as it seems grow out quicker here. Hope this is some help to you. good luck. Jan UK

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August 31, 20120 found this helpful

My hair is naturally dark brown as well, and I have some unruly greys as well. What I do, is go to Sally Beauty supply and buy the Ion colour Golden Blonde Hi Lift. After I colour, I mix the leftover colour with colour protective conditioner and leave it on for about 10 minutes, but after the initial colouring. This will help with any leftover strays. I never go to salons any more, because I like doing my own hair because I feel more rewarded in the end knowing I did it myself! Hope this helps!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
August 31, 20120 found this helpful

I have the same trouble I usually use a temperary hair color that comes in a tube with a brush like mascara. I have bought it from Beauty Supply Warehouse catalog. It is just a temperary fix and washes out. There is something that I want to try called 28 day mascara. It comes in black or brown. One application is supposed to last 28 days. I think it would work on my hair inbetween coloring. It is in the Hariet Carter catalog.

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August 31, 20120 found this helpful

I have the same problem. I'm totally white around my face. I get my hair professionally highlighted. She uses I think 2 different colors. To keep me from looking white she now has to use a dark brown on me and the result is light blonde. At some point I'll probably have to quit coloring altogether because my hair just does not want to take the color. It gets lighter after ever shampoo. I'm using a sulfer free shampoo she told me to use which helps a little to keep from fading as fast.

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September 5, 20120 found this helpful

My natural hair color is dark dirty blonde, but haven't seen it in many many years. I am 46 and have alot of white gray in the front and crown area, so my beautician treats that area first with all blonde about an inch into the hairline. The rest I have low lites of dark brown thick and thin strands and it looks very good. I have to go every 5 weeks for retouch but I choose to have healthy hi-lited hair rather than all one color. It looks allot better and healthier as well. Also I might add that I use the 10 minute miracle spray every time I was my hair. It helps keep it soft and manageable.

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By 0 found this helpful
September 8, 2015

I dyed my hair approximately 2 1/2 - 3 weeks ago. I have a grey patch of hair right in the front of my head at the hairline. It's already grey again. An employee at Sally Supply told me to use Grey Magic and a protein rinse to help with the grey. I also purchased a leave in conditioner, and a thinning hair shampoo and conditioner. It doesn't seem to be helping. My hair is damaged on the ends. I have cut 2-3 inches off. Any suggestions on what to do as far as coloring to keep the grey patch from coming back so soon? And as for the thinning I'm not sure if it's due to coloring or something else.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
September 8, 20150 found this helpful

There are these pretty cool color sticks that you can draw on your hair if you'd like to touch up that one part. you could even make it look like a gray streak/highlight. Just draw the dark line but leave one gray line in between.

I have one (just like my beloved mom used to!) that I make sure NOT to color so it shows. I always get compliments for it!

The thinning might be just a result of aging....

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Read More Answers

May 27, 20141 found this helpful

I have been wearing a wig for some time. I now have virgin gray hair and I do not like it. I do want to be able to wear my hair out, so what homemade product or natural product can I use to dye virgin gray hair?

By Barbara B.

Answer Was this helpful? 1

March 16, 20140 found this helpful

I have been using the standard boxed hair color for years to get rid of my gray hair. But the past couple of times I colored my hair, using the same procedure, it's like I didn't do a thing. The grays were still there. Am I doing something wrong? Are they developing a resistance? Do I need to start pre-treating with peroxide? Help!

By Cynthia

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
March 17, 20140 found this helpful

Yes it is a pain isn't it. I have the same problem, did some research, and found a product called Gray Magic you add to your color solution prior to coloring. If you get too much red in your hair, you can followup with Unred also by Ardell.

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March 18, 20140 found this helpful

Gray hair is stubborn to dye. You may need to go to the beauty shop and have it professionaly done.

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By 0 found this helpful
February 6, 2017

Does Nice and Easy hair dye work on stripped out hair that is all white gray?

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By 0 found this helpful
July 26, 2016

How do you get hair to take color? I have an area like my mom's skunk lock starting. Is there anyway to cover stubborn gray/silver hair? I would appreciate your help. Thank you.

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By 0 found this helpful
June 16, 2016

I have naturally black hair, but about 6 months ago I got my hair dyed brown with blond highlights. Lately, I've noticed a few gray hairs popping up - especially in the patches of hair where my hair was highlighted. I know that the lady at the salon had used Schwarzkopf for the highlights. I am now panicking, because this is the first time my hair has turned gray and I am not old enough to start graying (I am 32). I did cut one off and I realized that it was an actual gray hair i.e. hair without pigment.

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January 2, 20150 found this helpful

I have spent 8 months growing out dark hair color. My hair dresser suggested using dark blond and it's been working. Today I used Gray Magic in my blond solution, and my hair turned almost black. I'm devastated. What can I do to get this out? I immediately shampooed my hair, but it didn't do any good.

By Jgreen

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January 30, 20150 found this helpful

Did you read the bottle of the grey magic? Some is for blonde hair and some is for brunette hair. Did you get the right grey magic? You only use 10 drops per ounce of hair color.

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August 26, 20130 found this helpful

I used a 6N Shades EQ with drops of Gray Magic. It went 2 levels darker. Is there anything I can do to take it out?

By Jean

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