While more and more women are choosing to wear their silver strands as a fashion statement, embracing gray hair isn’t for everyone. If you’re planning on covering those grays, the pros are behind you! When it comes to gray coverage, however, you’ll need to be strategic about the way you do it. That means choosing the best hair colors for gray hair that last and look good on you.
Tricia Cosgrove, L’Oréal Professionnel artist, gave us her top tips for finding the best hair color for gray hair. We even share some of the latest salon innovations that can conceal your grays in just 10 minutes. Keep scrolling for everything you need to know.
What type of hair color covers gray hair the best?
Many women tackle their grays in the privacy of their own home with box dye (if your new silver pals never see the light of day, do they even exist?), but salon hair color is unbeatable if you’re dealing with grays. We always recommend seeing a professional colorist for all of your gray hair coverage needs to ensure the best results.
“The best tip I have is to consult a pro! Professional hairdressers are well educated in the chemistry of hair color. This really isn’t the type of thing most people can tackle themselves, and corrective [sic] color gets expensive!” Cosgrove explains.
It’s not just the color of the dye that matters, either. Formulas that are only available to professionals cover grays better than others. Cosgrove recommends demi or semi-permanent hair color for gray hair with a push toward permanent if you’re ready to fully commit to a new color. As an added bonus, your stylist will be able to offer tips for keeping your grey hairs as soft and manageable as possible. Who doesn’t want dreamy, silky hair?
You can even use temporary sprays to hide grays if you don’t have time to head to the salon.
Permanent Gray Coverage
If permanent hair color for gray hair is what you’re looking for, let us introduce you to Redken’s latest permanent hair color line (only available in salons): Color Gel Lacquers 10 Minute Color. These formulas provide 100 percent gray coverage and one level of lift in just 10 minutes. Color Gel Lacquers 10 Minute Color come in 14 new shades to provide quick gray coverage whether your strands are blonde, brunette, or copper.
Demi-Permanent Gray Coverage
For long-lasting (but not permanent) results, you can opt for a hair gloss like Redken Shades EQ. These demi-permanent, ammonia-free hair gloss formulas can provide temporary color change in just 20 minutes, including gray coverage. The results last four to six weeks, meaning you can try a new hair color for gray hair without commitment.
Temporary Gray Coverage
Can’t make it to the salon every time your grays start to show? We get it. Luckily, temporary hair color for gray hair exists. You can conceal graying hair between appointments with formulas like L’Oréal Professionnel’s Hair Touch Up Root Concealers. Available in seven shades, these formulas give quick, easy, and natural-looking gray coverage that lasts until your next wash day.
How often should I dye my hair to cover gray?
Because grey hairs can be so sneaky, maintaining a lapse-less hair color schedule is probably the most important part of managing them. How often you’ll need to come back will depend on the gap between your natural shade and the artificial one as well as the technique your stylist uses—in other words, it’ll be a little bit different for everybody—but certainly not an opportunity to walk away for six months at a time.
What is the best hair color for gray hair?
Now that you’re set on the kind of dye you need to cover gray hair, you now we need to determine which shade to go with. Neutral shades like soft blonde, mushroom brown, light copper, and caramel blonde balayage are the easiest to blend grey into (and maintain over time without wanting to shave your hair off).
Plus, Cosgrove points out that it’s easy to overwhelm your face with color. Go lighter, then add more if you want to make a dramatic statement.
“I think the most common mistake is going too dark. It’s important to remember that as our hair loses pigment, so does our skin. A softer color than what we had before we went gray is probably best,” she says.
Between appointments, focus on using color-protecting products that will help your hue last (and keep your greys totally disguised). We recommend Redken’s Color Extend Magnetics Shampoo and Conditioner. This sulfate-free system gently cleanses and conditions color-treated hair to enhance shine and hair color vibrancy.
Need inspiration before you head to the salon? Keep scrolling for the 12 best hair colors for gray hair that are pro-approved.
The Best Hair Colors For Gray Hair To Try Now
There are so many reasons that blonde highlights are a top choice for covering gray hair. Blonde highlights soften the root area where grays start to peak through and let your colorist target gray-prone sections.
We’ve seen every blonde rendition on planet Earth, so believe us when we say this soft blonde shade is unique in both its neutrality and dimension. Fight the urge to bleach your greys into oblivion and choose this darker blonde, instead. A little warmth is never a bad thing, and you can always ask to go lighter next appointment.
Add dimension to your brown hair color with subtle lowlights. Strategically placed lowlights can help hide graying hair while adding depth and dimension to your brunette strands.
We’re obsessed with this gray coverage result on medium brown hair using Redken Color Gel Lacquers 10 Minute Color in shade 05N Walnut.
This caffeine-inspired hue was created using Redken Color Gel Lacquers 10 Minute Color in shade 4NN Coffee Grounds.
Craving chocolate? Ask your colorist to use Redken Color Gel Lacquers 10 Minute Color 6NN Chocolate Mousse for a warm-toned look with 100 percent gray coverage.
Red red heads have a reputation for not going gray, but ginger shades do lose their pigment over time, resulting in a lighter, duller color. Your colorist can refresh your fiery hue with a permanent hair color formula. One caveat: Salon red hair is notoriously prone to premature fading, so make sure you’re ready for the commitment before you dive in.
Ginger With Lowlights
Give your ginger shade dimension while hiding any stray grays with blended lowlights throughout your mane.
There’s no need for us to sell you on caramel balayage because it basically sells itself. This warm, lighthearted take on blonde hair suits every skin tone and makes you glow. Who wouldn’t want to try it?
If you can’t beat them, embrace them! Lean into your natural grays with a full-on silver shade. It’s on-trend and customizable for every skin tone.
A full head of silver hair may not be for everyone, which is why we recommend silver highlights for a more subtle take on the look.
A shade like white blonde will seamlessly blend with your gray regrowth. Note: Achieving a shade as light as white will require a few bleaching sessions with your colorist. Be sure to use repairing products like Redken’s Acidic Bonding Concentrate system. This three-part system is made with citric acid and a concentrated bonding complex to reinforce weakened bonds and help build back strength and resiliency.
Interested in getting professional gray coverage? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.