Depending on who you ask, gray hair is either the best thing to ever happen or the absolute worst. While more people are embracing their grays than ever before, not everyone is ready to commit to the salt and pepper look. If you’re the latter, you likely panicked and started googling how to get rid of gray hair the moment the first one popped up.
If you’re stumped on how to hide gray hair, we’re here to help! We tapped Sean Godard, Redken artist, on all there is to know about how to hide gray hair. Whether you want to go the salon route, or conceal your grays at home, read on to find out how to make gray coverage easy.
How Can I Hide My Gray Hair?
Cover Grays Instantly with a Root Touch Up Spray
First things first, if you need to hide gray hair but you can’t get to the salon don’t, we repeat, DO NOT, reach for boxed hair color. Not only can box dye be damaging if you don’t know how to use it properly, it can lead to BIG color oops, and banding that inevitably cost you BIG dollars when you need that color correction. If you can’t go to the salon for a pro hair color, reach for root touch up sprays and cover ups like L’Oreal Professionnel’s Instant Root Fix Touch Up Professional Root Concealer. This temporary formula comes in 7 natural looking shades and delivers natural-looking results and instant coverage for grays that lasts until your next shampoo.
Take your troubles to the salon.
Before we get into how to hide gray hair, let’s talk about what makes it unique. Whether you have a whole head of grays or just a few strands, you’ve probably noticed that they feel different than the texture you’re used to. Gray hairs can feel wiry, stiff, and curl in ways your other hair may not.
According to Godard, that’s only half the challenge. Your hair professional faces an entirely different range of issues when it comes to the color service.
If you want to cover up newfound grays, Godard recommends starting by covering only the grays, not the entire head.
“Start by just coloring the gray areas with a Redken Color Gel Lacquer shade that matches the natural shade,” he says. “This is a great way to test the waters of coloring hair without doing the entire head.”
While Godard works with all of Redken’s products, he recommends the Color Gel Lacquer line for the rich, saturated results it provides. The gel-like consistency allows colorists to color up to 100 percent of grays in 30 minutes when using a 20 volume developer.
“You can truly turn every hair on the head the same super-saturated color with a reflective shine. It’s also a quicker application and processing time, so it’s a win for the guest and the stylist,” Godard adds.
You can also consider a hair color application that’s more about blending the grays into the rest of your hair, rather than covering them up entirely.
“Most important is upkeep and desired end result,” Godard says. “Redken Shades EQ Gloss can blend gray away for a more low commitment coverage, where Color Gel can completely cover every gray hair but it will be required to be retouched as the hair grows out in four to six weeks."
Not sure which way to go? The best person to determine the color choice that fits into your schedule and budget is your colorist. Be honest with him or her about how much time you want to spend in the salon, and he or she can provide a customized recommendation.
Opt for highlights.
If you want to disguise grays while adding dimension to your mane, ask your stylist for highlights. Highlights are a excellent option for grey hair coverage for all hair types because they’re lower maintenance compared to coloring your entire head. They can give your hair some texture and frame your face, all while reducing the number of trips you need to make to the salon.
Your colorist will use foils or a hand-painted technique to apply highlights where your grays are most apparent, such as around your crown or natural hair parting. If you're a brunette, sometimes lowlights work better to cover greys, as adding highlights to dark hair can accentuate the appearance of grey hairs. Lowlights help add depth to your color, which is sometimes needed in order to avoid washing out your complexion.
Invest in a root touch-up spray.
Making an appointment with your stylist is always the best option when trying to conceal graying strands, but let’s face it—we all get busy and don’t always time for an appointment. If you don’t have time to head to the salon, a root touch-up spray is your next best option. These aerosol temporary color formulas help to hide the look of visible roots and gray hairs.
We love L'Oréal Professionnel’s Instant Root Fix Touch Up Professional Root Concealer. This temporary formula delivers natural results and instant coverage for grays that lasts until your next shampoo.
Switch your part.
Depending on where your gray strands are located, disguising your grays can be as easy as switching up your hair part. If your grays are at the center of your crown, try switching to a deep side part.
Unpopular opinion: Concealing grays can also be fun! If you don’t have the time (or desire) to color your hair, look to hair accessories and hairstyles like braids and top knots to conceal your roots and graying strands.
What kind of maintenance does gray hair coverage require?
No matter what gray hair coverage service you opt for, you’ll need to step up your at-home color care routine. Start with a shampoo and conditioner system formulated for color-treated hair. We recommend L'Oréal Professionnel Vitamino A-OX Color Preserve Moisturizing Shampoo and Moisturizing Conditioner. This system provides color and UV protection, enhances shine, and helps prolong color radiance.
Since gray hair is known to be coarse and dry, add a hair mask like L'Oréal Professionnel Vitamino Color A-OX Moisturizing Masque to your routine. This mask targets weakened and damaged areas of colored hair while repairing, nourishing, and enhancing shine.
It’s also essential to establish a regular touch-up schedule. The frequency of your appointments will depend on your hair length and how dramatically different your color is from your natural shade.
“Some clients with shorter hair come every two to three weeks—the average is four to six weeks,” Godard explains. “Sometimes waiting longer than six weeks can turn it into more of a correction because the hair responds differently to hair color when it grows past where the heat naturally radiates off the head.”
Now that you have the expert tips and tricks you need, concealing your grays will be a total breeze!
Interested in more expert hair tips? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.