Anyone who’s tried to color over their gray hair knows how tricky it can be. From stubborn grays to matching shades, sometimes you feel at your wit’s end when you’re staring blankly at the boxed hair dye aisle in the drugstore, wondering which choice it should be this time.
But did you know that some hair color shades are designed to give you better gray hair coverage than the regular ones? The boxed hair color companies won’t tell you that, because they don’t want to limit your choices when it comes to buying as much as possible. But the plain fact is that certain hair color shades will give you poor gray coverage, while others were practically made for it.
The lowdown on your gray hair
It all has to do with the way gray hair grows. In general, gray hair is more coarse and porous than regular hair. This means that it won’t absorb hair color the same way your regular hair did. That can make grays seem “stubborn” and “resistant.”
That’s why gray hair needs a stronger hair dye to get good coverage. A demi permanent hair color usually isn’t strong enough to settle into the pores of gray hair. Therefore, you’ll need to use a permanent hair dye if you really want to banish your grays.
It’s also important to know that gray hair naturally lacks pigment, so it receives color differently than regular hair. If you don’t use a hair dye specifically formulated for your gray hair, your gray strands and regular strands could end up colored very differently.
Certain shades of colors work best
To get full, strong coverage on all your gray hair, the best choice is to use a hair dye with a neutral base. A color with extra neutral base can compensate for the lack of pigment on gray hair. This is because the base color will add solidity to the tone – it first coats the hair with a solid neutral shade and then adds the desired color on top. In the end, this will produce an even shade of color over your whole head.
This means your best option for complete gray hair coverage is to go with a neutral hair color shade. Gold or red tones in your color can also help provide extra coverage over grays.
- If you’re naturally blonde, try going for a neutral hair color such as neutral medium blonde or sandy blonde.
- If you want to get brunette coloring, try using a soft, neutral tone of brown, such as espresso or chocolate.
- If you want to go with a red shade, it’s extra important to make sure the hair color is fortified with a neutral undertone, or else you could end up with bright pink or red hair. Try using a neutral auburn or chestnut hair color.
Darker, brunette hair color shades usually have more pigment in them and can provide better coverage than lighter blonde shades. But if you go with a dark hair color, make sure it isn’t so dark that it creates a harsh contrast with your skin or looks obvious when your roots grow out.
Just remember to stay away from ash hair color tones, because they tend to be more translucent and won’t fully cover gray hair. In addition, bright hair color tones tend to provide weaker gray coverage because they have less solid base in them.
If you want to let your gray hair grow in with a natural effect, choose a hair color shade that is slightly lighter than your natural color. This way, when the gray roots grow in, the color blends better and you won’t need to touch it up as soon.
The easiest gray hair solution
Here’s an even easier way to get the right color for your grays: eSalon.com. It’s a website that uses your personal hair profile and professional colorists to blend a hair color designed to cover all your grays and leave you with a rich, vivid hair color. That’s right – they’ll look at all your hair details (even a picture if you upload it) and mix a pigment that’s tailored to your individual head of hair. This means you get 100% gray coverage every time. The colorists will mix you any shade and add extra neutral base to compensate for grays, so you’re not limited to those shades the boxed color companies decide they want you to use. And they’ll even mail it right to your door for only $25!
Right now, they have a special offer for new customers: Get your first custom color kit for only $9.95 (a 50% savings!), with a full money-back guarantee including shipping (what other company does that?).