So you’re sick of your gray hair.
I get it.
It makes you feel and look old.
You tried to color it at home but it was a disaster. The dye didn’t take or the color was blah. Or worse the grays popped up again in no time.
You’re not alone. Gray hair is a pain in the butt to color. Unlike normal hair it’s dry, rough, and stubborn. It just doesn’t want to play nice with the dye.
But no worries. You can totally color your gray hair at home yourself to hide unwanted gray hair.
In this follow up to our guide on “How To Color Resistant Gray Hair At Home” we reveal more proven tricks. Or ideas to help you get gorgeous color that makes you look and feel awesome like the ones that follow.
Quick Section Navigation
- Pre-Softening Resistant Gray Hair For Better Coverage
- Choose The Right Developer For The Job
- Attack the Most Resistant Patches First
- You Have To Saturate Stubborn Silver Strays
- Should You Develop Color Under Heat?
- Timing Is Important – Waiting to Wash
Pre-Softening Resistant Gray Hair For Better Coverage
Now some suggest you tackle stubborn grays by pre-treating or pre-softening.
Pre-softening is a simple technique done before coloring to help prep your hair for color absorption.
But is a pre-treat like this really necessary? Is that the secret to how to cover stubborn grey hair?
Quick chemistry lesson:
BehindTheChair.com maintains that to make the cuticle more open and dye receptive don’t use peroxide because it’s acidic. That tends to clamp the cuticle shut tight which blocks the color from getting in.
Instead you need something with an alkaline pH to do the job.
So smart stylists pre-soften using unmixed color straight out of the tube – color being alkaline and all.
You might want to too.
Laying that on the areas of most resistance. Followed by your color formula.
Of course like all things hair there are those who think there is no need to pre process like this. Feeling advances in color formulations makes that step unnecessary.
Still true believers feel pre-softening is a simple and effective way to cover resistant gray hair at home. It can make your hair color last longer and look more natural too.
So you might try it next time you want to refresh your look. Just to see what, if any, difference it makes in your results!
Choose The Right Developer For The Job
Okay so the first few grays may look sparkly and all. But any feeling of live and let live soon passes as more show up. Leaving you eager for a way to hide them from sight.
Part of that process requires getting the developer level right if you want to color like a pro.
So this section is for those wondering what volume developer to use to cover gray hair. Yeah, what volume developer should you use?
First, you need to recognize your gray hair lacks pigment.
That being the case there is no need to lift the color. You simply need to crack open the cuticle enough to deposit color inside the hair shaft.
Then second, the consensus is 20 volume seems to be just right number for mixing with dye when looking to cover grays.
Tip: Doing a patch test on an out of sight bit of hair can avoid an unexpected outcome from using the wrong level of developer.
Still there’s nothing magical about 20 developer. The idea here is it’s best to use the least amount of hydrogen peroxide you need to do the job.
So if you find you can get full gray coverage using a 10 or 15 volume then feel free to use that. Just be aware that in some cases a 10-volume developer may not work for gray hair.
You probably want to avoid using a 30, 40, or 50-volume developer. That level is likely too strong and can unnecessarily damage your hair. Or make it too light or brassy.
Tip: More than a few report a few drops of Argan oil added to the mix can leave you with shinier, glossier tresses.
Attack The Most Resistant Patches First
You’ll quickly learn that not all gray strands on your head are going to react the same to dyeing. Meaning it’s not all equally resistant or receptive.
Also seldom will you find your gray hair grows uniformly in an easily identified pattern.
So after you’ve identified the most resistant patches you’ll want to color those sections first. Reason being the longer the color is on them the more pigment they should absorb.
Then how does one adjust processing for resistant grays?
Madison Reed, seller of hair care and coloring products, suggests adding 10 minutes. So go for 45 minutes or so of color processing time.
Then too the box should ideally tell you how long to wait after hitting the roots to before applying to the rest of your hair.
You Have To Saturate Stubborn Silver Strays
Covering gray hair at home can be challenging. But stylists know the trick is total saturation. Especially if your hair is thick. coarse or both to begin with.
But you don’t want to just haphazardly smear the roots with color.
Work with skinny sections to insure full coverage of the roots.
Also don’t hold back. Generously paint both front and back sections for complete coverage. Using the brush and bowl method for coverage precision. You might this helps you to avoid banding too.
Again all the more important with thick hair. That texture can be especially tough to color. As it tends to be dry and the strands are densely packed making it hard to get color on every strand.
Another hack? If need be revisit strands known to be more resistant and apply extra color. Like around the hairline?
Tip: After applying the color to regrowth some stylists like to drag the color through the lower strands with a comb to blend it in. This can eliminate harsh lines of color demarcation. Possibly more of an advanced tip but something to keep in mind as you get better at this.
As suggested coarse gray hair is tough to cover due to its dry, rough texture. Saturate it well by loading it up with product and allow extra processing time to get the vibrant result you seek.
Don’t underestimate how much time the dye needs to cover the grays.
Which means don’t be impatient and wash the dye out too soon. That’s a rookie mistake.
Tip: Keep to a touch-up schedule of say like every four or five weeks. Which is also to say there’s no advantage to stretching out the time between touch ups.
Should You Develop Color Under Heat?
Here’s a little trick that some swear helps with dye penetration into stubborn grays.
As you know heat can help open up the cuticle. Which may be why some turn to heat to help color resistant grays as the heat can help you get better color absorption.
You can do that in three ways.
One would obviously be to break out your hair dryer and blast your roots with medium heat for one to two minutes. Then pop on a shower cap to keep the heat up going.
Or you can forego the blow dryer and simply slip on the shower cap and be happy with retaining the heat coming off your scalp. Letting that alone aid in dye penetration.
Don’t have a shower cap handy? Simply wrap a plastic grocery bag over your hair when done dying. This also works to retain the heat plus keeps dye from dripping all over creating a big mess.
May not work in every case. But it’s worth keeping in the back of your mind, don’t you think?
Timing Is Important – Waiting to Wash
You can take this two ways.
First a pre wash 12-24 hours before coloring can leave you with just about the right amount of natural oils to protect your scalp from dye irritation. In other words it’s generally not a good idea to wash too close to the time your mixing the dye in the bowl.
The second covers how long to wait to wash after your dye session. Some feel the longer the better. Or a day or two at least. Naturally this is a hair specific situation. But the feeling is the longer the color is given to settle in the better.
Try to limit the water temperature and use at most warm water. You don’t want to encourage the cuticles to open wide to let the color escape.
Obviously using shampoo used for color hair is a great idea.
Also if you want the color to last try not to wash your hair every day. Lathering up only once/twice a week maximizes the longevity of your work. The pigments wash out too fast as it is. No sense in encouraging them, right?
So as you probably know, your color will benefit from washing less often with cooler water.
When it comes to hair color who couldn’t use top tips, delicious discoveries or just some all-around helpful ideas to help keep your color fresh and glowing? All that can be yours. Simply follow our Hair Color board on Pinterest. We’ll do the rest.