How To Cover Gray Without Damaging Your Hair

gray hair

Whether you’ve got a few silver strands or a whole head of gray hair, covering the gray with color is one way to refresh your look. Gray hair can give away your age, but hair that’s damaged by color won’t do you any favors either. Follow these tips to keep your hair lustrous and healthy while covering the gray.

3. Avoid ammonia if you can

If your hair is less than 25 percent gray, you can cover the gray using a demi- or semi-permanent hair color. Neither of those types of hair color contains hair-damaging ammonia. Keep in mind that the demi-permanent color is the stronger of the two. It contains more hydrogen peroxide in order to deposit more color into the hair shaft for a longer-lasting result. Semi-permanent color has less hydrogen peroxide and therefore, less chance of damage, but the color only lasts for 6 to 12 shampoos. Demi-permanent dyes last for about 12 to 24 washes.

2. Use permanent hair dye carefully

If semi- and demi-permanent colors are fading out too fast, the repeat applications you may need can result in damage to the hair. Additionally, non-permanent dyes can’t lighten the hair, so they may not deliver the look you’re after, making permanent colors the better choice.

Permanent hair colors typically contain ammonia, which opens the hair cuticle to allow for a long-lasting deposit of color. To minimize damage, ask your stylist to use the gentlest developer possible for achieving the coverage you need. Additionally, avoid repeatedly applying permanent colors to your entire head of hair. The repeated exposure to ammonia can make your hair brittle and prone to breakage. Stick to root touch-ups only as much as possible.

1. Consider highlights

You can avoid exposing your entire head of hair to potentially damaging dyes by choosing to apply highlights or lowlights strategically. One tactic is to highlight the hair surrounding the gray, focusing on the hair at the part, which tends to be the most visible. Lowlights, or areas of darker color, can help to add dimension to your hair. One-Tone, allover hair color can look artificial. Highlights and lowlights give the appearance of depth and fullness to your hair and can be used to draw attention to your best features.

To keep your hair looking healthy regardless of how you choose to cover the gray, keep up with regular trims and deep condition your hair on a regular basis.