How to conceal gray hair with highlights and other techniques (2023)

Going gray is a part of life - it happens to all of us. Whether you've just found a few gray hairs or have been gray for a while, it can be difficult to accept the change in your natural hair color. Luckily, there are ways to conceal gray hair with and without highlights!

In this post, we go over all the ways to hide your silver strands, from mixing grays with highlights to demi-permanent color treatments and more.

Ways to disguise or blend your gray hair

How you cover silver strands depends on what you intend to do. For example, do you want a low-maintenance hairstyle or can you fit a little more hair care into your routine?

If you're concerned about gray roots, you can address that with root touch-ups. Highlights treat small gray spots, while all-over colors treat more extensive graying, including at the hairline. When you're feeling ready to embrace your grays, root blending techniques can help you more subtly alternate colors between your natural shade and natural grays.

Also remember that the appearance of gray hair varies from person to person. It depends on your base hair color whether it's light or dark and how fast or slow your grays come on. If you have blonde hair, you may find it easier to hide gray hair with blonde highlights. Dark brown, red or black hair means you are dealing with a greater contrast.

No matter what your personal hair situation, there is a method to effectively hide your grays. Read on to find the right one for you!

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1. Mix gray hair with highlights or babylights

Adding highlights means your hairstylist will lighten sections of your hair from root to tip, usually with foils. Blending gray hair with highlights works by lightening the areas around the hair so there is less contrast. You can achieve all-over highlights that blend your grays without worrying about finding and lightening every single gray strand.

Babylights are smaller highlights. They are made to give your hair a sun kissed look, similar toBalayage. If you're just starting to go gray or have fewer gray tones, these little highlights might be enough to help you fade them in.

Considerations for this method:

  • This works best with all hair colors, but especially natural blonde hair. If you have naturally darker hair, it may take additional salon sessions to go down to a lighter color that camouflages your grays.
  • Both of these methods of highlighting require frequent maintenance, with about every one needing touch-upsfour to six weeks.

2. Mix gray hair with balayage

Balayage is a freehand highlighting technique. Because the colorist decides where and how much to lighten specific parts, the treatment is more customizable.

If you have larger areas of gray or dark hair that you don't want to drastically lighten, balayage can give you more control over the tone and your overall look. Similar to how you conceal gray hair with highlights, hair lightened with balayage helps fade in or tone gray tones. However, since balayage doesn't start at your roots, your stylist needs to dye your roots their natural color to cover the grays as they grow out.

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This treatment is a great way to prevent sharp demarcation lines in your hair color as you grow back. Because the stylist uses a freehand technique, it also looks more subtle and natural.

Considerations for this method:

  • This also works with all hair colors, but can be an especially good option if you have larger sections of gray or dark hair.
  • Balayage should be touched up every day12 to 14 weeks.However, your stylist needs to refresh your roots between balayage services, usually all of them4 to 8 weeks.

3. Add dimension or transition to gray with lowlights

Lightening hair can help with gray tones, but did you know that darkening can also help? Lowlights are like the opposite of highlights — sections of hair that are a shade or two darker than your natural color, adding dimension to your hair.

Lowlights can help you cover grays or blend into grays in a more natural way. The lighter color of the gray next to the darker lowlights can subtly accentuate the gray color.

Considerations for this method:

  • This works best with all hair colors, but especially dark blonde, brown hair, and redheads. If you have really dark hair, it can be difficult to find a darker color that adds dimension.
  • It's a good technique if you only have small sections of gray or if you want to transition your hair to gray.
  • This treatment is typically lower maintenance than highlights and only requires touch-upssix to eight weeks.

4. Cover gray hair with single process color

If you want to fully cover your gray hair and maintain your natural hair color, you should opt for a one-process hair coloring or root touch-up. These treatments are called “single procedures” because they are performed in one step. In general, they can give you full gray coverage.

(Video) How to cover up gray hair + balayage highlights

Permanent coloring and bleachinglast the longest, up to four to six weeks, but you can try temporary, semi-permanent ordemi-permanentColor to see how you like the look, or change things up more often.

Considerations for this method:

  • Full-on color works for all hair colors, but remember touch-ups are needed at the roots.
  • Corrections are recommended onefour to eight weeks.

5. Use a glaze or gloss for temporary coverage

Another type of color treatment, hair glaze, coats the outside of the hair strands and lasts about a week. It is said to increase shine and improve or alter hair tone to reduce brassy or dull tones.

shinediffers from the glaze in that it penetrates the hair cuticle and lasts about four weeks. It can change the color of your hair strands, making it a good short-term option for covering gray.

Considerations for this method:

  • Shine and shine work for all hair colors including natural or colored hair. They don't last very long, but they can refresh your current hair color, tone down brassy tones, or give you a toned color.
  • glaze holdsone to two weeks.
  • keeps shinethree to four weeks.

How to care for your highlighted hair

Every color treatment needs to be touched up from time to time. But there are ways to make your results permanent. Here are some tips to take care of your highlighted hair between visits to the salon - and to maintain your hair health in general.


How to conceal gray hair with highlights and other techniques (2)
  • Wait longer between washes:Washing your hair less often is a good way to keep your color longer because washing strips the color. Wait two to four days between each wash if you have fine hair and five to 10 days between washes if you have thicker hair.
  • Use a purple shampoo:Violet pigments help you preserve the tones of lighter colors including blonde, silver and gray hair and prevent your strands from looking yellow and brassy or dull.
  • Take good care of your hair:Deep conditioning keeps your hair hydrated, which is especially important after a harsh chemical process like highlighting. Moisturized hair is also less prone to breakage than dry hair.
  • Reduce the Heat on Your Hair:In addition to promoting dryness and breakage, applying heat to your hair can also cause your color to fade faster. If you prefer heat styling, be sure to use heat protectant on your hair as well.

Which option is right for you?

The best way to cover your grays really depends on your personal hair needs and the look you want.

  • Highlights oder Babylightsmight be for you if you are struggling with mild to moderate graying and want to opt for a lighter color, especially if you already have light hair.
  • Balayageis a good choice when you're dealing with spots or larger areas of gray and want a more customizable look.
  • Lowlightscould be a good choice if you have dark hair and want to go darker or ready to transition to gray naturally.
  • single process colorcould be the treatment for you if you just want to get rid of your grays completely.
  • glaze or lustercan be a good option if you're looking to enhance the tone of your natural or colour-treated hair, although they may work best in combination with another treatment.

Whether you're ready to embrace your grays or want to seamlessly maintain your natural hair color,StyleSeatcan help you find the best stylist for your needs. Even if you're not sure what look or treatment you want, the advice of a StyleSeat Pro can help you find the best treatment for the look you want.

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