Everything You Need to Know About Coloring Gray Hair

Everything You Need to Know About Coloring Gray Hair
Whether you’re trying to conceal a few pesky silver strands or need to hide a more significant amount of gray, it’s important to understand exactly what type of haircolor techniques are best for dealing with grays. When hair stops producing color and turns gray, the outer layers of the hair known as the cuticle also start to get thicker, explains Redken Artist George Garcia This can make the hairs more resistant to absorbing dye, making gray coverage potentially more challenging than other color processes. Happily, Redken has got you (and your grays) covered. Here’s what you need to know about the best ways to achieve perfect gray coverage.

What are the Options for Covering Gray?
To boil it down, there are essentially two different types of color your colorist can use—demi-permanent or permanent. Demi-permanent options, like Redken’s range of Shades EQ acidic haircolor, deliver non-permanent pigment that will gradually fade over time. “Demi-permanent colors don’t cover the gray so much as they color it, making gray hairs blend in more with the overall color and look almost like a highlight,” explains Redken Artist Jason Gribbin. The big pro to taking this route is less maintenance; because the grow-out is much less noticeable, you’ll be able to go longer in between appointments.

What is Permanent Color?
On the other side of the spectrum is permanent color, which completely covers gray, delivering a more solid and uniform result, says Gribbin. His analogy? Picture a piece of wood. Staining it would have the same effect as demi-permanent color—you’d still be able to see the natural grain and there’d be variation in the shades and tone. Permanent color would be like taking brown paint and painting the board so that it’s totally and completely covered.

So, Why is Permanent Color the Best Way to Cover Gray?
“When you want that immediate satisfaction of leaving the salon and no longer seeing any grays whatsoever, permanent haircolor is the way to go,” says Gribbin. If that sounds like your hair color goal, talk to your colorist about Redken’s Color Gels Lacquers. The low-ammonia formula packs exceptional gray coverage, no matter how much gray you have. Garcia also adds that the thicker viscosity of the gel formula makes for an even and uniform application, since it moves easily through all of the hair. Plus, the single-process color works quickly, delivering gray coverage in as little as 25-35 minutes, he says.

Remind Me: What is a Single Process Hair Color Application?
Pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Your colorist will apply the color, let it sit and process, then rinse it off and you’re good to go. Compare that to a technique such as highlighting, where, post-rinse there’s usually another type of color (such as a gloss) applied. So yes, while permanent color may require slightly more frequent salon trip because those new grays will be very noticeable once they start to appear, the upshot is that those coloring appointments will be short and sweet.

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