While there are many causes for it, going gray is a natural part of life, but it’s not always a step we’re ready to embrace. If you’d rather camouflage your silver strands, you need to know the best hair color for gray hair.
Whether you want to totally cover, subtly camouflage, or seamlessly blend your gray with other colors, you’ll find the solutions you need in this guide!
We’re exploring the colors and shades that completely cover up grays, balayage and highlighting techniques to blend and camouflage gray hair, and the types of colors that are best equipped to provide lasting gray coverage.
If you don’t want to put your gray on display, keep reading to learn the secrets to covering or camouflaging gray and silver strands!
Best Hair Color for Gray Hair: Top 5 Hues to Cover Gray
- Cool blonde, fiery red, and warm brown shades work best to cover grays
- Warm colors better hide gray; cool colors work well for gray blending and highlights
- Use all-over color, balayage, or highlights and lowlights for gray coverage
Covering gray with color isn’t always an easy task. Gray hair can be stubborn and resistant to color, sometimes rearing its silvery head and showing through even deep brunette shades.
Luckily, it’s easy to cover grays once you know the best hair color for gray hair – and as it turns out, there are a few specific hues and color types that do an excellent job concealing your glittery gray strands.
Cool, Silvery Blondes
- Best for cool undertones and light gray hair
- Great way to transition as your hair begins to gray
- Seamlessly covers gray strands with similar tones
Icy-cool silvery blonde tones are an excellent option to disguise your grays without undergoing a drastic color change. All shades of gray have cool undertones, so choosing a cool-toned, silvery blonde will easily conceal even totally-gray strands.
Since gray color lacks a lot of the melanin pigment in your natural color, it’s often easier to go lighter instead of darker to conceal a light, natural gray color. Cool-toned blondes with hints of silver are the perfect hue for this.
Icy platinum blonde, pearly champagne blonde, and silvery ash blonde are all great options for gray coverage. You can apply these colors all-over for the most complete gray coverage or use these shades for highlights that aid in gray blending.
Read Next: How to Get Silver Hair
Radiant, Dimensional Reds
- Best for warm undertones and any shade of gray hair
- Vibrant, dimensional pigment that totally covers gray
- Shades range from light copper to deep auburn
Red is an ultra-dimensional hair color that does a great job covering up grays. Since shades of red are vibrant and radiant tones with lots of pigment, they’re able to stand up to even stubborn gray hair for total coverage wherever you want it.
Red hair color usually has a warm undertone. That makes it a great option if you have warm undertones that your newly gray strands aren’t suiting as well as your natural color.
Red can be as bright and flashy as you want it, or you can tone it down with brown or blonde tones for extra dimension and more natural-looking color. Choose bold, orange-toned copper hues to wear your red color loud and proud.
Look at deep auburn shades for a more balanced red/brown ratio. If you’re after a multi-toned, dimensional look, pair an auburn base with strategic strawberry blonde or copper highlights for more targeted gray coverage.
Warm, Vibrant Browns
- Best for warm undertones with darker gray hair
- Ideal for stubborn grays that resist color
- Apply all-over or as lowlights to suit coverage needs
Warm brown shades are also excellent for gray coverage, especially if you have a darker natural gray color. Going darker for gray coverage is easier than going blonde or red in this case.
You’ll get lasting, total gray coverage that looks natural with warm brown shades. Since gray is a cool-toned color, this color can clash with your skin if you have a naturally warm undertone.
Choosing a warm brown shade like chestnut, golden brown, or chocolate brown is a great way to cover up those silver strands and adopt a more flattering shade that suits your complexion.
You can rock warm brown shades as an all-over color for the most complete gray coverage – even on very stubborn grays that always seem to peek through. It also makes a great color for lowlights used in gray blending if you’re going for a more natural look with partial gray coverage.
Before we take a look at examples of the best shades and colors for gray coverage and blending, let’s talk more about the different color techniques you can use to conceal gray strands.
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Hair Coloring Techniques for Gray Hair
There are 3 different hair color techniques you can use to cover or blend gray with other shades:
- All-over permanent hair color
- Hand-painted balayage color
- Gray blending with highlights and lowlights
Which technique will work best for you?
It helps to ask yourself a few questions first. Are you looking for complete gray coverage all over? Do you have a few gray areas you want to specifically target with color?
Maybe you’re looking to blend your gray into other colors to make it a little less obvious. Whatever your preferences are, you have a few options for gray coverage with hair color.
Choose between dying your hair one color all over to totally conceal gray, getting balayage or ombre color to soften and conceal gray areas, or gray blending with highlights and lowlights that help partially cover grays for a natural result.
There are pros and cons for each technique, so take a look to see which method may work best for you.
- Completely covers gray hair color
- One-step process is gentler on hair
- May not offer the most natural-looking results
All-over color offers the most complete and total gray coverage when a permanent hair color is applied. You can choose any shade you like for this simple technique (though cool blonde, warm red, or warm brown are the best options), and you may even be able to do it yourself at home.
On the plus side, using all-over permanent color ensures you won’t have any stray gray strands peeking through your new color. It involves a one-step dying process where a single shade of color is mixed with developer and applied to your hair.
This is much gentler on fragile gray strands than going through a bleaching, toning, and dying process.
On the other hand, it can create a less natural-looking result, especially if you choose a color that’s a little one-dimensional or one that clashes with your skin’s undertone (warm, neutral, or cool).
It can also require more maintenance since you’ll need regular root touch ups to conceal gray roots as your hair grows. But that’s just one of a consideration you’ll have any time you dye your hair.
- Balayage offers natural-looking partial gray coverage
- Allows you to target spotty or uneven gray areas
- May be more damaging to hair and won’t cover gray roots
Hand-painted balayage color is a great option for targeted partial gray coverage. If you’re beginning to go gray in sections but haven’t fully transitioned to your silver/gray color yet, applying targeted color to the gray areas is a trendy way to handle it.
On the plus side, hand-painted balayage color is a subtle, natural-looking highlight technique that sweeps lighter shades from the ends of your hair up toward your roots without a clear line of demarcation.
It allows you to spot-cover grays without dying your whole mane in the process. It also allows you to achieve partial gray coverage while rocking your favorite shades of color.
There are some cons for using this technique to cover grays, however. It doesn’t offer total and complete gray coverage like all-over color.
Unless you color your roots in addition to balayage, you won’t be able to hide gray roots with this technique. It can be a little lower-maintenance, but the process of bleaching and toning your hair can be more damaging than single-process dyes.
- The most natural-looking way to ease into gray
- Blends gray with lighter and deeper tones for dimension
- Highlights and lowlights balance out gray for partial coverage
Gray blending is a natural-looking way to ease into gray color without jumping in with both feet. Gray blending is the process of adding strategically placed highlights and lowlights to gray hair to help camouflage and conceal some of the gray without completely covering it up.
By using a mix of both lighter and darker colors to neutralize the appearance of your gray strands, gray blending creates more natural-looking results than all-over color. It creates very dimensional color with multiple shades and tones.
Gray blending is the lowest-maintenance option for gray coverage since it won’t be as obvious when your roots grow out or color begins to fade. But gray blending won’t totally cover up gray hair – it’s only meant to camouflage it and leaves some gray in the finished result.
It involves multiple processes (bleaching, dying, and toning) that can be more damaging to hair than single-process, all-over dye. And some women don’t like the “salt and pepper” look this technique creates.
Best Hair Color for Gray Hair: 10 Trendy Ideas
Now that you’ve checked out the best hair color for gray hair (cool blonde, warm red, and warm brown shades) and know the 3 gray coverage color techniques you can choose from, it’s time for some inspiration.
Check out some of our favorite examples of total and partial gray coverage below!
1. Light Chestnut Brown With Golden Blonde Balayage
A warm, light-colored chestnut brown makes the perfect base color for concealing gray on skin with warm undertones. The reddish brown tones in the color completely cover cooler-toned silvery strands, while pale golden blonde face-framing balayage highlights pack extra gray-camouflaging power.
2. Silvery Platinum Gray Blending With Lowlights
Covering gray means you can get creative. It’s a great excuse to branch out and try out some of the current trends! Opt for a metallic silvery platinum blonde with shadowy dark brown lowlights scattered throughout for depth.
Between the silvery blonde and deep brown, you won’t notice any gray – you can even leave some sections with your natural color.
3. Bold, Vibrant Copper All-Over Color
Fiery copper is bold and vibrant – perfect for covering gray! Whether you’re a natural redhead who’s going gray or just want to try a vivacious, energetic color, this intense shade offers amazing coverage and dimension.
4. Light Champagne Blonde All-Over Color
A bubbly champagne blonde offers brightness and glimmers like silvery gray strands, so it does a wonderful job blending and covering up gray.
If your gray is on the lighter end of the spectrum, you’ll find that lifting your hair to a very light blonde and toning with pearly champagne tones is perfect for concealing unwanted gray.
5. Deep Auburn With Strawberry Blonde Balayage
Going red to cover gray doesn’t have to mean a bright copper. We love how a deep auburn shade blends brown and red tones together for a more muted color while completely hiding any gray underneath.
Auburn is a beautiful foundation for strawberry blonde highlights, which do a great job covering up random gray strands anywhere you find them.
6. Warm Chocolate Brown All-Over Color
A warm blend of milk and dark chocolate brown is perfect for natural brunettes who want to replicate the depth and dimension of their color sans gray. Warm tones are best at hiding underlying gray and you won’t see a trace of silver with a rich, all-over color like this!
7. Medium Auburn Chestnut All-Over Color
Auburn blended with chestnut brown makes for a beautiful, dimensional color that can seamlessly cover up grays. This toasty color is perfect for skin with warm undertones and will really brighten up your complexion.
After all, it has hints of gold, red, and brunette colors in the mix. Pair this all-over color with trendy curtain bangs and medium length for a total style transformation!
8. Gray Blending With Ash Brown Lowlights
Not interested in trying to cover 100% of your gray? Then try a subtle gray blending lowlight like this. Choosing a cooler-toned ash brown works well with gray blending since it pairs well with the cooler tones of the gray left alongside the lowlights. This is a great color option to help you ease into the gray color without going all the way.
9. Espresso and Light Golden Brown Balayage
Naturally dark hair color can really benefit from some balayage brightness when you’re covering up grays. Apply a deep espresso brown color to the root and midshaft for depth and extra concealing power. Light golden brown color balayage warms up the color a bit and makes it totally unique!
10. White Platinum All-Over Color
A true white platinum blonde is a no-fail way to hide grays and can be a really flattering shade for cooler-toned skin. If your gray strands are on the lighter end of the spectrum, lifting your hair to the lightest blonde (level 10+) and toning with violet or rosy color will give you a gorgeous, no-gray result.
Tips and Things to Consider
Knowing and seeing the best hair color for gray hair options out there is just the beginning. Check out these helpful tips and things to consider to get the best results from your gray-busting color!
- Permanent color is best for gray coverage. Make sure you’re choosing permanent hair color to get complete gray coverage. Demi-permanent and semi-permanent colors don’t penetrate the hair shaft like permanent color, so they won’t do a good job covering gray and wash out after a few shampoos. Check out our guide next to find the best color: Finding the Best Professional Hair Color to Cover Gray Hair.
- Bleaching gray hair works well for light gray. If your gray color is light, you can make things easier by choosing blonde colors to cover it up. Pick cool blonde tones if you’re highlighting and leaving some of your gray showing (gray blending) or if you have cool undertones. Choose warm blonde tones if you have warm undertones and plan to fully cover your gray all-over.
- Dying gray hair a darker shade works best for dark gray. If your gray color is more of a smoky or sooty tone, it’ll be easier for you to dye it darker all-over than lift the gray color with bleach. Choose shades deeper than your current gray tone in the red or brunette color families for a simple, one-step process that can fully cover even stubborn dark grays.
- Highlights/lowlights help blend gray and look more natural. Whether you’re choosing to go with an all-over permanent color for 100% gray coverage or just want to blend your gray out a bit, highlights and lowlights are key for natural results. Work in lighter and darker shades of your base color (typically 2 shades lighter/darker) or shades with similar undertones (like gold or red) to add dimension that looks amazing with your new color.
- Schedule touch ups every 4-6 weeks. Keeping gray at bay means scheduling regular appointments for root touch ups and toning (if needed). You typically need a root touch up every 4-6 weeks with permanent hair color and highlights, though it can be more or less often depending on your hair type and health.
There’s no single best hair color for gray hair – it’s more about finding the shades that are able to cover up gray without letting it show through. Cool blonde, fiery red, and warm brown shades are best at this and can even cover the most stubborn, dye-resistant grays when you use permanent color.
From silvery platinum blonde that mirrors the metallic tones in gray without the smokiness to rich auburn and golden browns, you’ll find that there’s a color you’ll absolutely love on this list.
And not just for the amazing gray coverage, either! These flattering shades will brighten and highlight your complexion, make you look and feel younger.
But the best part? Once you find your personal best hair color for gray hair, it’ll be able to hide your silver little secret as long as you want. Just don’t forget your root touch ups!