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How to Dye Hair Silver at Home | Step-by-Step Guide

Gray and silver hair became popular in the 2010s and is here to stay for a while. The style, lovingly nicknamed “the granny look,” has taken over social media, with women and men of all ages rocking the trend. With that in mind, let’s look at how to dye hair silver at home so you can achieve this fun look.

Disclaimer: This is a big undertaking. We highly suggest visiting a professional hairstylist who will color your hair without damaging it.

How Do You Dye Hair Silver at Home?

Committing to silver or gray hair requires massive upkeep, as the toner that turns your hair a lighter shade is prone to falling or washing out after repetitive shampooing. Be prepared to constantly tone your blonde locks to achieve this look.

Main Takeaways:
  1. Assess the Level of Your Hair
  2. Gather the Required Tools and Bleach Your Hair
  3. Apply Toner to Your Hair
  4. Add Gray or Silver Dye to Your Hair

Another thing to keep in mind is how silver hair will look on your skin tone. Olive tones and lighter skin tend to look best with most shades of medium to dark gray, while warmer, deeper hues can achieve a stunning look with light, softer grays.

A suitable trial method is to buy a wig, or if you’re short on time and money, try on some silver jewelry to see how it complements your complexion. Bring in a friend or family member to give an outsider perspective and feedback to see if it’s something you can pull off.

If you prefer to jump in head first, so to speak, go on and try it out anyway! Hair color is a form of self-expression, so no matter what other people’s opinions are if you are still interested in finding out how to dye your hair silver at home, follow the steps below.

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How to Dye Hair Silver in 4 Steps

Getting that granny look can be an arduous process, but with the following steps, you’ll be looking like a silver fox in no time!

1. Assess the Level of Your Hair

Depending on the level of darkness your hair is currently in, the bleaching process is the first step in getting your hair to gray or silver. This process can take anywhere from a day to a few weeks, depending on how dark your hair is already.

If you have naturally light hair, you may only need to bleach your hair once or twice to achieve a super light base. However, if you have brunette, red, or black hair, be prepared to spend the next several weeks lightening the strands.

Hair is very fragile, and you don’t want to damage it, especially if you want it to look healthy and vibrant. A few things you can do to help keep strands healthy include:

  • Apply a conditioning treatment after each bleach session
  • Avoid heat afterward, including hair dryers and other heat styling tools
  • Let your hair rest for a few days in between bleaching sessions
  • Keep your hair out of direct sunlight to avoid damaging rays

Read Next: The 10 Stages of Hair Bleaching, Explained

2. Gather the Required Tools and Bleach Your Hair

When you are ready to bleach your hair, gather the required materials. This often includes a towel or covering to prevent the bleach from staining your clothes, hair clips, a glass or plastic bowl, an application brush, bleach powder, and a developer.

Some people also like to use petroleum jelly to apply around their hairline to protect the skin from bleach, although this is not necessary.

Following the package instructions on the bleach powder and developer, mix the two in the bowl to form a paste. Section your hair if need be and apply this concoction to your hair section by section.

Bleach on the roots will develop quickly, so make sure to add bleach to that portion of your hair last. Instead, focus on the middle to the ends of your hair first. Give the bleach some time to process, again following the package directions.

Keep checking in the mirror at ten-minute intervals to see the process, and ensure you don’t lighten too much. Otherwise, the bleach will overprocess and damage the hair. After a set amount of time, wash the bleach out of your hair.

3. Apply Toner to Your Hair

Once the bleach has been fully rinsed out of your hair, you can now apply the toner. Toners are used to remove yellow undertones from the hair, but they can also be used to add a specific “tone” or color to your hair.

Some toners add a blue or silvery hue and can be added in place of a gray dye if you want a more subtle gray or silver color. Note that toners often fade much more quickly than regular hair dyes, and you may be required to touch up or add toners to your hair more often.

If your hair has come out of the bleaching process with minimal brassiness, you can skip to adding the silver or gray dye, as this will most likely cover most of the yellow tones. However, toning can have other added benefits, such as:

  • Undercutting brassiness or other unwanted colors from the hair
  • Adding a glossy shine to hair
  • Maintaining softness of hair

4. Add Gray or Silver Dye to Your Hair

Follow the instructions on the hair dye you have chosen, applying it from root to tip. You can section your hair off like you did when you bleached, but this time, it doesn’t particularly matter if you start at the midsection of hair or the root.

After all, the goal is for the dye to deposit color into the bleached hair. Afterward, make sure to rinse out your hair with lukewarm or cool water.

This step will allow more of the dye to stick in your hair, as warm and hot water will cause the shaft of the hair follicle to open more and release the dye. This is not what you want! Follow it up with a super conditioning hair treatment and let it dry naturally and without any heat.

Frequently Asked Questions

For a piece on how to get silver hair at home, a woman with short curly hair pulls a curl

Alena Ozerova/Shutterstock

Here are some frequently asked questions on how to dye your hair silver at home.

What level of blonde should my hair be to dye it silver?

For a perfect shade of silver, you will want your hair to be lightened to level 10, meaning near platinum blonde. If you want a more natural shade of medium to dark gray, you don’t need to lighten the hair much. Just be sure to tone the yellow and brassy undertones out of the hair after bleaching and before applying the dye.

Does silver hair dye damage your hair?

While hair dye typically contains nourishing components that condition the hair, the process of bleaching the hair to lighten it beforehand can be damaging to the hair, especially if it is done repetitively in a short amount of time.

You run the risk of overprocessing your hair if you leave the bleach on for too long, so be sure to follow the package instructions closely and wait a few days in between bleach sessions. 

How do you stop silver hair from becoming yellow?

The best way to stop silver hair from being too yellow is to use a shampoo or toner that is blue or purple to counteract the brassy and yellow undertones. Some shampoos are specifically formulated for silver and gray hair and are available at your local beauty supply store.

Is there a way to naturally dye my hair silver without bleach?

The only natural way to have silver hair without bleaching it first is to wait until your gray hair grows out, and even then, depending on the shade of gray. You may still have to tone it to achieve silver results.

If you are worried about bleaching your hair, watch online videos and ask friends or family members who have bleached their hair before for tips and tricks.

Is silver hair difficult to maintain?

In a sense, silver hair is a bit difficult to maintain. Silver hair requires the strands to be near platinum blonde, and if you have dark roots, you’ll constantly be bleaching and toning them.

However, if you’re already used to doing your hair at home, it can be beneficial, especially if you do regular touch-ups and trimming sessions to keep your mane healthy. 

So, How Do You Dye Hair Silver at Home?

While getting silver hair can be a lengthy and tasking process, the result is well worth it, as you’ll have shiny, silvery locks that everyone wants. Bleaching can be damaging, so ensure you are letting your hair rest by waiting a few days between bleach sessions and following them up with conditioning treatments. 

Adding toners to your hair dyeing regime can help bypass brassiness and keep the silver tone you want while adding shine and gloss to your hair. Follow the instructions on the hair dye of your choice, and you’ll be turning heads with a beautiful, silver mane in no time.