Becoming gray can be an enjoyable and enriching journey. Yet, some prefer to camouflage their natural gray strands with dye to hide unsightly lines between existing dyed locks and natural new growth. No matter your path, a skilled stylist can help you blend your grays for an exquisite finish. To guide our readers in selecting highlights that work well on gray hair, we consulted two colorists and asked for advice.
Cool-toned highlights should be preferred for the best results when it comes to highlighting gray hair. This helps the silver strands blend in more easily with the base color, making them less noticeable. Furthermore, high-quality products tailored for colored hair will extend their durability.
Foil and balayage (hand-painted highlights) are excellent techniques for blending gray hair. Both methods allow your stylist to add ribbons of lighter color directly onto the base for an inviting, sun-kissed appearance. If you’re a blonde, ask your stylist to use a white-blonde shade for optimal results. This allows your natural gray strands to return without bleaching the entire head–an option that’s much healthier for both hair and skin! Plus, it gives more time between root touch-up appointments! You could even ask your colorist to add darker lowlights for an effortless transition and easier identification of new roots as they sprout.
For those wanting a subtle blend of gray hair, balayage may be the way to go. This technique involves hand-painting ribbons of lighter color throughout their locks for an organic effect that mimics sunlight. Highlights may also work but areare more noticeable and require additional maintenance.
Cool-toned balayages work beautifully when blended into light gray hair to create a modern and fresh aesthetic. Pale blonde and ash colors work best, since their tones match gray locks. Balayage color can be more forgiving of gradual fade-out than single-process color; however, you will still need to visit a salon every three to six months for touch-ups. Use gentle shampoos without sulfates and conditioners with purple tones to maintain bright highlights. Sarchet advises applying base color before painting on painted balayage as this can result in harsh lines of demarcation or overlap between demarcated sections of hair and painted areas of balayage. She further suggests getting your glaze or toner refreshed every four to five weeks for optimal results.