How to Highlight Gray Hair

After four weeks since your last root touch-up and experiencing gray hair growth, consider this trendy solution for disguising grays: using this look’s on-trend features to disguise them.

Create a dramatic yet subtle color base using lowlights in a dark brown hue, cool ashy tones, warmer caramel, and golden tones for low lighting.


If you prefer highlights only, babylights could be an ideal solution. This technique involves lightening only thin strands in the top hair layer – perfect for covering grays without covering too much area while letting natural strands come through!

Gray blending requires regular touch-ups every three to six months for optimal results, meaning more work needs to be done between appointments than if coloring all over. A professional hair colorist knows how to give grayheads natural-looking highlights, using cooler-toned highlights that match up perfectly with their skin tone and blend seamlessly with gray strands. In addition, they use unique products designed specifically for color-treated hair – such as conditioner and shampoo designed to preserve color – to avoid dulled and faded highlights. To maintain maximum results at home, lukewarm water with color-protective shampoo/conditioners could also help keep highlights looking their best!


There’s no simple answer regarding what highlights work best to blend gray hair. Papanikolas suggests using highlights slightly lighter than their natural color to achieve an airy, subtle glow; for blondes, she says using highlights somewhat more delicate than their natural shade and adds that balayage and hair painting techniques may offer better solutions than foil highlights.

She suggests using traditional demi or permanent colors for dark brunettes for gray coverage. At the same time, neutral highlights in shades like mushroom brown or light copper can soften roots while creating a natural-looking blend of color.

No matter the technique chosen, ensure your client arrives for their appointment prepared with a deep conditioner explicitly formulated for colored hair. This will keep their grays looking radiant between salon visits while cutting back on heat styling can extend its lifespan and protect their color’s lifespan from fading. Lastly, remind them to limit exposure to sunlight, which could result in color fading.


Papanikolas recommends opting for balayage or foliage if your base color is light, such as blonde or golden brown, to add ribbons of lighter hue throughout your locks without overemphasizing grays; silver or platinum tones work best without emphasizing them, while for a more blended appearance gold and beige tones are an ideal solution.

Lee says single-process color best covers grays in darker or black hair; highlights and lowlights are great ways to add depth or dimension without making your grays too obvious.

No matter which highlighting method you choose, maintaining its health and vibrancy involves regular salon visits and using products designed for color-treated hair at home. Josh suggests purchasing root touch-up spray or powder every three to four months as part of your maintenance regimen, while using shampoo and conditioner designed specifically to treat color-treated locks can extend their lifespan significantly.


Whether just a few gray strands or a full head of silver locks, beauty industry advancements have helped seamlessly blend them into your hair color. We consulted top colorists to get their best advice for covering or highlighting gray hair, including how to keep it looking fresh between salon visits and keep roots from showing through.

Babylights, inspired by the natural-looking highlights found on children’s hair, are an effective highlighting technique designed to cover grays and give your whole head of hair an overall natural-looking glow. Working with an experienced colorist who can use this method involves delicate ribbons of lighter hues that cover gray strands for an easy grow-out process.

Foleyage and hand-painted balayage are both options to blend gray hair. Both methods use thin ribbons of light to add brightness, and your stylist may recommend using a purple-toning shampoo between treatments to maintain color retention and avoid unwanted yellow tones.