Everything You Need To Know About Covering Grey Hair

Grey Coverage THUMB

Whether you’re trying to conceal a few pesky silver strands or need to hide a more significant amount of gray hair, it’s important to understand exactly what type of haircolor techniques are best for dealing with your grays. Thankfully, we've tapped our Artists and Educators to help you take care of your grays. As Redken Artist George Garcia explains, when hair stops producing color and turns gray, the outer layers of the hair known as the cuticle also start to get thicker. This can make the hairs more resistant to absorbing dye, making gray coverage potentially more challenging than other color processes. 

Thankfully, Redken has got you (and your grays) covered. From classic permanent coverage to the our new Express Root Touch Up service, read on for everything you need to know about achieving the perfect gray coverage.

What Is The Best Way To Cover Gray Hair?

To boil it down, there are essentially two different types of color your colorist will use to cover gray hair—demi-permanent or permanent. Demi-permanent haircolor options, like Redken’s Shades EQ Gloss, 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 benefit to taking this route is less maintenance. With demi-permanent haircolor, the grow-out process is much less noticeable, and you’ll be able to go longer in between salon appointments.


What is Permanent Hair Color?

On the other side of the spectrum is permanent color, which completely covers gray hair, delivering a more solid and uniform result. To make clear, Gribbin offers an 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. For pesky grays especially, permanent color is a must!

So, Why is Permanent Color the Best Way to Cover Gray Hair?

5N and toned with SEQ 06N  07N
Jasmine Chang

“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 coverage goal, talk to your colorist about Redken’s Color Gels Lacquers permanent haircolor. This low-ammonia formula packs exceptional gray coverage, resulting in maximum coverage and high shine results, no matter what percentage of gray you have in your hair. You can learn more about the benefits of Color Gels Lacquers here.

Remind Me: What is a Single Process Hair Color Application?

Gray coverage with permanent color often requires a single process haircolor service. Not sure what that is? With a single process service, 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 trips to the salon because those new grays will be more noticeable once they start to appear, the benefit is that those single process coloring appointments to cover your grays will be short and sweet.

Tight on Time? Introducing the Express Root Touch Up Service

Feeling like you have no time to get your roots covered? Now you do. Thanks to Redken's latest innovation in our Color Gels Lacquers line, Color Gels Lacquers 10 Minute allows your colorist to cover your roots with the same permanent results in a fraction of the time With the Express Root Touch Up Service, your color processes in only 10 minutes, allowing you to get in and out of the salon faster than ever before.

Up to 100% gray coverage in the time you typically get a manicure, Express Root Touch Up provides professional results without hours at the salon. See a few Express Root Touch Up results below from Redken Artist Lindsey Olson.

1 Before After 5NN
2 Before After 7N


Whether you're looking for classic gray coverage or want to try the new Express Root Touch Up service, visit your local Redken Salonor book an appointment at an Ulta near you.