This is How to Cover Grey Hair with Highlights
When clients start to see grey hair coming through, they typically choose one of three options: enhancing the silver, leaving it be or opting to cover grey roots. If they’re in the latter group and they want a natural look, you can actually use highlights to blend their grey hair, sweeping brighter ribbons through locks to disguise those silvery strays. The result? A dreamy, seamless finish for salt and pepper strands; a multi-tonal effect that flatters everyone, from blondes to redheads to brunettes. Here’s how...
Can Grey Hair Be Highlighted?
Yes, grey hair can be highlighted. Just keep in mind that, when you’re highlighting grey locks, the goal is to blend silver strays and create an ultra-natural finish. This can sometimes mean you’re not applying lightener directly onto every grey hair, but lightening the strands around them instead, which can help silver pieces appear imperceptible.
So, what are the benefits? First up, it means that clients who love highlights but want to blend grey hair can get coverage, all without losing that lust-worthy, light-reflective glow. Blending grey hair with highlights can also look more natural and youthful than a one-shade process, and make locks appear thicker. Put simply, the benefits are limitless.
Is it Better to Highlight or Colour Grey Hair?
The answer to this depends on the kind of coverage and finish your client wants. Are they going for a block-out-every-white-hair effect or do they hope to seamlessly blend greys away? Here’s how to know when you should be reaching for the foils…
Colour grey hairs if... your client wants a root shadow that touches every grey, or they simply prefer wearing the same rich, lustrous shade all through their hair. Not everyone wants highlights, so the other option is to cover grey hair using a demi-permanent, semi-permanent or permanent formula. This will allow them to camouflage salt and pepper strands, while creating a uniform finish.
Highlight grey hairs if... your client has highlighted hair they hope to maintain, or they’re keen to try highlights for the first time in a bid to make silver strays less noticeable. Those who want complete coverage and highlights might find a double process is best. That means root shadow first, followed by a scattering of multi-tonal ‘lights.
How Do You Blend Grey Hair with Highlights?
These days, there are seemingly endless ways to apply highlights. From balayage to babylights, we’ve got plenty of techniques at our disposal – each one offering its own, uniquely flattering effect. And, while not every process is perfectly suited to disguising grey hair, many can be adapted to meet your client’s desired effect. Here are four to try...
1. Traditional Highlights for Grey Hair
Traditional but never boring; classic highlights are applied from root to tip in an even pattern, then processed in foils to achieve a bright, luminous lift. Because they usually start at the root, they allow you to break up grey regrowth with a few lighter pieces, while giving the hair movement and dimension. If you’re working with blonde highlights, look to cooler tones, like ash or icy blonde. This way, they’ll be closer in tone to those natural silver, white and grey strands.
2. Balayage for Grey Hair
It’s a myth that balayage should only be swept through the mid-lengths and ends of hair. In fact, a few strokes starting at the roots can create a youthful, sun-kissed glow. Try placing some brighter pieces through the parting or temples with Blondor Freelights. It’s the go-to trick for clients with a low volume of grey hair that they want to lightly blend.
3. Lowlights for Grey Hair
Like highlights, lowlights can also be used to disguise grey hair. In fact, they’re perfect for covering gray on brown or red hair for those clients who worry blonde ‘lights will look unnatural. Tactically place them over grey strands to add richness and depth, using a demi-permanent colour like Color Touch or – for complete coverage – try permanent Koleston Perfect.
4. Babylights for Grey Hair
Micro-fine highlights – aka babylights – are ideal for clients hoping to veil over a low volume of wispy greys. They mimic the sun-dappled, natural highlights you used to get on childhood vacations, and are just delicate enough to blend small, silver strands away. For coverage on heavier regrowth, you can also paint the babylights back-to-back, like @vivid.af did (below), so there’s almost no gap between each ribbon.
More Tips to Disguise Grey Hair with Highlights
For more tips on highlights to blend grey hair, watch these videos – notebook and pen at the ready…
Watch: How to Blend Grey Hair with Highlights
Watch: Quick Tips on Grey Coverage with Koleston Perfect
Colouring Grey Hair with Highlights: The After-Care
Like all coloured hair, highlighted greys need nourishing after-care. Ensure clients know exactly how to keep their ‘lights looking luminous when they leave the salon…
1. Shake Up Shampoo
Remind clients that not just any shampoo will do on highlighted hair. One that’s tailored to coloured locks will keep ‘lights looking radiant for longer. Try Try ColorMotion+ Color Protection Shampoo, which is specially formulated with antioxidants to protect against dulling free radicals.
2. Try Deeper Treatments
As we get older, our scalp produces less oil, which is why gray locks can sometimes feel coarse in texture. Clients who find their hair drier than usual should consider swapping their traditional conditioner for a mask. We love the ColorMotion+ Structure+ Mask for just-highlighted hair.
3. Turn Down the Heat
As we all know, heat styling can make hair colour fade a little faster. However, not every client is ready to hang up their hair dryer or curling iron. In that case, suggest they use heat protection to safeguard strands as they style. EIMI Thermal Image is a lightweight mist that can be spritzed from root to tip through just-washed hair. Easy.