Dyeing gray hair: Long live granny hair

Gray hair is her statement look: Sarah Harris, senior fashion editor at British Vogue

Photo: Getty Images | Edward Berthelot

Blonde, brunette or red? Boring! Gray is the new trend hair color that now adorns the heads of numerous fashionistas. We reveal what you have to consider when dying your hair gray and which shades of gray are particularly popular.

Ideally, you should let a professional do it, because dying hair gray is not that easy. The perfect gray can only be achieved on evenly bleached hair, and the shade should also be matched to the skin type so that the complexion does not appear sallow and granny hair does not actually make its wearer look old.

If you have dark hair, you can’t avoid bleaching it. It provides an optimal basis, especially for light gray nuances. The best result is achieved with hair dyed platinum blonde, as there are no longer any pigments. The roughened hair structure ensures that the gray color pigments are then better absorbed.

This is how hair coloring works at the hairdresser:

Bleaching removes all color pigments from the hair. In the second step, the hair is often bleached a second time or a color is added to the hair to remove the yellow tinge after bleaching. The darker the hair color, the more often bleaching has to be done to really remove the last yellow tinge from the hair. Only in the last step does the gray color get into the hair. The procedure puts a lot of strain on the hair and anyone who suffers from hair breakage or split ends should think twice about the treatment – it is best to seek advice from a professional. Many experts advise against it, especially if you have very dark hair.

Tip: Definitely book an Olaplex treatment to protect the hair!

Only those who are already light blonde should lend a hand. Then there are the following ways to dye the hair gray:


Probably the simplest option is a tint, which goes away again after a few washes. If you are not yet sure about the shade, you can try out different hair colors first.

Step 1: You first need a tint and an oxide, which are mixed in a ratio of 1 to 2 (e.g. 50 ml tint with 100 ml oxide) to form a creamy mass.

Step 2: Spread the tint on wet, previously washed hair – for an even result you should get a helping hand. Separate hair into strands and brush in for an intense shade of grey.

Step 3: Leave tint on for at least 20 minutes, longer for stronger color intensity.

Step 4: Rinse and care. Use silver shampoo regularly and do not wash your hair too often, otherwise the color will wash out again very quickly!


The hair becomes permanently gray with a coloring that is now commercially available in numerous shades. You should pay attention to this:

  • Use the coloring brush to apply the color

  • Hair clips and combs allow individual strands to be separated and fixed

  • be sure to use an old towel to protect clothing

  • Adhere to the exposure time exactly to avoid color accidents

  • Use gloves – Vaseline prevents discoloration of the skin

Proper care is the be-all and end-all to ensure that the color lasts and stays shiny.

  • Gray colored hair can get a yellow tinge after a while, so you should use special silver shampoos to extend the durability.

  • Lightening is tough on hair and dries it out – make sure to use hair masks regularly to keep hair moisturized and prevent breakage. Here, too, there are corresponding products with a silver content, which also contribute to the lengthening of the gray tone.

  • Trim hair regularly to avoid split ends and hair breakage.

Unfortunately, the silver hair look does not last very long, even with perfect care – for a well-groomed look you have to touch up after four to eight weeks!

Skin type is key when it comes to finding the right shade of gray. Especially light shades of gray suit women with very light skin with a bluish to violet undertone. Light eye colors, such as blue or gray, also come into their own with gray hair and appear even more radiant. With darker, bronze-colored skin types, very light gray tones can appear unnatural and artificial. Then it’s better to go for a darker silver gray or just bring highlights and effects to the hair.

Especially popular: Gray Ombré Hair, where only the tips of the hair are dipped in gray. The natural color tone can be retained in the upper area. This is a welcome option, especially for women with darker hair who don’t want to stress their hair too much with repeated bleaching.

In addition to the possibility of refining the natural hair color with gray hair tips, you can also set colorful accents in completely gray hair – hair tips in light violet or blue tones are particularly popular!

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