Going gray is chic as hell, but it’s also optional. If you’re looking for the best hair colors to cover gray for brunettes, you’ll likely find that gray hair is harder to cover — especially when opting for darker or richer shades — because color can’t penetrate gray hair as easily. There is no single ingredient to look for in a hair color that will ensure better gray coverage — while the best way to cover stubborn grays is to leave the color on longer, leaving the dye on for too long can cause damage. With that in mind, some dyes aim to minimize damage and nourish your hair. As you shop, don’t forget to consider your personal preferences and whether you’re looking for a permanent, semi-permanent, or temporary solution and a touch-up or full-head refresh.
Emaly Baum is a New York City-based celebrity hair colorist and has worked with stars like Scarlett Johansson, Margaret Qualley, and Hunter Schafer. She is also the founder of the Beauty Supply Salon, a hair salon that offers cuts, colors, and other hair services in New York City.
Semi-Permanent Vs. Permanent Hair Dyes For At-Home Use
When considering semi-permanent dyes versus permanent ones, celebrity hair colorist Emaly Baumwrote in an email to Bustle: “It’s definitely important to know which strength of hair color is best for you.” According to Baum, “If you’re looking to just add some shine to your hair or to change the tone, I’d recommend a semi-permanent dye.” She explains, “This is usually a more low-stakes option,” especially since it “washes out over time.” Semi-permanent dyes are one way to blend gray hair but they might not offer the best coverage for grays — Baum suggests, “If you’re looking for opaque coverage, permanent is the way to go.”
Temporary Hair Color To Cover Grays
While Baum isn’t always keen on recommending at-home hair color, she does suggest a temporary option: “If a client isn’t able to make it to the salon and they have an event, I’ll always recommend Christophe Robin’s gel colorant.” Baum describes it as “a great product to use if you need to camouflage your grays.” And as a bonus, “It comes in a few different brunette color variations and isn’t permanent.”
Alternatively, you can also consider minimizing damage by choosing a temporary root touch-up product. This will give you a targeted approach, which may be less daunting to tackle at home and save you from repeatedly dying your full head of hair — some temporary options can easily wash out in the shower if you aren’t keen on the overall effect.
Expert Tips For Using An At-Home Hair Dye
When selecting your ideal shade of brunette, Baum warns: “What’s on the box isn’t always what you’re gonna get. There are many factors that come into play when your colorist is mixing up your formula. Unfortunately, at-home hair color doesn’t take those factors into consideration.”In general, though, she recommends you“go lighter than you think.” She also suggests recruiting someone to assist you with the task. Baum explains, “Having a friend help you apply your at-home hair color ensures you have an even color throughout.”
Another thing Baum mentions is that “at-home hair colors often have a million ingredients in them.” For this reason, she recommends a patch test to see if you have any allergic reactions to the ingredients. You should also proceed with caution if you get your hair colored at the salon, as at-home hair color “often doesn’t mix well with professional hair color and can cause intense chemical reactions,” according to Baum. Plus, if you want to eventually transition back to salon color, she writes, “it can be a lengthy and expensive process.”
Shop The Best Hair Colors To Cover Gray For Brunettes
At the end of the day, you have to pick an at-home hair dye that works best for you. Check out these great dyes, starting with permanent solutions and moving to more temporary options, to find your perfect match.