4 Easy Steps to Covering Gray Hair

Follow these simple tips to conceal unwanted platinum strands

Struggling to keep up with your ever-multiplying gray strands? Although constantly covering up can feel like a full-time job, the pros agree, it's worth the effort. "No matter how gorgeous your gray hair is, it makes you look old," says Jason Backe, celebrity colorist and co-owner of the Ted Gibson salon in New York City. "By coloring your grays you instantly add a freshness to your look that will boost your self-image and bolster your self-esteem," promises Backe. Sharon Dorram, celebrity colorist at Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger salon in New York City, concurs, saying that camouflaging white tresses gives you a "sense of confidence similar to getting Botox or having your makeup professionally done."

If visions of bi-weekly trips to the salon for constant upkeep are running through your head, think again. Even pros, who make their living off coloring hair, are huge proponents of covering your grays at home. "A DIY kit is perfect for the woman who doesn't have time for the salon, has a sense of adventure about her hair color or who is on a budget," says Backe. And, with these expert tips, your hair's guaranteed to look just as fabulous leaving your house as it would the salon.

1. Make A Plan
Light-haired ladies with minimal graying have it the easiest. To blend the grays in with the rest of the hair and make them less noticeable, "I opt for delicate highlights with emphasis around the crown and hairline," Dorram says. But, "for you brunettes out there, your best bet is to cover them up with a single-process color all over everything," advises Backe.

2. Pick Your Potency
If your grays are just coming in and they cover less than 10 percent of your hair, go for a demi-permanent color. These non-permanent dyes wash out after about 25 shampoos. If your grays are more prevalent, it's time to step it up to a permanent dye in order to get 100 percent coverage. "Always choose a color slightly lighter than your natural color," Dorram says. "If you choose a color too dark, it cannot be re-colored."

3. Color Like A Pro
Fancy yourself an artist? Now is not the time to let your creative juices flow. "Follow the manufacturer's directions. They have literally done thousands of trials to guarantee your best result," Backe says. Make sure to have all your tools together before you start mixing. Rubbing petroleum jelly along the hairline will help protect your skin from being stained. Have a hand mirror within reach so you can be sure the back of your head has been properly saturated. Lastly, set the timer. "You don't want to over process or under process the hair," says Backe.

4. Keep It Up
How often you touch up your hair is really up to you. "It can vary between every three to 12 weeks depending on the individual and their amount of gray hair," says Dorram. "The real rule," Backe explains, "is color it as soon as it bugs you!"

• 5 ways to cover grays
• Hair anti-agers
• Food for good hair

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