How to Transition to Gray With Ease

Deciding to go gray can be tough if you’ve been coloring your hair with permanent hair color for years. So to make it easy, our colorists laid out a few of their tricks to help you go gray simply and in style.


If you’re thinking about going gray, you’re not alone. A lot of women want to go gray and let nature take over, but it’s not always as easy as it sounds. With your favorite female celebs showing off their gray-laden styles, going gray is getting sexier by the minute. But it’s tough to just stop dying your hair with permanent color––we totally get it. That line of demarcation where your new growth and your previously dyed hair meet is an all-too-real thing. So how do you go gray seamlessly and without stressing over the grow-out?

In this article, our colorists share their top tips for transitioning to gray with frequent haircuts, switching to demi-permanent hair color, adding balayage highlights, and a combination of balayage and demi. Then, once you’re ready to go gray, we’ll show you how to keep the brass at bay.

TRY DEMI-PERMANENT HAIR COLOR

Demi-permanent hair color is great for anyone who wants to keep coloring their hair since it starts fading after about 28 washes without demarcation lines. Demi doesn’t cover grays as well as permanent hair color as it can only blend grays, giving the hair a slightly highlighted look. Using a demi-permanent color to touch up your roots can also camouflage the line of demarcation from previous permanent color applications as your hair grows. This is an easy and seamless way to transition to gray if you don’t mind your hair looking slightly highlighted. Once your hair has grown out and you’ve applied demi a few times, consider trimming away the ends until you’re at the length you want to go full-on gray.

GET A HAIRCUT

If you’ve had permanent hair color (to cover your grays), you’ll need regular haircuts to remove the dyed hair slowly. There’s no real quick fix to remove permanent hair color other than to grow it out and cut it. For folks who have shorter hair, the transition to gray is a lot faster than if you have a longer hairstyle. As an option, growing out your hair for at least 2-3 months and cutting off the dyed parts can give you a fun pixie cut. Not into pixies? No worries, since the style of your cut depends on how quickly you want to transition to gray and what your comfort level is. So think about the look you want and ask your stylist about a schedule for cuts. If you’re not ready to make the cut, there are other options (psst… keep reading).

Glenn Close and Jamie Lee Curtis have gorgeous, light and bright gray hair colors, shown here in pixie cuts.

ADD HIGHLIGHTS WITH LIGHT SET

To help break up the demarcation lines you get from permanent hair color, have your stylist add highlights or add them at home yourself with Light Set. Highlights can blend in with grays and make the grow-out phase a little easier on you, plus highlights reflect light and softens your complexion––double win. You’ll love this option if you have a salt and pepper finish with gray that already threads through your hair. After a few applications, your regrowth will be less and less noticeable. Making these small changes with the subtle placement of highlights can help you go gray seamlessly, and can be even easier if you have lighter hair to start. The great thing about highlights is that you only need a few applications throughout the year and they’re so easy to do at home. If your color is on the darker side and you like the idea of trying demi-permanent hair color, this next tip is for you.

TRY THE COMBINATION METHOD

Another way to slowly go gray without a sudden jump from permanent hair color is by adding in highlights and then following up with demi-permanent hair color. You’ll want to break up demarcation lines by adding in balayage highlights that start two inches below your roots. Then you want to focus on lightening up your roots with a slightly lighter shade, so the transition from your previous color is less and less noticeable. This transition from permanent to demi will give you a beautiful reverse ombre shade that you can continue to lighten to get you closer to your natural gray. This combination is great for any hair color and anyone who likes the idea of gradually lightening without bleaching. Demi-permanent is also kinder to your hair over time, which can help you maintain healthy hair well after you’ve decided to stop applying color.

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MAINTAIN AFTER YOU GO GRAY

Once you’ve decided to forgo coloring and highlights, you’ll want to keep your grays bright and beautiful. While that may sound like a given, exposure to the sun can cause your grays to oxidize, giving it a brassy-yellow finish. To counteract the brass, we recommend you cycle in a balancing product like our Tint Rinse in Blonde Neutralizer or a weekly toning mask. In addition to occasional brassiness, gray hair is a little drier than pigmented hair, so you’re going to need to use a richer conditioner. Using a deep-conditioning mask will help keep your hair moisturized and healthy for years to come. Gray hair is glorious, and you can keep it beautiful by making small, simple changes to your hair-care regimen. Before you know it, you’ll be a silver vixen in no time. Go you!

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We’re here to help you take on this journey of transitioning to gray hair with confidence. If you have questions or need other hair color and care tips, just give us a call at (866) 550-2424 or join the conversation on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. You can also try our custom hair color for 50% off here.