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How to cover grey roots at home?

Wondering how to cover stubborn grey hair and touch up your hair colour? Garnier have the tips and tricks you need to avoid becoming a silver bombshell too soon.

The most common question any hair colourist is asked is, "Can you get rid of my grey?" followed swiftly by, "And how will I keep it that way?" Some women can carry off grey hair; in fact, there's nothing more striking than a super-chic, perfectly coiffed shock of silver – but for most of us, those first few grey hairs are a horror show.

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Although, it's almost inevitable; whether it happens in your 20s, 30s or 40s, the appearance of grey hair is one of those facts of life, an irreversible sign of ageing that can make you look older than you feel as soon as you look in the mirror. But you don't have to put up with it (you really don't). More and more women are getting grey hair coverage using permanent hair dye at home and creating natural looks that better suit their stylish, youthful selves.

In this comprehensive guide on how to cover grey hair you will discover:

  • Why do we get grey hair
  • Covering your hair with permanent hair dye at home
  • 5 top tips for anyone going grey

Although going grey is inevitable fact of life, you can naturally cover your greying hair by choosing the correct home hair dye shade for your complexion.

Choosing the correct dye for your complexion is essential for natural looking grey hair coverage.

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Why do we get grey hair?

Well, in truth, there’s a number of reasons why those annoying little grey hairs show themselves. So, let’s take a look at the main ones:

Age, my dear, age and genetics 
Your mother was right; it does come to us all eventually. Grey hair is hair that no longer contains any pigment and as your body slows with age, so does your melanin production. Melanin is the pigment – a complex polymer, to be precise – that gives your hair its colour. And the rate at which you go grey naturally is genetic. So, don't cry in front of the mirror, blame your parents (or grandparents).

Medical and health-related causes
Unfortunately, there are a variety of health issues that studies have shown to affect the colour of your hair, from IBS and anaemia to thyroid complications and chronic conditions like vitiligo. In cases like this, it’s important to consult a medical professional and follow a treatment plan to lessen the effects on your body (and hair).

Poor diet and nutrient deficiency
Now, we’re all guilty of not eating enough fruit and veg (again, mother was right), but if your body is deficient in key nutrients like vitamin B12, iron and copper the imbalance will show itself in your hair and skin.

Put down the styling tools and avoid chemicals
Our favourite go-to straighteners and curling irons might be ideal for a special night, but the overuse of heat and chemical treatments, like perms or relaxers, will weaken hair fibres and could damage your scalp in the long-term – not the ideal conditions for a rich and vibrant head of hair.

Take a breath because one of the best ways to ease the greying process is by cutting out any unnecessary stress from your day. Extended periods of stress and exhaustion take a toll on your body and lower your vitamin B levels, which is linked to going grey. Plus, pulling your hair out on a regular basis isn’t going to help matters. Just stay calm.

Okay, but how does a lady go about camouflaging it with some full grey hair coverage?

Covering your hair with permanent hair dye

If you have only a few grey hairs, colouring hair at home is easy and economical, but bear in mind that grey hair is the hardest to cover it is not like adding a few highlights to your existing hair, so you'll need a home hair dye that is permanent (permanent doesn't mean forever, though – this is not a dyed and gone to heaven scenario; you have to keep working at it!).

Which shade do I choose?
Whenever you pick a home hair dye consider your skin colour and your natural hair colour – not the grey bits, obviously! It's also worth bearing in mind your eye colour and the kind of clothes you wear, but a rule of thumb is to avoid a drastic change from your original natural shade; choose colours that are only a shade or two lighter or darker, so that when your roots grow through they will be less visible.

Expert colourists recommend a darker shade of dye for your roots and a lighter shade, that matches more or less your natural hair colour, for the rest of your hair. Start by applying the darker dye to the roots up until an inch or so down. Then, use the lighter shade for the rest of your hair.

The best hair dye for grey hair if you have blonde hair
The great news is that your stubborn greys are very easy to cover as the colour is not too far removed from the grey. Think of Helen Mirren; is she grey or is she blonde? Who cares? She always looks amazing. Generally, natural blondes with a complexion of warm, pinky tones are best opting for a honey blonde colour, while those with cooler, yellowy skin tones are more suited to icy-blondes with blue undertones.

The best hair dye for grey hair if you're brunette
You won't be surprised to hear that you should be covering the grey with brown dye, but the best hair dye for grey hair here is a medium-light shade, even if you are naturally very dark, as this will complement your naturally paling skin.

Yes, that's right; skin ages too and it tends to become paler. So, whilst you can cover up grey hair with any colour, if you want it to look natural you do need to take your ageing complexion into consideration. As your skin becomes paler, a dark hair colour, or something dramatic like a fiery red, can look too harsh and might age you further, whereas a more forgiving shade with hints of chocolate, or light balayage highlights will keep your face illuminated and youthful looking for longer.

Using permanent colour at home
First, mix your ingredients, put on your gloves and apply the mix onto your hair using the applicator, making sure to cover from root to tip. Leave it in for the recommended time stated on the packaging. Rinse and follow with the accompanying conditioner.

A lot of the time, people underestimate the amount of hair dye needed to fully cover those greys the first-time round, so if your hair is thick and long grab an extra box. And, most importantly, you must always remember to do an allergy patch test 48 hours before dyeing your hair.

5 Top Tips for Anyone going Grey

1. Think Positive
Grey can be gorgeous; living with grey – accepting it rather than denying it – requires a change in mindset. Learn to love what Mother Nature is doing to you and due to its different texture and lack of colour, grey hair can become a very attractive feature. If you add the right hair colour, your 'grey' hair will act as highlights, giving you a completely new look that will get you noticed for all the right reasons.


2. Dark to Light
Professional colourists usually recommend a darker shade for your roots and a lighter shade that matches your natural hair for the rest. Start by applying the darker dye to the roots (about an inch or so down) and then use the lighter shade for the rest of your hair.


3. Keep it Conditioned
Grey is one thing; wiry, brittle hair and split ends are another. Whenever you use at home hair colour, you have to work even harder to keep your hair looking vibrant and healthy. That means conditioning, and nourishment; intense conditioning treatments are a must. A healthy, balanced diet and moderated lifestyle won't do your hair any harm either, and go easy on those heated styling tools too.

4. Watch What You Eat
As we said, before maintaining a balanced diet is key to slowing the greying process. Make sure your diet consists of plenty of foods high in vitamin B12, which means eggs, cheeses, milk, seafood, poultry and broccoli. Who knew fighting back the greys could be so tasty?


5. White is Hot
As mentioned above, some women look incredibly elegant with completely grey hair and are liberated by releasing the silver vixen inside of them. The full-on grey mane is a growing trend, so if you've got it, and you love it, why not embrace it? It still needs work though; you can't just let it run wild and free all the time. Regular use of an enhancing treatment, such as Garnier Perfect Silver Pearly White at home permanent hair dye, will help to neutralise any undesirable yellow tones and illuminate the natural white or grey. The Formula is enriched with camellia oil and keeps your hair soft and supple.

And there you have it. The inside knowledge on how to handle grey hair (with the best at home hair colour, which happens to be from Garnier - coincidence? We think not).

Interested in knowing what your favourite shade will look like on you? Don’t forget to use our Virtual Try-On feature to see what shade best suits you. 

Hair Colour 101: Top-Tips and How-To Advice

For more useful hair colour tips and how to advice please visit our Hair Colour 101 page

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