Allison Webber
Updated on March 28, 2023

We all know that time: It’s been four weeks since you left the salon for your root retouch, and those pesky wisdom highlights are already growing back in. It’s frustrating to be an every-four-week guest, especially if you’re trying to cover your gray hair. But, what if there was a look that would give you more time between appointments and won’t have a defined growth line as it grows? What if there was a way that you could blend gray hair with highlights?

What Is Dimensional Hair Color?

Dimensional hair color has been trending for ages. It was designed to give a natural look to your hair by giving it multiple tones. There are all sorts of looks created with this coloring technique. Typically put in a foil, highlights and lowlights also help blend in the natural hair color while getting a full-coverage style color. Something as simple as creatively placed foils can easily mask your gray hair and grow-out for longer than just your basic root retouch formula from the salon.

Let’s Talk Options

There are so many hair color options for everyone, but not every available option is not necessarily the right option for your hair. When it comes to gray, there’s full-coverage color and gray blending. Whether you are the person who has to have their gray covered all the time or the person who just wants less maintenance with their grays, I bet there’s an option for you in the following paragraphs. What kind of gray-coverage person are you?

Gray Coverage

If you’re someone who wants nobody to know you ever had gray, you can still regularly cover gray roots at a salon or using temporary touch-ups. Adding in highlights with your standard root color will help diffuse the hard line as your gray starts to grow in. This will make you feel like you can’t see your few silver sparklers as quickly because they will blend right in with those highlights.

Blending Gray Hair with Highlights and Lowlights

Let’s talk about the amazing perks of blending or transitioning to gray hair with highlights and lowlight. This is a lower-maintenance look than a solid color as it helps to blend your gray right in so you don’t have to be in the salon every four weeks. It looks more natural and helps your gray hairs sneak into your normal color. Most women feel more confident knowing that in three weeks they won’t see that “skunk stripe”, as my mother calls it, around the crown of your head. I always tell my clients that highlights, basically, connect to the new gray hair coming in and make it seem like the new grays are just part of the highlight, which not only masks the grays but also blends them in as they grow.

By using shades that are darker than your natural color, lowlights will darken your locks. In contrast, highlights use colors that are lighter than your natural shade, and this, in turn, makes your hair a lighter color.

Lowlights, as well as highlights, help to create a multi-tonal look that can help camouflage any unwanted colors. Having a blend of light and dark can help to distract from new gray-hair growth and create an all-around more-natural look.

A wise hairstylist will understand whether you need highlights or lowlights for your gray hair. By the way, those aren’t the only options.

Gray Hair Glossing

Another way to blend your gray so you have no line of demarcation at the top of your head is to get a hair gloss treatment! Glosses are semi-permanent, which means it gradually fades away over a period of four to eight weeks, depending on the manufacturer. You could head into the salon anytime you have a special event and want a refresh or you could come in every eight weeks and maintain it.

Have you noticed that your gray hair has a different, coarser texture to it? This is because the cells that produce your hair color have run their course, as well as your hair follicles, produce less hydrating oils. Adding a gloss to your grays will actually help to soften your hair. Typically, glosses are very moisturizing and shiny. They do add a little bit of dimension because they do not go all the way inside the hair strand. It is more of a stain that fades over time and will blend up to 75% of gray hair.

Related Post: What Is Hair Glaze? Gloss vs. Glaze Treatment

Going Au Naturel

Growing in your gray hair typically isn’t the most graceful process. You either decide to go blonde from your dark hair you’ve been coloring for years, or you end up just letting it grow in on its own. What if I told you there was an easier way?

Depending on the amount of gray you have, it could be as simple as popping in a few highlights where your gray is just to get some of that lighter color through your ends and let the gray grow in. For others, it may not be as easy, and may take multiple sessions, but definitely still achievable for most people.

Adding cool-toned or silver highlights all throughout the hair is the best way to let your gray grow all the way in. Letting your roots grow out is not a one-step process, but with the addition of highlights that are gray in color and consistent maintenance hair trims, you’ll be there in no time.

Maintaining Faux Gray

To help your natural gray grow in and not look so different from whichever color your hair currently is, you can add some faux gray. But, it’s not that easy to keep that faux gray. When adding it — it’s essentially highlights — you’re stripping off any color from your hair, taking it to blond, and then putting that (faux) gray on top of that. This process is quite stressful on the hair, so the color may stay in for a short time or may not stay in at all.

Luckily, the industry has evolved, and we’ve now got some amazing products to help keep that color in. There are shampoos and conditioners specifically made for gray hair. Some are full of pigment to help deposit more gray onto your highlights to refresh the color completely, but there are also purple-toning shampoos and masks that help to keep out those unwanted yellow tones.

Even blending gray hair with highlights and lowlights can damage your locks. The most important thing you can do before and after you’ve gone gray and started this whole process of letting it grow in is to take care of your hair. Protein treatments and bond treatments make a significant difference in how your hair holds color. If the hair is too damaged from a huge change in color, it can completely spit out the gray you’ve worked so hard to get in. Keeping your hair happy and healthy throughout the entire process is the key to getting to that low-maintenance look you’ve been wanting.

Featured Image via Instagram

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