How to Hide Gray Hair with Highlights: Master the Art in 2023

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how to hide gray hair with highlights

Effective Ways to Hide Gray Hair with Highlights

Highlights are a popular and effective way to hide gray hair. By adding lighter strands of color throughout the hair, the gray hairs blend in and become less noticeable. There are several different techniques and placement methods for highlighting gray hair, which we will discuss later on. Overall, highlights can provide a natural-looking way to camouflage gray hair and add dimension to your overall look.

One of the key benefits of using highlights to hide gray hair is that they can be customized to suit your individual needs and preferences. You can choose the intensity and placement of the highlights based on how much gray you want to cover or blend. This flexibility allows you to achieve a look that is tailored specifically to you.

Benefits of using highlights to hide gray hair:

  • Natural-looking results
  • Customizable to suit individual needs
  • Adds dimension and depth to the hair
  • Can be adjusted over time as more gray hairs appear
  • Provides a low-maintenance option for concealing gray hair

Tips for choosing highlight colors:

  • Select shades that are only one or two shades lighter than your natural color for a subtle look.
  • If you prefer a more dramatic change, opt for highlights that are several shades lighter than your natural color.
  • Consider consulting with a professional colorist who can help determine the best highlight shades for your skin tone and desired outcome.

The Process of Using Highlights to Disguise Gray Hair

Using highlights to disguise gray hair is a popular and effective method for achieving a more youthful appearance. The process involves strategically placing lighter strands of hair throughout the head to blend with the gray, creating a natural-looking result. Typically, a professional stylist will begin by assessing the client’s hair color and texture to determine the best approach for highlighting.

Consultation with a Professional Stylist

Before undergoing the highlighting process, it is essential to schedule a consultation with a professional stylist. During this appointment, the stylist will assess your hair type, skin tone, and personal preferences to develop a customized plan for highlighting your gray hair. They will consider factors such as whether you want subtle or bold highlights and whether you prefer warm or cool-toned colors.

Best Hair Colors for Hiding Gray Hair with Highlights

Finding the best hair color for hiding gray hair with highlights depends on various factors such as skin tone, eye color, and personal style. However, there are some general guidelines that can help in selecting flattering shades:

Cool-Toned Colors

  • Ash blonde: This shade works well for individuals with fair or light skin tones.
  • Platinum blonde: Ideal for those who want a striking contrast against their gray hair.
  • Icy brown: A cool-toned brown shade that complements both fair and medium skin tones.

Tips for Choosing Hair Colors

  1. Consider your skin undertone: Cool-toned colors generally suit individuals with pink or blue undertones, while warm-toned colors complement those with yellow or peach undertones.
  2. Experiment with swatches: Before committing to a hair color, try holding swatches against your face to see how they complement your skin tone.
  3. Seek professional advice: A hairstylist can provide expert guidance on the most flattering hair colors for your specific features.

Techniques and Placement Methods for Highlighting Gray Hair

Foil Highlights

Foil highlights are a popular technique for covering gray hair. This method involves sectioning off small strands of hair and applying color or bleach to them before wrapping them in foil. The foil helps to isolate the highlighted strands, allowing for more precise application and preventing the color from bleeding onto other sections. Foil highlights can create a more uniform and controlled look, making them ideal for those who want a consistent color throughout their hair.


Balayage is another technique commonly used to highlight gray hair. Unlike foil highlights, balayage involves hand-painting the color onto the hair in a sweeping motion. This creates a more natural and sun-kissed effect, as the color is strategically placed to mimic how the sun would naturally lighten the hair. Balayage can be a great option for those who prefer a low-maintenance look, as it allows for longer periods between touch-ups.

Tips for Achieving Natural-looking Highlights:

  • Choose a shade that is only one or two shades lighter than your natural hair color to achieve a subtle and blended look.
  • Focus on highlighting around the face and on the top layers of hair for a more natural appearance.
  • Vary the thickness of the highlighted strands to create dimension and depth.
  • Avoid using harsh bleaching agents, as they can cause damage to already fragile gray hair.

Considerations when Choosing Placement Methods:

  • If you have significant gray coverage, foil highlights may be necessary to ensure all gray hairs are adequately covered.
  • Balayage can be a better option for those with minimal gray hair, as it allows for a more subtle and natural look.
  • Consult with a professional stylist to determine the best placement method based on your hair type, desired outcome, and maintenance preferences.

Maintaining the Look: How Often to Touch Up Highlighted Gray Hair

Factors to Consider

When it comes to maintaining highlighted gray hair, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, the rate at which your hair grows plays a significant role in determining how often you should touch up your highlights. On average, hair grows about half an inch per month, so if you have fast-growing hair, you may need touch-ups more frequently compared to someone with slower hair growth.

Another factor to consider is the contrast between your natural gray hair and the highlights. If you opt for a subtle highlight that blends well with your gray strands, you can stretch out the time between touch-ups. However, if you choose a more dramatic contrast or lighter highlights, regrowth will be more noticeable and require more frequent touch-ups.

Recommended Touch-Up Schedule

A general guideline for touching up highlighted gray hair is every 6-8 weeks. This timeframe allows enough time for noticeable regrowth while still maintaining a polished look. However, keep in mind that everyone’s hair is unique and may require adjustments based on individual factors.

If you prefer a low-maintenance approach or have limited time and budget for salon visits, consider opting for balayage highlights instead of foil highlights. Balayage creates a softer grow-out line and can last longer between touch-ups.

Tips for Prolonging Time Between Touch-Ups:

  • Use color-safe shampoos and conditioners to prevent premature fading of highlights.
  • Avoid excessive heat styling tools that can cause damage and fade color faster.
  • Protect your hair from UV rays by wearing hats or using products with SPF when spending time outdoors.
  • Consider using root touch-up products or temporary color sprays to camouflage regrowth between salon visits.

Home Remedies and Natural Alternatives for Hiding Gray Hair with Highlights

While professional salon treatments are often the most effective way to hide gray hair with highlights, there are some home remedies and natural alternatives that can help in a pinch. These methods may not provide the same level of precision and longevity as salon techniques but can be useful for temporary coverage or touch-ups between appointments.

Lemon Juice and Chamomile Tea Rinse

A popular natural remedy for adding subtle highlights to gray hair is a lemon juice and chamomile tea rinse. Mix equal parts freshly squeezed lemon juice and brewed chamomile tea, then apply it to your hair before spending time in the sun. The combination of lemon juice’s natural lightening properties and chamomile’s golden tones can create soft highlights in gray hair.

Henna Powder

Henna powder, derived from the leaves of the henna plant, has been used for centuries as a natural hair dye. It can be mixed with other ingredients like coffee or indigo to achieve different shades of brown or black. While henna is primarily known for its coloring properties, it can also add dimension and depth to gray hair when applied strategically as highlights.


It’s important to note that home remedies may have varying results depending on individual hair types and colors. Additionally, they may not provide the same level of coverage or longevity as professional salon treatments. If you’re looking for more precise and long-lasting results, consulting a professional stylist is recommended.

Choosing Between Foil Highlights and Balayage for Covering Gray Hair

Foil Highlights

Foil highlights are a popular choice for covering gray hair because they provide precise and even coverage. This technique involves sectioning the hair and applying color to each section before wrapping it in foil. The foil helps to intensify the color and prevent bleeding or overlapping onto other sections of hair. Foil highlights are especially effective for those with a significant amount of gray hair, as they can provide full coverage.


Balayage is another option for covering gray hair, particularly if you prefer a more natural and low-maintenance look. This technique involves hand-painting the color onto the hair, creating soft, blended highlights that mimic the way the sun naturally lightens the hair. Balayage is great for those who want a subtle change or have less gray hair to cover. It requires less frequent touch-ups compared to foil highlights, as the regrowth is less noticeable.

Recommended Products and Brands for Concealing Gray Hair with Highlights

L’Oreal Paris Excellence Creme

L’Oreal Paris Excellence Creme is a highly recommended product for concealing gray hair with highlights. It offers a wide range of shades specifically designed to cover grays while providing vibrant and long-lasting color. The formula also includes conditioning agents that help nourish and protect your hair during the coloring process.

Clairol Nice ‘n Easy

Clairol Nice ‘n Easy is another trusted brand when it comes to covering gray hair with highlights. Their range of shades caters to various skin tones and offers natural-looking results. The formula contains ColorBlend technology, which ensures even coverage from root to tip while blending away grays seamlessly.

Redken Color Fusion

For those looking for professional salon-quality results, Redken Color Fusion is a recommended choice. This brand offers a wide selection of shades that effectively cover gray hair while providing rich, vibrant color. The formula is also infused with conditioning agents to keep your hair healthy and shiny after coloring.

Risks and Side Effects of Highlighting Gray Hair

While highlighting gray hair can be a great way to add dimension and disguise grays, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and side effects. One common risk is over-processing the hair, which can lead to damage and breakage. It’s crucial to follow the instructions carefully and avoid leaving the color on for longer than recommended.

Another possible side effect is an allergic reaction to the hair dye. Before applying any color, it’s essential to perform a patch test to check for any sensitivity or allergies. This involves applying a small amount of the dye behind your ear or on your inner arm and waiting 48 hours to see if any adverse reactions occur.

Tips for Natural-looking, Blended Highlighted Gray Hair

  • Choose a shade that complements your skin tone: Opt for highlights that are only a few shades lighter than your natural hair color for a more natural look.
  • Consider face-framing highlights: Adding lighter strands around your face can brighten up your complexion and create a youthful appearance.
  • Mix different shades: Combining multiple shades of highlights can create depth and dimension in your gray hair, making it look more natural.
  • Avoid harsh lines: Blend the highlights with your base color by using a feathering technique or opting for balayage instead of foil highlights.
  • Use a toning shampoo: To prevent your highlights from turning brassy or yellow over time, use a purple or blue toning shampoo to keep them looking fresh and cool-toned.

In conclusion, highlights can be an effective and stylish way to hide gray hair, providing a natural and youthful appearance.

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