While coloring gray hair a younger shade was once the norm, a new trend is now pushing young people to prematurely color their hair gray. Also known as "grandma's hair," gray hair is sported just as much by men as it is by women. While it's difficult to color your hair on your own, gray strands can be achieved with the right combination of bleach, toner, and dye (or hair dye).
Part 1 of 3: Prepare your hair
Step 1. Stop dyeing your hair for a few months
Unless you already have platinum white hair, you will need to bleach it to a very light shade before coloring it gray. This level of discoloration can damage your hair and you need to start in the safest way possible. If you have recently discolored or are using permanent hair color, avoid any further chemical treatment for about 3 months.
- If your hair is already very light, you can immediately go to the coloring step.
- Your hair doesn't have to be naturally platinum blonde to be directly colored gray. If they're already discolored, you can go right there.
Step 2. Let your hair grow
When you bleach your dark hair to platinum blonde, damage is inevitable. Since the tips can dry out and get damaged during fading, you will need to trim them after the procedure is complete. Make sure you have an extra 2.5 to 5 cm of hair that you can cut.
Step 3. Choose the right color
With the gray trend in full swing, there are plenty of hair colors to choose from. Do you prefer a silver gray or a steel gray? Do you want a natural neutral gray or a special shade with a touch of blue? Check out beauty blogs for reviews and photos of each hair color. Choose the shade you like the most.
In addition to permanent dyes, some light purple or blue semi-permanent dyes and toners also color platinum blonde hair gray. However, the effectiveness of these products only lasts a few weeks. Since they're not aggressive, luckily you can reapply them as often as needed without having to wait
Step 4. Buy everything you need
Even though silver hair is gaining in popularity, it is still difficult to find gray hair dye in regular stores. You will inevitably have to go through a website. Keep in mind that delivery takes a while, so you should prepare yourself accordingly. Aside from the dye, you'll also need a deep conditioner, fade kit, and purple toner.
Step 5. Apply conditioner one week before coloring
Bleaches and, to a lesser extent, permanent dyes dry out the hair by depriving it of its natural oils. To reduce the damage, you need to hydrate your hair as much as possible with the help of a deep conditioner.
- The exact way to use conditioners differs from product to product. See the product packaging for details. Usually, you will need to use a large spoonful of the product and apply it as you would your shampoo. Leave on for 10 to 30 minutes under a bathing cap before rinsing off. Then let your hair dry.
- Semi-permanent dyes and most toners dry out hair. They do not go deeper than the outer layer of the hair and only deposit the pigment on the surface.
Part 2 of 3: bleach your hair
Step 1. Wait 1 or 2 days after your last shampoo
Do not bleach your freshly washed hair. The bleaching process drastically dries out the damaged and brittle hair. The natural oils in your hair prevent this problem, but a freshly washed scalp is much more sensitive and will make you itchy during discoloration.
Step 2. Mix the bleaching powder and oxidizer
Your bleaching kit should contain 2 main components: a bleaching powder and a hydrogen peroxide solution. Mix them in equal amounts using a brush or a plastic spoon.
- Follow the directions on your kit if they differ from the advice given here.
- Oxidants are available in different intensities expressed in "volume". If your hair is already light, use 10 volumes. Use 20 volumes if they are dark blond, 30 volumes if they are light brown and 40 volumes if they are dark brown or black.
Step 3. Do a wick test
If you've never bleached your platinum blonde hair before, you will need to take a test to find out how long it takes to lighten. Cut a section of hair near the root in an inconspicuous place and tie it with an elastic band. Apply bleach with a small brush and inspect the strand every 5-10 minutes.
If your hair is not light enough after 1 hour, you will need to do several sessions of bleaching. Rinse the bleach between 2 applications. To reduce damage, do not leave the product on your hair for more than 4 hours
Step 4. Apply the bleach
Use a brush to apply the bleach mixture. Work in sections, brushing in the direction of hair growth.
- Start at the back of your head and work your way forward. Leave the hair around your face for the end.
- If your hair is thick, lift each section to expose the layer of hair below so you can apply the bleach.
- Leave about 2.5cm of hair above the roots. You will treat them after the hair around your face is bleached. Due to the heat of the scalp, the roots discolour faster than the rest of the hair.
- Proceed as fast as possible to achieve a uniform color.
Step 5. Let the bleach work
Refer to the results of your wick test to find out how long to leave the bleach on your hair. Cover your hair with a bathing cap or plastic wrap while waiting. Be aware that it is normal for you to feel a small itch on your scalp.
Step 6. Rinse off the bleach
Use hot water without shampoo and be very careful not to get any bleach in your eyes. If possible, have someone rinse your hair in a sink while you tilt your head back (like in a salon).
If you don't take the next step right away, let your hair air dry. The blow dryer may dry out your hair more and make the damage caused by the bleach worse
Part 3 of 3: getting the right gray
Step 1. Apply a layer of Vaseline to the contour of your hair
Apply a layer of Vaseline to the contour of your hair and to your face. Even if your hair is probably all removed from toner, you probably don't want to have a purple streak on your face after a week. Take a dab of Vaseline or other thick moisturizer with your index finger and put it wherever your skin comes in contact with your hair (don't forget your ears!) Vaseline keeps the dye from sticking to the skin.
If you haven't bleached before this step, your hair probably hasn't been washed yet. Color attaches better to dirty hair than to clean hair
Step 2. Start with the purple toner
After bleaching, there is a good chance that your hair will be pale yellow. Since purple is the opposite in the color wheel, the toner will balance out the coppery effect of the yellow. The end result will approach neutral white and be ready for gray dye.
- Wear gloves to apply the toner and not to stain your hands.
- Start with damp hair. If you skipped the bleaching step, dampen your hair with lukewarm water.
- Dip a brush into the toner. If the toner is supplied in a bottle, pour it into a bowl first.
- Apply toner from roots to ends.
- Start with the hair at the back of your head and work your way forward.
- Make sure all of your hair is evenly covered. If your hair is thick, tie the already colored strands to the side to reach the ones below.
Step 3. Let the toner act for 20 minutes
You don't need to cover your hair, but a beanie or plastic wrap will protect you from stains. After 20 minutes, rinse off the toner with warm water. Wrap a towel around your hair and gently wring it out.
- If you are using permanent dye, air dry your hair first.
- If you're using semi-permanent dye, apply it while your hair is still wet.
Step 4. Apply the dye
Apply a new coat of Vaseline if the previous one left with the toner when rinsing. Using a brush, apply the gray dye in the same way as the toner. At this point, you need to make sure that the product is applied evenly.
Wear gloves when applying the dye
Step 5. Let the dye act for half an hour
Leave the dye on for half an hour before rinsing your hair. Run your hair under hot water until the water runs clear. You can rinse off in the shower without the risk of staining your skin. There's no need for shampoo (which could ruin your new color), but don't forget to use conditioner.
Remember that the application of hair dye differs from brand to brand. Always check the product's directions for use to be sure there are no specific instructions
- Before applying any product to your hair, always remember to check for allergens. If you have any known allergies, read the product label to be sure it does not contain any substances to which you are sensitive. If in doubt, start by applying a little to an area of skin that is rarely visible (such as your back). Leave on for as long as you would leave the product on your hair. Rinse off to see any signs of an allergic reaction like redness or itching. Check again after 24 hours, as reactions may be delayed.
- Do not use a metal bowl to mix the bleach and oxidizer, as the bowl may rust.
- Wear clothes that you don't mind damaging when you bleach and color your hair.
- Use color protectant shampoo, conditioner, and spray to make your new hair color last.
- By coloring the strand used for the fade test, you will have a better idea of what your colored hair will look like.