Free Shipping on Natural Make Up orders over $75!

Home > Hair Color > Safer Hair Dyes > Tips on Covering Gray Hair


Practical Suggestions For Applying Safer Hair Dye - Permanent Hair Color

My name is Jennifer and I own Natural Solutions, online at For many years I could not use permanent or semi permanent hair colors made with dyes. I was 30 years old around when I experienced health issues due to my chemical exposures. I thought I'd never be able to use anything on my hair again. After experiencing all natural henna products my hair and health began to get better. For years, these all natural hair colors worked for me. But now, over 14 years later, my hair and health are at another level. I really worked hard to not compromise my health and the advice that I gave to so many really worked for me as I know it can work for you. As a reward, I can now color my hair with products like SanoTint and Tints of Nature permanent/semi-permanent hair colors. I can not color monthly, so what is a girl to do? I have a few tips for you. As you know, if a color doesn't cover solid at the root, especially if your gray resistant, then you'll see a lighter shade there while the rest of your hair is brighter, darker, etc. Another thing that can occur is 'hot' roots. This is when you want to use a color that is in the red violet, violet red, blue violet, copper color range. The way the gray roots take it can come off brighter or faded so red looks pink, etc. So consider these tips and try them out to get better results the next time you color your hair.

The easiest thing to start with to increase the coverage of your hair color on gray resistant hair:

1) Start with the developer. You'll want to use a 10 volume or a 20 volume developer alone. You may need to purchase extra, as usually an at-home kit does not come with extra for this purpose.
  • Apply the developer only to the roots of your hair and allow to sit on the hair for 10 minutes, then wipe off with a towel. Do not wash off.
  • Purpose: To open the hair shaft or cuticle in order for the hair color to penetrate better.
2) Now mix your 'N' color with developer as normal. Apply to the roots for 30 minutes or longer, depending upon brand. If this is a first time color on your hair, then finish applying all product throughout the hair after the roots are done. If you only need to refresh your remaining hair, wait until 10 minutes before you need to wash out to apply the remaining color.

3) Only wash the hair with cool water. Using hot water will open the hair shaft or cuticle. This will mean that color can release causing fading of your hair color. Fading is normal, but keeping it to a minimum is the goal. If you keep it to a minimum, you have to color hair less, so you can stretch the length of time between coverage applications.

4) Make sure that you use a conditioner that closes the hair shaft or cuticle as well. One is usually provided in the hair color home kits. If you can't use the conditioner, then look for one that will balance pH, and make it a habit to use every time you wash your hair.

5) Avoid washing your hair daily. Consider a dry shampoo or even using detergent free shampoo's such as what we offer on our website. The best suggestion is to wet the hair completely before applying shampoo as well, this way it can work better all over. Put the shampoo in your hands and pat them, applying it not in one spot, but evenly through the hair. This will prevent a fade spot.

If you do not have extra developer, you may want to consider the following suggestions:

First wash your hair and then dry prior to applying the product.  Gray hair can take longer to absorb hair color.  So, when coloring your hair, apply dye to the gray areas first.  It may take up to 45 minutes for the color to penetrate gray hairs; with careful timing, you can achieve even coloring throughout your hair.  Note, if you have stubborn gray, the duration may need to extending to 1 hour and 30 minutes

Instructions for mixing the tint and the activator (fixative/developer) should be followed as per the instructions. Mix well!

3) The hair’s ability to absorb the product is also dependent on how long the color lasts. You may want to consider leaving the dye on longer, giving the hair more opportunity to absorb the dye into the pours of the hair.

4) Brush and comb your hair prior to applying the tint.  You need to make sure your hair is tangle-free. If your hair is tangled, the color may apply unevenly..

5) Remember, if you wash your hair frequently with harsh shampoos and conditioners, the dye will begin to fade sooner.

6) If the kit comes with a shampoo and conditioner, use it as it helps the color's intensity and richness last longer. It locks in the color.

7) For darker colors, increasing the applications duration from 20 to 30 minute to 35 to 45 minutes, will increase the colours intensity and richness, making the colour look darker and stronger.

Prepare Your Hair For coloring

  • Don’t cut your hair on the same day before coloring, because your hair has split ends, it will affect the quality of your hair color.
  • Do not moisturize too much using heavy conditioners or moisturizers just a couple of days before coloring your hair, or the pours of the hair shaft may become blocked and may not effectively absorb of the color.
  • Do not use any styling aids such as hair spray, mousse or gel nor leave-in conditioner of any kind at least a few days before applying a tint to your hair. Use a light shampoo only to clean the hair of all products.
  • It is not recommended to frequently change the color of your hair, as it will damage your hair. It is always best to apply your original color.
  • If you have thick and abundant hair, be sure to buy at minimum two boxes of of hair dye. That which you do not dispense, from the tube and bottle, can be recapped and used within the next 4 months.
  • If you have lighter colored hair and you are applying a darker color, be sure that you uniformly comb through the color from your roots, all the way to the tips of your hair.
  • Damaged hair has a patchy structure and absorbs the color irregularly and can produce uneven color tones.  For optimal results, It may be necessary to prepare your hair one week prior to hair coloring, by using a good hair treatment such as our Malibu or Logona Color Plus products.
  • After each tinting session, it is important to use the Conditioner with a pH of 3.5, as it has been specially formulated to close the pores of the hair, sealing in the color. In addition, it will help prevent breakage from brushing and split ends.
  • Depending on the quantity of grey present in your hair it may influence the choice of colour you use. In cases where there is more than 20% of grey, the best coverage is offered by a permanent dye.

How do I stop 'hot spots' on the hair if I'm using a color such as copper, red or violet base on resistant gray hair:

1) In my experience, it's best to always start with an N series shade. Match up the base color first and use the suggestions above.

2) After you have successfully covered the hair with your base, it is now time to use your fashion shade. Fashion shades can be fun and they can add a bright or highlight to your hair. Since the N shade was applied first, the fashion shade should not create a 'hot spot' on the root because the root was totally covered. You can mix a fashion shade two ways: A) Use the fashion shade with a developer which comes in the at home color kit, or B) Trade the developer in for a processing liquid. Processing liquid creates the semi-permanent look and as your hair grows, gets washed, the fashion shade fades and no line of demarcation is left. It's great if your experimenting and don't want to make a permanent change.

3) Let the product process on your entire head as normal and then wash out with the same suggestions as the first scenario above to cover gray resistant hair.  You'll notice no 'hot spots' and no fade spots with these suggestions.