The appearance of gray hair is a natural process, but it does not always happen at a respectable age. Similar changes happen in younger years, but there is no cause for concern, because there are effective ways to hide gray hair or make it less noticeable. One of them is highlighting gray hair

Features of highlighting on gray hair

Gray hair is not only completely devoid of pigment, which explains its white color, but also have structural differences. Before you start highlighting, it is important to consider several factors.

  • Grey hair is harder and takes pigment worse. Not every paint will do the job, so it can be quite difficult to reliably paint over gray hair.
  • For a natural and harmonious highlighting result, the allowable percentage of gray hair is no more than 40% of the main mass.
  • Grey hair can have a patchy white color, so in some cases it needs to be bleached first to make the highlight base solid.

What will hide gray hair better: coloring or highlighting?

The choice is yours, but a brief overview of the main pros and cons of these procedures will help you decide.



  • the ability to completely change the hair color;

  • wide range of available shades;

  • simplicity and convenience of the procedure even at home;

  • effectiveness for a large amount of gray hair (more than 50%).


  • risk of not getting exactly the shade that was expected;

  • harmful effect on hair;

  • need to frequently update color and tint regrown roots.



  • partial coloring looks natural and does not require correction for a long time;
  • highlighting suits everyone, regardless of skin and eye color;

  • the result looks great on both long and short hair;

  • a large selection of highlighting techniques allows you to choose the option you like.

There are only three disadvantages of highlighting on gray hair:

  • such coloring is more difficult than full coloring and requires certain skills;

  • highlighting will not work if there is more than half of gray hair;

  • it is impossible to radically change the color of hair.

Types of highlighting

If it seems to you that there are not so many options, we suggest that you familiarize yourself with our photo selection of types of gray hair highlights - you will probably discover something new.

S alt and pepper

This coloration involves the use of contrasting shades, but the border between them is smooth, and the transition is completely invisible. Usually this method is chosen if there are 30–40 percent of gray hair.


If gray hair is not particularly striking, then we recommend classic highlighting. For the most natural result, separate the strands for coloring as thinly as possible.


Balayage adds beautiful sun highlights to hair and looks very summery. If you have naturally dark or brown hair, choose this option. Read more about the balayage technique in our article.

Gray hair highlights

The gray hair highlighting option can be tried by women with a large percentage of gray hair. This coloring looks very aesthetically pleasing on short hair, if you use cold shades of blond.


Do you want to achieve a game of several shades on your hair? Well, coloring will perfectly hide gray hair, refresh the image and make it brighter. This technique works on both light and dark hair. The main thing is to choose the shades of colors so that they harmonize with each other.

Photo examples of highlighting on gray hair of different lengths

You can try on highlights on gray hair regardless of their length, and this is a big plus. Let's look at specific examples of how it will look.

Highlights on short gray hair

With short haircuts, highlighting gray hair looks noble and stylish. You can choose several light shades to make the hairstyle look even more interesting.

Highlights on medium length gray hair

Medium length hair with gray hair will also take highlights very well. Such initial data already allow you to choose different techniques. Suitable, for example, coloring and balayage.

Highlights on long hair

If you don't want to sacrifice the length of your hair at all, then highlighting will help to hide the gray hair on such curls. It is better to choose soft shades for coloring - then the result will look as natural as possible.

Choosing a shade of paint for highlighting

To choose the right shade for gray highlights, it is important to consider the base color of the hair. The range is huge, choose the optimal range for yourself.

For dark hair

For dark-haired girls, it is especially important not to miscalculate with a shade: excessive contrast when highlighting looks out of date. Burning brunettes are advised to stay on cold and ashy shades.

Brown-haired and dark blond girls are shown caramel and honey colors.

For blonde hair

The base light hair color will be in harmony with all shades of blonde, including strands of warm wheat palette.

For blond hair

Light brown curls will well perceive almost any shade of gray highlighting - it all depends solely on your desire and taste. You can experiment with cool shades or try delicate cream colors.

For red hair

This is a complex hair color, so you need to responsibly choose a shade for highlighting. Cold strands will hardly harmonize with red, so it's better to look at sand, copper and golden colors.

How to highlight gray hair?

We will talk about the most versatile and common type of highlighting - using foil.

  1. Dry hair must be divided into four equal parts: two in front of the head (delimited by a straight parting), occipital and crown. Each of them should be secured with a clip or an elastic band.

  2. With a sharp tail of the comb, separate small strands 1 cm wide from the curl captured by hand in zigzag movements and fasten the foil under them.

  3. Apply paint to the separated strands, then wrap them in prepared foil, which served as a substrate. Repeat the steps in the same pattern on all parts of the hair.

  4. Stay the dye for the time specified in the instructions, then rinse your hair with water without using shampoo.

  5. On wet hair, apply a balm-care for 3-5 minutes, rinse it off and dry the curls.

Advice from our expert:

Roman Moiseenko Color Expert L'Oréal ParisThe strands that you will add must be properly hidden in gray hair. In the area of the bangs and temples, it is necessary to add more highlighted strands, and in the area of the back of the head, you can work out a smaller amount of hair.For coloring, it is better to choose ammonia paint, as it is able to paint over gray hair by 100%. For example, Excellence or Préférence from L'Oréal Paris.

Self highlighting gray hair: FAQ

1. Which bleach oxidizer to choose for highlighting gray hair?

Choose an oxidizer with 6% hydrogen peroxide. This is the optimal value for use on gray hair. There are also bleaching paints. Look at them.

2. How to care for highlighted gray hair?

Highlighting is the same coloring, so you will need special tools to maintain color and enhance care for curls. Try not to expose your hair to prolonged exposure to sunlight and do not abuse heat styling. If exposure to high temperature gadgets is expected, use thermal hair protection.

3. How often can I renew highlights on gray hair?

Updating highlights should be done as needed. Stylists believe that with proper hair care, the interval between treatments can be up to 4 months.

4. Can I do hot styling on gray highlights?

You can, but be careful. Try to minimize the use of flat irons, flat irons and other stylers, and always apply heat protection before hot styling.

Review of popular hair colors

For highlighting gray hair, it is best to choose persistent ammonia paints in soft shades. Consider suitable options that the editors like.

L'Oréal Paris colors

The Préférence permanent color range is perfect for gray highlights. For example, it can be used by blondes whose hair is visibly touched by gray.

For fair-haired women, it is better to choose softer colors - such as shade No. 9.12 Siberia.

If you are ready to experiment, we advise you to take paint No. 8.23 Rose Gold. She will bring lightness and romance to the image.

Excellence paints will also be true allies in gray hair highlighting. For soft and sunny strands, for example, on brown hair, use dark blond shades.

Garnier colors

Garnier Color Sensation paints, which do an excellent job of coloring gray hair, demonstrate incredible durability and shine.Dark hair will be transformed if you diversify it with strands of color No. 6.12 Sparkling Mocha.

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Caring for colored hair

Coloured hair needs special care to keep it soft and vibrant.

Pay attention to the Fructis series “Goji. Lasting Color by Garnier. Shampoo and conditioner for color-treated and highlighted hair will prolong the durability of color and provide the hair with essential nutrients.

Don't neglect the masks! Pamper your hair once or twice a week with the Fructis “SuperFood. Goji "from Garnier - curls will respond to such care with shine and strength.

Leave-in products, including conditioners and oils, effectively fight dry and brittle hair after dyeing. L'Oréal Paris Elseve's Double Elixir Express Conditioner leaves hair smooth and manageable, and with regular use, will keep hair color rich and vibrant for longer.