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What’s The Best Way to Cover Grays on Dark Hair?

From temporary touch-ups to long-term gray coverage.
  • Lyz Mancini
March 13, 2024

It’s no secret that as we get older, different beauty concerns start to arise. Having a skincare and makeup routine designed for your skin’s changing needs is a must, but it’s also important to consider your hair. After all, fine lines and wrinkles often crop up around the same time as those first gray hairs emerge (and the darker your hair, the more prominent those silvery strands are going to appear). While there’s nothing wrong with gray hair—we think it can be pretty chic—not everybody wants to transition to gray immediately. Thankfully, covering gray hair isn’t difficult so long as you have the right products at your disposal.

So, let’s talk about the best way to cover grays on dark hair. Whether you’re looking for a temporary solution, prefer long-term coverage, or are considering other options (looking at you, gray balayage), we’ve got the scoop on all of the best gray hair coverage methods, ahead.

What To Do with Dark Hair That’s Going Gray

Before we discuss how to hide gray hair on brunettes, we want to reiterate that having gray hair isn’t a bad thing—it’s natural. But you get to decide how to look and that includes deciding when (or if) you want to go gray. It just might not be your style, and that’s more than fine.

While those with lighter hair can often get away with letting their grays be without having them be super noticeable, there’s a lot of contrast between dark brown and gray hair. That contrast makes any silver strands more noticeable, which means you’ll need to find a way to blend your grays if you don’t want them to show. That requires the use of hair dye—either temporary, demi-permanent, or permanent. Just keep in mind that any dye you choose should be formulated specifically to cover gray hair in order to get the best results.

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How Do You Temporarily Cover Gray Roots on Brunettes?

Not everybody has the time, money, or frankly, energy for regular salon visits. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend the afternoon in a salon chair to cover grays. Root touch-up products allow you to quickly cover gray hair from the comfort of your home, and they’re easy enough for even first-timers to use. We’ll share two of our favorite options below.

L’Oréal Paris Magic Root Cover Up

Quickly cover gray roots with this ammonia-free root concealer spray. The versatile formula provides seamless coverage with a lightweight, non-sticky finish, and it’s suitable for all hair types and textures. The temporary color comes in eight shades, including options for brown, black, and even red hair. And it requires no mixing or developer—all you have to do is shake the can, hold it four to six inches from your hair, and spray it onto your grays. The fast-drying, residue-free formula will last until your next shampoo.

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L’Oréal Paris Magic Root Precision Pen

If you only have a few grays to cover, consider reaching for this pen. Like the spray, the temporary color provides coverage that lasts until your next shampoo. And the pen’s Magic Precision Brush allows for an even, smooth application so you can apply the color only where it’s needed.

Rotate the bottom of the concealer counterclockwise three to five times to dispense a small amount of color onto the brush. Lightly dab the brush anywhere you want to hide gray hair, using gentle, swift strokes to build and blend in the color. To avoid product transfer to the scalp, gently pull strands away from the head as you brush the color on and let it for one minute before proceeding with your styling routine.

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How to Cover Gray Hair Permanently

One of the best ways to cover gray hair is to use a permanent hair dye designed specifically for this purpose, like L’Oréal Paris Excellence Creme Universal Nudes. This at-home color kit offers 100% gray coverage and comes in eight radiant, natural-looking hair colors to hide gray, including five medium to dark brunette shades. Plus, the ammonia-free formula is enriched with a Pro-Keratin Complex and caring agents to protect hair while it colors. And because it’s permanent, you don’t have to worry about touch-ups (until your hair grows out, that is).

Another at-home option we love for long-lasting gray coverage is L’Oréal Paris Excellence Creme Créme Permanent Triple Protection Hair Color. This permanent hair color line is available in 32 natural-looking shades that provide 100% coverage, even on stubborn grays.

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Guys looking to blend grays can use any of the aforementioned products or reach for the L’Oréal Paris Men Expert One-Twist Hair Color, which is made specifically for men’s hair. The easy-to-apply hair color comes in eight shades that offer undetectable, long-lasting gray coverage. All you have to do is twist, shake, and apply the hair dye on your grays with the precise applicator comb.

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How Do You Touch Up Gray Roots on Dark Hair at Home?

If your gray hairs begin to peek through in between coloring sessions, don’t stress. Even though gray roots on dark hair can stick our even more than other hair colors, it’s simple to fix at home with the right tools and a quality at-home hair color formula. For quick and easy touch-ups that last up to four weeks, reach for L’Oréal Paris Magic Root Root Rescue 10 Minute Root Hair Coloring Kit. The easy-to-use kit applies and processes in just ten minutes, offering 100% gray coverage with an even, seamless finish. There are 15 shades to choose from—if you’re stuck between two shades, we recommend opting for the lighter color.

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What’s The Best Color To Cover Gray Hair?

When you begin to notice silvery strands weaving through your dark locks, you may find yourself wondering if it’s time to transition to a slightly lighter (and therefore, more easily blendable) hair color. The call is entirely yours, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

Firstly, consider your natural hair color. In general, the most low-maintenance color will be the one that most closely matches your natural hair color. Blendability is also worth thinking about—lighter shades of brown and blonde have less contrast with gray than, say, black, and therefore will be easier to blend. And of course, consider your preferences. If you like how you look with dark hair, consider a cool, gray-brown hair color (like mushroom brown). If you prefer the ease of a lighter hair color, consider transitioning to a lighter, cool-toned brunette or blonde shade.

How Do You Blend Gray Hair with Dark Roots?

Maybe you don’t want to completely get rid of your grays, but rather, blend the silvery strands with your dark roots. Gray hair blending techniques have become super popular for being low-maintenance since they require consistent less frequent dye jobs than permanent, all-over dye. Opting for highlights to hide gray hair or getting a silver balayage may be the answer, as the lightened strands seamessly blend with any gray hairs that would otherwise create a harsh contrast against your dark base.

If you opt for highlights on gray hair, consider asking your colorist for babylights. These ultra-fine streaks mimic the natural dimension of your hair, creating depth without looking obviously lightened. The subtle pops of light can cleverly camouflage grays, especially around the hairline. Or, lean into the “salt and pepper” trend with herringbone highlights to cover gray hair where you don’t want it. By weaving cool-toned highlights like true silver and ash blonde around your gray roots, you’re enhancing your new hair’s own beauty while making that grow-out period more natural than ever.

Gray balayage has also been trending in the past few years, and for good reason. These hand-painted highlights create a seamless color melt for a super natural-looking finish. Consider a silver balayage on brown hair for a striking look that makes your grays the star of the show.

Keep in mind that adding highlights to your dark hair can be tricky to do on yourself, so you’ll want to seek out professional help to get the look (especially if you’re doing a balayage for gray hair). If salon appointments aren’t in your budget, stick to the more affordable choices above. Ultimately, when it comes to covering grays, you have tons of options. Experiment with different colors and techniques to find the method that works best for you.

Next Up: What to Do When You Find Your First Gray Hair

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