How to Dye Your Hair Gray

Updated on October 30, 2019
Carrie Morgan profile image

Carrie is a an actress, landscape architect and teacher. She enjoys writing, crocheting, painting and exploring new hobbies.


Transitioning to Gray

I started going gray at 23, and have been dyeing my hair various shades of brown for 30 years. I wanted to make the transition to gray (or grey), but did not want to go through the painful process of having a distinct line between my colored hair and my gray roots as they grew out.

Having a professional lift for existing color, bleach, and adding gray coloring can be extremely expensive. After watching many DIY videos and reading oodles of articles on dyeing hair gray at home, I decided to take the risk and give it a try on my own. I have been very pleased with the results and have found the transition to be surprisingly easy and fun.

I have outlined my process below and the products I used. I recommend you do your own research on the entire process to be sure you are comfortable taking the risks involved before committing to trying it on your own.

When Do I Try It?

Only when you feel comfortable with any possible risks involved. Find a time when you have a few days away from work and social engagements, so you can make corrections, if needed.

Before You Start!

1. Review this entire article and research the process on your own.
2. Purchase required products.
3. If you feel comfortable taking the risk, dive in and give it a try!

Products to Purchase

I purchased all of the products below at Sally Beauty Supply

  • Ion: Bright White Creme Lightener(8 levels of lift)
  • Blond Brilliance: Creme Oil Infusion 35 Volume Developer
  • Ion Color Brilliance: Absolute Perfection Booster Step 1
  • Ion Color Brilliance: Absolute Perfection Color Sealer Step 2
  • Wella Color Charm: T14 Toner(T18 if you want lighter silver/gray)
  • Wella Color Charm: 050 Cooling Violet Additive
  • 20 Volume Developer (small bottle is fine)
  • Applicator bottle
  • Gloves

If your hair is medium to dark brown or black in color, you need to remove color before bleaching. You might try Color Fix by One 'n Only. It comes with three bottles of solution (color reducer, conditioning catalyst, processing lotion). Follow directions on the box.

Coloring Process Steps

  1. Research and consult professionals, as desired.
  2. Purchase products.
  3. If you have medium or dark brown/black colored hair and need to lift existing color, do so a day (or two) before initiating the bleaching process. Be sure to condition hair between processes!
  4. Bleaching - Mix together the Blond Brilliance 35 Volume Developer and the Ion Bright White Creme Lightener (follow mixing ratio instructions on bottle). Add 1 packet of Ion Color Brilliance Absolute Perfection Color Sealer Step 2 and 1/2 bottle of Ion Color Brilliance Absolute Perfection Booster Step 1. Mix well and apply thoroughly to portions of hair you wish to bleach (and later color gray). Avoid getting bleach on scalp as much as possible. NEVER APPLY BLEACH TO WET HAIR! Carefully observe your hair, checking every few minutes to see that you reach the desired color lift without over processing. Do not process more than 45-50 minutes.
  5. Rinse bleach out of hair and apply mild shampoo to ensure all bleach has been removed from hair. Apply good conditioner and rinse. I bleached and colored my hair the same day, but use your own judgment with this.
  6. Mix entire tube of Wella Color Charm T14 Toner : 20 Volume Developer, (1:2), entire bottle of Wella Color Charm 050 Cooling Violet Additive (no extra developer for this), and other half of Ion Color Brilliance Absolute Perfection Booster Step 1. Mix well and apply thoroughly to hair. Leave for 15-30 minutes (follow product instructions), to reach desired level of gray (purple color will wash out).
  7. Rinse color out of hair and apply desired shampoo and conditioners.
  8. Enjoy your new look! The toner is a demi-color and will fade in time. You may wish to apply toner every few weeks until your natural gray has grown in. I like to use shampoo and conditioner for platinum blond or gray hair to keep the yellow/orange tones from creeping in.

Before & After

BEFORE: Brunette
BEFORE: Brunette

Use Shampoo and Conditioner Designed to Keep Your Hair BRIGHT

To keep brassy tones from creeping back in, use products designed for platinum or gray colored hair.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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