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How to Naturally Hide Gray Hair

Suzanne is a qualified beautician with experience as a freelance makeup artist.

Prematurely Going Grey: It's in the Genes

Prematurely going gray looks distinguished and sexy when not hidden by hair coloring.  Here are my two brother's with their salt and pepper hair.

Prematurely going gray looks distinguished and sexy when not hidden by hair coloring. Here are my two brother's with their salt and pepper hair.

Going Gray Naturally

Signs of loss of hair pigment in gray hair often appear around the hairline first.

Signs of loss of hair pigment in gray hair often appear around the hairline first.

Gray Hair Is Natural

Going gray is something many of us do not relish or look forward to as males or females.

The instinct for many women has been to cover the graying hair at home or get it professionally dyed or colored at the hairdresser’s.

The fairer sex has always been more touchy or concerned with going gray and has dreaded finding that first gray hair.

It is a fact of life that most of us will start going gray as we age.

Genetics has much to do with when we start and how much gray hair we get.

Mid Length Auburn Phase

Gray hair is more noticeable in dark hair.

Gray hair is more noticeable in dark hair.

Auburn Short Hair Phase

Gray hair will be more obvious around the hairline and the roots in dark short hair.

Gray hair will be more obvious around the hairline and the roots in dark short hair.

Hair Color Junkie

As a young 14 year old girl, I loved going with my mum to the hairdresser’s when she was due to get her roots done”. Having the fascination in all things cosmetic, it was a natural progression that I too would be keen to experiment with hair color.

My first introduction was to get blonde highlights and it turned into a regular outing mother and daughter could share for those two to three hours every six weeks.

Now some 30 plus years later, I have had highlights, low lights and permanent colors in an assortment of blondes, reds and auburn shades. Experimentation is my middle name!

I have had the opportunity to attend numerous training courses at home and abroad in different coloring techniques with internationally established brands including Wella and Revlon. This gave me a huge insight into the products and applications used for the commercial market.

Ah yes, you could say I am a color junkie when it comes to my hair and love the shock factor that it gives to friends and family.

The luxury of visiting a hair salon for color is an expense many cannot afford now, including myself, so knowing it is possible to naturally hide gray by using common kitchen ingredients is music to my ears!

For example, here in Dublin for me to get a permanent color done at my hairdresser’s on their “special promotion” is €85 - €100 euros.

I would have had this or a similar treatment done every eight weeks equalling approximately €700 euros a year spent on coloring my short hair and hiding those dreaded gray hairs. Money that was unnecessarily spent and quite outrageous.

Short Blonde Highlights Phase

Blonde hair hides gray hair easier than dark hair.

Blonde hair hides gray hair easier than dark hair.

Hiding Gray Hair Naturally

There are great alternatives to try depending on the color you wish to produce from light blonde to black hair.

They will give beautiful shiny, healthy hair with gorgeous hues and tones which you can then experiment with.

Here are some excellent homemade recipes to hide the gray naturally, using kitchen cupboard ingredients that may be purchased at supermarkets, health stores or online for bulk buying!

They may not be as instant a fix as using chemical based products but they will provide color coverage with repeat use and be pampering chemical free treatments that won’t break the bank.

Sage Leaves Great For Hair

The herb sage is a natural way of hiding gray in light blonde to light brown hair.

The herb sage is a natural way of hiding gray in light blonde to light brown hair.

Hide Gray Roots With Mascara

Light Blonde to Medium Brown Hair Color

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chopped fresh sage leaves or 2 cups dried sage.
  • 3 cups elderberries (for the medium brown to black hair recipe only)
  • 11/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • kaolin powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (optional)

Things You Will Need:

  • Medium saucepan/pot
  • Bowl
  • sieve
  • cheesecloth (if using dried sage)
  • spatula/spoon
  • petroleum jelly (Vaseline)
  • old t-shirt or top
  • pair disposable surgical gloves
  • color brush (optional)
  • color bottle (optional)
  • plastic cap or
  • saran wrap / clingfilm
  • warm head towel
  • hair clips
  • comb

Method:

  • Add the sage and vinegar to the saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from stove and strain the vinegar and sage leaves into the bowl or if using dried sage, then strain through the cheesecloth.
  • Allow to cool to a lukewarm temperature.
  • Sieve the kaolin into the bowl a small amount at a time. The amount depends on the consistency you prefer. For a mask like consistency, use more kaolin and for a creamy consistency use less kaolin. Add the egg yolk and mix it in well. If you wish, you may add olive oil which helps condition the hair. If consistency is too runny, keep sieving kaolin and mixing in well to your requirements.

Applying The Color:

  • Wear an old t-shirt or top for the color application to avoid staining any “good clothing”.
  • Apply the petroleum jelly around the entire hairline at least an inch wide to avoid product staining the skin.
  • Put on the surgical gloves.
  • With your comb divide the hair into 4 equal sections and use the hair clips to clip back. Using either the color bottle or color brush apply the color starting at the roots and working down the hair, working it in evenly. If you wish you may use your hands instead to distribute the color.
  • When the entire product is applied put on the plastic cap or saran wrap around the hair.
  • Wrap a warm towel around the head and leave for an hour.
  • Rinse the hair colorant with warm water thoroughly until water runs clear.
  • Wrap up in a towel and dry hair as normal.
  • Use the color weekly and use shampoo and conditioner once or twice a week (instead of every day or second day) to prevent color fading quickly. As this is a temporary color, it should be applied weekly to keep the gray hairs hidden out of sight.

Other Known Ingredients for Covering Gray

  • Rosemary
  • Almond Oil
  • Black Walnut Hull (powdered)
  • Chamomile
  • Nettle (powdered)
  • Henna
  • Coffee
  • Black Strap Molasses
  • Amla Berry Powder

Hair and Color Tips

  • Experiment with hues and tones by adding more sage.
  • Always do a patch test on skin first to make sure you are not hypersensitive to any ingredients. This is always done in a hair salon as reactions may occur with chemicals such as peroxide. Apply a small coin amount onto the inside of the elbow and leave for 15 minutes. If you experience any itchiness, excessive redness or unusual skin sensations, do not use.
  • Avoid contact with eyes and wash the eyes out thoroughly with cold water. Consult a doctor if you still experience any irritation or redness around the eye area.
  • This is a product designed for the head only so never use on eyebrows.

Word of Caution

Never use these recipes for the hair if you have an existing allergy to any of the ingredients listed or a suspected allergy. Always first seek medical advice before proceeding.

Elderberries a Natural Hair Dye

provide a deep dark color  that will successfully cover gray.

provide a deep dark color that will successfully cover gray.

Medium Brown to Black Hair Color

Ingredients and Things You Will Need:

Identical to the blonde to medium brown recipe apart from the elderberries replace the sage leaves or dried sage.

Method:

  • Add the elderberries and cider vinegar to the saucepan. Cover with a lid and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Set aside and cool to room temperature.
  • Sieve the kaolin into the bowl a small amount at a time. The amount depends on the consistency you prefer. For a mask like consistency, use more kaolin and for a creamy consistency use less kaolin. Add the egg yolk and mix it in well. If you wish, you may add olive oil which helps condition the hair. If consistency is still too runny, keep sieving small quantities of kaolin powder and mixing in well to your requirements.

Hair and Color Tips:

  • For a really blackest black color, add an extra cup of elderberries.
  • Always do a patch test on skin first to make sure you are not hypersensitive to any ingredients. This is always done in a hair salon as reactions may occur with chemicals such as peroxide. Apply a small coin amount onto the inside of the elbow and leave for 15 minutes. If you experience any itchiness, excessive redness or unusual skin sensations, do not use.
  • Avoid contact with eyes and wash the eyes out thoroughly with cold water. Consult a doctor if you still experience any irritation or redness around the eye area.
  • This is a product designed for the head only so never use on eyebrows.

Sexy Jamie Lee Curtis

Gray is the In-Style color to have in the hair.

Gray is the In-Style color to have in the hair.

Food For Thought

Going gray and being proud of it is very much in style or in vogue right now!

In fact more companies are using gray haired models to be their face and promote fashion and beauty products than they ever have done before.

Men in my opinion have always looked sexier and more distinguished with a salt and pepper look to their hair.

Now the ladies are choosing not to color and hide their gray and I for one think they look fantastic!

Here are some of my favourite celebrities who are flying the flag for being gray and being proud!

Celebrities Who Make Gray Hair the Must-Have Accessory

ChicksDudes

Jamie Lee Curtis

Eros Ramazzotti

Jane Alexander

Sir Sean Connery

Olympia Dukakis

Andrea Bocelli

Dame Helen Mirren

Mark Harmon

Dame Judi Dench

George Clooney

Carmen Dell'Orefice

Harrison Ford

Stacy London

Eric Dane

Diane Keaton

Craig Ferguson

Emmylou Harris

Pierce Brosnan

Joan Baez

Anderson Cooper

Sharon Stone

Paul Newman

Paula Dean

Gerard Butler

Ruby Dee

Richard Gere

Nichelle Nichols

Benicio del Torro

Toni Morrison

Mark Ruffalo

Salt and Pepper Gerard Butler Style

So distinguished and sexy on men.

So distinguished and sexy on men.

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.

How to Naturally Hide Gray Hair Comments

Melodye Whitaker on March 30, 2017:

I toned down my too light blonde with tea. Much easier than this but doesn't really cover the gray but happy I found an alternative to a chemical toner - even though it's temporary. But they're all temporary anyway since you have to do again as your hair grows! :)

st on March 26, 2015:

very interesting. I like try this. can you please tell me where can I buy kaolin powder and elderberries

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on October 03, 2013:

Hi iguidenetwork,

I remember seeing American Idol with Taylor Hicks and it is interesting that he or the judges decided to keep it natural as a point of difference. It reminds me of one of my brothers who started getting touches of grey in his early 30's and it looked so good on him. men really suit gray and my partner wears it well too. Women can look amazing with it so it really is up to the individual, gray is certainly worn well by many! Cheers for dropping in and for your comment, much appreciated!

iguidenetwork from Austin, TX on October 03, 2013:

Taylor Hicks (the American Idol winner) also has gray hair though he's just in his 30s. Like the judges, I was also surprised by his appearance. But like the other celebrities, keeps his hair as an accessory, and doesn't attempt to color his hair to make himself look younger. Maybe I will take cues from the celebs, on how to carry yourself with the gray hair (mine is just starting to turn gray as well). Thanks for sharing. :)

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on August 02, 2013:

Hi Gail,

Hair color has always been a way of life for me, always experimenting from blond highlights to multi-colored to red to brunette. it costs a fortune here and there are some great alternatives free of oil stripping ingredients. Now I have bits of gray I am not quite ready to go the completely natural route so its fun trying out some homemade options! Cheers for votes and sharing on!

Gail Meyers from Johnson County, Kansas on August 01, 2013:

I don't know how I missed THIS one, Suzie! I have been looking for a non-toxic, natural alternative for hair color. This is in anticipation of getting gray hair, because I certainly don't have any! (haha) Voted up, awesome and shared.

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on March 06, 2013:

Hi lindacee,

Delighted that Vespa recommended you pop by! When you want to try something natural for hiding then hopefully you will find this useful and effective. Many thanks for the votes here! :-)

Linda Chechar from Arizona on March 05, 2013:

vespawoolf told me about this Hub. I currently don't cover my gray, but talk to me in a few years! ;) Your recipes are an inexpensive and natural alternative to harsh chemical hair color. Am bookmarking this Hub for future reference! Voted up, useful and interesting.

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on January 27, 2013:

Hi Rosie writes,

Glad you enjoyed this so much and are keen to give it a go. I am in process of deciding what ones to use as my own hair is in need of some tlc now! Thanks for the visit and comments and votes, much appreciated!!

Audrey Surma from Virginia on January 26, 2013:

Very informative hub - voted up and useful. I've colored my hair for many years now and have always thought it was a bad idea health-wise, not really knowing what harmful ingredients are in the mix. I love your recipes for coloring hair and definitely want to try them.

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on January 11, 2013:

Hi dwachira,

Now you will have that jump start on your wife at the first sign of gray! You can always tell her she must be seeing things when you hide it! Glad you enjoyed and thanks very much for voting this!

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on January 11, 2013:

Hi rajan,

Appreciate you reading and all your votes and shares. It is one of those things men and women can both feel better about when gray hair is hidden. Thanks again my wise friend, always a pleasure to see you.

Danson Wachira from Nairobi, Kenya on January 11, 2013:

Hi Suzie HQ,

These are great tips, my wife keeps on reminding me how she will tease me at the very first spot of grey hear, i have a secret now, this hub. I certainly know what i shall do! Voted up and useful.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on January 11, 2013:

Great tips here as usual this time on ways to color hair with natural products, Suzie. This is a hub that will be useful for those who need to hide their gray hair. Sharing it, and voting it up and useful plus interesting as well.

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on December 17, 2012:

Hi teaches,

Thanks for your lovely compliments, my bro's will be delighted to hear this! They are younger than me but started going grey much earlier. I do love gray in men's hair it adds so much to their looks and character! Appreciate you stopping by as always in this busy time of year! :-)

Dianna Mendez on December 16, 2012:

Your brothers look like really nice guys and their gray hair adds to their looks. Butler and Curtis are great examples of how to look good in gray. I am not ready to go the whole look yet, but it's good to know that it's a thing of natural beauty.

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on December 16, 2012:

Hi Glimmer Twin!

Thanks for your honest comments! I know when you are used to getting your hair done professionally it is hard to change. I remember when I fist did my own color it was dreadful too. Thanks so much for your input and glad you found interesting!!!

Claudia Mitchell on December 16, 2012:

Fascinating. I get my hair highlighted and it costs a fortune. Not sure if I have the nerve to try this though. Years ago I tried to color my own hair and it was a disaster. Interesting hub.

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on December 14, 2012:

Hi Jamie,

What lovely comments you left, thanks so much your a doll!! I don't know about suiting every colour but I do have fun trying different ones, except black . . . it would be too draining on me I was told and its prob true!!

Glad you enjoyed these tips and recipes, hope you give them a try as the dreaded gray slowly appears, I know the feeling finding that first one then two!! Cheers for your input and for stopping by :-)

Jamie Brock from Texas on December 14, 2012:

Wonderful hub... I'm all for using natural herbs and things like that instead of harsh chemicals especially on the hair.. these recipes look very easy and I appreciate all of the tips you shared too! I have not been one to experiment on different hair colorings and lengths just because certain colors make me look to red faced or washed out.. but you looked fabulous in every single one of those photos with the different hair in each one.. you have the perfect shaped face and skin tone to do that.. I'm jealous! I am going to keep these in mind because I'm starting to see a few gray hairs lately...I'm 39 so guess it has to start sometime. Thank you for the very useful hub :)

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on December 13, 2012:

Hi Bill,

Greetings buddy, good to have you here. No worries, we all have busy lives and I have feel I have not been as active here either with AP and a variety of different things but I too hope to be more on track in the new year. Appreciate your thoughts, I know my partner thinks much the same when it comes to being thankful for hair.

Here's to you and your family having a wonderful Christmas and that 2013 brings you much happiness.

It has been such a pleasure meeting you on HP and thanks for all your support and friendship Bill. I have every faith you have bigger and better things to come on HP and look forward to being there to cheer you on!!!

Ciao!!!

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on December 13, 2012:

Hi Paula,

Apologies for lateness, internet decided to die here in the Irish countryside all day today! Glad you approve of Mr Butler . . . what can I add . . . . babealicious and beyond! I love this man I have to say, hair and all. That's the downside I have come to realize with dark hair, the roots are sooooooo much more noticeable. I have always had blonde of different tones most of my life with the odd crazy color combo done for hair shows or as a result of badly done color in a salon. Never noticed if I had gray hair or not, of course I didn't till I was mid 40's then!!c LOL That's my story anyway!!

As for Charlize, if I could I'd bottle it my friend and be numero uno in the queue!!!

Thanks for making me constantly smile Paula and votes are so appreciated!!

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on December 13, 2012:

Hi Mike,

Long time no see my friend, great to see you! Takes a woman to notice eh???? LOL, My brother I remember getting his hair highlighted in his early 20's for the craic to be a bit different! Must have been following his mad sister in experimenting with colour! Thanks for your great comments, good to hear you have tried colouring even if it was for fun. Appreciate all your votes and sharing my friend :-)

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on December 13, 2012:

Hi Vespa,

Great to see you here my friend, always bringing a smile to my face! I know the feeling about wanting to go natural but putting it off. I love Jamie Lee's hair I have to say as another short hair fan! Have done my own color when it was dark last year and it felt weird after years of salons so ended up back were I was comfortable. The cost is just not making it affordable any more . . .end of!! Cheers for your input and comments Vespa :-)

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on December 13, 2012:

Hi sleepylog,

Lovely to have you visit me here! Delighted you enjoyed and yes, do keep me posted on how you go. They do need a bit of longevity to keep gray cover. Thanks so much for the comments :-)

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on December 13, 2012:

Hey Suzie. Another great hub here, although I must admit that coloring my hair is not going to happen. I'm just thankful that I still have hair, so it can be any color it wants :) You definitely are on a roll with these DIY hubs, excellent job.

Wishing you a very merry holiday season. The last few weeks have been very hectic and I've not spent much time here on HP. After the holidays I hope to ramp things up again. I think 2013 will be a great year for you here on HPs.

Suzie from Carson City on December 13, 2012:

I LOVE Jamie Lee Curtis, but not nearly as much as I adore Gerard Butler. He's too sexy for my hormone void....Gosh, he's a babe!

My hair is much too dark to attempt to cover grey in any natural way. I do not cover my grey with anything.....but my reason is, that I cannot bear the thought of constant root jobs.......don't like the idea of chemical use on a monthly basis...BULL! and I'm lazy too. Which is why I keep my hair short. Wash and Go. I is what is.

Thanks anyway. Hey, Suz....what can I use from my kitchen to make me look like Charlize Theron? ....UP+++

Micheal from United Kingdom on December 13, 2012:

I did colour my hair once for the craic and none of the guys noticed.

They all asked if I had been going to the gym etc but never spotted the hair.

My wifes cousin walked in and said.

'Michael what a lovely colour' lol

Tells us something about men I guess. :)

Great hub voted up, useful and interesting.

Michael

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on December 13, 2012:

I think I may just try this. I started going gray before I turned 40, so this is an issue for me. I used to try to color or highlight myself but when I realized I just wasn't cut out for doing my own hair, I started having it done at a salon. I'm glad that here in Peru you can get it done pretty inexpensively in a hair salon. Anyway, I worry about all the chemicals so I'm seriously considering trying this. I've decided to eventually just go gray, but I'm not ready yet. : ) Jamie Lee Curtis does look great, though!

Sleepylog from Australia on December 13, 2012:

Thank you for posting this awesome hub. I'm going to try some of these to cover my greys. I'll let you know how it goes.

Suzanne Ridgeway (author) from Dublin, Ireland on December 12, 2012:

Hi Bill,

Thanks for stopping by! Just thought I'd pop something in for the men, my biggest fans, hence my bro's as lead pic. You are super just the way you are my friend, no need for hiding those life experience tones! Anyway I voted you no1 sexpot in the hub of "hubpages hottest men" and not just for your writing skills!!! LOL

Cheers for EVERYTHING Bill,it's been quite a year and meeting you here is a highlight for sure. Wishing you, Bev and Tyler a wonderful Christmas with friends and family.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 12, 2012:

Remind me not to mess with your brothers; they are big dudes!

No, Suzie, I'm not going to color my hair. I'm into the distinguished look quite frankly. I've got the hair color down; now I have to work on looking intelligent. LOL My work is never done!

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season my Irish friend; thank you for your friendship this year.

bill

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