Permanent color is needed to cover grey hair.
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The day comes for all of us, but some sooner rather than later — grey hair. Grey hair is caused by a loss of pigment in the hair shaft and is notoriously resistant to color. It might seem impossible to eliminate it, but it is possible, you just need permanent coloring to effectively deliver color to the hair shaft. Permanent color requires a peroxide level of at least 20 percent or above. Here are some specific steps you can take to ensure you get complete coverage of your grey hair.

Grey Coverage Colors

Look for colors that specify grey coverage. These are specific colors that are formulated to cover grey. They are available in beauty supply stores and over-the-counter drug stores in many different brands. They're permanent colors and may contain additives that make them more effective for adding pigment to the hair.


Neutral colors generally contain a mix of hues that neutralize each other to form a stronger, more solid base color. Because grey hair completely lacks pigment, it is necessary to use neutrals to add color back to the hair when attempting to cover grey.

Color Mixtures

Mixing colors to create dimension will create more natural color on grey hair. Add red, gold, beige or champagne tones to your neutral color to give the color increased vibrancy and depth. Usually adding ¼ to ½ ounce of your choice of tones is sufficient in a two ounce mixture of color. Add more if you want more of the color in your hair, but neutral tones should remain the dominant color in the mixture for ultimate coverage.

Liquid Hair Colors

Cream hair colors usually have conditioning additives that make them less harsh on the hair. For this reason, they may be somewhat ineffective for grey coverage. Look for liquid hair coloring and mix with 20-volume peroxide for a strong, permanent hair color that will cover grey hair.

Color Additives

Color additives usually come in droplet or powder form and are added to the color mixture in order to strengthen the hair color and allow for deeper penetration of the hair shaft. They are specifically formulated to increase grey coverage. Look for grey coverage color additives in beauty supply stores or online and add the recommended amount to your color formulation.

Application Procedures

Apply color to grey hair at the root first and then through the ends. Root color may stay on for up to 45 minutes on resistant grey hair. If hair color does not deposit, try pre-softening the hair by applying 20-volume peroxide by itself for 10 minutes prior to color application. Apply color directly on top after timing is complete. Color may require two or more applications for extremely resistant hair. If so, wait a few days in between applications to allow the scalp to recuperate. Use shampoo and conditioner specifically for color treated hair to help color last longer. Use a deep conditioning treatment after coloring to re-condition the hair.