The best permanent hair color for covering grey

Grey hair is caused by a loss of pigment in the hair shaft. Grey hair is notoriously resistant to colour, and it might seem impossible to eliminate the grey from your hair shaft. Hair that is grey needs permanent colouring to effectively deliver colour to the hair shaft. Permanent colour requires a peroxide level of at least 20 per cent or above. There are some specific steps you can take to ensure you get complete coverage of grey hair.

Grey Coverage Colors

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


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

Colour Mixtures

Mixing colours to create dimension will create more natural colour on grey hair. Add red, gold, beige or champagne tones to your neutral colour to give the colour increased vibrancy and depth. Usually adding ¼ to ½ ounce of your choice of tones is sufficient in a 56.7gr mixture of colour. Add more if you want more of the colour in your hair, but neutral tones should remain the dominant colour in the mixture for ultimate coverage.

Liquid Hair Colors

Cream hair colours 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 colouring and mix with 20-volume peroxide for a strong, permanent hair colour that will cover grey hair.

Colour Additives

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

Application Procedures

Apply colour to grey hair at the root first and then through the ends. Root colour may stay on for up to 45 minutes on resistant grey hair. If hair colour does not deposit, try pre-softening the hair by applying 20-volume peroxide by itself for 10 minutes prior to colour application. Apply colour directly on top after timing is complete. Colour 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 colour treated hair to help colour last longer. Use a deep conditioning treatment after colouring to recondition the hair.

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About the Author

Robin McDaniel is a writer, educator and musician. She holds a master's degree in higher educational leadership from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton as well as a bachelor's degree in elementary education. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in adult in community education. McDaniel enjoys writing, blogging, web design, singing and playing bass guitar.