How To Cover Your Gray Hair At Home

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Save time and $$ with pro-quality color & expert tips

We're demystifying the process, helping you find the right color & formula and showing you everything you need to get salon-quality results.

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4 Home Hair Color Myths, Debunked

With top quality color, and tips for choosing formulas and shades, plus access to Sally Beauty Virtual Color Experts (929-48-SALLY*), you CAN do this.

*10:00 - 7:00 EST Monday - Saturday
11:00 - 6:00 EST Sunday

Wrong! Our formulas are professional quality and there are a variety of color options that are gentle, help boost shine, and even protect curl pattern.

Wrong! With pro-quality color, you'll get pro-quality results. Our permanent color options offer 100% gray coverage and last up to 8 weeks.

Wrong! Covering gray is one of the simplest color processes because you're sticking close to your natural shade. And with a strand test, you'll know exactly what do expect.

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Ready to Dye? Let's Go!

Step 1:
Choose a Shade & Formula

The easiest, most natural-looking option is to go with your natural color or darker. If you want to go lighter, we recommend no more than a shade or two brighter.

  • Best if your hair is at least 40% gray

  • Lasts indefinitely because it chemically alters the hair structure BUT expect to touch up new growth every 4-8 weeks, depending on the brand & how quickly your hair grows

  • Provides the strongest, longest-lasting coverage

  • Best if your hair is 25% gray or less

  • Gentler than permanent color

  • Fades gradually, in about 12-28 shampoos, depending on the brand

  • Least aggressive option: blends, rather than covers, gray

  • Lasts around 4-15 shampoos, depending on the brand

  • No developer needed

Textured Hair

Both semi and demi permanent color are great options for textured hair since they won't alter hair significantly enough to disturb a curl pattern. If you're after longer-lasting coverage, seek permanent hair color designed specifically for textured hair to help keep it protected.

What's the Diff Between Permanent, Demi & Semi-Permanent Color

Step 2:
Pick a Developer

Think of developer as the fizz to your soda: It gives it power. Mixed with your hair color, it activates it to help it penetrate the hair shaft to lighten or add color. Note: You will NOT need a developer for semi-permanent color.

The lowest level works with non-lightening, demi-permanent color.

The lowest volume you can use for covering gray with permanent hair color. It works for your natural hair color, or you can take it up to two shades lighter.

A little bit stronger, it can bring you up to three shades lighter

The strongest level - proceed with caution. It can take you up to four shades lighter.

What is a Hair Developer & How Does it Work

Step 3:
Grab the Essentials

If you're mixing up color yourself, you'll need gloves, a mixing bowl, an application brush and sectioning clips. If you're using a kit, it will have everything you need, but you might find the clips and a brush for blending helpful.

Step 4:


This is a test for skin allergies. Mix up a small amount of color and apply it to your skin in a discreet place, like the inside of your elbow. Leave undisturbed for 48 hours. If you have any itchiness, burning or redness, do NOT proceed with color.


This test lets you preview your color and shows how long to leave it on for your desired results. Apply a small amount of color (not the full package) to three small sections of your hair, in a hidden area. Apply color to the first section, wait 10 minutes, apply color to the second section, wait 10 minutes and then apply color to the last section and wait another 10 minutes. Rinse and dry all 3 sections and see which you like best. If the color still isn't quite right, see a Sally associate or call our help line (929-48-SALLY).

How to Color Your Hair at Home Step-by-Step

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Upgrade Your Box Color

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Want an even easier option? Pro-quality hair color kits are your one-stop-shop with everything you need to mix & apply your perfect shade.

How to Cover Up Gray Roots at Home

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Temporary Root Fix

Image One: a woman with blonde straight hair standing back to back with a woman with warm brown curly hair, Image Two: Woman with brown straight hair looking downwards. a woman with blonde straight hair standing back to back with a woman with warm brown curly hair

If you have a sprinkling of gray (think your roots or face-framing pieces), you might consider root spray or root powder. Both options provide temporary coverage until they're washed out.

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Learn More About Coloring Your Hair At Home

Color Theory Basics w/ Gregory Patterson

Textured Hair Color DIY Tutorial

How to Apply Demi & Semi-Permanent Color

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Shop Your Best Color

Best for Shine

A high gloss finish hydrates hair & leaves it feeling softer, stronger & smoother.

Shop ion® Color Brilliance Permanent Gloss Hair Color

Best Budget Option

Healthy-looking, shiny hair at an affordable price point.
*Compare to Redken Shades EQ

Shop GVP Demi-Permanent Gloss Liquid Hair Color

Best for Stubborn Gray

Pure micro pigments deliver deeper, more intense color deposit.

Shop ion® Color Brilliance Permanent Crème Hair Color

Best for Dark Hair

Lifts 3-4 levels without having to pre-lighten hair.

Shop ion® Color Brilliance True Tones for Dark Hair

Best Conditioning Color

A naturally-derived polymer helps smooth hair after damage from chemical treatments.

Shop ion® Inspired by Nature Permantent Crème Hair Color

Best for Textured Hair

Keeps curl pattern intact.

Shop Matrix Coil Color

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Shop After-Color Care

Make your color last longer & keep it looking fresh