What is the Best Hair Color for Grey Hair in 2019?

Brown haired woman smiling outdoors after finding the best hair color to replace her grey hair with.

When we spot that first grey strand, it can provoke a pretty strong reaction. While some of us might be quite happy to proudly sport a full head of gleaming silver locks, others want to cover up and maintain their existing natural color. Others still might want to use the opportunity to go wild with color!

Whatever your own feelings about grey hair, deciding whether or not to cover it up is a personal choice. If you decide you want to color your hair, there are some important points that you might want to consider before taking the plunge.

In this article we discuss different options for coloring hair, why some are more appropriate for grey hair than others, problems and solutions when coloring grey hair, and at the end we’ll review some of the most popular picks on the market.

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Product
Product Details
Our #1 Rated

L'Oreal

Age Perfect by Excellence

Age Perfect by Excellence
Created for people of mature years, this product creates fuller hair with gentle layered tones.
Our #1 Rated

L'Oreal

Age Perfect by Excellence

Created for people of mature years, this product creates fuller hair with gentle layered tones.

Developlus

Satin 6N Dark Blonde

Satin 6N Dark Blonde
Includes micro molecules to ensuring that coloring doesn’t fade. Aloe vera feeds the hair and leaves it shiny.

Developlus

Satin 6N Dark Blonde

Includes micro molecules to ensuring that coloring doesn’t fade. Aloe vera feeds the hair and leaves it shiny.

Clairol

Nice'n Easy Permanent

Nice'n Easy Permanent
Medium reddish blonde coloring with a clean floral fragrance. Covers 100 percent of gray hair. Allergy gentle.

Clairol

Nice'n Easy Permanent

Medium reddish blonde coloring with a clean floral fragrance. Covers 100 percent of gray hair. Allergy gentle.

Goldwell

Topchic Hair Color

Topchic Hair Color
An alkaline hair colorant. It contains added hydrolyzed wheat protein and pantheon to add both strength and shine.

Goldwell

Topchic Hair Color

An alkaline hair colorant. It contains added hydrolyzed wheat protein and pantheon to add both strength and shine.

Schwarzkopf

Color Ultime

Color Ultime
Provides vivid colors, with a formula that is designed to prevent fading for up to nine weeks. Increases shine.

Schwarzkopf

Color Ultime

Provides vivid colors, with a formula that is designed to prevent fading for up to nine weeks. Increases shine.

Different Types of Hair Dyes

It can be a bit nerve wracking to color hair – especially for the first time. Our hair is a big part of our identity, and no-one wants to end up with those undesirable results we’ve all heard about.

Thankfully, there are several different options for coloring you hair yourself – and if you’re not happy with the outcome, not all hair color is permanent!

Wash Out Color

This type of hair color does exactly what it says – it washes out after a minimal number of washes. This type of hair color comes in different forms from hair mascara and hair chalk to spray-in color.

This is a great option for people who aren’t sure about coloring their hair and want to experiment with different shades, although the color most likely will not cover your grey very well.

Semi-Permanent Color

Application kits for this type of color are widely available, and offer a more permanent solution than wash out coloring. With semi-permanent, the hair dye gradually fades every time you wash it.

How quickly the color fades depends on the color you use and your specific hair. It can last anywhere from four to twelve washes.

One big advantage of semi-permanent color is that because the color fades gently, you don’t get the harsh root re-growth as with permanent hair color. This can be very obvious when it comes to grey hair, depending on your chosen hair dye color.

One drawback, however, is that semi-permanent colors tend not to be great for full coverage of grey hair.

Permanent Color

These are fairly self-explanatory; hair color that grows out rather than washing out. In terms of hair color options and optimum coverage, permanent is the best.

Permanent hair color needs to be mixed with a developer crème to activate it, and often contains ammonia, which allows the color to penetrate the outer layer of the hair strand. However, ammonia can also make hair very dry – especially if it’s grey. Many experts recommend ammonia-free hair colors for this reason. (source)

There are lots of different brands of hair color available on the market in a wide range of different shades. Look for a product which specifically states that it has been developed to cover grey, as not all permanent hair colors are for grey hair.

The main drawbacks of permanent hair color are firstly that you can’t simply wash the color out if you decide it doesn’t suit you – the color has to grow out, although most will fade to some extent after the first few weeks.

This leads us nicely onto the second downside: as the color grows out, your grey roots will be clearly visible. There are different ways to deal with this, however.

There is root touch-up treatment available, which blends your gray roots to make them less visible between color applications. When it comes to coloring roots, you can apply hair color to the roots and leave it on for the manufacturer’s specified time period before applying the color to the rest of your hair to achieve an even color.

Problems When Coloring Grey Hair

Grey haired elderly woman smiling at us confidently at home.

Grey hair is often thicker and coarser than other types of hair, and this can make it difficult to color, as it’s more difficult for the dye to penetrate the hair strands.

Another problem is that the chemicals in hair dye often make grey hair very dry. It’s important to leave the product on for the minimum amount of time you need to for the color to take, and to use a good conditioner – leave-in conditioners are generally good for grey hair after coloring.

The resistance of grey hair to coloring also makes it more difficult to preserve the color and prevent it from fading. Washing hair can make color fade faster, so use a mild shampoo and wash your hair as infrequently as possible after coloring.

Top Tips for Safely Coloring Grey Hair

Here is our quick start guide to coloring your hair – and avoiding some of the pitfalls.

If you are at all worried about coloring your hair, try a wash out color or semi-permanent color rather than a permanent dye.

Most home hair color kits will tell you to do a strand test before you color your hair. It is very important to do the strand test. Everyone’s hair is different, and you can check to see if you are happy with the results before you dive in…quite literally head first!

Make sure you have plenty of time, minimal distractions, and you’re working in a suitable room. A bathroom is ideal, especially if you can have everything laid out in front of you, so you’re ready to go.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions exactly. In particular, keep a close eye on the time the hair color is in contact with your hair.

Saturate all of your hair with the hair coloring solution – particularly at the roots and around the hairline – and make sure that all your grey hairs are fully covered.

Massage the solution into your hair thoroughly to make sure every strand is coated.

If you are really unhappy with your results, or for a color change that is dramatically different from your natural color, seek professional help from a reputable hairdresser.

What Is the Best Color for Grey Hair?

In our quest to find the best color for grey hair, we chose five different permanent hair colors for review and summarized their pros and cons to give you some help in choosing the right product for you.

Our #1 Rated
Our pick our #1 rated

L'Oreal Paris

Age Perfect

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

There’s no doubting L’Oreal’s huge market presence and reputation in hair care and beauty. Their Age Perfect range has been specifically developed for predominantly grey hair, and comes in a convenient kit with everything necessary for one application.

In general users agreed that this is a great product which does an excellent job of coloring grey hair evenly, although a small number of users found that it didn’t work well for them, and commented that the color faded quickly. Most people, however felt that this was a great value for money option.

Pros
Pro Range of 14 color shades
Pro Layered tones for a natural look
Pro Formulated with pro-keratine complex
Pro Fade resistant color
Pro Excellent coverage – specifically for grey hair
Pro Convenient single application kit includes hair color
Pro developer
Pro conditioning treatment and applicator brush
Cons
Con A minority of users found the color didn’t cover grey well
Con or the color faded quickly
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our #2 Rated
Our pick our #2 rated

Developlus

Satin Color #6N Dark Blonde

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

This color from Developlus is an interesting product as it can be mixed with different kinds of developing lotion to form either a permanent or semi-permanent hair color. This allows the flexibility of trying out a color before deciding to make it permanent.

Users were impressed with the rich color and great coverage, which lasted for much longer than some other brands they had used previously. The only minor drawback is that some users found the color turned out slightly darker than they had anticipated.

Pros
Pro Range of 72 color shades
Pro Aloe vera based
Pro Less than 1% ammonia
Pro Can be used as semi-permanent or permanent color
Pro Fade resistant color
Pro Great coverage
Cons
Con Some shades slightly darker than users expected
 
 
 
 
 

Our #3 Rated
Our pick our #3 rated

Clairol

Nice 'n Easy Permanent Color

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

Clairol is a well-established reputable brand in the hair and beauty industry. This particular product has been on the market for many years, which shows it is popular with consumers in general.

The majority of people were very happy with this hair color, reporting that it covers grey hair very well, and leaves hair feeling healthy, thick and full. A few people felt that this color faded too quickly, but most commented that though the color is very vibrant at first, it settles down after a few days and lasts well without fading.

Pros
Pro Range of 47 color shades
Pro Blended highlights and lowlights for a natural look
Pro Fade resistant color
Pro 100% coverage
Pro Convenient single home hair application kit includes hair color
Pro developer and conditioning treatment
Cons
Con A small number of users found the color faded quickly
 
 
 
 
 

Our #4 Rated
Our pick our #4 rated

Goldwell

Topchic Hair Color

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

Users were generally very impressed with this product from Goldwell; most people found it easy to apply and reported great results in terms of hair health, thickness and shine.

Most people found that this product was excellent at covering grey hair, with lasting results, although a few users commented that their color faded quickly, and a minority of people felt their selected shade ended up too brassy.

Pros
Pro Range of 63 color shades
Pro Contains hair strengthening and conditioning oils
Pro Long lasting color
Pro 100% grey coverage
Cons
Con A minority of users found their color faded prematurely
Con A few users found some of the lighter shades too brassy
 
 

Our #5 Rated
Our pick our #5 rated

Schwarzkopf

Color Ultime

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

The problem with many hair colorants is that they fade away too quickly. However, with this Schwarzkopf product, that’s not the case. The specially designed formula enables the hair to have lustrous and vivid colors for an incredible nine weeks—from just one application.

Easy to apply, it works deep into the hair from the tip down to the roots. Ensuring that there are no tell-tale gray hairs to give away the secret.

This product provides everything you need in one box—gloves, color cream and developing lotion. There is even a post-coloring condition to add an extra glow to your hair.

Pros
Pro 9 weeks of color.
Pro 100% gray coverage.
Pro Includes conditioning treatment.
Pro Vivid shine.
Cons
Con Includes ammonia.
 
 
 

Our Choice for the Best Hair Color for Grey Hair

Of the five products we reviewed, it was the L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Permanent Hair Color which came in at the top of our list as the best hair color for grey hair. In addition to the reputable brand, most users liked the convenience of having everything in one kit.

The majority of people thought this product did an excellent job of covering grey hair, with a nice, natural resulting color and well-conditioned hair. The only drawbacks of this product are the comparatively narrow choice of shades and some users found their color faded prematurely.

All in all, however, the vast majority of people found this hair color kit easy to use and apply, and gave great results and great value for money.

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