In today’s Haircolor lesson, I am going to share with you my
8 strategies for covering resistant gray hair.
They will help you “Tweak” (get more out of) your Demi-Colors and help you get better performance out of your Permanent haircolors when trying to cover that stubborn gray hair.
Use them in descending and accumulative order.
In other words, first, try #1. If that doesn’t do it, try #1 and #2 together, etc.
8 Strategies for Covering Resistant Gray Hair
#1 ——-Take Thinner Sections
In order to get adequate gray (non-pigmented) coverage, each individual hair must be completely coated with hair color. Sometimes we tend to make our sections too thick, picking up way too much hair at once and putting tint on only the exterior of the section. When we do this, the hair on the inside of that thick section does not get adequately saturated with tint and the result will look patchy on the gray (non-pigmented) hair and/or the gray (non-pigmented) hair will look stained but still visible.
#2 ——- Apply Product on Both Sides of a Section
As you pick up each section, be sure that to paint tint on both sides of the section, not just on the top or bottom of a section. I often see this when someone is in a rush to get through and starts looking for shortcuts.
#3 ——— Use Extra Product
This does not mean to be wasteful, but so many times we try to stretch a tube or bottle of hair color when we really should use another ounce or two of product. If you try to skimp on product during the first application, you may find that you’ll need to use a second batch of product to redo the entire head. You will also have to use your valuable time to reapply it.
#4 ——— Extend the Timing
Once you’ve tried #1, #2 & #3 on a client and you’re still having problems covering his/her gray (non-pigmented) hair, start leaving on the color for an extra 15 to 20 minutes. This will really make a difference if you are using demi-color.
I think you’ll find that, if all these techniques are used, most of your gray (non-pigmented) coverage problems will be resolved.
However, if they are not, the following techniques can be used.
#5 ——– Switch to Permanent Color
If, at this point, you are still using demi-hair color on your client, consider switching to permanent hair color. Some gray (non-pigmented) hair is simply too resistant and coarse to use a demi-color and you need the extra amount of ammonia and peroxide, which only a permanent hair color can supply. However, you can still use the demi-color on the lengths and ends for color balancing, while using the permanent hair color on the new re-growth only.
#6 ——— Double Pigmentation
Double pigmentation is a technique used on very resistant gray (non-pigmented) hair for full head applications. It is a technique whereby you actually use twice the amount of hair color than you would normally use, not increasing the amount of developer, but, instead, increasing the volume from 20 volume to 30 volume.
Example: 4oz. 30-Volume Developer to 4oz. tint,
a ratio of 2:1 becomes 1:1
What this actually does is give double the amount of dye load in your formula in order to try to infuse extra dye molecules into the cortex layer of the hair. Using 30-volume developer instead of 20 volume gives the formula more much-needed oxygen in order to develop the dye molecules faster and, at the same time, remove some of the natural hair color molecules.
#7 ——– Pre-Pigmentation with Hair Color
Pre-pigmentation is a technique used to achieve gray (non-pigmented) coverage on specific areas of the head. i.e.: temples, parting or any other resistant area. It uses the principle, which we all heard about in beauty school called “pre-softening”. However, in beauty school we were always told to pre-soften with peroxide, which is an acid. I believe this to be wrong. An acid actually closes down instead of opening up the cuticle layer of the hair, which is what you need in order to allow the color to penetrate and do its job in the cortex of the hair.
What you really need to do is pre-soften or pre-pigment with hair color, which is an alkaline instead of an acid. An alkaline product such as hair color will actually open up the cuticle layer of the hair. This allows the color molecules to
penetrate and develop deeper into the hair shaft in order to allow for maximum gray (non-pigmented) coverage.
The procedure is as follows…
Isolate the areas of the head, which you want to pre-pigment and then select a high lifting shade of tint. It really doesn’t matter what shade you select because all we are looking for is something with a high ammonia content which will be present in any high -lifting shade (i.e.: 12a, 12n, 12g). By the way, this high-lifting tint has nothing to do with the finished desired color.
At this point, if you are using a tube color, mix it with a little water in order to give a better viscosity with which to work. (About ½ oz. of a high-lifting tint and a ½ oz. of water should do the job). If you are using a liquid tint, you don’t have to mix it at all. Just use it straight out of the bottle.
Using a piece of cotton or a tint brush, apply a little of this high-lift tint mixture to the isolated resistant areas of the head.
Let it set there while you mix and apply your actual desired shade to the rest of the hair. This will usually take about 10 to 15 minutes. After you’ve completed applying the desired shade to the rest of the hair, with a towel, wipe off the high lift tint in the areas where you applied it and then go right over these areas with your desired shade.
Process the color for the normal time and check for adequate gray coverage before you shampoo. If gray (non-pigmented) is still not covered, leave the tint on the hair for an extra l0 to 15 minutes.
Note: For extremely resistant gray (non-pigmented) hair, you can use the above technique, but instead of using a high lift tint, use mild bleach lightener.
#8 ———- Use a Darker Color
If all else fails, the final technique requires you to try using a darker color. At first, try using your existing formula with a ¼ tube of the next darker level. If you are still not covering the gray (non-pigmented), try using ½ tube of the next darker level and continue in this manner until you have success.
Also, if your client’s hair is resistant only in a certain area such as the temples, use this technique only on that area.
Note: If you are trying to cover gray (non-pigmented) with blonde tint, you must go darker than a level 8 in order to achieve adequate gray (non-pigmented) coverage.
If you would like more information on working on Gray Hair, Check out my Book “Great Gray Coverage” or my Webinar on this subject.