FAQ: How Should I Color My Resistant Gray Hair?

Hi, I was wondering if you have any suggestions for a permanent hair color that covers gray hair. I use "Nice and Easy", but my hair seems to have gotten resistant to that now. Which volume of developer is best for maximum grey coverage?

Your problem is in your hair cuticle, which is very "tight" (pigment has a hard time penetrating into the hair). It was probably always stubborn, but because now you have more of it, you can notice "the pale look" of your hair after coloring it. You could try this:

  • always do an allergy test 48 hours prior to coloring
  • keep the color mixture on extra 10 minutes
  • mix the color with a darker shade; example - if you color your hair with medium brown, buy also dark brown and mix 3/4 medium brown with 1/4 dark brown
  • if you color your hair with one of ash or golden tones or red tones, you need to add to the mixture a color that is a balanced; example - if you color your hair with light ash blond, mix 3/4 light ash blond with 1/4 light blond if you do not have too many grays.... the more gray hair you have the more light blond you need to use
  • you can pre-soften your hair (make the cuticle less stubborn) prior to coloring; apply the 20 Volume peroxide to your regrowth and let sit for about 10 minutes. Then rinse the hair, towel dry gently, let air dry or use cool settings on your dryer (the water in hair would dilute your tint) and then apply your mixed tint to your regrowth
Every permanent color uses 20 volume peroxide (developer), which is the best for a gray coverage. Lower number (10 volume) or higher number (30 or 40 volume) developers are not best for gray coverage.

There are other permanent hair color products on the market that cover the gray hair, such as:

  • Clairol (Nice & Easy, Perfect 10,...)
  • L'Oreal (Excellence, Preference, Feria...)
  • Garnier (Nutrisse)
  • Revlon (Colorsilk)


This post should be taken as a first step for a discussion with your hairdresser and/or colorist about your ideas, desires or problems with your hair. Under no circumstances, you should act upon this post ONLY. I strongly advice you to have your hair done by a skilled and reputable hairdresser/colorist in your area.


  1. Thank you so much for always giving me such awesome advice:) If I use a L'oreal color, can I use a Clairol developer or is it best to keep the line the same? Do you have a recommendation for a developer?
    Also, when I presoften the hair like you described, can I do that the day before coloring or should it be right before?

    1. It is always the best to buy products from the same company. Some of them add something to their color which may make it too runny instead of thick (I used a Clairol developer with Wella tint and the color mixture was dripping like crazy - I had to have my assistant stand next to my client a keep wiping her forhead)
      I think it may be OK to pre-soften one day ahead. I never pre-softened hair one day ahead. You could try both ways and see if there is any difference. The peroxide is supposed to lift the scales a bit and I do not think they will close.

  2. Wow this things only i am searching,Now i got a exact match for my hair,Thanks a lot for your ideas...

  3. I LOVE this site!! You give such great advice!!! Thank you so much.Do you have a preference between wella color charm and clairol pure white developers?
    Also, I have dyed blue black hair with electric blue streaks. I color my grey roots blue black only in the front and sides, and have never done the back(its easy to tip my head to the front when rinsing to prevent bleeding into the blue streaks). This time I would like to do the back, and I was wondering if you had any tips to prevent the blue black dye from running into the streaks when I rinse the dye out?
    I hope you are well after the storm.

  4. Hi, yes we finally got electricity after 9 days but our lives are fabulous if I compare it to displaced people in NY, NJ. however we do not have internet and we are waiting for the company to attach the cable wire to the pole. So it is not easy to blog :-(

    If you have a lot of hair then Wella would be better because you get more tint, since you have to mix the tint with double amount of developer.

    When tinting the back of your head make sure the tint doesnt run into other areas, then just rinse it very fast so the color touches your blue streaks as little as possible. Then shampoo very well. There is really not a way around it.

    1. Thank you so much:) I'm soo sorry you do not have internet, please don't go through the trouble of replying unless you are ready to:) My parents just got electricity yesterday.
      The ratio of hair color to developer you recommend is one part color to two parts developer? Wow, I did not know that, I was always mixing it in an equal ratio. Thanks so much for that tip as well as all the advice:)
      I completely agree with you, we are blessed...the storm affected people in such disasterous ways, and things will never be the same for them.

    2. Yes, for Wella Color Charm the ratio is 2 parts of developer and 1 part of tint. Once, on a very busy day, I made a mistake and without thinking which product I am using, I mixed it in 1:1 ratio, which made the color darker - that is after it was processed on the client... I guess with black color it almost doesn't matter, but with lighter shades (browns and lighter) it does...

      This is so much better to answer questions - my cell was not very giving for blogging... I just got my internet back.... phew...

  5. Thank you so much for responding:) Glad to know you got internet back:)When pre-softening my hair with the 20 volume peroxide for 10 minutes, should I blow dry my hair with the peroxide in? Does that help soften the cuticles more? Also, can I apply the color(tint+developer) directly to my hair afterwards without rinsing it off?

    1. The peroxide will help to semi open a cuticle, which will always stay semi open from now on (that is why some people see their hair "dry" looking after coloring). So no it will not really help as you would think. You should rinse the hair and then dry it. Do not use heat (the best is a cool air or air dry it) because the heat would open your scalp pores and if you apply tint it could penetrate into your scalp lot easier. The reason why your hair should be dry is so the tint doesn't get diluted, thus weaker. It would not color as well.

  6. Gray color method is well suit my hair.Your tips are more ease to handle in home itself.


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