Worried young man considers the best way to cover up his grey hair

Discover The Best and Worst Ways to Cover Up Grey Hair

Not Ready to Embrace Your Greys? You Are Not Alone

Your first grey hair can be unnerving. Your silvery strands could be your first visible sign of aging. You don’t feel older, but your greying hair is telling a different story. 

Maybe you’re not ready for the salt and pepper in your beard or along your temples. You might be ok with a few silver locks, but you want it to stop there. That’s why hair color was invented, right?

As a hairstylist that’s usually where I come into the conversation. Clients turn to me for advice on the best ways to cover up their grey hair. When my client Allison Conrad saw her hair turning grey, she took a different approach.


A Different Approach to Going Grey

One of our reasons for founding Arey is our concern about the links between permanent hair dye and an increased risk of cancer.1 This is especially true for permanent box dyes from the drugstore that can contain ingredients linked with cancer.2 Many also contain harsh chemicals like ammonia that can dry out your hair, leaving it brittle and damaged. Salon dyes tend to be safer because your stylist doesn’t saturate your whole head. That means your scalp is exposed to fewer chemicals. Salon color also lasts longer. 

We wanted to find a way to support you in your greying journey so we decided to dig into the science of why hair turns grey.

We were excited to discover that only 30% of the reason you go grey is caused by your genetics – the rest is lifestyle and other factors. So we decided to found Arey, to create products that support aging and greying hair.

Coloring your hair or going full silver fox is a deeply personal decision. If you're like the majority of my clients, you want to look the age that you feel. A full head of grey hair just might not feel like the true you. 

Whether you are delaying the grey or covering your grey hair, you need to make the best choice for your hair health. Here’s what I tell my clients about the best grey hair solutions.


Are Lowlights or Highlights Better for Grey Hair?

If you are looking for a low-impact, natural effect then lowlights are a safer way to color grey hair. Your stylist uses foils to apply the color so it doesn’t lie directly on your scalp. That means less exposure to chemicals and fewer potential allergic reactions.

woman in salon gets lowlights to color her grey hair

Lowlights are a good grey hair solution because they create a blend of color with your natural hair. That means there’s no hard transition as your roots grow out. With lowlights, you can go for up to 4 months between salon visits which can be a big saving in time and money.

I don’t recommend highlights for grey hair coverage. Highlights are less healthy because they rely on bleach. Bleach works by permanently removing any remaining color from the innermost part of your hair – the cortex. This can damage the outer layer of the hair strand – the cuticle – leading to split ends, breakage, and frizz.2


Can You Use Semi-Permanent Color on Grey Hair?

Semi-permanent hair dye is another way to avoid a harsh line along your root regrowth. Unfortunately, it’s not a good way to cover up grey hair. That’s because greys tend to be more porous on the ends than the roots, resulting in uneven, patchy color.

Most people have finer hair around their hairline. Fine hair absorbs color well and so you could find yourself with much darker color around your face. In my experience, hair that is too dark is often more aging than your natural silvers would be. 


Is Permanent Hair Color Safe for Grey Hair?

If you have more than 20% grey, most colorists recommend permanent color as your best option to fully cover grey hair. 

I spend a lot of time talking my clients out of permanent hair color. I believe permanent color should be an absolute last resort because it’s a life sentence. You're going to have to do it forever or endure a long grow-out process. 

Here are a few reasons why I advise my clients not to use permanent hair color:

    • You’re risking your health: the dye sits directly on your scalp where it can be absorbed and cause allergic reactions and potentially cancer.

    • Frequent exposure to chemicals: most people need to touch up their roots every 4-6 weeks which means a lot of stress on your scalp and hair. 

    • Your roots show in about a week: your hair only looks perfect for one week out of every five.

    • You’re damaging your hair: each coloring session covers new growth and already dyed hair. Repeated exposure to dye can cause breakage, dryness, and a change in overall texture.

    • You could be causing more grey hair: chemicals in dye can cause strands to permanently lose pigment. You may actually be making yourself greyer. 

I often counsel my clients that permanent dye can make them look older. Grey roots say aging so much more than a beautiful head of hair with some silver. 

woman with grey hair roots

Seeing a grey-haired version of yourself in the mirror is a big adjustment. I tell my clients to stop worrying about covering your grey hair, and instead focus on having your best hair. Healthy, soft, and silky hair with a great cut is always youthful. 

At Arey, Allison and I approach greying and aging hair positively. That’s why we developed Arey’s science-based system of grey hair solutions and premature grey hair treatments. We want you to have healthy, effective options for your grey hair.


Yes, There Is a Natural Alternative to Dying Your Grey Hair

Allison and I wanted to find a safe way to control greys with science-backed solutions.

We like to make things easy so we created a bundle called The System. This combination of two core Arey products work together to address the causes of greying and aging hair. 

The System tackles the nutritional and environmental stressors that cause grey hair: 

Not Today, Greya daily supplement containing a science-backed combination of vitamins and minerals for your best hair health.

To The Root – a topical serum that boosts hair growth and scalp health.

The System Bundle is an effective way to slow and delay grey hair. The System is designed to:

    • Slow grey hair growth

    • Repigment hair in the early stages of greying

    • Boost hair growth for thicker, fuller hair

    • Nourish your scalp and hair 

Many people who use The System see results within 90 days.

Images show natural grey hair reversal from using Arey anti-aging haircare

Colored, Natural or Low-Lighted, Why Your Grey Hair Needs Specialized Care

Even if you’re covering up your greys, you can help your hair health by using products specially designed for the needs of grey hair

Here’s what I recommend for healthy, balanced hair: 

Cleanse With Care: grey hair is easily damaged. Look for a gentle shampoo without harsh cleansing sulfates. 

Grey Hair Needs Moisture: look for conditioners with ingredients that nourish and strengthen your hair strands. 

A Healthy Scalp Means Healthy Hair: even the cleanest hair can be hiding scalp buildup. The solution – exfoliate your scalp with a gentle scrub. Regular exfoliation also allows the scalp and follicle to benefit from topical growth and grey hair treatments.

Promote Hair Growth and Strengthening: diet and lifestyle are also important for your healthiest hair. Luckily, there’s no need to start eating like an athlete. A nutritionally-balanced supplement helps your hair get the vitamins and minerals it needs. 

Grey Hair Needs Sunscreen: as a California-based stylist, I see how sunshine dehydrates grey hair and can even turn it yellow. You already protect your skin from sun damage – you can protect your hair the same way with sunscreen for your hair. 

Protect Your Grey Hair from Heat Styling: Mend absorbs deeply into your hair to hydrate, smooth the cuticle and protect it from heat styling. Mend is the extra step your hair needs to reduce the appearance of split ends, protect hair from heat damage and prevent breakage.

At Arey, our core belief is that haircare should be easy, clean, healthy, and effective. Whether you choose to cover your greys or embrace them, we want your greying hair to be the best it can be. 

At Arey, We Care About Your Hair Health

That’s what motivates us to develop science-based haircare solutions for aging hair. Arey products provide balanced care for all hair types. We want to make it easy for you to do the right thing for your hair. 

We care about your hair health. That’s why all subscriptions receive a 25% discount. We want you to stay on track with your hair goals. Because we know that science + consistency = results.

We are Arey.

Aging is beautiful – but if you’re looking to delay your greys, we are here for you with science-based, effective solutions. Any questions? Check out our FAQs or email us at hey@areygrey.com.

Jay Small, Stylist and co-founder of Arey, cuts a client’s hair

AuthorJay SmallJay Small is a sought-after hair stylist in Los Angeles with over 18 years of experience. His clients consist of high-profile business and creative leaders. He trained as an apprentice to the owner of Paul Mitchell and worked in education and product development for Paul Mitchell Systems. Jay is incredibly passionate about the creative process both in terms of styling hair and developing effective products.


  1. Hair dye poisoning and the developing world
  2. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/substances/hair-dyes-fact-sheet
  3. healthline.com/health/hydrogen-peroxide-hair