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What Are the Different Types of Gray Hair Coloring?

A hair dyeing kit.
Permanent hair color won't wash out.
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  • Written By: Jodee Redmond
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2014
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People looking for gray hair coloring products have several options to choose from. Temporary hair dyes will cover the gray without the user needing to commit to a particular shade over the long term. Another option for keeping gray hairs at bay is to consider a semi-permanent hair dye. Permanent color is also available, and this option is for those who are prepared to live with their color choice for some time.

A person who is interested in covering up gray hairs but is not sure if he or she would be happy with a particular shade can choose one of the temporary gray hair coloring products on the market. Designed to coat the surface of the hair shaft, these products wash out over two or three shampoos. This type of hair coloring product can be formulated as a spray, gel or rinse.

The semi-permanent gray hair coloring products penetrate into the hair shaft itself. This choice provides longer-lasting color than the temporary dyes. An individual who chooses this option can expect the artificial color to slowly fade out over between five and 10 shampoos. Someone who is fairly confident they can live with the color they have selected would choose this option to deal with the issue of gray hair.

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Permanent hair color products penetrate deeply into the hair shaft. The consumer who wants to use one of these gray hair coloring products will find that the packaging contains two solutions that must be mixed together for the hair dye to work properly. The base for the product may be a liquid or a lotion, and contains hydrogen peroxide. When it is combined with ammonia and colored dye, the resulting mixture can be applied to the hair to change its color and cover up any gray hairs by adding pigment to them. This hair color option will not fade out when the hair is washed.

Men who want to use gray hair coloring products may choose a product that gradually covers the gray over time. These products are called progressive dyes. The person using them can control the amount of gray coverage they get.

The progressive dye works by penetrating the cuticles of the hair. Once the solution reaches the cuticles, it causes them to produce lead sulfide. Since the lead sulfide is a dark color, it causes the hair on the person's head to appear darker. With continued use, more lead sulfide is produced and the gray hair is replaced by darker locks.

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browncoat
Post 3

@bythewell - That's a shame for your mother. She should have gone to a hair dresser to fix her hair. They could have stripped back the henna and re-colored it something else.

Personally, I think people should stop coloring gray hair altogether. It's just a natural part of growing older.

I mean sure, if you like having your hair a particular color, go for it, but I think people get too anxious about what others will think of them if they show any signs of age.

Age should be an indicator of wisdom, or at least life experience. Not seen as some kind of weakness.

bythewell
Post 2

@indigomoth - The henna works well for your friend because she has thick dark hair which isn't that old or particularly grey yet.

My mother was recommended to use henna to make her hair look younger and it was an absolute disaster for her, mostly because she was given bad advice.

She has near white, once red hair, and it is fairly damaged as well. She put a henna that was supposed to be red, into her hair and was told to leave it there for four hours to make sure she covered everything.

Unfortunately, she didn't do a spot check, so when she finally came to wash out her hair, it was a big surprise. It was so orange, she said it practically glowed in the dark. She was absolutely horrified, especially because she works in a public position and people would be sure to comment if she went into work with hair such a bizarre color.

Of course it was too late to wash out, so in the end she had to go find a darker hair color dye and put it through her hair in order to try and correct it. I think it took a while before she was happy with her hair again.

indigomoth
Post 1

You might also consider using henna hair color if you want to cover grey hairs.

My friend is in her mid-30's and she's Indian so it's part of her heritage to use henna in her hair. She has a sort of henna and shea butter mixture that she puts in her hair every week to condition it.

She does have quite a few hairs that would be white if she didn't do this, but as it is they show up as a dark red against her black hair because of the henna.

They gradually lighten over the week because the mixture she uses isn't very strong, but at no point do they become very noticeable which is the point I guess.

I don't even think she does it in order to hide the hairs, that's just an additional benefit. The henna and conditioning oils are more to make her hair healthy and manageable and they really work well as far as I'm concerned.

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