manic panic on grey hair

How to Use Vibrant Hair Colours on Natural Gray Hair

Temporary and Semi-Permanent Hair Colours:

There are four types of hair dyes: Permanent dye, Demi-permanent, Semi-permanent, and Temporary hair dyes.

Permanent and Demi-permanent hair colours penetrate the cuticles to give hair a long-term colour. As we embrace our natural gray hair, they are useless to us.

For a short-term hair makeover instantly, without causing any harm to virgin grey hair, semi-permanent and temporary hair dyes can be used.

The difference between these two types of colours is as below:

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Semi-Permanent Hair Colours

About: Semi-Permanent hair colours are ammonia and bleach-free formulas that create a layer of colour over the hair without penetrating the cuticle.

How long it lasts: It stays on hair for about 4 to 12 shampoos depending on the hair’s porosity, texture, and condition.

Types: Semi-permanent hair colours are available in the form of shampoos, conditioners, masks, gels, etc.

Effect on gray hair: Semi-permanent colours add shine and moisturize gray hair without changing its structure.

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Temporary Hair Colours

About: Temporary hair colours just stain or deposit colour on the hair’s surface, giving an instant colour to hair.

How long it lasts: Temporary hair colours are like makeup. You can apply it and wash it off with a single hair wash.

Types: Temporary hair colours can be in the form of liquids, powders, sprays, mascara root touch-up wands, or chalks.

The difference Semi-Permanent colors make on Gray Hair:

Blend the Demarcation Line:

It’s an excellent way to camouflage the harsh line of demarcation, most prominent during the initial few months of growing out gray hair.

Here are a few inspirational pictures of the silver sisters who applied semi-permanent colours on their hair in a creative way to deal with the skunk line.

before temporary hair color
after temporary hair color
before temporary hair color
after temporary hair color
before temporary hair color
before temporary hair color

Beat the Brassiness:

It’s common to see the yellowness in the dyed part of the hair, which emerges after the dye starts fading after a few months of growing the silver roots.

Though silver shampoos are a way to tone down the brassiness, temporary colours can be a fun way to hide discolouration.

Below are pictures of some silver sisters who preferred playing with colours to deal with their brassy hair.

before temporary hair color
after temporary hair color
before temporary hair color
manic panic
before temporary hair color
after temporary hair color

Disguise the Damage:

Hair colour lightening formulas generally damage the dyed part of the hair, as some of the silver sisters go through while getting highlights or blending done at home or salon.

Using hot tools at high temperatures is also one of the causes of damage that is irreversible, and many women end up getting a haircut to get rid of the damage. 

Using semi-permanent colours can be an excellent idea to deal with the damage without compromising the length of the hair. 

( Note: If your hair is damaged, it means you have more porous hair resulting in the chances of colour penetrating the hair shaft and staining it, making it more permanent than temporary on gray hair. I would advise you to do a porosity check before.)

Inspirational Pictures of Temporary Color on Natural Gray Hair:

Have a look at the before and after pictures of these gorgeous ladies with vibrant colours on their hair to get an idea of what difference temporary/semi-permanent hair colour makes.

before temporary hair color
after temporary hair color
before temporary hair color
after temporary hair color
manic panic on grey hair
before temporary hair color
after temporary hair color
before temporary hair color
highlight hair
purple colour on natural grey hair
funky colours on gray hair
manic panic
before temporary hair color
before temporary hair color
before temporary hair color
after temporary hair color
before temporary hair color
manic panic

A few more…

temporary color on natural gray hair
manic panic
manic panic
manic panic
after temporary hair color
temporary hair dye
manic panic
gray purple hair

Below are a few images showing hair colours done by professionals in the salon.

A few pictures show colouring on natural gray hair, while some looks are artificially achieved in salons on pigmented hair. 

temporary hair dye on grey hair
manic panic
temporary hair dye on grey hair
temporary hair dye on grey hair
temporary hair dye on grey hair
temporary hair dye on grey hair

Points to Consider Before Applying Temporary Colors:

  1. Make sure to do a strand test that will give you a better idea of the end results, processing time, allergies, and the number of washes in which the colour goes away. Do a small strand test and wait weeks to ensure it completely fades.
  2. The colour results vary from person to person, depending on the shade and texture of the hair. Like the results will be different for salt and pepper hair and a whole head of silvers.
  3. The time the color takes to come out from hair depends on various factors like -the porosity, texture, thickness, and health of hair, the water you use and the hair care products you use on your coloured hair, and the usage of hot tools.
  4. Leaving in colour on hair for more time than instructed may increase the intensity of the colour resulting in a more brightened colour.
  5. There’s no need for bleach. It’s just about as easy as hair colouring can get.

You might also like reading: 10 Ideas to Hide Gray Hair Demarcation Line

Popular Temporary Hair Colour Products:

These products are not just popular but also have been widely used and trusted by our silver sisters. 

Handy Tips

1. Hair Color Apps

hair color apps

To help you know better what colour suits you, here are a few popular apps to try different colours. As picking a colour for your hair depends on various factors like your skin tone, eyes color and also what colour of clothes you prefer to wear!

2. Preparation Before Application

Some of the products can be messy to use. Make sure to have a hair coloring brush, disposable gloves, an old T-shirt before the application and some newspaper to protect your room/bathroom. Use Vaseline around your hairline and your ears to avoid staining your skin.

3. Porosity Check

Here’s a simple trick to know your hair porosity. Place a strand of your hair in a bowl of water. If the hair strand floats for some time before sinking in the water, it indicates that your hair is less porous and may take time to absorb the color and also, the color won’t stay for long.
On the contrary, if it sinks in water immediately, it means high porosity. That is, it will absorb the colour quickly and hold it for a long.

It’s better to wash your hair a day before applying the colour. For best results, there must be no products on hair before the application, not even conditioner, as it helps the colour to saturate well on hair.

And last but not least though these colours are temporary, they still have chemicals that, if used regularly, may affect hair’s health.

I hope the information shared in this post helps. Now you can rock those fantasy colours on your natural gray hair 🙂

Feel free to share your hair discoveries in the comments. Start a conversation; maybe you can help somebody out. We are all on this hair journey together. We can do it!

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17 thoughts on “How to Use Vibrant Hair Colours on Natural Gray Hair”

  1. Midlifecrisissexsymbol

    What gorgeous women and fun hair ideas! Thank you!

    FYI- Overtone products have an overwhelming spearmint odor. If you are prone to migraines, can’t stand being surrounded by odors, and/or work indoors with others, don’t even consider it. It took six triple shampoos to get the odor out, and I had to wash my hands a gazillion times to get the smell off! I used a dark brown in an attempt to cover a few whites and silvers, but it barely turned some of them a light bronze. It also dried out my hair, even though I used my regular Davines Momo Conditioner every time. I get better coverage from TRUHAIR Revive & Style Coloring Mousse, which is easy, non-stinky, and doesn’t harm my hair. It doesn’t come in rainbow colors, but it works great for light, natural color coverage.

    1. My experience with Overtone was positive. I found the scent fairly light and natural. I preferred it to the synthetic scents in a lot of products. It does not colour my gray hair, but that has been my experience with all of the semi-permanent dyes.

  2. Which would be the best brand of dye to use to cover only greys on salt and pepper hair? I want to apply the creme all over but don’t want it to tinge my natural brown hair.

    1. Hi Melissa
      Practically it is not possible because the dye does its job of coating the colour on hair. Ya, but the intensity of the colour on natural brown will be comparatively less than the greys.

  3. Pingback: Add Temporary Colors to Your Natural Gray Hair while Going Gray!

  4. Do any of the temporary color brands actually cover natural grey hair? I used (and LOVED) the purple keracolor clenditioner but my grey roots are not holding any of it- leaving me with an increasing “demarcation line.”

  5. Do you or the collective hive mind have any advice about Pulp Riot on naturally Silver hair? I want to have some fun accenting my mom’s hair with some fun bright color but wondered how long it lasts on unprocessed hair… It’s direct deposit but considered semi permanent, and I use it on prelightened hair with great success. Thoughts friends? Thanks in advance for any info!!!!

    1. Hey Char,
      I did an underlayer colour on my virgin silvers with a semi-permanent colour and the results were just awesome. I used the shade flamingo pink of Punky colours. It washed out completely in about 10 washes.
      But semipermanent colours behave differently on different types of hair. So, there is a possibility of variation in outcome. I haven’t used Pulp Riot but you can give it a try and please share the results.

    2. I’m here because I actually just used pull riot on natural white/grey hair. I used nevermore, a purple on the lighter side by not lilac. It didn’t take AT ALL. we did it twice.

  6. Hi,
    I tried a product by Clairol called Color Gloss Up in blue. My greys didn’t pick up the colour well at all even though I left the cream in the longest recommended time after thoroughly saturating my hair (maybe closer to 30 minutes overall). All washed out after one shampoo! I noticed that the Punky colours also says not to be used on greys, but it seemed to work fine in your video. Do I just need to leave the colour in longer? Should I try a different product?

    1. Hi Ally,
      Thanks for asking. As per what I read on their website about the Color Gloss is that it is a toner and is used to revive the colour and shine in already coloured hair. It is a temporary color that washes out in a single wash.
      I used Punky Colour which is a semi-permanent colour and it worked well on my natural greys. You can choose any semi-permanent colour to colour your silvers. It stays for about 10 washes depending on the texture and health of the hair.

  7. Pingback: 5 Ways to Brighten Grey Hair Naturally - SparklingSilvers

  8. I used the Colorista Semi-Permanent on my grey hair, and it only covered the whitest of the hairs. Even after leaving on for 30 minutes, the color was minimal. I’m going to try permanent hair color next.

  9. I thought it was best NOT to wash hair before applying dye? The natural oils, I was told l, protects hair while dyeing.

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