Highlights or Full Color to Cover Gray?

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highlights or full color to cover gray

Should You Blend Gray Hair with Highlights or Full Color?

When many women first start coloring their hair they don’t know whether to go for highlights or full color to cover gray. There are so many different professional hair coloring services, it gets very confusing when it comes to deciding on the color technique to choose. Two of the most popular color services in the salon are overall color and highlights. Both can be good options for livening up your locks, adding interest to your style or covering gray hair. You might even want to do both. Here are a few pointers on how to decide what is right for your hair and individual style:

highlights or full color to cover gray

Choose overall color if:

  • You have a funky textured style and you want to add some depth.
  • Your hair is extremely short.
  • You have more than 30% gray.
  • You have really dark skin and brows.
  • You look better in warm, vibrant colors such as red.
  • Your cut is already trendy enough and you don’t want to overdo it.

Choose highlights if:

  • Your hairstyle is plain with no layers or other points of interest.
  • If you have blonde or light brown hair.
  • If you have a little bit of gray that you would like to blend away.
  • If you can’t commit to getting your roots touched up faithfully.
  • If you look great in cool colors such as blues and greens.
  • If your style needs a little interest around the front and a few chunky highlights would do the trick.
  • If you’re afraid of a big change.

Do both if:

  • You have a lot of gray but would still like the effect that only highlights can obtain.
  • You want to add red or warmth and still have some chunks of lighter color around the front.
  • You are trying to correct or change another hair coloring application before you get highlights.
  • If your hair has become too light due to over processing and sun damage or was lightened too much during your last color process.

There are many other reasons why people choose the hair coloring services that they do, and those reasons can be as varied as the people themselves. So, if you have a color idea, do not be afraid to talk to your stylist about it. By working together, you and your stylist can find the perfect color combination to give you your best look yet.

Tools to Highlight your Hair at Home


FAQs on Highlighting and Coloring Hair

Can gray hair be highlighted?

Yes. If you have some gray hair but most of your original color you can just highlight the gray strands. Alternatively you can have low lights depending on what style you prefer. Celebrities like Meryl Streep and Judi Dench have styled their hair like this.

How do you cover gray roots with highlighted hair?

Always highlight one shade lighter than your natural color so your roots will be less obvious. Cover the gray with a different color to accentuate the highlights. Comb the dye through with a medium tooth comb.

Which is more damaging highlights or color?

In most salons single color is cheaper than highlights and single color can be more gentle on your hair. The bleach used in highlights can cause damage.

What is the difference between highlights and color?

With highlights only a few strands or streaks of hair are colored. Hair coloring however is the process of dyeing the entire head of hair.

Highlights or Full Color to Cover Gray

Olivia Herlihy

Olivia is the owner of UK Beauty Room and founder three other successful websites. She gained an online following after creating a natural haircare routine which completely transformed her hair. Olivia has since written an eBook on Ayurvedic hair care to help others use the same formula to improve their own hair.

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