Looking for a hair dye that won't cover my grey hairs
January 24, 2013 8:55 AM   Subscribe

I want to dye my medium brown hair dark brown, but I also want the few grey hairs I have to stay grey/white.

Is this possible? Is there a brand of hair dye (preferably a drugstore brand) that doesn't cover greys?

I tried googling, but unsurprisingly all the results are about how to get rid of greys. I may look into semi-permanent dyes but that doesn't strike me as quite the ideal option I'm looking for. Thanks, AskMeFi!
posted by kitty teeth to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have a streak you are preserving? I have a silver widow's lock, and I preserve it by braiding it and covering the roots and the braid with vaseline before dying my hair. Very easy and looks great.

Most dyes that "don't cover grey" will still have some effect on silver hairs, either coloring them but more lightly, or yellowing them unpleasantly. The only thing I've used that didn't touch grey at all was manic panic, but then it's generally only really good on bleached hair anyhow.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 9:04 AM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

You can try coating the white/gray with vaseline, but it's a pain, esp. if the hairs are few and far between. This is a job for a pro, if you're really serious.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:05 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

I was going to say the same thing. You need to pull them out and protect them -- the easiest way is to cover with vaseline. You can also try wrapping in foil (like they do at the salon to keep pieces separate.
posted by DoubleLune at 9:06 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Report back if you find a salon can do this? I've toyed with this question too but have always assumed it's pretty much impossible.

(Although I can confirm that if you have an actual streak, it can be preserved pretty easily. I used to do that myself when I had a bleached stripe. Because I was AWESOME in the 90s.)
posted by Stacey at 9:33 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

I would like to know this too. My grays seem to glisten in the sun and I love it.

I have used Henna and it turns my grays a bright red. It's a pretty cool effect.
posted by mokeydraws at 9:38 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

My mom uses henna to dye her hair (it's light brown but she uses it to get it more auburn) and she has a large streak of grey that generally doesn't get dyed as dark as te rest, sometimes staying completely grey. It can vary based on the amount of time you leave the henna in but it usually doesn't completely cover them. Don't know how light your hair is at the moment, so if you're going from very light to dark it probably won't have the same result, but it's just a thought. Also, it's not quite permanent and gradually fades over about six weeks, so it's not much of a long term trauma if it doesn't work for you.
posted by takoukla at 9:40 AM on January 24, 2013

I follow the tinfoil method, without the vaseline, plus some additional timing. Start at the back, at the nape of your neck. Work the dye in thoroughly up to the back of your ear-line. Wait ten minutes. Dye the top of your head, avoiding the "badger streak" areas. Wait ten minutes. comb dye through the badger streak areas, and wait a couple minutes. Then rinse.

You might check Beauty Supply stores that carry a breadth of hair dyes. There is a product called "toner," which tints gray but does not cover it. Use 20 weight peroxide. If the employee in the store has good knowledge, listen to their advice.
posted by ohshenandoah at 11:19 AM on January 24, 2013

I have a pale blonde streak of hair (about the size of a dime on my scalp) that contrasts nicely with the rest of my medium brown hair. It's always been there, I call it my Skunk Stripe. I've also spent about half of my adult life dyeing my hair fun colors. In order to dye the rest of my hair but leave the Skunk Stripe alone, the beautician had to cover it in tin foil to keep it away from the dye. My guess is that you would have to do the same with the grays.
posted by Elly Vortex at 1:00 PM on January 24, 2013

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