Lowlights for brown hair going grey

hide it with highlights

Are you thinking about the best way to hide the gray appearing in your brown hair? Or maybe you want to finally start the transition to completely gray hair since you’re tired of maintaining it?


Then lowlights are the ideal alternative for your needs. But you need to know that:

  • If your hair is a dark brown, you should apply some lowlights in the darkest gray tones, and if your hair is a light brown, your best option is lighter gray tones. Later on, I’ll tell you all your options since there are many types of gray to choose from.
  • The technique used to apply lowlights is quite complicated. You use a cap and must take great care to not break your hair.
  • What’s more, your timing needs to be very precise when bleaching the strands that will become lowlights.
  • And to correctly maintain it, you need to renew both the lowlights and dye every five or six weeks so that your hair keeps looking radiant.


As you can see, lowlights are an excellent option if your hair is gradually going gray, as this technique consists of bleaching small strands of hair to later apply gray dye.

Your gray is here to stay, but it’s not always so easy to make the transition. Many people are tired of covering up their gray hairs and want to let them grow in naturally.


 But as your gray hair grows in, be careful of looking disheveled, messy, or aged beyond your years. That’s why many opt for lowlights since they’re the best way to get used to seeing their brown hair become gray. 


Lowlights are applied in the same way that highlights are; the difference is just the tone of dye you use.

Highlights use light or very light tones, while lowlights are always made with dark tones.

 That is why this technique is ideal for applying lead or smoke gray, which will illuminate your hair and allow it to blend perfectly with the gray growing in.   


I can guess you’re feeling like we finally found the answer to your prayers. But not all that glitters is gold, and let me explain to you why.

Putting in lowlights is a complex technique that should be carried out at a hair salon. This is because lowlights are small strands that are bleached in order to later apply dye to them, which is done with a cap technique.


It involves putting a latex or silicone cap over well-combed hair and pulling small pieces of hair through holes in the cap.

Once the hair is separated like this, a bleach mixture is applied for 30 minutes, then the hair is rinsed before applying the gray dye you picked.

 When I say it like this, it seems easy. But I assure you, looks are deceiving. If you want my advice, you shouldn’t try this at home. 


And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this so that my appointments will all be booked for this month. In my defense, and in defense of your hair, I’d like to tell you that:

  • It requires a lot of experience to not break your hair when drawing it through the holes in the cap.
  • The strands of hair used for lowlights are very thin, and there is the risk of taking out too much and breaking your hair.
  • Also, the timing for bleaching must be very precise, and you must only color the hair that’s been separated from the rest.
  • If you bleach the rest of your hair, the lowlight effect will be lost.
  • And lastly, the gray color you’d apply afterward aren’t the usual tones you can easily find. Actually, they’re mixes that stylists educated in colorimetry create.


Don’t worry, I’m not offended if you don’t believe me that doing this in the salon is best, but if you want to know all the secrets about lowlights for hair starting to turn gray, stay with me, because I’ll tell you:

  • How to choose the best tone for lowlights in gray hair
  • How to maintain your lowlights


After reading this, you can decide between doing lowlights at home or in the salon. But just know that I warned you if things go wrong.


How to choose a tone for your lowlights if you have brown hair

Brown is the most used hair color all over the world since it’s versatile and looks good on any skin type.

If you want to apply lowlights to your brown hair, a good stylist will know how to guide you so you choose the right tone, as salons will have sample books with every color.

But if you want to go to the salon with a more defined idea of what you want, as a part of my mission to help you, here is a list of tones you can apply to brown hair:


If you have dark brown 3 hair, you can apply:

  • Gray
  • Smoke gray
  • Lead gray


If your hair is a brown 4, you can apply:

  • Gray
  • Smoke gray


If your hair is a medium brown 5, you can apply:

  • Gray
  • Pearl gray


If your hair is a light brown 6, you can apply:

  • Gray
  • Pearl gray
  • Silver gray


 The general rule is that if your hair is darker, the gray tone you must apply should also be dark. And vice versa, if your hair is lighter, the tone of gray you should apply should be lighter. 

But as you can see, there are many tones of light and dark gray. That way you can achieve a personalized gray tone for your lowlights.

You can’t get these tones of gray easily at the store. On your own, you’ll only get one color of gray as the other tones are mixes of colors done at the salon.


Hair color professionals study colors to be able to mix them and achieve exclusive dye tones that aren’t available elsewhere. If you go to the store and ask for silver gray dye, they’ll give you 3 or 4 different dyes for you to be able to mix them to make silver gray.

The question is, would you know how much of each dye to apply?


That’s why I tell you it’s worth it to invest in a good hair salon – better that than risk having your lowlights done at home become a disaster.

That’s the number one reason why you should go to a stylist for your lowlights.


How to maintain your lowlights

  • Lowlights have pretty relaxed maintenance, as opposed to other techniques, and it will always depend on how much your hair grows.

Since it involves bleaching from the root, you can choose to let your roots grow out for two months and then renew your lowlights.


  • Ideally – and what I recommend – is to renew them 5 to 6 weeks after first applying them, since your stylist will use the same process as the first time: the cap, separating the strands, bleaching, and applying the dye.

But the story changes if we talk about color.


  • You can go back to the salon after 3 or 4 weeks to renew your gray tone without needing to apply lowlights.  That’s why the maintenance isn’t as strict as it is for highlights, for example. 

I recommend that you don’t just re-dye your hair. After five or six weeks, go back to your stylist and renew everything together – the lowlights and dye – so your hair looks perfect.


RELATED: 3 professional secrets to pretreat grey hair before coloring



Lowlights are an excellent option for those who decide to let their gray hair grow in gradually in a way that won’t make them feel disheveled when they look in the mirror.

They’re also the best option because with each new application your stylist will use different strands of hair than the last time,  that way in the end your hair will be full of gray lowlights and the transition will be complete. 


What do you say? Will you do lowlights at the salon to have perfect gray hair, or will you risk doing them at home? Tell me your thoughts, I’d love to talk about it!

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