Transition to gray hair with highlights (getting used to gray hair little by little)

using highlights

  • Using highlights as a technique to make the transition to gray hair is an excellent idea, and I’ll tell you why here.
  • This transformation will be gradual, which is why it won’t be shocking for you to see yourself in the mirror with gray hair. But you need to know it’s a three to six-month process.
  • If you’ve already been highlighting your hair, the transition will be quicker. But if you haven’t had any done yet, you should go through various bleaching sessions, depending on your base color.
  • The most important thing is that you correctly choose the gray tone you’ll use for your highlights, and in just a moment I’ll go into that in more detail.


Each day I get more clients who are tired of renewing their color to hide their gray hair. They feel like it’s time to embrace their natural color.

This is a great idea, but it’s important to choose the best path so that the transition isn’t abrupt.


 It’s difficult to see gray roots contrasting with the rest of your hair that’s a completely different color when you look in the mirror. 

So this is where highlights come in to make this change gradual and less shocking.


Highlights are small pieces of hair that you bleach using a cap or aluminum foil. And once your highlights are bleached, you can apply the dye.

In each application, they are bleached to a point where your hair is almost white.

 That’s why it will be such a gradual transition that you’ll have time to get used to your new tone and haircare routine. 


And the best part is that you can stop visiting the salon – once all your hair reaches the same shade as your natural gray roots, the transition is over.

So if you’re thinking about transforming your hair to gray, stay with me, because I’ll tell you:

  • When to start your transition to gray hair
  • What tone of gray to choose for your highlights


Are you ready to participate in the gray hair trend? Let’s begin…


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When to start the transition to gray hair

stop coloring hair

If you were already using highlights to cover your gray hair, the right moment to start this transition is when you need to renew your highlights. As you already know, you have to maintain them each month, which is to say, every four weeks you need to renew them.

 When you come in for your next renewal appointment, you need to tell your stylist your desire to make the journey to gray. 


Because even though there isn’t one set technique for highlights to help you transition to gray, one thing that will happen for sure is that instead of applying 20 volume developer to bleach your hair, you must use 30 volume developer.

This will make the hair become lighter quickly, and you won’t have to bleach it several times to match your gray hair tone.


But you should also keep in mind your base color. If you apply highlights frequently, your hair base will most likely be quite light in color. This means that in one bleaching session, you’ll reach an almost white tone and shouldn’t bleach it again.


But if you never had highlights done, you should go through various bleaching sessions. If your hair is dark, you should do three to four sessions, and if your hair is a medium tone, two or three sessions should be enough.

 But I want to be completely honest with you: this transition is a long-term project. 


Bleaching sessions are four weeks apart, which means that if you have three more sessions ahead, you should be prepared to reach your target in approximately three months.

You must have this in mind to avoid becoming frustrated. This type of dyeing process, although easy, takes time.

Do you think that if you have a brown 4 color in your hair and you go to the hair salon just once you can change it all to gray?


Forget it! No one will be able to change your hair 6 or 7 tones in one day.

 It’s not worth it. Even if in one session you’re able to change to gray, you’ll destroy the health of your hair. 


This is why you need to be patient. The transition is gradual to protect your hair.

Now it’s time to talk about your options for gray colors. Let’s take a look.


What color of gray to choose for your highlights

The first thing they’ll do in the salon is to separate your hair to bleach it.

I recommend that you choose the cap technique, because even if creating highlights using foils give great results, the cap won’t bleach from the roots, which are surely already gray.


Once the stylist applies the bleaching mix to your hair, you should wait for 20 to 30 minutes. And after that, they will rinse your hair and apply a gray dye.

  • If you already had highlights, the gray tone will match the color of your roots with the gray hair you’ve let grow out.
  • If you didn’t have highlights previously, when you apply gray, you’ll start to match the tone and get used to the change.


As I told you at the beginning, choosing the right gray dye is key, and you should keep the following criteria in mind:


If your hair is turning white, you can apply tones such as:

  • Silver gray
  • Platinum gray
  • Pearl gray


If your hair is turning gray, you can apply tones such as:

  • Gray
  • Smoke gray
  • Lead gray


If your hair is turning yellow, you can apply tones such as:

  • Green gray
  • Blue gray
  • Violet gray


 As you can see, there are various colors of gray hair and various tones of gray dye. And these dye colors are obtained thanks to different mixes of pigmentation, which you can only achieve in the salon. 

Once they have applied the tone, you’ll receive instructions for you to be able to know when to come back to renew your color, or if you need to apply highlights again.

Are you worried about maintaining your highlights?


If you apply highlights frequently, depending on your hair color, there’s the possibility that you’ll have to head back to the salon.

Now, if your hair is already a light tone that you can’t tell apart from your gray roots, your transition has already finished.

On the contrary, if this hasn’t happened yet, you should go back until it does.


If you didn’t try using highlights before starting your transition to gray, you should go back to the salon to renew your highlights at least two or three more times, depending on your hair color.

Because each time you renew your highlights, your hair will become two to four tones lighter, and your stylist will apply a gray dye that is ideal for you.

This way, the transition to gray hair will happen little by little, and your gray roots will grow out and mix perfectly with the rest of your hair.

 Once your hair color is uniform throughout, the transition has finished, and you won’t need to go back to the salon to apply dye or highlights. 



As you can see, the transition to gray hair with highlights is a gradual process that lasts three to six months. But in the end, it will free you from dye forever.

The lighter your base tone, the faster the transition will be. But if you have very dark hair, you’ll need various bleaching sessions to start matching your highlights with your gray hairs.

Once you have achieved the gray you’ve been waiting for, you should make some changes to your haircare routine.


  • As gray hair lacks pigment, it tends to have a different texture than the rest of your hair.

That’s why you must use hydrating masks or hair oils to avoid dry hair and control frizz.


  • In general, gray hairs are considered to not have pigment; however, they always contain a little underlying natural pigment. These pigments can make your hair appear yellow or orange, depending on your gray tone.

To make the color uniform, use a color depositing shampoo at least once a week.


And remember, adopting gray hair for good goes beyond just a color. It’s a lifestyle, a way to tell the world that gray hair indicates experience rather than old age.

So what about you, what color of gray will you choose for your highlights?

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