What volume developer should I use to cover gray?

cover gray hairs with dye

What developer should you use to dye your gray hair?


  • You can mix 20 volume developer with dye to cover your gray hair.
  • It doesn’t matter if this is the first time that you’re dyeing gray hair or if you’ve been dyeing it for a long time, you should always use a 20 volume developer.
  • All color kits that you can buy in a grocery store or specialized hair care store come with 20 volume developer, except extra light blonde kits which come with 30 volume developer.


There is such thing as 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 volume developers.

Why should you use the 20 volume one to cover gray hair?


Two reasons:

  • First, because gray hair is weaker than other kinds of hair, so if you were to use a higher volume developer, it would damage your hair.
  • And second, because you don’t need a higher volume developer.

A developer’s job is to break the hair cuticle, so your hair can absorb the pigment, but gray hairs don’t have pigments; they are colorless. Therefore, you don’t need to use a higher volume developer.


Let me explain another way.

 You can hide your gray hair easily by covering it with dye, but since gray hair doesn’t have melanin, it will constantly expel any dye you apply to it.  

That’s why gray hair keeps coming back.

Many women start to complain 15-20 days after they dye their hair. That’s about when their gray hair start to appear once again, just as visible as if they’d never even dyed them in the first place.

What can you do about it?


 Well, first, try not to let it get to you too much.  

The more you stress about your gray hair, the more gray hair you’ll have.


If you choose the right color to hide your gray hairs and choose an appropriate dye, I promise you’ll learn to live with your gray hairs.

It’s all about not trying to get rid of them, which we all know is just about impossible.

Your goal needs to be to learn how to disguise them, so you don’t even need to get rid of them.

Are you open to trying that?


If so, come along for the ride because I’m going to tell you a few secrets that I promise you’re going to find interesting.


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What color should you dye your gray hairs?

paint gray hair without dye

The darker the color you choose to dye your gray hair, the more often you’ll need to touch it up.



  • Because darker colors will contrast more strongly with your gray hairs. So, as soon as your roots grow in even a little bit, you’ll be off to the salon to hide them.

On the other hand, if you dye your gray hair blonde or light blonde, your gray hair won’t be so noticeable when your roots start to grow in.


  • To give you a general idea of what that might mean, if you dye your gray hair a lighter color, you might get away with touching up your color every 45 days.

Whereas if you dye your gray hair a darker color, you might need to touch it up every 20-25 days.

Obviously, those time frames will vary depending on your needs and tastes.

If you can’t handle even one tiny gray hair shining through, you’ll need to touch up your color much more often.


Highlights are done by separating small areas of hair to then bleach them.

Your gray hairs will be hidden entirely in the highlights, and it has the bonus of adding depth and volume to your hair if you’re not a fan of uniformity in your hair.


 And, here’s the best part: you’ll only need to do maintenance on your highlights every 60 days. You’ll only need to go back to the salon once every two months. Sounds great, right?  


Once you’re sure about what color you want to dye your gray hair, the next step is to go to a good salon to dye it.

You could also dye your hair yourself from the comfort of your own home like many women decide to do.

Whether you choose one option or the other, I have another piece of advice for you.


What dye is the best for covering gray hair?

What brand of dye is best for gray hair?


 Nowadays, there are so many brands, lines, and formulas of dye to choose from for your hair that it can feel overwhelming, especially if you don’t have much experience in dyeing your hair. 

So, I want to help you out a little bit with this decision.


First and foremost, all dyes work on gray hair.

Some companies, to sell more, have developed lines of dye, “specifically for gray hair,” but the truth is that there is nothing special about them. They’re no different from other dyes, except in their packaging and marketing, which is aimed at people with gray hair.

And, these kinds of “specifically for gray hair” dyes have another problem.


They don’t contain ammonia.

Traditional dyes contain ammonia. Among other things, ammonia helps to make your color last longer.

So, what happens if the dye doesn’t contain ammonia?


It lasts less time.

It’s true that by taking out the ammonia, the dye is a little bit less aggressive for your hair.

But it’s also true that the color will last less time, which means that if you dye your hair with a dye that doesn’t contain ammonia, you’ll have to touch up your color every 15 days.

The decision is in your hands.

 Will you choose a dye that doesn’t contain ammonia that will last less time, or will you choose a traditional formula dye? 


Like we’ve mentioned before, traditional permanent dye mixed with a 20 volume developer is perfect for gray hairs.

You can buy it in kit form, which will include everything you need to dye your hair, including the developer.

Or, you can buy everything separately in a haircare store.


If you go with a kit, L’Oréal’s Age Perfect line works well for gray hair.

The kit comes with everything you need to dye your hair at home:

  • A 20 volume developer
  • Color in cream form
  • A conditioning/reparative treatment
  • A brush to apply the dye


The line from L’Oréal works well because of the strength of its pigments, which make the color last longer. That’s why it works, not because it says on the box “formulated for mature, gray hair.”



Now you know that you should use 20 volume peroxide to hide gray hair.

Do you have any questions about how to dye your gray hair?

Are you unsure about which color is best for dyeing your gray hair?


Leave me a note in the comments section below, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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