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At Madison Reed, we LOVE to talk hair color—whether it’s blonde, brown, red, black, or a full head of striking silver with a dash of salt and pepper gray. We’ve got lots of gray hair tips, tricks and interesting tidbits, especially when it comes to 100% knockout gray coverage.

Read on for the best ways to cover gray hair, your options for covering gray hair, our top shades for covering resistant gray hair, our favorite products to help you maintain your gorgeous grays, gray hair maintenance tips, and how to find your perfect shade for gray coverage. 

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And the best hair color to cover grays is…any of our knockout shades, which are specifically formulated with extra pigment just to cover stubborn grays. Explore our Radiant Hair Color shades designed to cover even the most resistant of grays.

x1080 parma black 5nnn wood

Parma Black 2.5NNN

Soft black for resistant grays

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x1080 ravenna brown 5nnn hardwood

Ravenna Brown 3.5NNN

Darkest brown for resistant grays

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Barletta Swatch

Barletta Brown 4.5NNN

Dark brown for resistant grays

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Dosolo Brown 5.5NNA

Dosolo Brown 5.5NNA

Medium neutral brown for resistant grays

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Sondrio Brown 6.5NNA

Sondrio Brown 6.5NNA

Soft medium neutral brown for resistant grays

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x1080 novara light brown 5nnn

Novara Light Brown 6.5NNN

Light brown for resistant grays

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Lusia Dark Blonde 8.5NNA

Lusia Dark Blonde 8.5NNA

Dark neutral blonde for resistant grays

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Pro tips for covering resistant gray hair

What’s the best way to cover gray hair? We’ve got you…well, covered…with our tried-and-true tips for coloring even the most resistant grays. Read on for your options for covering gray hair, the best colors to dye gray hair, and all our best stubborn gray coverage tips.

  • Start by finding a shade designed specifically for gray coverage—we’ve got lots for you to choose from. Our NNN Knockout shades are expertly formulated to cover even the most stubborn grays.
  • Use the right tools for the job. Applying hair color with a bowl + brush helps ensure better saturation of color, which means better gray coverage.
  • Part your hair in thin sections before you begin applying your color, so you don’t mistakenly skip any gray hair.
  • Color your gray hair first to give your grays a longer processing time.
  • When you finish applying your color, go back to your most resistant gray hairs—whether these are along your hairline or your natural part—and apply even more color to these extra-stubborn grays. Using your fingers or a comb, massage the color through fully to ensure every strand is completely saturated.
  • Time is on your side—give resistant grays more time to process. Extend processing time to 45 minutes, and don’t start your timer until your color is fully applied.
  • Gorgeous Gray Hair Care

    We also absolutely LOVE gorgeous gray hair, and know that some people prefer their naturally graying hair and have no interest in coloring it. If you want to embrace your grays, we’ve got tons of tips on how to care for those stunning silver strands. Without further ado, here’s how to maintain beautiful gray hair at home…

    Try a cool gloss

    Gray hair often has a coarser texture than non-gray hair, which means it can sometimes look flat. Try using Color Reviving Gloss in Crema, a cool, pale boost of shine for light blondes and natural gray hair that will also help counteract any yellowing in gray hair. When showering, give your hair a final rinse with cool water to close the cuticle and seal in moisture for added radiance.

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    Use sulfate-free shampoo + conditioner

    Like all shades of hair, gray hair can lose shine and even turn a yellowish hue when exposed to too much sun, chlorine and mineral deposits in your water. To prevent this, rinse hair with water before and after swimming, or, better yet, wear a swim cap. Protect hair in the sun with a scarf or hat, and consider adding a filter to your shower head if your water contains a lot of deposits. And even though it’s not technically colored, gray hair could benefit from a sulfate-free Color Protecting Shampoo + Conditioner for hydration and UV protection.

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    Drink up

    Because gray hair is usually coarser and can be dryer than regular hair, you want to condition it consistently to restore smoothness. Use a deep conditioner once a week, or simply leave your usual conditioner on for 10 minutes for an extra treat. It’s also a good idea to brush your hair a few times throughout the day to distribute the natural oils from the scalp to the ends, which, in turn, will boost radiance. Nourish your gray strands with moisture-rich Pro Boost: Hydrate, which reduces frizz and deep repairs in 5 minutes.

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    Blend with highlights

    For blonde hair going gray, one easy way to make the transition is by blending your silver strands with blonde ones. Try our Light Works® Balayage Highlighting Kit to paint on lighter strands. It’s a low-maintenance way to stretch your blonde. Light Works will lighten or “lift” up to 3 levels on color-treated hair, and up to 4 levels on hair that has not been previously color-treated. Your results will vary depending on how light or dark your current color is, and whether you currently have color-treated hair.

    find your perfect shade