I Want to Start Coloring My Grays… What Are My Options?


Whether your hair is just starting to gray or you’ve been rocking a full head of stunning silver strands for the last few years, the question remains the same: To dye or not to dye?

If you’ve decided that dyeing your hair is the right move for you, then you probably have a few questions, such as:

  • Should I lighten my grays or darken them?

  • Do I want to completely cover my gray? Or should I make my natural grays look more like highlights in darker hair?

  • Does my skin’s undertone matter? If it does, how do I determine mine so that I choose the right hair color for my skin tone?

Let’s pause here for a moment because this last one is super-important and will become a common theme throughout your hair-coloring journey. While your skin’s undertone is probably not the first thing that pops into your head when contemplating your new hair color, it’s actually more significant than you might think. Have you ever heard horror stories from friends who’ve left the salon, looked in the mirror, and felt that something about their new color was just… off? This might have been due to them or their stylist not taking their undertone into account.

Fear not: All colors come in both warm and cool tones, so your skin’s undertone shouldn’t keep you from getting the hair color you really want. It just might mean getting a different version of brown, blonde or purple. Yes, we said purple—more on that later.

How Do You Decide What Color to Dye Your Hair?

Typically, a stylist will recommend you stay within a few of shades of your natural hair color, especially if you’re nervous about dyeing it. But if your hair has been gray for a few years, you might not even remember your natural hair color! Your options? Dig up some old photos or start with your skin’s undertone.

As far as which color you should choose, or if you should lighten or darken your whites and grays, the sky’s the limit! Gone are the days of brown, blonde, black and red being your only options. Now you can dye your hair any color of the rainbow! Society is beginning to accept unnatural hair colors such as purple, pink, blue and even green! As many have found, once you hit a certain age, you really do stop caring what others have to say, which means you can focus on doing what makes you happy! And for you, that just might mean purple strands!

If you’re unsure about completely covering your grays consider making them shine as the highlights for your newly colored locks. With so many different styles and preferences out there, it’s also not unusual to come across someone who’s dyed just the tips of her hair, selected an ombre of two or more colors, or landed on a rainbow’s worth of highlights!

Once you decide which color (or colors!) you want to go with, next, you’ll want to match it to your skin’s undertone.

So How Do You Determine Your Skin’s Undertone?

First, examine your skin closely in natural light and in the mirror. Do you see any pink-blue or gold-yellow tones? If you see notes of the first, you likely have a cool undertone, whereas gold and yellow point to a warmer tone.

Next, look at the veins on your wrist: Are they clearly blue or purple in color? If so, then you have a cool skin undertone. If they look green, that means you have a warm undertone!

But if you don’t see a definitive color, you might have a neutral undertone, in which case, most hair tones will look great on you—lucky you! As a general rule, remember that cool-toned hair colors go great with cool-toned skin tones and those with warm-toned skin should opt for warm-toned hair colors.

Now that you’ve figured out your undertone, you can choose the warm- or cool-toned hair color of your choice!


But Wait, Does Your Skin Tone Matter?


And no!

Your skin tone matters, but not as much as your skin’s undertone. Assuming all dark tones have a warm undertone and all lighter skin tones have cool undertones is a common misconception. In fact, all skin types can have warm, cool or neutral undertones—and this is great news for your hair-color options, well, once you figure your undertone out.

The melanin levels in your skin not only affect your ability to tan without becoming a lobster and give your eyes their unique color, but they also determine what colors look best on you—and that includes your hair color.


Color Temperatures: Warm vs Cool Tones in Hair Color

Thanks to the color wheel, we know that any color can be made warm or cool by adding enough yellow or blue. That means you can confidently rock any color you want by adding a touch of yellow or blue to match your desired color to your skin’s undertone.

If you’re looking for something that’s a little more neutral, all you need to do is add a little red. This way you can achieve something that’s cooler than yellow toned hair and warmer than blue tones.

Keeping Your Hair Color Vibrant

When it comes to maintaining those beautiful new shades, look no further than Better Not Younger’s collection of shampoos, which are all safe for color-treated hair. While you can use any of our shampoos to help maintain the vibrancy of your new hair color, consider adding a purple shampoo, like our Silver Lining Purple Brightening Shampoo, to your hair-care routine. 

Designed to eliminate the brassiness and yellowing tint of graying hair, our purple shampoo will help to neutralize any unwanted yellow in your new hair color, especially when you’ve added ash blonde highlights—so it stays looking just how you want it.

Similarly, our Purple Butter Masque is the perfect complement to your color-treated hair-care routine. Created specifically to lock in moisture while eliminating any yellow tint, our purple hair mask can also strengthen your naturally silver locks. It’s especially important not to forget your weekly hair mask since color-treated hair tends to become more fragile than your natural locks. Our masks can help you keep your strands silky, smooth and healthier than ever.

Consider Your Clothing and Makeup Choices

Just as you may have come to learn that certain fabric colors and makeup hues complemented your silver strands better than others, the same concept holds true for your newly colored tresses. Thankfully, though, dyeing your hair doesn’t mean you have to change your jewelry preferences! Here’s why:

You probably already have a preference for silver or gold, right?

That’s because silver jewelry tends to complement cool skin undertones while gold jewelry shines best against warm skin undertones. Since your hair’s overtone will already complement your skin’s undertone, your jewelry will match as well!

Along the same lines, the majority of your clothing shouldn’t clash too drastically with your choice in hair color because you likely already chose clothing shades that match your skin’s undertones. But if you need a little refresher: Warm undertones typically favor earthy tones, peaches and gold, while cool undertones are flattered by pinks, lavender and navy. And the makeup hues that complement your new look best will follow suit.

Have questions about how our other products can help you maintain your perfect hair color? Reach out to us on Facebook and Instagram—we’d love to help you find the perfect products for your lifestyle! Better Not Younger has everything you need to keep your hair looking its best. Make sure to check out our blog for more hair-care information as well!

Tell Us: Have you recently started coloring your grays? Share your experience in the comments below!