Growing out grey hair? Here's how

Lorie Knickle September 18, 2020

Making the transition from colouring your hair to growing out your natural grey doesn’t have to be a chore. More and more often we are seeing clients embracing their grey, especially during and following the coronavirus pandemic, when going to the salon wasn't an option. While many people made the transition to grey because of self isolation, we're now finding that more people are enjoying the break from regular colouring and are wanting to stick with their natural hue.

This is encouraging and inspiring for anyone who has wanted to try growing out grey hair. You will still look amazing with your natural colour; grey is not so scary after all! And there are options that can help you feel more comfortable and confident throughout the stages of growth. Are you ready to start growing out your grey? Here’s how to make the change a little easier.


First, the plan of action

The best mindset going into this transition is one of patience. This process may take a while and hair seems to grow slower when you are watching it, so patience is key! Thinking through how you’d like to transition is a great starting point and you are in the right place to start formulating your plan. From products to in-salon services, we're here to help you on this journey.

Here are some good questions think about as you begin: do you want to make this journey at home? Would you like to begin transitioning your colour with help from your stylist? What products can you keep on hand to make the transition smoother? 

Grey comes in many shades and how your grey grows in can impact your journey. If your hair is more silver, darker grey, or salt and pepper you may want to adjust your plan of action as you go. And that’s ok! If something isn’t working, it’s good to be fluid and able to adjust to what works best for you through the stages of growth.


Ready to get growing

In the early stages of a grow-out, root regrowth tends to create a line of demarcation that can be a pain point for those in this stage of their journey. Not to worry; there are lots of ways to work with the regrowth!

At-Home Solutions

Root touch-up sprays and powders are a quick at-home fix to conceal the demarcation line. They are a temporary solution that can be applied along the root line to blend the regrowth with your colour. There are a few popular options available. You can try: KMS Style Color Sprays, L'Oreal Root Touch Up Sprays, or Goldwell Root Touch Up Powders. Once you spray the colour along your root line, let it dry and follow with a spritz of hairspray over the colour. This will help lock it into place until your next wash.

Growing Out Grey Hair Spray
Growing Out Grey Hair Root Spray Growing out grey hair root powder


In-Salon Solutions

If you don’t want to go completely cold turkey your stylist can help you slowly transition from your colour service to your natural colour. This may seem counterintuitive, since adding colour is what you are trying to step away from, but if you are okay with slowly transitioning from colouring to natural there are in-salon options that can help! 

growing out grey hair with stylist help

Stylist Rye Gonzalez @ryegonzales_ph, from Chatters McKenzie Towne in Calgary, helps a client transition from a box dye. The "after" photo on the right is taken at the client's third visit, as she slowly transitioned from the box dye to her more natural colour without damaging her hair.

Jennifer Dartch (@jennyad.artistry), a stylist from Chatters London Fanshawe with a passion for helping clients embrace their grey, gives her expert opinion on some of the different techniques she uses in-salon for a smooth transition: “The first thing to note is that this transition tends to take a few visits to the salon. It is not 100% complete in one appointment. And there are a few different options, depending on the hues of your natural grey, the hair colour remaining from your previous colour services and what you’d like your outcome to be.”

Growing out grey hair gradually

Stylist Emily from Chatters Spruce Grove Century Crossing coloured this client's hair in a shade close to her natural colour, so her roots will grow in less noticeably.

“Some clients prefer less maintenance, so they don’t need to colour their roots as often as with a full grey-coverage colouring. This is where I would recommend a mix of highlights and lowlights, with the colour mixture depending on the client’s desired look.”

Growing out grey hair highlights and lowlights

A mixture of highlights and lowlights, created for a client by Jennifer Dartch (@jennyad.artistry), creates a smoother transition.

“If a client is looking to transition from full-coverage colouring services to completely embracing their all-over natural grey or silver, we would look at performing plenty of highlighting and lifting to remove and lighten as much of the previous colour as possible. We would then go in and tone for a cooler ashy, silver or platinum colour, lessening the difference between the coloured hair and natural so the natural grows in far less noticeably.”

Chelsea Bastien (, a Stylist at Chatters Bayers Lake in Nova Scotia with a flair for helping clients grow out their grey, also has this pro advice to share:

“Growing out your grey can be an intimidating venture, but we are here to help you feel as confident as possible during the process! If you still have a lot of leftover colour, try getting foils to blend between your roots and ends. It can help soften the line.”

Growing out grey hair colour service

Chelsea Bastien ( helping her client soften the contrast between her previous colour service and her roots for a more natural grow-out.

You can also try this cutting-edge shadow box technique shared by Angie Hunt (@angie_hunt_) from Chatters Empress in Winnipeg. To hide the line of demarcation, she has coloured a strip on the top along the root line while the client grows out her grey underneath. Once the grey has grown out, the client can simply change the way she parts her hair to now reveal her fully grown-out grey with no demarcation, while allowing the coloured strip to grow out naturally and undetected under her natural grey. Genius!

Growing out grey hair strip method

Angie Hunt (@angie_hunt_) uses a modern coloured-strip method to help her client transition to grey.

Angie has this advice to share on using this technique: "Growing out grey hair doesn't have to be painful. By strategically placing colour and letting some areas grow out, you get to see what your natural colour looks like. Most people tend to part their hair the same way, so having some grey underneath and seeing it close up is a beautiful thing. Having grey and some snow white around the face and temples can look different then lightening the entire head and trying to make your hair artificially grey/silver. To start growing out these areas, I like to place a coloured section on the top of the head where any natural partings in the crown may split. My clients that have decided to try this method used to come every 4 to 6 weeks for a full colour touchup. They are now able to stretch that appointment to eight weeks as we grow it out. I also have clients that have grown out their colour and now just add black low lights or punky colours to pop their greys. It’s more of a fun placement process, rather than maintenance root touch-ups. See your stylist and start the process – if you decide you don’t like it, it is an easy fix to start colouring again!"
Growing out grey hair shadow box
Angie Hunt (@angie_hunt_) takes her client through the transition gradually with the use of the "shadow box" technique. Now that the client has fully grown out her grey, they play with fun colour underneath her natural colour for a low-maintenance way to change up her look!

Once you have enough regrowth, cropping off the coloured ends into a shorter cut can provide a fresh start. Going short can be intimidating if you’ve worn your hair long, but there are lots of chic and trendy options! And cropping off the remaining colour can be the fastest track to transitioning. If you’re not ready to make the cut, frequent trims can help keep your hair healthy and will more gradually cut off the remaining colour over time.

Growing out grey hair pixie cut

Chelsea Bastien ( gives her client a fresh start with a pixie cut.


Setting the tone 

As the colour begins to fade, it may begin to take on unwanted brassy or orange tones. To maintain cooler shades, Chelsea shares this advice: “If you’re not loving the shade of silver or white, book in for a toner service to cancel out any yellowing.”

Both Jennifer and Chelsea also recommend toning at home with purple shampoos, conditioners and masks. The purple pigments help balance out those brassy hues and give you brighter silvers and greys. They recommend Redken’s Graydiant Shampoo and Conditioner 1 - 2 times per week, alternating between using your favourite shampoo and conditioner. There are also great toning masks available that cool your hue while providing great nourishment and moisture: one to try is AG Hair’s Sterling Silver Mask. For more purple shampoo tips, check out these 5 Questions About Purple Shampoo.

Purple shampoo Purple conditioner Purple Shampoo Mask


Chelsea also shares this tip to help beat the brassy tones before they start: “Discolouration can often be caused by build up on the hair follicle. A clarifying shampoo can help strip any metallic or chemical build up and bring lustre back to your hair. Try Paul Mitchell Shampoo Three.”
Clarifying Shampoo for Growing Out Grey Hair


Once you have grown out your grey, if you're feeling your natural colour needs a little something extra, Jennifer has a few recommendations. “Adding highlights, lowlights or both can really help enhance the colour and make it pop. Highlights in an ashy tone can help create a more silvery platinum look, or in a golden tone can help warm up the colour, which can compliment certain skin tones. Lowlights can work really well to give more pepper to a salt and pepper look, and it’s perfect for a natural brunette who has a few greys that they want to blend in naturally.” These are great options for anyone who doesn’t want a lot of maintenance because your natural colours will grow in and blend nicely.


Care for maturing hair 

As hair turns grey it can change in texture. Just like skin care, there are products containing ingredients with anti-aging properties that help encourage healthy locks. Some people find that their grey hair is more coarse, while others have found their hair now lacks volume. Alterna’s Caviar collection boasts a full range of hair care and styling with maturing hair in mind. In addition to shampoos and conditioners, there are masks and treatments that target specific concerns, such as damage or dryness, and the styling line delivers anti-aging benefits all while helping create the look you want.

To soften coarse hair, try the Alterna Caviar Replenishing Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner. 
Moisture Shampoo for growing out grey hair Moisture conditioner for growing out grey hair
If you find your hair is thinning, try Serioxyl. Learn more about this innovative range of thinning solutions here.
If you find your hair is limp or lacking volume, try Alterna’s Multiplying Volume Shampoo and Conditioner
Volume Shampoo for aging hair Volume conditioner for aging hair
For more information on caring for maturing hair, check out this blog article "How to Care for Aging Hair".


Try different styles

If you’re going cold turkey and feeling uncomfortable with your roots showing as you grow them out, try playing with different styles. Follow along with Celebrity Stylist Cindy Duplantis as she shows you a quick at-home style that will conceal your regrowth in a flash.


Growing out grey hair can be challenging, but also rewarding. I hope these tips will help you on your "grey-volution" journey! To book a service or a consultation with a stylist to help you on your way click to book now


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