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Last updated: September 21, 2017

14 Tips for Better Gray Coverage

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When it comes to age, most people don’t want their hair to give them away! Like skin, the natural aging process affects hair. Overtime, your clients may notice their hair is visibly more gray, dull and flat, while their texture becomes more brittle and wiry. And they don’t just want gray coverage, they want natural shades that are flattering and cast a youthful glow on their complexions. As their stylist, you’re up for the challenge of making them look as young as they feel on the inside.  


So step aside 50 Shades of Gray, Joico has 10 new shades that offer 100 percent gray coverage in complexion-illuminating results—called Vero K-PAK® Color Age Defy Lustrous Naturals. According to Eric Mayes, Expert Colorist for Vero K-PAK Color Age Defy, ” The new shade families in Vero K-PAK Color Age Defy are an amazing addition to the Age Defy palette. They insure complete gray coverage with the most luxurious, rich, multidimensional results that compliment any complexion and enhance one’s eye color.”


These specially formulated shades are also super convenient as you no longer have to mix more than one shade to achieve gray coverage. However, the shades can be intermixed to create an unlimited range of possibilities. Not only will your clients have younger, vibrant, more natural-looking haircolor, but the condition of their hair will also improve—leaving strands softer and more manageable.


But with all the gray coverage shades out there, it’s important to remember the rules when working with silver strands. Here, Eric provides his top 14 tips for approaching gray coverage in the salon.


1. As clients age, they tend to loose tone and pigment in their skin as well as their hair. So it’s important to add tone (typically warmth) to the formula. This will aid in the end result complimenting their overall look, adding tone and warmth to their complexion.


2. Consider choosing a shade that might be in the same family as their natural color, especially if that color/tone is still present in their natural color. In coloring a first time client that is 50 to 100 percent gray, choose a level that is one to three levels lighter than what their natural might have been. Going too light or too dark can make the finished look too severe.


3. For clients that are concerned with maintaining their natural color, a lighter level will not show the new growth as quickly.


4. A client’s eye color can help to determine what type of shade might be most complimentary. So be sure to take their eyes into consideration when choosing a shade. 


5. Never use one single formula for the entire application…gray coverage is not simplyfor concealing gray hair!  Try to add dimension and interest to their color every single visit.  Highlights, even five foils incorporated into a global application of color can add just enough interest to keep the hair looking fresh!


6. Start the application of the base color where the hair seems most resistant. This will vary with each client, but will give resistant gray hair the longest processing time possible to ensure the best end result.  Always process Age Defy color for at least 45 minutes for full development of the depth and tone. Up to 60 minutes for particularly resistant hair. 


7. Be sure to apply the base formula at the front hairline away from the face. Tidy up the hairline with Joico Vero Stainless Color Stain Remover prior to leaving the client’s color to process.


8. If adding accent placement to hair for the first time, especially clients with gray coverage needs…consider using VeroLight Powder Lightener with Vero Glaze developer (5-volume).  It adds highlights where desired and lifts slowly and gently, leaving the client’s hair in impeccable condition.



9. But WAIT…don’t forget about those ends! A common mistake that often occurs in salons is that colorists/stylists don’t approach refreshing the ends of previously colored hair correctly or at all. If one simply pulls through the same formula that was used at the new growth, the ammonia in that color could leave the ends exposed and with potential cuticle damage, not to mention leaving the hair without shine. Refresh/balance the ends with non-ammonia Demi-permanent color Vero K-PAK Color Chrome, to insure that the finished product has brilliance from scalp to ends!


10. Balayage is also your friend when refreshing ends. It may not be necessary to pull a Demi color through all of the ends to balance the color…especially if the hair is in good condition and the appropriate approach was taken when previously coloring the hair. Selecting/placing panels of the refresh formula through the ends of the hair can add an additional element or dimension to the finished result.


11. When the processing is complete, emulsify the color at the hairline with water before rinsing to loosen the product and to release it from the skin. If stain remover is needed, use Joico’s Vero Stainless Color Stain Remover prior to the shampoo (if used), as the shampoo will set the stain into the skin and make it more difficult to remove at a later time.


12. A glaze at the end of the color service can add additional shine and brilliance to the finished result…Vero K-PAK Chrome, a non-ammonia Demi-permanent color is the best for this service!


13. Of course, the proper home care regimen is necessary to protect the hair and color between visits. If hair is lifted more than 2 levels, use K-PAK Color Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner. If the hair is deposit-only or less than 2 levels of lift, use Joico Color Endure Shampoo and Conditioner.


14. Pre-scheduling future appointments ensures that the clients color will look flawless at all times. For clients with 30 percent or more gray hair, a 3 to 4 week interval for maintaining their color is a must! Anything longer than that will leave the new growth exposed for all to see.


Learn more about Joico’s Vero K-PAK® Color Age Defy Lustrous Naturals!