Beauty Edit
How to Dye Hair Grey Without Bleach

How to Dye Hair Grey Without Bleach

With how fast trends come and go in the beauty and fashion world, it’s almost impossible to keep up with what’s new.

One of the latest trends? Grey hair! In this hair trend, people are opting to color their hair silver or grey for a cool, modern look. But while silver or grey are no doubt nice colors, it’s also pretty impossible to achieve naturally, unless you’re at the right age, that is.

For lighter hair colors, this isn’t too big of an issue. They can simply use a grey hair dye and transform their hair from blonde to grey in a single session.

For darker hair colors, however, it presents a huge problem. How do you get your hair from black to grey without aging overnight? Or worse, without using the dreaded hair bleach?

In this guide, we’ll answer all the questions you have about hair lightening, as well as some helpful tips and tricks on how to dye hair grey without bleach.

Without further ado, here we go!

What Is Hair Bleaching?

Hair bleaching refers to the process of lightening your natural hair color with the use of strong chemicals that can strip your strands of all pigment.

During the bleaching process, an alkaline agent is applied to your tresses to open up the hair cuticle, also known as your hair’s protective sheath. Without this protection, the next agent, which is the oxidative agent, will be able to penetrate your strands and dissolve the melanin inside. The longer you leave this agent on, the more melanin it will be able to dissolve, which means the lighter your hair will become.

The chemicals used in bleaching are so strong that just a few sessions can transform jet black hair into light blonde hair.

Why Should I Avoid Bleach?

Bleaching may be very effective in lightening your hair color, but it does come with many downsides as well. The main downside has to do with all the negative effects associated with the process.

Simply put, bleaching can be quite damaging to your hair. In fact, according to a study published by the Society of Cosmetic Scientists in 2018, bleaching can cause both structural and chemical damage to your strands.

Remember, bleaching is a chemical process that will always have some kind of effect on your hair’s health. Don’t be fooled by all those social media posts showing beautiful before and after photos of bleaching sessions. The ugly truth is that bleaching will always cause some damage. Many people have experienced dry, brittle, and extremely fragile strands after getting their hair bleached.

Is It Possible to Dye Hair Grey Without Bleach?

Luckily for you, it’s still possible to dye hair grey without bleach. Of course, how easy or difficult the process is will depend on the condition and the color of your hair.

For instance, if you have a lighter hair color, it’s very possible to get your hair to grey without using bleach at all. But if you have black hair, you may need a lot more skills and a lot more luck to pull this off successfully.

Aside from your natural hair color, another consideration is your hair’s current condition. You shouldn’t be bleaching your hair if it’s already damaged, regardless of if you’re using chemical bleach or natural lightening treatments. You’re only going to damage it more by forcing it to undergo more unnecessary treatments.

young Black woman with long grey hair and bangs

4 Ways to Dye Hair Grey Without Bleach

Here are 4 ways to dye your hair grey without using bleach. Keep in mind that most of these will require a lot of time and effort on your part, so patience is a necessity if you want to succeed with these methods.

Also, these procedures may not be as damaging to your hair as bleach, but it would still help if you could build up your hair’s health by doing deep conditioning sessions for a few weeks before trying any of these out. Believe me, your hair will thank you later.

1. Hair Dye

If your hair is of a lighter color, you may be able to get your hair to grey just by using a hair dye. Lighter hair colors include light brown or dark blonde. For these colors, you don’t need to completely strip your hair of pigment. Sometimes, grey hair dye is enough to get your hair to the color you want.

It’s important to remember that hair dyes are typically semi-permanent or temporary. They will gradually fade over time due to air exposure and shampooing, which means you’ll have to reapply them after a few weeks. And since they don’t contain bleach, they won’t be able to lighten the natural shade of your hair. You may have to do the process multiple times in order to get the shade that you want.

However, since hair dyes are still chemicals, you should be careful about using them too many times. Basically, frequent reapplication can still damage your hair to some extent, but definitely not as much as bleach.

If you’d like to try dyeing your hair grey with a dye, this is our top pick for the job:

Editor's Choice

L'Oreal Paris Feria Permanent Hair Color Smokey Silver

This permanent hair color is our favorite silver dye for unbleached but naturally blonde hair. It saves you the bleaching but still gives you dramatic, long-lasting results.

View on Amazon

2. Hairsprays

There are some hairsprays on the market right now that can get your hair to grey without having to use bleach. These sprays are usually temporary solutions – perfect for when you want to attend events with grey hair, but not when you want grey to be part of your everyday style.

Remember, when using a hairspray to dye hair grey, you have to make sure that your hair is completely dry, as the color won’t stick as well on wet hair. Also, hairsprays can easily stain clothes, so always use something to cover your clothes first before spritzing the spray all over your strands.

For that one-time silvery look, we think this is the best hairspray to try:

Editor's Choice

L’Oreal Colorista 1-Day Spray Silver

This silver-colored spray is the best option for achieving commitment-free grey hair. This spray formula actually reminds us of dry shampoo, with a powdery texture that covers hair well and doesn’t cause any damage. It dries pretty much immediately, and it doesn’t leave the hair feeling sticky or crunch like a regular hair spray.

View on Amazon

3. Lemon Juice

If you have a lighter hair color, you can also use lemon juice to naturally lighten your hair by a few shades.

  1. To begin, create a mix of 50% fresh lemon juice and 50% water and put it in a spray bottle.
  2. Spray it evenly over your hair, making sure that all your strands are covered in the mixture.
  3. After that, simply go out and expose your hair in the sun for about 10-30 minutes. You can also use a hairdryer to blow your hair dry if you don’t want to sit outside for too long.
  4. Afterward, rinse your hair with water and apply conditioner.

Repeat this method a couple of times over the next few weeks and you’ll definitely see a change in your hair’s natural shade. You can then dye your hair grey once you’ve already reached your preferred shade.

That said, you shouldn’t use this method for too long, either. Prolonged and frequent exposure to the sun with lemon juice in your hair can damage your hair cuticles, therefore causing hair breakages and split-ends.

4. DIY Hair Masks

If you’re fond of using hair masks, there are some natural masks that you can do at home to lighten your hair pigment before dyeing your strands. Similar to the above methods, keep in mind that these masks may also not work for very dark brown or black hair.

Apple Cider Vinegar Spray

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a very popular home treatment for hair, and for good reasons too.

ACV can not only help remove excess sebum and keep your scalp healthy, it can also help lighten your hair by a few shades. Just fill a spray bottle with 50% ACV and 50% water and spritz the mixture evenly on your strands. Let the mixture stay on your strands for a few minutes before rinsing it out. Repeat the same method a few more times over the next couple of weeks until you get to your preferred shade.

You can also create a mixture of ACV, coconut oil, and honey to leave overnight on your strands.

Honey Hair Mask

Honey is a tried and tested natural remedy for lightening your strands. Aside from that, it’s also incredibly moisturizing and can instantly give you smoother, shinier, and softer hair.

You can make this easy honey hair mask at home.

  1. First, combine honey, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper in a medium-sized plastic bowl. The amount depends on the thickness and length of your hair; just make sure that the mixture can coat your strands evenly.
  2. Before using this mask, prep your hair first by letting olive oil sit on your hair for about 20 minutes.
  3. Next, apply the honey, cinnamon, and cayenne mixture to your strand. In just a few moments, you’ll be able to see your hair lighten slightly.
  4. Once you’ve achieved your preferred shade, rinse your hair with water and use a conditioner formulated specifically for colored hair.
  5. Lastly, apply coconut oil to your strands and leave it on overnight.

You might also want to use toning shampoo after using this method since it tends to result in a brassier hair color.

Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide Paste

This method isn’t usually recommended if it’s your first time doing DIY home bleaching, but if all else fails, it’s good to have this as a backup.

For this method, you’ll need hydrogen peroxide from the drug store and regular baking soda. Add three tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide to one cup of baking soda and apply the resulting paste to your hair. Let the mask sit on your strands for a maximum of 1 hour. You should end up with a color that’s about 1-2 shades lighter than your natural tresses.

Do keep in mind that applying hydrogen peroxide on your hair can be very drying, so it’s best to do a deep conditioning session after using this method.

cool woman with grey hair and leather jacket

How to Take Care of Dyed Grey Hair

Getting a new hair color doesn’t just stop at dyeing your hair. You also have to know how to do proper aftercare if you want to maintain your hair color and keep your hair healthy at the same time.

  1. Use the proper kind of shampoo. Now that your hair is already dyed, you should start using a shampoo that’s specifically for colored hair. Using the wrong type of shampoo can cause your new hair color to fade faster, which means you’ll have to re-dye your hair more frequently.
  2. Do regular deep conditioning treatments. Dyed hair is much more prone to drying out than normal hair. Deep conditioning treatments can help you keep your hair moisturized and hydrated, so be sure to do them at least once or twice a week.
  3. Avoid heat-styling tools. These tools are simply a no-no for dyed hair! Again, dyed hair tends to dry out more than normal hair, and nothing dries out your hair faster than heat-styling tools. In fact, unless it’s absolutely necessary, you shouldn’t let them touch your dyed hair at all.

Enjoy Your Damage-Free Grey Hair

Now you know how to dye hair grey without bleach – and without damaging your precious mane. We hope you enjoy your new, trendy hair color!