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The Ultimate Guide to Dyeing Your Hair Silver or Grey at Home

The Ultimate Guide to Silver Hair at Home

Silver and grey hair had been a goal of mine for a little while, and after much experimenting and finally achieving the look I wanted, I thought I’d throw together this little guide for those of you that are interested in doing the same thing. Disclaimer: I am not a hair stylist or professional. This guide is used for reference only and contains steps and products I’ve used to achieve silver hair without a salon.

Before you begin…

I’ve never had to do as much up-keep on my hair as I do now that it is silver. It’s a pretty demanding colour, so make sure you’re ready to take on the responsibility! If you’ve never dyed or bleached your own hair before, I recommend getting this done at a salon so you can be sure that it’s done properly. If you’re ready to take the plunge and do it on your own, keep reading.

The Ultimate Guide to Silver Hair at Home

Bleach, bleach, bleach!

Unless you were born as a natural level 10, you can’t achieve this colour without bleaching your hair. Depending on your natural colour, you may have to do the lightening process multiple times. For a complete guide on how bleaching works and how I bleach my own hair, check out this post.  This process shouldn’t be taken lightly. You can seriously damage your hair or cause bleach burns if you mess up or don’t do proper research first. Hopefully my guide will help you through that.

It’s important that your hair reach the lightest possible level before attempting to go silver, which should resemble that of the inside of a banana peel. Be aware here that you’re going to be stripping down the colour of your existing hair, which can leave it brittle. I suggest stocking up on some deep conditioning treatments or leave in conditioners to aid in the repairing process and to leave your hair shiny instead of dull and dry.

The Ultimate Guide to Silver Hair at Home

Tone it, baby!

The toning process is what will kill those yellow hues and is a must for this silver/grey look. You’ll want to go with a purple based toner, like the Wella T18 Lightest Ash Blonde toner. I always use this stuff with a 5 or 10 volume developer instead of the 20 they recommend on the bottle, simply to save my hair from even further damage. With a 5 of 10 volume, it’s not going to lift the colour any more, but instead just deposit it onto your hair. You will apply it using the bowl/brush technique and following the instructions that come with it. Information about this can be found in my guide to bleach lightening. Leaving this on your head for about 20-30 minutes will do the trick. Keep checking your hair throughout the process.

Another option, although not as permanent, is to try a semi-permanent DIY toner which will not cause any damage to your hair, but note that it doesn’t have the same staying power.

Toning your hair may just get you to the shade that you wanted without additional dye, but if you want something darker or more vibrant, a silver/grey coloured dye is the way to go.

The Ultimate Guide to Silver Hair at Home

Prepare to Dye!

I’ve tried a couple of silver dyes, and the best one so far has been the Pravana Chromasilk Vivids in Silver.  It is a longer lasting semi-permanent colour which requires no developer, which means no damage to your hair. You will apply this with a brush and bowl just like the bleaching process.

There are a couple of ways you can do this depending on the shade of grey you want to achieve. You can empty the entire tube into your bowl and apply it as is for a darker steel grey colour, or you can dilute it (like I do) for a lighter silver colour.

To dilute it, first fill your bowl with a bunch of cheap conditioner and then apply some of the Chromasilk colour. I added about half of a tube to 3/4 a cup of conditioner for my light silver shade. Mix it up and apply it just like you would with the brush.

The Ultimate Guide to Silver Hair at Home

2017 Update:

I created a video showing you how I touch up my hair and create a DIY silver toner. Watch it here:

Silver Hair AT HOME!

Silver Hair Care Tips

  • Silver hair is probably one of the most difficult colours to achieve and keep. It tends to fade rather quickly, so you’ll want to stock up on some products to help maintain the shade. One of my favourite tricks is to use this Roux Fanci-Full Rinse in Silver Lining in between dye jobs. It is a temporary hair colour rinse that you apply to damp hair and it lasts until you shampoo it out. If you’ve trained your hair to only need a washing every few days, this is a great product for a little ‘pick-me-up’!
  • Shampoo your hair with a purple based colour correcting shampoo like Shimmer Lights by Clairol. This will help to keep the yellow tones at bay. If they start creeping up on you, try my at home DIY toner.
  • To keep your hair looking healthy, use a deep conditioning treatment once a week. Remember, the less you wash your hair, the longer the colour will last.
  • Tackle those roots! You don’t want to let your roots grow more than a centimeter because you will be causing more hassle for yourself. It’s much easier to bleach regrowth that is this length because the risks of unwanted banding (seeing a line where the new bleach/old bleach begins) is lessened. When you are ready for a re-dye, just concentrate the products on the roots and not on your pre-lightened/dyed hair.
  • If you’re using a normal shampoo, grab one without sulfates as they will strip the colour out slowly. Most shampoos “for coloured hair” should work, but keep in mind that it WILL still fade regardless of the shampoo you use.

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I am a country loving Canadian with a mind that never sleeps. When I'm not running the Wonder Forest blog ship, you can find me creating artwork for phone cases and home decor, whilst managing the daily tasks of Dana Fox Creative. Visit me at the links below if you wanna be friends and follow along on Snapchat: wonderforest.

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  • Yes! Thank you for this- I’m definitely bookmarking this. I’ve wanted to change my hair for so long but can’t afford salons for more than anything but a trim.

    Lipstick Theory // Student Cruelty Free Lifestyle Blog

    • They are pretty expensive, I know! Hope this helps 🙂

      • nina

        hi, im quite confused about the toner?ryt now ,i only have violet color correction?what do you think.its that possible?

  • Your hair looks gorgeous! I’ve always wanted to dye my hair grey some day. Thanks for sharing this 🙂


  • This is such a stunning colour – I’ve been tempted to go silver for a while now, but just not sure I’m ready to commit just yet! x


    • You should totally try the Roux Fanci-Full stuff I mentioned in the Care and Tips section. You could try out the colour with no commitment. 😉

  • Although I love that hair colour, I would never take a risk and bleach my hair. My hair is so dark that it would damage it so, so much!
    Love out it looks on u x


  • Jessica Arzetti

    I love your hair! This is definitely goals for me, but I’m working my way up to silver!


  • Jasilyn Albert

    That color looks great on you!

  • Me

    Oh wow this suits you so much, I don’t think this would suit me which is a shame as I love the colour!

    Meme xx

    New Post:

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  • Haley Gibbons

    How often did you have to refresh your silver hair? I’ve been wanting to do this for a while but just not sure exactly how big of a commitment it is!

    • It really depends on your own hair and how well it can hold colour and how often you wash it. Mine is terrible with holding it in so it lasts about 5 washes (I wash it every 2-3 days) before I need to add a little of the silver rinse back in or re-tone it. I hope that helps.

  • Nezumi

    I love your makeup too! It complements your eyes and your hair. What eyeshadow is this?

  • Erin

    I love the shade you got. You said that you used 3/4 cup conditioner to make the shade, but for how much hair dye are we talking the whole bottle?

  • Aspen Long

    Hi I was hoping to be able to buy silver dye at a store. Any suggestions on which ones work well that I can buy from a store?

  • Question: I’m about 55% white and 45% medium brown and am seriously sick of looking at it — it looks horrible — so I’m wanting to dye it just ONE color. Since most of my hair is white I was thinking grey/silver. I guess my question is, if I need a hardcore bleaching process to eliminate the brown hair, how damaged is my hair going to be when finished? I’d never do it myself so I’m going to a salon but I tend to keep my hair pretty short (2-4″)…am I going to have any problems going silver or grey from my aforementioned starting point?

  • Kaity

    My hair was bleached 2x in a row in January – and toned silver. I’ve been using Clairol Shimmer Lights shampoo and conditioner – but the silver has been long gone so my hair has been steadily turning a brassy blonde again. I just bought the T18 and developer like you mentioned in your article – and it turned out SO pretty!! I ordered the Pravana from Amazon so I should be able to add that next week as well. Thanks for the article, it helped so much! I was worried I’d have to go spend a ton of money at a salon to get this look again.

  • Travis Hilmoe

    This is a great article! Question: I’m looking for a silver color with a slight blue undertone. Could I also Purchase Pravana dye in a blue color and add a little to the silver to achieve a slightly blue-ish silver?

  • Alyssa Sota

    Wow your hair looks so pretty! I actually just dyed my hair a few days ago but it didn’t turn out right, and I just want to go grey! How long after dying my hair do I have to wait to start the bleaching process? My hair is about an 8, it’s pretty dark, but I’d like to keep the roots dark and just fade into an ombré look with the silver.

  • Jane A. Gantz

    Was a brunette with gold highlights; bleached to yellow tone with Pravana bleach, used silver T-14 toner, then used Vivids Silver Chrome – the Silver Chrome came out sorta blue which I was able to eliminate with shampoo and peroxide. Thereafter I have used other silver dyes but have found my roots to be color resistant. My roots mostly retain a blonde to light brown cast which I really don’t like as it reminds me of dirty grey hair. Considering ombre but am a little scared to do that myself. Any suggestions about getting rid of that yellow color or how to kill the color resistance I am experiencing?

    • Kerry Shearer

      Could try bleach bath on the roots. Equal amount of bleach, developer (10 or 20 vol NO MORE) & shampoo. Just apply to stubborn roots after bleaching first time and leave on for normal bleaching time checking every 5 mins to make sure it’s developing without breakage. Then wash out and condition. Leave for a day at least b4 toning.

  • Savannah Drews

    Hey so I followed this to the T and when all of it was finished, most of my hair remained the very light blonde with a slight grey tint and only a few strands were the silver I was going for. Any ideas on how I might have messed up? I am naturally blonde, and a very light one too. Bleached it a little bit to the correct shade then toned it, then put 3/4 cup conditioner with half the dye and let it sit for 30 minutes. And it pretty much came out platinum with a few silver streaks that are barely noticeable. Still pretty, but not what I wanted.

  • anna

    I was actually looking for some hair color ideas but this doesn’t have much. I pinned some here if anyone is interested https://www.pinterest.com/annaRD19/silver-hair-color-ideas/