Adding Highlights to Cover Gray on Brown-Haired Clients

January 24, 2024

Here at Revlon Professional®, we love all colors, types, and textures of hair! We’re here to help you unleash your creativity and boost your confidence. So, if your client wants to blend, cover, or accentuate the grays on their brunette base, we’ve got you covered!

Read on to understand the intricacies of gray coverage so that you can provide top-notch service to your clients no matter their preferences.



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Understanding Grey Coverage

If you didn’t already know, gray hair results from a decrease in melanin, the pigment responsible for hair color. Gray hair often presents a unique challenge due to its color. It’s common for gray hair to appear coarse and porous, making it more resistant to color. 

Understanding how to blend gray on brunette hair involves not only technique but also determining the percentage of gray that is in the hair and then choosing the appropriate color range to meet the demands of the service. 



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Consultation and Client Expectations

The key to a successful consultation is effective communication. Take the time to discuss your client’s desired outcome and address any concerns or questions they may have about blending gray on brunette hair. Educating your clients about the process of covering gray is crucial. It’s important to set realistic expectations. Gray coverage often requires ongoing maintenance to help ensure a beautifully true and neutralized gray tone.

A consultation is also the perfect opportunity to assess the condition of your client’s hair. It’s important to evaluate the hair’s texture and porosity, which can vary widely, even among individuals with similar hair colors. This evaluation allows you to select the most suitable range and technique for blending gray on brunette hair.

Types of Highlights for Grey Coverage

Now that you have completed your consultation and hopefully also looked through some inspo pics (we highly recommend doing this!), the next step is to get creative and tailor the color and technique to blend the gray and brunette hair.

Traditional Foil Highlights

Traditional foil highlights are a classic choice, offering precise coverage of gray hair. Revlonissimo Colorsmetique™ works exceptionally well with this technique as the range can cover up to 100% of grays and gives vivid results. Whatever your client’s age, hair type, or percentage of gray, this sophisticated professional color will ensure the perfect balance. It provides coverage, transparency, and shine for true-to-tone and high-dimension color from roots to ends. It is ideal for blending gray on natural brunette hair. 

Foil highlights are particularly effective when dealing with resistant gray hair. The foil helps trap heat, ensuring that the color penetrates deeply and evenly. This technique allows for complete coverage and a seamless blend of gray on brunette hair.

Balayage Highlights

Balayage highlights offer a more natural and subtle effect, making gray hair coverage on brunette hair appear seamless. The right choice of products such as lifting the brunette with Magnet™ Blondes Ultimate Powder 7. Ammonia-free* then adding a toner to add color and shine, ensures a gentle and radiant transition when blending grays on brunette hair.

Balayage is known for its versatility, as it allows for a softer and more gradual transition from gray to the base color. It creates a sun-kissed effect that is particularly flattering on brunette hair. 


Babylights create an ultra-fine and delicate highlight, perfect for those who prefer a subtle transformation when blending gray on brunette hair. Using tones such as .821 Mushroom by Color Excel will offer a modern and sophisticated shade that neutralizes and blends up to 60% of gray hair. The pigment gently enters the hair fiber and deposits color with no base, helping to maintain a flawless gray tone while achieving a natural, balanced and seamless look.

Babylights are all about subtlety. They mimic the natural highlights that hair often has in childhood. This technique is ideal for clients who want to maintain the overall brunette appearance but also like the look of blended grays on brunette hair. 


Lowlights can be strategically applied to grays on brunette hair to create depth and dimension. Using colors with a natural or ash tone in a shade that is close or one-two shades lighter than your brunette base will help achieve a beautiful contrast while neutralizing yellow residues. This can create the perfect blend for gray on brunette hair.

Lowlights provide depth and richness to the hair. They are particularly effective when blending gray hair, as they create a multi-dimensional appearance. By using Revlonissimo™ for lowlights, you can achieve a vibrant and dynamic blend of gray on brunette hair.

Face-Framing Highlights

Face-framing highlights enhance facial features while covering grays. Color Excel creates a shimmering tone and a neutralizing effect, ideal for blending gray on brunette hair.

Face-framing highlights draw attention to the client’s facial features. They are strategically placed to illuminate and highlight the face while providing effective gray coverage.


Choosing the Right Shade and Placement

Selecting the perfect shade and placement for your client’s specific needs depends on if they wish to make the gray tones stand out with a blonder tone, blend them, or cover them and to draw attention to the brunette. It’s important to offer a range of shades for the perfect toning and neutralization and to continue to consult your client as their preference is likely to change on their hair journey. Covering gray hair is a big commitment, especially when the percentage goes over 60%, so offering alternative options is key to keeping clients happy. Gray hair is trending afterall!

The right choice of shades and placement is equally vital when blending gray on brunette hair. It’s important to consider factors such as the client’s natural hair color, the desired result, and any previous color treatments. Revlon Professional products provide a wide range of shades, guaranteeing that you can find the perfect match for your client’s needs.



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Process and Application

The application process is where the magic happens in achieving gray coverage on brunette hair. For the best results, follow these steps:

  1. Consultation: Assess your client’s hair, gray percentage, and preferences. Then select the optimal Revlon Professional color products.
  2. Application: Apply the selected color with a focus on gray-prone areas as these can be the most resistant.
  3. Processing Time: Allow the product to process as per instructions when blending gray on brunette hair. For full coverage, make sure you let the color process for the full development time.
  4. Styling: Finish with the desired hairstyle to show off that beautified and blended hair.

Client Education and Maintenance

Once you achieve the perfect blend of gray on brunette hair, recommend at-home maintenance. As gray hair tends to be more coarse and has a tendency to get brassy, choosing products with a purple pigment will help keep the color flawless until your client’s next salon visit.

Professional Care and Styling Products

Semi-Permanent At Home Care

For at home maintenance, we suggest the use of NutriColor Filters, offering intermixable shades that can be adapted to your client’s specific needs. Four recommended shades from the NutriColor Filters™ range include:

Now that you know the best techniques to care for your brunette clients who want to blend or embrace their grays, it’s time to go further and continue learning with us. Take a look at our 24/7 online educational platform, Revlon Pro Always On. There you can learn new tricks and trends 24/7 from our Revlon Pro community and ambassadors, and empower your business. 


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