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Smoky Blue Grey

The Definitive Guide to Getting Grey Hair


Grey Hair is not the Easiest Color to Create in Your Salon. In this blog post, we show you the 8 things you need to know to achieve these colors in your salon!

Pearl Blonde

Grey Hair by Brittany Pomije

Pre-lightening with Brilliant Blonde, and Pearl Blonde Toner. 

  • Grey isn't the easiest color to create or to maintain, but it's really pretty and fun.
  • As a hairdresser, it will set you apart if you can successfully create grey looks for your clients.
  • Read below for details on how exactly to create these looks, how to apply and process grey hair color as well as how to maintain it.
  • Also, we talk about grey hair for older clients and for men
  • Also fun facts: Did you know that the last time grey was in was in the late 18th Century? Check out the portrait of Marie Antoinette at the bottom of this blog to see how it looked!

Silver Grey

Silver Grey. Hair by Elona Taki

Metallic Grey

Metallic Grey by SarahMaria

Smoky Blue Grey

Smoky Blue Grey by Brittney Perez

1. How Do I Create These Grey Looks?

  1. For grey, you need to pre-lighten hair very consistently all the way to level 10.
  2. Then choose your color, from the colors below (we have 3 greys, plus you can use the pearl blonde toner)
  3. Mix with 20 Vol in the ratio of 1 part color to 1 part developer and apply.
  4. Process for 30 minutes
  5. Note that the grey colors are not toners - they do need to be processed/developed for the full 30 minutes.

Silver Grey

Silver Grey

Smoky Blue Grey

Smoky Blue Grey

Metallic Grey

Metallic Grey

Pearl Blonde

Pearl Blonde

2. Tips for Applying Grey Hair Color

Greys typically are less long lasting than other colors. To get the maximum intensity and lastingness, we recommend that you pay great attention to proper application: 

  • Apply plenty of product so that the hair is correctly saturated.
  • After applying with a dye brush, rub more product in using fingers with gloves.
  • Consider double saturation (second product application with a fresh mix using a dye brush 10 minutes after the first application)
  • Develop them a full 30 minutes. Add 10 minutes extra for greater vividness.

3. How Do I Maintain My Grey Looks?

  • Grey hair is a fairly fragile color. But if you follow the steps below you should get a few weeks of very pretty grey hair
  • Try and wash it not too often...use a dry shampoo for example.
  • When washing, use tepid or cool water if at all possible, as heat will make the color run out faster
  • When using shampoo, try and make sure it is sulfate free and acidic (low PH)
  • Ugly Duckling grey hair colors do fade "true"...in the sense that when the colors start to fade, the color will still look pretty.

4. How About Darker Grey Hair Colors? How do I get a Dark Grey Color?

  • Use one of the 2 grey additives below. 
  • The way to use these additives is to squeeze in just a little with your regular color.
  • The result will be to turn whatever color you are applying more grey, more ashy.
  • These grey additives will make the hair color more ashy and neutralize brassiness.
  • They are best used on dark hair to brown hair (level 1 to level 5).
  • When mixing in, use about one inch of the Additive for 1 tube of a regular color. 

Ash Grey AdditiveAsh Blue Additive

Ash Grey Additive

Ash Blue Additive

5. How About Mixing Ugly Duckling Grey Hair Colors?

  • You absolutely can do that. Check out these pictures by Paula Sturdevant, mixing Ugly Duckling Metallic Grey and Silver Grey.

Mixing Grey Hair Colors

6. Can Men Go Grey?

Grey Hair - Men 

7. Can Old People Go Grey?

  • What a question! These days hairdressers and their clients are having great fun...coloring grey hair...grey. It looks awesome!

Grey Hair - Seniors

Silver Grey Hair - Hair by Brittney Perez

Smoky Blue Grey Hair

Smoky Blue Grey Hair. Hair by Bozey Tedstone

8. Fun Fact About Grey Hair Color

  • The last time grey was in fashion was in.....the late 18th Century!
  • Here is a gorgeous portrait of Marie Antoinette, future Queen of France.
  • It was painted by Joseph Ducreux so that her future husband (King Louis XVI) could see what she looked like.
  • The grey hair worked! He married her after after seeing her in this painting.

Marie Antoinette with Grey Hair

Marie Antoinette with Grey Hair. Painting by Joseph Ducreux.


About the author

Sally has been a hair colorist and trainer for many years in both the US & Europe. She currently does hair color training for Ugly Duckling. She also helps develop new & awesome products for the brand.