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Trouble with Gray Coverage? 5 Professional Tips

Achieving gray coverage in the salon isn’t always easy and the frustration is real. Coarse texture, resistant strands and a translucent result can be a hairstylist’s nightmare when seeking to deliver flawless color. Follow along as we share five proven salon strategies to navigate the complexities of gray hair and how to effectively cover with customized product selection, formulation, application and pre-treatment services.


Pre-treating and cleansing the hair is an essential step when covering gray. Remove product buildup, balance pH levels, improve color adhesion, enhance porosity and extend color longevity. Over time, hair may accumulate unnecessary oils, conditioners, minerals and styling products, creating a barrier that prevents color from penetrating the hair shaft effectively. Schedule time for a pre-treatment service at the salon prior to color application. We recommend Sebastian Professional Reset Shampoo to reveal the hair’s natural shine and gently remove any buildup. Apply, lather, and cleanse all areas of the head form, focusing on the hairline for any additional buildup from makeup, perspiration or mineral products. Rinse and follow with Sebastian Professional Penetraitt Conditioner to restore moisture, balance porosity and transform the hair from dry + dull to soft + silky. Blowdry the hair and proceed with color application. Limited time at the salon? No stress! Retail the recommended shampoo and conditioner to your salon guest. Instruct them to cleanse and clarify prior to their arrival at the salon.


Product choice, formulation and mixing ratios play a vital role in optimal gray coverage. Choose from Wella Professionals two permanent color lines: Koleston Perfect Me+ or Illumina Color for the best gray coverage. Discover the versatility between the two families with an extensive portfolio offering both a multi-dimensional and rich opaque finish.
Koleston Perfect Permanent Color is formulated with ME+ dye technology to reduce the risk of developing a new allergy to haircolor. With ultra precision color technology, it provides pure, balanced color results with natural depth and shine. Up to 100% gray coverage and formulated with metal purifier to help prevent hair damage caused by metals. Your best ally to get ultra-precise color results and maintain hair health.
Illumina Color is a permanent color with capabilities to lighten, darken and enhance hair color, delivering natural looking results. Illumina Color reveals incredible light reflection, hair structure protection and 100% gray coverage.
Accurately measure your formula with a scale. (That’s right! Measure your formula.) Utilize a 1:1 mixing ratio: Koleston Perfect/Illumina + Welloxon Perfect Crème Developer 6% (20 volume). Don’t forget to include your gray coverage family in your formulation for proper coverage and saturation.


Clean sectioning and proper haircolor application are key when covering gray hair. Mix product immediately before application to maximize results. Take small sections to maintain precise saturation and gently lay color on the hair, versus swiping it away. PROTIP: If the salon guest has resistant gray hair or a large abundance of hair, prep two color bowls + developer. Mix bowl #1 and apply to the front two sections. Mix bowl #2 and apply to the back section. Freshly mixed color ensures maximum oxidation capability and coverage.


Once the application is complete, set a timer and let the color process. Recommended processing time for Wella Professionals Koleston Perfect Me+ and Illumina Color is 30-40 minutes with no heat and 15-25 minutes with heat. Color results may be compromised if timing is not accurate.
MAINTENANCE Advise salon guests to pre-book their next appointment every 4-6 weeks, to maintain optimal gray coverage, prevent extensive regrowth and discourage any color correction scenarios.

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