Cover Greying Hair

Greying hair
Q: For years I've been colouring my hair at home to cover my greying hair. My natural hair colour is - I now estimate - 95% white concentrated at the front. The rest is a nasty mouse. My problem is, over time the box colour (Casting) is just not 'taking' anymore & washes out in just 1-2 washes, leaving the roots practically untouched & the rest of my hair darker. In daylight the hair looks far too transparent in colour. I mix equally a red & dark blond to achieve my colour.
At the moment I'm having to re-do the roots every 2 weeks. My hairline won't take the colour at all & I'm resorting to eyeliner pencil to mask the ghastly 'Landing Strip' between washes. I'm frankly scared of going to a salon & also of ending up having to go back every 2 weeks to get the roots fixed. It would be far too expensive for me to consider. I really would like to be in control myself without falling into the 'Salon Trap'. Please, please help before I start to tear it out in frustration. Many thanks.

A: The problem with what you describe is that very often when the hair loses its natural pigment the cuticle layer contracts and the hair becomes resistant: harder to color and less apt to hold onto the color because the color doesn't penetrate as deeply. This can often be countered by using a "pre-softening" technique which raises the cuticle and allows color to penetrate more deeply.
This is done using a 20-volume peroxide developer which is applied to the hair for 10-15 minutes and rinsed out thoroughly. The hair is then dried and color treated as directed.
Of course, part of your problem is that "Casting Color" is meant as a demi-permanent hair color product, designed to shampoo out in little more than a handful of washes. This, coupled with the compacting of the cuticle in the gray hair, leads to your color being short-lived.
The other problem you have is that the hair is nearly completely pigment-less in its natural state. Demi-permanent colors are really only meant for hair that is 50% or LESS gray. The transparent look of the color is largely as a result of the fact that the color being added is meant to be "translucent" and the unpigmented hair to which it is being applied is translucent already. This gives hair with 50% gray or less a natural look, but leaves hair with greater gray concentrations looking flat and transparent.
If you aren't willing to go to a salon, you need to go to your local beauty supply and get permanent haircolor. You should also consider getting two shades: one base color for all-over, and one a little darker to use with a frosting cap so that you can create lowlights in the hair and give your hair a more natural look. This would make a better option for you than proceeding as you have been. It should also give you more pleasing results.
Photo: Doro Guzenda/Shutterstock
See also:
How to color hair
Color resistant gray hair
Things that can go wrong when coloring hair