Silver Hair Tutorial: How to get silver hair at home

Are you wondering how to dye your hair silver at home? This silver hair tutorial article brings together all my knowledge about achieving DIY silver hair at home! The salons are closed, so it’s officially open season on hair dying!

There are several different methods for achieving silver hair, these ones are the ones I’ve tried and tested, and I have made YouTube videos showing you how to dye your hair silver with normal products.

Method 1: Bleach and silver toner.

This is the tried-and-tested traditional method for getting silver hair. It’s great because it’s customizable depending on the state and texture of your hair, and your base colour.

First, you bleach your hair (I’ve split this into a separate tutorial because there’s a lot you need to know before you do it). You need to bleach it to a light blonde (no orange at all) before you can go any further.

This is why the two-step method scares off a lot of people. Without good preparation and planning, you can easily wreck your hair with bleach and color remover doesn’t work on bleach because you have to bleach your hair within an inch of its life.

After your hair is bleached, it’s time to use a toner. You can do it on the same day that you bleach your hair, or you can go old-school and let it rest for two weeks first (you used to need to do this but bleaches are a lot better these days due to the huge demand for silver hair and white hair).

Your toner options are varied, and it depends on what sort of silver you’re looking for. I like a space-silver, so my absolute favourite ones are Directions Silver Toner and Crazy Colour Platinum Toner. If you’re looking more for a natural look (which I flatteringly called a granny grey in one video) Scott Cornwell silver toner is the one to pick. Here are my tutorials for them:

Silver Hair Tutorial With Directions Silver Toner:

Crazy Colour Silver vs Platinum Review and Tutorial:

Scott Cornwall Colour Restore Silver Toner Tutorial And Review (this one won’t embed):

youtube.com/watch?v=pa4Id-s1AOA

Method 2: Use a Silver Box Dye

I did all those silver hair reviews between 2014 and 2016 on my YouTube channel, although I’ve been dying my hair shades of white blonde to silver since 2004. Those are still good ways to color your hair, but they are not the only ways anymore. In 2018, some new, very exciting products exploded onto the market: Silver box dyes that actually worked! Better still, they work even if your hair isn’t bleached to a pale white.

My favourites are the Schwarzkopf Live Urban Metallics Permanent Blonde Quartz and the L’Oreal Colorista Permanent Silver. The semi-permanent dyes from the same two ranges are crap but the permanent ones are amazing. The advantage of using one of these permanent silver box dyes is you don’t need to bleach your hair as light to get the result, meaning your hair will be in much better condition. I 10/10 recommend these permanent dyes if you have longer hair. I did mine in 2018 (I did it as an ombre technique with red “roots” at the top) after bleaching my dark brown hair and it came out an absolutely stunning dark silver:

Before (you can see in the pic it’s almost black at the ends, so the above pic is a great result):

I did use the silver box dye later in 2018 after bleaching my hair a very light blonde and the result was a much lighter silver shade on the ombre’d half of my hair, so your base color will still determine how light you can go with silver hair dye.

Bear in mind permanent silver hair dye contains peroxide which will lighten your hair while it colours it. This means if you need to use colour remover, you can’t go back to your natural colour (you can’t just remove the dye and get your original colour back after using any permanent dye… that’s why they’re called permanent dyes).

Do you need to bleach your hair before using silver box dye? Check out my silver hair dye infographic flowchart to find out:

silver hair dye infographic hairdressing infographic flowchart mamaadventure

If you need to bleach your hair first, my Hair Dye 101: Bleaching Your Hair article has some great tips.

Once you have dyed your hair silver, you will want to maintain it by using a silver shampoo. I’ve covered my favourites here.

More articles on this topic:

Color Remover FAQ

How to use color remover and how it works

Wrecked your hair with bleach? Fix it!

Hair Dye 101: Bleaching your hair

Silver Shampoos Reviewed

Hair Color Remover FAQ

This is the frequently asked questions I get about how color remover works, how to use color remover, whether it can be used after bleaching etc, all in one helpful place so you can find answers!

Rainbow eye make up from the front (goes with glow in the dark rainbow hair)

Can you get your natural hair colour back after bleaching it?
No, sorry. If you want a longer answer, this video I made explains why.

Does Color Remover Really Work?
Yes. It really does. If you want to know exactly HOW it works, so you know whether it will solve your particular hair dilemma, read my other article. Remember, NO color remover will work if you don’t use it properly! Always read the instructions and take care of allergies/safety. If you did a bad job dying your hair (rather than just being tired of your old color) you might not be the best person to be using color remover – do you have a friend/relative who could help you with it?

Can I bleach after using color remover?
Yes you can, although you should wait at least 2 weeks (preferably longer) because otherwise your hair might turn very dark, as there might be a few residual color molecules left in your hair from before you used the color remover, and if something else is applied to the hair, it can cause them to re-combine which will make your hair go dark. If you want to know more, check out my articles: How color Remover Works and How Bleaching Works.

Can I use color remover on hair extensions?
If they are 100% human hair then colour remover will work on them, but the main problem is that it can affect where they are attached. If you have the ones that stay in all the time, the colour remover won’t be able to get through the glue to remove the colour properly so you might end up with a patchy result, BUT the glue is where nobody sees it much so unless you’re getting a drastic color change it shouldn’t be very noticeable. It depends how you’ll feel knowing there’s some patchy colour under your hair. If it’s the clip in extensions made with human hair, then your problem is the attachment again, but for a slightly different reason. Just like bleach can oxidize the metal clips, the colour remover (depending on which one you use) can affect the area where the hair is attached to that base netting and clips at the top. I would be very careful with this unless your extensions were cheap. Personally I would just buy some new ones.

How long do I leave color remover?
It varies from brand to brand. There should be instructions with the color remover. Color remover should not be stored for future use (it won’t work) so if you don’t have instructions, you have a bit of a problem.

Which color remover works best?
There’s been a sudden explosion of new brands, but the only two I have used and would trust with the important job of stripping the colour from my hair are Color Oops and Color B4 (Color B4 only appears to come in Extra Strength in the US). In the UK, B4 comes in regular strength and EXTRA STRENGTH as well as the “fashion colours” version.  Remember you need to read the instructions carefully and use this correctly or it doesn’t work.  It’s not like hair dye at all!

I’ve left my color remover on for too long.
Rinse it. Keep rinsing it. I would extend the rinse times by about half an hour each (make sure your shower doesn’t overheat and that you have enough hot water to do this). This makes certain that all the colour gets out.  Otherwise you won’t get a result or you will get a weird result (see below).

My hair has gone orange / caramel / some other weird color!
Yep, this can happen.  That’s what’s left of your natural color under all that hair dye. See here for why. It’s not a problem with the color remover it’s a problem with the dyes you have used and how they affect your hair.

Can color remover get rid of semi-permanent color or crazy or bright colors?
No. See here for why. There is a special color remover that claims to deal with bright colors but I have not personally used it, the reviews of it are mixed and it’s not available in the US. See it here on UK Amazon.

Can color remover get rid of bleach?
No, it also doesn’t restore your natural hair color.   See here for why and more tips.

Is color remover safe to use on children?
No. Neither is permanent hair dye. So you shouldn’t need to use color remover. Because it only removes permanent hair dye. Which isn’t safe to use on children.

Is color remover safe to use on animals?
Oh my God no see my previous answer. I’d like to add some choice swear words but this site gets read by a general audience.

Can you use color remover more than once?
Yes. But don’t keep using it over and over again. Use it twice (unless the instructions on your box tell you not to) then wait at least a month before using it again. I don’t know why, it’s just what the manufacturer says.

This article contains affiliate links to Amazon.