How to Cover Gray at the Temples

by Mimi Abney
Upgrade your hairstyle with simple, at-home root coverage.

Upgrade your hairstyle with simple, at-home root coverage.

If the sight of unruly gray hair at your temples signals the beginning of a bad hair day, don’t panic. It’s easy to transform your lackluster locks from drab to fab. Whether you are a beauty novice in between salon appointments, or an at-home hairstyling hero, you too can cover your silver strands -- temporarily or permanently -- using a few expert beauty tips.

Dye Your Roots

Determine the type of coloring process you’ll use to cover the gray. Semi-permanent dye has low amounts of peroxide and lasts for 8-10 weeks. The color’s strength lessens with each shampoo and blends with your natural color easily. Permanent dye, however, contains high levels of peroxide and does not lift with each shampooing session. When dyeing the roots the color lasts for about four weeks.

Begin with dry and clean hair. Hair dye might not cling well to hair that is dirty or saturated with styling products.

Mix the hair dye according to the kit’s directions in a small plastic or glass bowl. Metal bowls may react with the product and alter the hair color.

Slip a pair of rubber or plastic gloves over your hands to protect your digits from dye stains and irritation. Wrap a large and old towel around your shoulders to prevent any dye drips from staining your clothes.

Use a clean mascara spoolie or a small dye brush to smooth the product on your roots. Hold the hair near your temples up and straight. Then paint your roots in an upward motion to cover the gray. Make sure to paint the front and back section of the hair.

Smooth the dye into the hair shaft with your fingers or a comb to blend. Set a kitchen timer or alarm clock to keep the color on for exact time the kit recommends.

Rinse out the product with warm water and condition hair thoroughly. To extend the life of the color, use a hydrating hair mask weekly and switch to dry shampoo when possible.

Use a Haircoloring Marker, Spray or Hair Powder

Wrap an old towel around your shoulders. Massage hair powder into your dry roots to downplay silver strands. To allow the powder to adhere to the grays, let the product remain on the hair for ten minutes or more, before styling hair with a comb or brush.

Mist on an aerosol-based root spray. Spritz the product into the roots. Make sure you spray the front and back of the hair. After 5-10 minutes, comb hair with a rat tail comb to blend product into your hair completely.

Paint hair with a hair mascara or a temporary hair color pen. Apply product to the roots. Use a clean mascara spoolie brush to blend.

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Items you will need

  • Hair coloring kit
  • Plastic or metal bowls
  • Plastic or rubber gloves
  • Old towel
  • Small brush or mascara spoolie
  • Comb
  • Kitchen timer or alarm clock
  • Conditioner
  • Temporary hair coloring pen, marker, hair coloring spray or powder
  • Rat tail comb


  • Make sure to select a hair coloring kit that is within one to two shades of your natural hair color.


  • If you have relaxed hair, use a demi-permanent hair color. A dye without ammonia and peroxide is gentler to your processed strands.

About the Author

Mimi Abney is a lifestyle writer specializing in online content for women. Her work has appeared in and "Keepsake Magazine," among other publications. With over 15 years of writing and editing experience for the web and print, Abney is also a contributor to online health, beauty and fashion publications. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Spelman College.

Photo Credits

  • Siri Stafford/Lifesize/Getty Images