Covering Gray Hair With Progressive Hair Color

Progressive colorant products are great for covering gray hair gradually. They reverse grey hair by creating pigments that darken hair over a series of treatments. The color transition is subtle and barely noticeable. The longer you continue treatments the darker your hair becomes. You control the final color result by deciding when to stop treatment.

Progressive Hair Color

Conventional hair dyes use ammonia and peroxide to penetrate hair. Progressive hair products typically use lead acetate as the active coloring agent when covering gray hair. Lead acetate is a metallic salt that creates synthetic pigments. The pigments are produced when lead acetate reacts chemically with oxygen in the air. The synthetic pigments treat grey hair by slowly darkening it with continued exposure to oxygen. They coat and penetrate hair shafts, causing grey to disappear.

Although very effective, these colorants are not a permanent gray hair cure and can wear off. The darkening effect results from synthetic pigments on hair reacting with oxygen in the air. Therefore, after applying a progressive hair colorant, it's best to refrain from activities that disrupt the chemical oxidation process. Shampoo less frequently in the beginning and avoid other activities such as swimming that expose hair to water. You want to keep hair dry and undisturbed so the oxidation process continues with maximum effectiveness. If you'd rather use a natural product to color gray hair,

Popular Progressive Color Brands

Three of the most popular progressive hair colors used to get rid of grey hair are Grecian Hair Color, GrayBan and Restoria. Progressive hair colors in general share the following advantages and disadvantages. Here are some user reviews on progressive hair colors and other gray hair coloring products.


  • Can discreetly color gray hair without sudden, dramatic change. Gradually builds up darker colors over several weeks.
  • Reversing grey hair is easy. You control final color results. As soon as the desired look is achieved, simply stop treatments.
  • Covering gray hair with these products is fast and easy. No mixing required. Products don't contain ammonia, hydrogen peroxide or p-phenylenediamine.
  • Products can be applied selectively for a custom look. For example, if you want black hair with grey highlights simply target specific areas while leaving other areas untreated.


  • Although a progressive hair dye is a great cure for grey hair it must be reapplied continually. Over time this can become more expensive than using a conventional hair dye. Also, shade selection is limited.
  • For maximum effectiveness when using a progressive dye, activities that disturb the oxidation process should be avoided. Shampoo less and minimize exposure to direct sun and chlorinated water.
  • Most progressive hair colors contain lead acetate. This metallic salt has been deemed safe for cosmetic use. However, some people still caution against its' use.

Covering Gray Hair Safely

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of lead acetate in cosmetics in small amounts of .6% or less. They believe that at these concentrations the amount is so small it cannot pose a health risk. But others believe there's a possibility of absorption through hair and skin with continued use. For additional information and guidelines on using hair products that contain lead acetate, check out this Product and Ingredient Safety article on the FDA website.

Progressive hair colors have been used successfully by many people for a long time. If preventative precautions are taken these gray hair reversal products should be fine for most people. Only use on healthy, unbroken skin. Don't use on open skin abrasions where lead could enter the bloodstream. Be careful to thoroughly wash hands and work area after using. If you're around children, pregnant women, the elderly or someone with a compromised immune system you might want to consider another hair color product. If you prefer getting rid of gray more naturally, here's a popular product that uses herbal extracts and vitamins to gently convert hair back to its' original color.

One more important safety note. If you've used progressive hair dyes for covering gray hair recently do not use a conventional hair dye or any other chemical treatment that contains peroxide. The lead acetate will react chemically with the peroxide. It will break it down and may generate enough chemical heat to cause skin burns and hair damage. Always consult a professional hair colorist who can safely neutralize the lead acetate metallic salts first if necessary.

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