"Hybrid" Hair Color Is My Low-Maintenance Secret to Covering Grays

POPSUGAR Photography | Aviel Kanter
POPSUGAR Photography | Aviel Kanter
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While I hate to admit it, finding new grays in my hair is really stressful. Part of me wants to embrace the change, but to be honest, I'm just not ready to dive headfirst into my silver era. While I've been coloring my hair for years, I'm also someone who needs very low-maintenance color treatments. Meaning, I go to the salon for a highlights touch-up every six months or so. Unfortunately, my gray-hair growth doesn't want to align with that timeline — I seem to find a new patch of them sprouting from the crown of my head every few days.

Then I read about the "hybrid" hair-color trend that's been popping up on celebrities like Hailey Bieber and Kim Kardashian. It's characterized by an all-over single-process base color that's tailored to fit your natural color, with lighter highlights subtly dispersed throughout. It's topped off by a high-shine gloss that makes it look extra expensive.

According to Kristen Good, a colorist at the Beverly Hills salon Mèche, "Hybrid hair color is the best of all worlds. It is a fusion of dark and light with dimension and softness and warmth or coolness depending on what you want. Hybrid hair color is flattering on everyone, because it brings out your features while giving you an extra glow."

In terms of covering grays, this differs from my typical route of getting full highlights or balayage starting at my roots, which makes it difficult to hide the new growth the moment it pops up and harder to get touch-ups in between full-color sessions. My hope was that the hybrid color would make it easier for me to get quick touch-ups without multiple four-hour (and expensive) appointments throughout the year.

Read on for my before and after photos, Good's recommendations for what to ask for at your hybrid-hair-color appointment, along with at-home maintenance product picks.

Before Getting Hybrid Hair-Color

POPSUGAR Photography | Aviel Kanter

"To create this look I like to start with a base that matches my client's natural color, but with a little extra warmth," says Good. "I drag the base down a little bit when I apply it, which adds richness throughout the hair. After shampooing the base out, I blow-dry the hair and do a full head of chunky lowlights with soft highlights. The goal is to add dimension and make the highlights pop without needing to get them too bright." She says that when you sit down in your colorist's chair, ask for a warmer, richer base with soft, dimensional highlights that are blended at the root.

For me, this meant closely matching my light-brunette natural color for the base and adding in lots of honey-blond tones. Once Good finished the base and the high- and lowlights, she did two glosses — one on the roots to help blend the two tones seamlessly and another on the ends for high shine. "By using a darker gloss on the roots and keeping the gloss on the ends a couple shades lighter, you get a low-maintenance color while maintaining dimension," she says. "I start with a root gloss that's close to the same shade as the base. When glossing the ends, I reach for something a few shades lighter that is either warm and golden or cool and beige toned depending on what will complement the client's features."

POPSUGAR Photography | Aviel Kanter

In terms of maintenance, Good says it's as easy as it gets, with highlights needed every four to six months and glosses optional in between. When it comes to covering new grays, Good says this style makes it easy to just pop in every now and again for a quick base touch-up or gloss, which is exactly what I was looking for.

To make sure the glossy sheen and richness of the color stays intact at home, Good recommends using a sulfate-free shampoo and keeping the heat on your styling tools as low as possible. "To add extra shine and protect against heat damage at home, I use Olaplex No. 6 Bond Smoother ($30) before blow-drying, then I like to finish with the O&M Frizzy Logic Shine Serum ($50)." Because my hair is quite fine, I like to use the Crown Affair Hair Oil ($40) before blow-drying and the Ranavat Fortifying Hair Serum ($70) before heat styling for a super-lustrous shine without weighing down my hair.

After Hybrid Hair Color

POPSUGAR Photography | Aviel Kanter

Overall, I couldn't be happier with my hybrid hair color. It covers my grays in the low-maintenance way I wanted and gives my hair so much dimension. I can't recommend it enough if you're in need of a color reset.