Going Gray? Try The Dye Strip Method!

March 8, 2024 (updated May 14, 2024) — Written by

Want to go gray but don’t want to walk around with half your hair dyed and the other half not? We’ve got a solution and it’s called The Dye Strip Method. I know this sounds crazy but this method actually has you DYE your hair to help you STOP DYEING your hair. Keep scrolling for first hand accounts from 5 women who tried the dye strip method plus before + after pics and all the tips and tricks!

A woman with long gray hair in a bright yellow gold shirt.

By: Lisa Fennessy

Sure it takes a while for gray hair to grow out but you don’t just have to sit and wait it out. There actually ARE ways to aid the gray hair grow out process. We’ve rounded up 10 ways to go gray but there are so many more options like gray blending or “The Dye Strip Method.”  


What is the Dye Strip Method?

As far as we can tell, what’s now known as The Dye Strip Method was created by a woman named Suzan Barnes. Back in 2017 she posted a video entitled “How to Grow Out Your Gray Hair Secretly” and shared a way to color a section of your hair so if you part your hair one way, it looks dyed and if you part your hair the other way, it looks undyed.

The idea behind this approach being that you would wear your hair parted to expose the dyed section essentially “hiding” the gray growth until your growout was complete or looked intentional. Then you would flip your part to the opposite side of your head exposing your natural gray hair all grown out. This would then allow the dyed strip to grow out (appearing like lowlights) underneath your natural gray hair.

To this day, Suzan still only has three videos posted (in total) on her Youtube channel. One video explains this method, one video demonstrates this method and video one answers FAQs a few years later. 

We ended up getting in touch with Suzan via email and it turns out, she is a hairdresser! (Of course she is!). She says, “It’s great to hear that my method is working for others. As far as I am aware, I am the originator of the method, though I imagine that someone somewhere in the world has also thought of it. Though I am a licensed hairstylist, when it came to growing out my gray hair, I didn’t have a solution. After many weeks of frustration from not being able to find anything online, the idea came to me while driving in my car. I thought it was so easy that many women might appreciate the idea, so I made a video.”

I love that Suzan just came into the world, dropped a gray-hair-gem and peaced out. Yassss Suzan. 

Since then this method has exploded in popularity as women give it a try. Diana, one of these pioneering women explains, “I coined the name [The Dye Strip and Flip Technique] because it didn’t have a name and in order to spread the word about the technique it had to have a name, right? [This method] was a game changer and I instantly KNEW this was how I was going to embrace my gray. As soon as I saw how well it worked for me, I had to share it so others knew there was another technique out there to consider.”

Diana reports that some Facebook groups may have been sharing the technique a few years earlier than Suzan so the origins are a little fuzzy. But now you can find The Dye Strip Method via an easy search as it’s being used by gray hair bloggers, Youtubers and women who are sharing their gray hair story publicly. 

The Dye Strip Method

Step 1: Section off the hair that surrounds your side part (1/2 inch to 1 inch on both sides) and dye that section of hair as close to your natural shade as possible.

Step 2: Part your hair on that side to expose dyed hair so that over time, you’ll secretly grow out your gray hair underneath.

Step 3: When your grow-out is complete, part your hair on the other side and go from dyed hair to gray hair in one flip!

A graphic depicting the dye area for the dye strip method.
Example of where to dye your hair. Note: Ideally this would be on a side part so that you can flip to the other side when you’re ready to reveal your gray.

RELATED: What is gray hair blending?

Who should do the Dye Strip Method?

Listen, anyone can try The Dye Strip Method but it’s specifically a good fit for women who are looking for a way around sporting that stark demarcation line that happens when you stop dying your hair and start growing in your natural color.

The top of a woman's head showing grays growing in.
You can see my demarcation line back when I was first growing out my gray.

But if we want to break it down a bit, The Dye Strip Method seems ideal for people with longer hair that have a straight-to-wavy texture. 

We’ve rounded up first hand experiences from 5 different women who have tried The Dye Strip Method and they all have this hair type in common. Not to say people with other types of hair can’t give this method a whirl but it may not work for short or very curly hair. It also probably won’t work if you can’t “flip” your part from side to side.

RELATED: Overtone for Gray Hair. Plus, Before and After Pics!

Can you DIY the Dye Strip Method?

This is totally up to you. If you feel comfortable trying The Dye Strip Method on your own then go for it! I personally would be sh*tting a brick if I tried this myself so if this were me, I would prefer to go to a professional hairstylist. 

That being said, this is a relatively straightforward and small dye job—most (but not all) of the women we interviewed below did it themselves at home. So, this one is your call. 

5 Women try the Dye Strip Method with before + after pics!

Diana tried the Dye Strip Method

Charity tried the Dye Strip Method

Leslie tried the Dye Strip Method

Irene Claire tried the Dye Strip Method

Suzan Barnes tried the Dye Strip Method

Would you try the dye strip method for going gray?

xo, lisa in cursive

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By Lisa Fennessy

Lisa is the founder of The New Knew. Passionate about clean beauty, organic eats and nontoxic lifestyle, Lisa writes to create awareness. Conscious consumerism and informed decisions will impact the marketplace, our health and THE WORLD!

1 Comment

  1. Reply

    L E

    You have such a beautiful and youthful face. I think you should dye your hair. You’re too young to be gray. There’s no shame in dying your hair.

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