Home » Courses » Gray Lifting Formulation



Lifting gray hair can be a bit more challenging than just depositing on gray hair. I’ve even seen very seasoned colorists freeze a little when they are lifting “Salt and Pepper” gray hair because they have a moment of doubt and ask themselves: “Do I formulate for the ‘Salt’ or the ‘Pepper’”? or “How to get grey tones out of blonde hair?”

This lesson will enforce the basics and remind you to always assess the natural level before lifting hair so you can accommodate for the melanin, regardless of the amount of gray, and make sure you choose the right developer for what you need your formula to do.

Remember, “Gray Lifting” doesn’t just mean “Gray Blonding”, this isn’t just a lesson about blondes, this is a lesson about everyone with gray that wants to be a lighter level.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

    • The Real Difference Between “Salt & Pepper”
    • Natural Contributing Pigment Review
    • Developer Choices
    • Why 100% White Hair is like Platinum Blonde Hair’s Resistant Stepsister
    • How to Turn Grey Hair Blonde
    • How Highlift Tint is a Great Option for Gray Coverage

We will also discuss why it’s important to to adhere to “Minimum processing times” for your formula especially when lifting gray hair since there are two actions at play:

    • The time it takes to lift natural pigment out
    • The time it takes to develop enough artificial pigment load to accommodate for the missing pigment

This lesson is full of real examples and formulations, plus some variables including clients that have a pure white hairline but salt and pepper everywhere else, and we will dissect a highlift tint formula to discuss when and why it is a viable option for lifting gray hair.

After purchasing this lesson, my biggest piece of advice is to watch the video first, and then watch it again while answering the workbook questions. It’s important that you actually understand your answers so you can remember this information while working behind the chair.

This Single Lesson Purchase Includes 1 video lesson (35 minutes) and 1 workbook.

*If you’re interested in purchasing all three lessons in Advanced Formulation Course, please click here.

Meet Your Teacher

Heather Ward Kepshire, Creator

  • Educated in San Francisco
  • Refined in Boston
  • Thrived Everywhere Else


I’m a hairstylist and a haircolor curriculum creator. I know first hand that none of us receives the haircolor education we thought we would get in Beauty School, no matter how much we paid for it. When I graduated and passed my State Boards I knew virtually nothing about haircolor formulation.


Yet still 15 years later, newly licensed hairstylists continue to struggle like I once did with haircolor formulation because they are not being taught how to formulate haircolor, consult with a client, or build a loyal following.


I am bridging the gap between the Beauty School education you received, and all the things you need to know about haircolor formulation to help you thrive behind the chair quickly.


Every hairstylist deserves the chance to have a profitable career, regardless of the salon they work in or the brand of products they use. If you want to make more money, feel more confident with haircolor formulation, and get so popular with clients you have no choice but to keep raising your prices, you’re in the right place.

Gray Lifting Formulation
  • 1 Video Lesson
  • 1 Workbook
Haircolor Foundations Bundle
  • 3 Video Lessons
  • 3 Workbooks
  • Salon Exercises
12 Lesson Master Class
  • 12 Video Lessons
  • 12 Workbooks
  • 12 Workbook Answer Keys
  • Salon Exercises
  • Model Release Forms
  • Headsheets
  • Color Wheels
  • Underlying Pigment Chart
  • Color Maps

Course & Gray Lifting Formulation

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When does the course start and finish?

The course starts immediately after purchase! It is a completely self-paced online course – you decide when you start and when you finish.


What if I am unhappy with the course?

We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.


How can color education be brand-neutral?

It’s simple, color theory is just science and rules. Every color line will have their own nuances, but this is all the real information you need to get you up to speed and formulating confidently.


What is a high lift tint?

Highlift tint is permanent hair color that usually gets mixed with a double amount of 30 or 40 volume developer, and typically the color itself has a higher, more concentrated dye load.  A common misconception is that highlight tint is optimal for blondes, but it’s important to know that most of them will yield a buttery, golden result.  So not a great option for a client that is seeking cooler tones.


How to turn grey hair blonde?

Gray hair will highlight blonde the same way pigmented hair does, because although gray hair has less melanin, it still does have melanin.  So you will still need to account for the naturally underlying pigment.  Always assess the clients natural level, and the natural level is not “gray”.


How do you formulate grey coverage?
The best way to formulate for gray is to first assess the client’s percentage of gray, then depending on the color line you are using, you may be adding that same percentage into your formula with a Natural.  For example: If your goal is a 6G, and your client has 0% gray, you may just proceed with a 6G and 10volume.  But, if your client has 50% gray, you might want to formulate with 50% 6N and 50% 6G with 10 volume developer.  Without adding that “Natural” into your formula, your end result may be hollow looking.