Aging, for the most part—and from this side of science fiction—is still pretty much inevitable. As for the signs of aging, well, modern cosmetic science has done as much as it could for that part: We’ve nipped and tucked and paid a pretty penny to reverse and slow Mother Nature’s roll. Seeing people wear their naturally gray hair out unbridled is becoming a rarity in the world these days; a lot of us have basically done everything else to convince the world of the contrary. The deliberately gray look however has been alive and bustling for the past couple of seasons. This trend fondly referred to as “Granny Hair,” has urged a lot of its fans to embrace a separate hair care regimen entirely catered to the needs of super-ashy strands. Proponents of this look absolutely swear by the benefits of a specific shampoo for gray hair, a product we’ve found that can also help the naturally graying retain some vibrancy.
So what exactly is in a shampoo for gray hair, and how can it help your locks? Is it a ride-or-die essential, or a superfluous product that we can honestly live without? Read on:
Shampoo for Grey Hair: Yay or Nay?
First off, some definitions: If a product is marketed as a shampoo for gray hair, it’s most likely a toning shampoo. What this means is that its primary job is to neutralize any brassiness and to restore brightness in ashy hair colors, oftentimes blondes, silvers, and grays. Usually caused by sun exposure as well as different kinds of water that hair is exposed to, brassiness manifests as a yellow-orange tint that can make ash-based colors like gray, silver, or cooler blondes look dull, cheap, and slightly muddy.
1. Tones and conditions
Whether your gray hair is natural or dyed, the best shampoo for gray hair is one that both tones and conditions. A shampoo that brightens dulling strands, clarifies hair from any brassy buildup, and conditions strands to feel soft and look healthy are things to look for in a good gray hair shampoo. We like the neutralizing and brightening effects of a purple toning shampoo, like Bed Head by TIGI Dumb Blonde Purple Toning Shampoo, which also has conditioners and cleansers to detangle and control frizz. Followed up with a conditioning treatment, such as Bed Head by TIGI Dumb Blonde Reconstructor, which gives dry, damaged, over-processed hair a much-needed boost, and your strands are back on track.
Try: Bed Head by TIGI Dumb Blonde Purple Toning Shampoo
Banish brassy and yellow tones to enhance vibrant, bright, brilliant blonde. This specially-formulated shampoo is powered by violet toners to banish brassiness and brighten gray hair, while cleansers and conditioners help refresh, detangle and control frizz.
Try: Bed Head by TIGI Dumb Blonde Reconstructor
Ready to quench your locks with the moisture they deserve? This moisturizing reconstructor uses Protein Booster Technology™ to help repair hair from damage when used with either DUMB BLONDE™ Shampoo or DUMB BLONDE™ Purple Toning Shampoo. It also contains a conditioning complex that protects the hair externally. Great to use as a daily conditioner or a leave-in for longer to use as a mask. Hair is soft, smooth, and ready for action.
2. Shampoo for silver hair?
Those looking for a shampoo for white hair or naturally salt-and-pepper locks can also benefit from a toning shampoo. This helps brighten your ashy pigments and removes any unwanted yellows. The trick is finding a formula that also moisturizes as it tones, and getting in the habit of using a protective spray whenever heat or pool exposure is inevitable. We love how Bed Head by TIGI Dumb Blonde Toning Protection Spray comes in a tote-friendly bottle, ready to detangle and protect your hair from heat and brassing while on the go (it smells delish, too!). Here are some other options:
Try: Bed Head by TIGI Dumb Blonde Toning Protection Spray
Dealing with pesky yellow hair? It’s time to get your glowing blonde shade back. Banish brassy and yellow tones to enhance vibrant, bright, brilliant blonde. This specially-formulated shampoo is powered by violet toners to banish brassiness and brighten blonde hair, while cleansers and conditioners help refresh, detangle and control frizz.
Try: Nexxus Blonde Assure Purple Shampoo
Color Assure Purple Shampoo enriches and tones your bleached, platinum, or silver hair. Developed by Nexxus New York color specialists, Blonde Assure combines Keratin Protein with Violet Pigments that can balance brassy tones. Gives a natural or intense look to any gray shade.
Try: TIGI Copyright Custom Care Toning Shampoo
Brighten hair with cool-toned shine thanks to one of the best shampoos for gray hair. This violet pigment infused shampoo helps neutralize brassy tones. It’s also infused with an expert blend of keratin and coconut oil, which leaves hair moisturized and soft.
Try: SheaMoisture Purple Rice Water Strength & Color Care Shampoo
Gray hair can become brittle for a number of reasons, including color treating. Purple Rice Water Strength + Color Care Shampoo helps restore hair to a stronger, healthier state. Once forbidden, Purple Rice combines with Wild Orchid and Sweet Violet Extract in this mineral-rich cleanser that removes dulling residue while restoring shine and strength.
Try: TRESemmé Botanique Color Vibrance & Shine Shampoo
This professional-quality shampoo is specifically designed for colored hair. By gently cleansing without stripping, your days of worrying about premature color fade are over. Bonus: Its pomegranate and camellia oil blend also deeply nourishes, giving hair a beautiful, healthy glow.
Try: Love Beauty and Planet Blooming Color Murumuru Butter & Rose Sulfate-Free Shampoo
Keep your color-treated hair vibrant. This shampoo best for gray hair, infused with Amazonian murumuru butter, moisturizes for a healthy-looking gloss. A fragrant kiss of nature and juicy freshness from the handpicked Bulgarian rose petal. This shampoo is also 93% naturally derived and cruelty-free, paraben-free, silicone-free, sulfate-free, dye-free & formulated without phthalates.
Try: Suave Professionals Color Protection Shampoo
Give your color some love with this gentle color protection shampoo. Enriched with color-preserve serum, the advanced formula seals the hair cuticle to lock in vibrancy.
Try: Dove Nutritive Solutions Color Care Shampoo
If you’re wondering how to make hair color vibrancy last longer, the secret is using products that will nourish your colored hair. Dove Color Care system does just that – the unique formula with Vibrant Color Lock helps keep your color vibrant for up to 40 washes, making it our best system for color-treated hair. Also, if you’re looking for a way to cover gray roots, we’ve got your back!
The Bottom Line on Colored Shampoos for Gray Hair
Whether natural or manufactured, gray hair can benefit from a toning shampoo that moisturizes as it brightens. Use it twice or thrice a week—in lieu of your regular shampoo—to help maintain your ashy tones and to prevent yellowness from creeping in.