Gray or white hair can be stunning, but it needs special care. Because gray and white hair lack pigment, strands reflect what clings to them day in and day out — think chlorine, pollution, smoke, minerals from water, and even certain hair care product debris. These outside forces work to dull even the most vibrant hair colors, but their lackluster effects on white and gray hair are much more noticeable and can appear as a yellow cast.
What’s more: Natural pigment acts as a shield, helping protect hair from environmental stressors like UV rays. Once these pigments decrease, your hair loses some of its natural defense against oxidation and, therefore, yellowing.
To counteract the dingy yellow that often plagues gray and white hair, try a color-depositing shampoo. The silver, blue, or violet pigments in these shampoos work to temporarily neutralize yellow and orange tones, returning hair to a vibrant gray, silver, or white.
Here we run down our favorite shampoos created specifically for gray hair.
The Silver Lining Purple Brightening Shampoo is a sulfate-free, proprietary blend of ingredients that eliminate brassiness and yellowing in cool blonde, platinum, silver, or gray tones while hydrating and strengthening hair and adding extra lift and volume. Use this as part of a 2-step regimen with the Silver Lining Purple Butter Masque for soft, silky, luxurious hair.
Luseta Purple Shampoo is specially made for blonde and gray hair using a rich neutralization formula. It gently cleans the hair, eliminates brassy and yellow tones in blondes, and repairs split ends while increasing the glossy look and protecting your hair from heat or natural environmental damage. Pair this with the accompanying conditioner for best results!
Kerotin Purple Shampoo is a brightening and toning shampoo, free of sulfates and sodium chloride. Because of its clean formulation, it does not leave hair feeling dry after washing. The accompanying conditioner leverages the ultra-moisturizing benefits of mango butter to deeply condition hair.
Formulated specifically for gray hair, this shampoo is part of a two-step pigment program: It neutralizes yellow with violet pigments; the accompanying conditioner brightens hair further with custom silver dyes. Also available at ulta.com.
Long turned to when brassy tones needed busting in blondes, this color-enhancing shampoo also zaps yellow from gray hair using deep-violet pigments. Just be careful: Left on too long, and it will temporarily turn your gray a lilac color. Pair this with the revitalizing conditioner to get deep color conditioning. Available at target.com or on Amazon.
This shampoo deposits violet pigments uniformly to provide a seamless, even-toned neutralization of unwanted yellow as it gently clarifies hair of what’s dulling it. For best results, try this with the Total Results So Silver Conditioner. Available at ulta.com or on Amazon.
For the eco-minded, this shampoo derives its blue pigment from the blue Malva flowering herb, which also soothes scalp conditions, moisturizes, and acts as a mild clarifier. For best results, consider pairing this with the accompanying conditioner to help impart wanted moisture and brightness. Available at aveda.com or on Amazon.
Showcase the beauty of grey, white, or light blonde hair with L’Oreal’s color-clarifying purple shampoo. The neutralizing system, enriched with magnesium and anti-yellowing agents, counteracts unwanted brassy tones. The formula helps deliver toning results while nourishing and protecting the hair fiber, giving a boost of shine. Pair this with the accompanying neutralizing cream for best results!
ColorLast Purple is a purple pigment depositing shampoo that neutralizes brass and unwanted warm tones while conditioning and protecting hair from breakage. Maintains and boosts coolness of blondes leaving blonde hair feeling healthy and looking fresh with a silky shine. Pair this with the Color Last Conditioner for best results.