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Gray hair is commonly associated with stress, heredity, and aging. However, there’s much more to it than this.

Just like the skin, your hair gets its natural color from melanin — without it, your hair would be white. When melanin production starts to slow down, you may start seeing gray hairs.

While in years past coloring your hair was used as a means to hide grays, research indicates how frequent permanent color sessions can damage your hair. Overall, there’s a trend that embraces the natural changes in hair color, without the perceived “need” to cover up grays.

Graying hair doesn’t mean your hair will fall out, but you do need to start using specialized shampoos that will help protect your strands. These include purple shampoos that prevent your gray strands from turning yellowish in tone and those that keep your hair from becoming brittle.

These are our favorite shampoos for gray hair. But note that not all products will have the same results for everyone.

shampoo for gray hair

As a brand known for products tailored to different color-treated hair tones, Joico also has a shampoo that benefits gray hair.

Joico’s Color Endure Violet Shampoo contains purple tones to remove brassiness from grays so that they look more vibrant.

Pros

  • It removes brassy tones from grays.
  • It prevents yellowing of gray hair.
  • The price is low.

Cons

  • It isn’t intended for daily use.
  • It must be left on for at least three minutes to get the full results.
  • The company recommends alternating the product with another in the Color Endure line.
  • Some have complained of dryness and brittleness after using this product, due to synthetic pigments.

Shop for Joico’s Color Endure Violet Shampoo online.

shampoo for gray hair

Redken, a salon staple, is also known for its various shampoos that care for colored hair, so it’s no surprise that it has its own product tailored for gray hair.

Whether you’re naturally gray or if you’ve recently dyed your hair silver, Redken’s Color Extend Graydiant Shampoo can help remove brassy tones so that your locks look their best.

Pros

Cons

  • Its gray pigments are synthetically derived.
  • You must leave in the product for three to five minutes at a time.
  • It may leave your hair feeling dry.
  • It isn’t suitable for whitish-silver strands.

Purchase Redken’s Color Extend Graydiant Shampoo online.

Klorane’s Anti-Yellowing Shampoo uses some of the same principles as more conventional shampoos for gray hair to take away the brassy tones that can make gray hair look dull.

However, unlike traditional shampoos in this category, Klorane’s product uses natural coloring ingredients that are said to avoid the drying effects of synthetic pigments.

Pros

  • It contains centaury, a plant-based ingredient that has natural blue-violet tones.
  • It’s suitable for all levels of graying hair, including darker grays, silver, and white.
  • It doesn’t contain synthetic color pigments.
  • Its natural-based pigment formulation costs the same amount as salon gray hair shampoos.

Cons

  • It contains other synthetic ingredients, such as sodium laureth sulfate.
  • Some users don’t care for the smell.

Find Klorane’s Anti-Yellowing Shampoo online.

Long considered as a market staple for blonde and gray hair, Clairol Shimmer Lights Shampoo deposits purple tones in your hair to remove yellow and brown tones.

This product is intended for color-treated and natural hair types, and is said to help create a “cooler” color look overall.

Pros

  • It contains purple pigments to balance out brassy tones.
  • It helps to refresh color in faded highlights.
  • It can help enhance natural grays.
  • The price is affordable.

Cons

  • Overuse can dry out your hair, due to its purple color pigments.
  • It isn’t intended for dry or damaged hair.
  • You must leave the shampoo in your hair for 5 to 10 minutes at a time to get the full benefits before rinsing.

Shop for Clairol Shimmer Lights Shampoo online.

Like Klorane, the Aveda brand is known to use more natural and plant-based ingredients in its products.

Aveda’s Blue Malva Shampoo uses natural blue-tinted pigments from malva flower extracts so that you can reduce brassiness in your gray hair without causing the damage that synthetic products can do.

Pros

  • It brightens grays
  • It reduces yellowish and brassy tones.
  • It has a natural scent derived from ingredients like eucalyptus and ylang ylang oils.
  • It’s considered environmentally sustainable.

Cons

  • The natural pigments can come at a high price point.
  • Some users report dull-looking results.

Shop for Aveda’s Blue Malva Shampoo online.

Research has long indicated that certain nutritional deficiencies can lead to weakened gray hair, including copper, iron, and zinc.

Aside from treating gray hair from the inside out, you also need to look for gentle shampoo ingredients that are most appropriate for this hair type, including:

  • violet and blue-violet undertones to help prevent yellowish tones
  • silver tone deposits to enhance gray colors
  • amino acids to strengthen your hair strands
  • plant-based oils for nourishment, such as coconut and argan

Since gray hair is also weaker than fully pigmented strands, it’s important to look for shampoo ingredients that won’t damage your hair. You should consider steering clear of the following:

  • parabens, which are preservatives in many hair care and skin care products
  • synthetic dyes, when used for long periods of time (consider using Redken, Joico, and Clairol products only a few times per week)
  • sodium sulfates, which can over-strip moisture from already drier gray hair

Gray hair requires protection from specialized shampoos that are specific to your color, much in the same way that color-treated hair, damaged hair, and thin hair all have specific needs to maintain their shine and luster.

Try out one of these shampoos and give it a few weeks to see the full results. If you’re not happy, move on to another until you’ve found the right fit. For best results, remember to always follow up with a conditioner tailored for gray hair.

You should also see a dermatologist if you notice signs of unhealthy hair or scalp, such as excessive dandruff, rashes, or sudden hair loss.