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

Just like 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 some people may color their hair to hide grays, research indicates that frequent permanent coloring sessions can damage your hair. Overall, there’s a current 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 to 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.

If you’re looking for a shampoo developed especially for gray hair, we provided options we love below.

We chose these because they’re highly rated by online reviews and they contain special ingredients designed to keep gray hair looking great. Note that not all products will have the same results for everyone.

We scoured product reviews and ingredient lists to find the best shampoos and conditioners recommended for gray hair. These recommendations are based on consumer experience from people like you, and staff picks. Note that not all products will have the same results for everyone.

A note on price

Shampoos specially formulated for gray hair can range from around $15 to $50. When shopping, keep in mind the size of the bottle you’re getting. Some products might be sold in small, 6- to 8-ounce bottles, while others might come in economy-sized 30-ounce bottles. We gave each of these products a price rating based on the average price per ounce.

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Pricing guide

  • $ = $2 or less per ounce
  • $$ = $2-$3 per ounce
  • $$$ = $3 or more per ounce

Best brightening shampoo for gray hair

Joico Color Endure Violet Shampoo

  • Price: $
  • Pro: good value
  • Con: synthetic pigments

Joico’s Color Endure Violet Shampoo contains purple tones to remove brassiness from grays so that they look more vibrant. It also prevents any yellowing of hair.

This product is meant to be left on for at least 3 minutes for best results. It isn’t intended for daily use — the company recommends alternating the product with another from the Color Endure line.

While reviews are mostly positive, some users say that the synthetic pigments can cause dryness and brittleness.

Best budget shampoo for gray hair

Redken Color Extend Graydiant Shampoo

  • Price: $
  • Pro: strengthening
  • Con: synthetic pigments

A salon staple, Redken is 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 you’ve recently dyed your hair silver, Redken’s Color Extend Graydiant Shampoo can help remove yellow or brassy tones so that your locks look their best. It also has amino acid proteins to help strengthen your hair.

This product must be left in for 3 to 5 minutes. Some people find that the synthetically derived gray pigments can leave their hair feeling dry. It’s suited for gray and silver strands rather than white locks.

Best shampoo for all shades of graying hair

Klorane Anti-Yellowing Shampoo with Centaury

  • Price: $
  • Pro: plant-based formula
  • Con: Some reviewers dislike the scent.

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

Unlike traditional shampoos in this category, Klorane’s product uses centaury, a plant-based ingredient that has natural blue-violet tones, rather than synthetic pigments.

This may help avoid the drying effects of synthetic pigments, though it does contain some other synthetic ingredients, like sodium laureth sulfate.

It’s suitable for all colors of graying hair, including darker grays, silver, and white. Some online reviewers comment that they don’t care for the smell.

Best for highlighted hair

Clairol Shimmer Lights Shampoo

  • Price: $
  • Pro: good value
  • Con: drying

Long considered 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 it’s said to help create a “cooler” color look overall. It can help enhance natural grays and refresh color in faded highlights.

Overuse of this shampoo can dry out your hair due to its purple pigments, so it may not be a good choice for dry or damaged hair. For best results, leave the product in your hair for 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing.

Best overall shampoo for gray hair

Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo

  • Price: $
  • Pro: suitable for all hair types
  • Con: Some reviewers dislike the scent.

Like Klorane, Aveda is known to use more natural and plant-based ingredients in its products. Their Blue Malva Shampoo uses natural blue-tinted pigments from malva flower extracts to reduce brassiness in your gray hair without possible damage from synthetic ingredients.

It has a light scent derived from eucalyptus and ylang-ylang oils. Aveda practices environmentally friendly manufacturing and uses some recycled plastic in its packaging.

Best luxury shampoo for gray hair

Sachajuan Silver Shampoo

  • Price: $$$
  • Pro: ultraviolet protection
  • Con: pricey

Similar to those by Joico and Clairol, this shampoo from Sachajuan deposits purple pigments into your hair to help neutralize potential brassiness. As a bonus, this particular shampoo also offers ultraviolet protection.

This ultra-hydrating shampoo works particularly well for dry hair while also adding volume to your locks. It may not be the best choice for oily or curly hair, though.

While online reviews are mostly positive, some users report buildup after use.

Best shampoo for reducing discoloration

Philip Kingsley Pure Silver Shampoo

  • Price: $$$
  • Pro: suitable for all hair types
  • Con: may weigh down finer hair

As with other brands mentioned on our list, Philip Kingsley Pure Silver Shampoo is a good option for gray hair because of its purple pigments. This shampoo removes yellow tones to reduce discoloration of your gray and silver strands. It’s suitable for all hair types.

While it’s great for adding shine, another product may be better if you’re looking to add volume.

Best shampoo for daily use

Matrix Total Results So Silver Shampoo

  • Price: $
  • Pro: can be used daily
  • Con: may cause irritation

Touted as one of the first purple shampoos of its kind, Matrix Total Results So Silver Shampoo deposits pigments to neutralize warm and yellow tones.

It can be used for blonde hair to enhance brightness and shimmer, but it’s perhaps better for natural shades of gray, silver, and white. It can be used daily.

Some users report irritation and dryness from the sulfates and fragrances in this shampoo. If you’re sensitive to either, it may not be the best choice for you.

Best shampoo for sensitive scalps

L’anza Healing ColorCare Silver Brightening Shampoo

  • Price: $$
  • Pro: sulfate-free
  • Con: may weigh down finer hair

Like Matrix’s So Silver line of products, L’anza Healing ColorCare Silver Brightening Shampoo is intended for all shades of gray, silver, and white hair, as well as blonde tones.

Instead of depositing chemical-based purple pigments though, this shampoo touts the use of natural purple tones found in lavender and viola flower extracts.

The use of plant-based ingredients makes it great for dry hair and sensitive scalps. It also contains no sulfates.

Best hydrating shampoo for gray hair

Amika Bust Your Brass Cool Blonde Shampoo

  • Price: $$
  • Pro: for all hair types
  • Con: sticky

This product from Amika works for blonde and gray hair. Its violet pigments help remove yellow tones all without the use of harsh ingredients.

Amika products contain sea buckthorn berry, which is rich in antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C, and E. Its thought that sea buckthorn berry in this shampoo helps protect against sun and environmental damage.

This product is safe for all hair types and doesn’t contain any sulfates, parabens, or formaldehyde. It’s also cruelty-free.

Reviews are generally positive, though some users felt that it left a residue on their hair.

Best strengthening shampoo for gray hair

Oribe Silverati Shampoo

  • Price: $$$
  • Pro: protects against free radical damage
  • Con: pricey

If you’re looking to splurge, try this luxury shampoo from Oribe that’s specially formulated for gray and white hair.

Watermelon, lychee, and edelweiss flower extracts work in tandem to protect hair from oxidative stress, photoaging, and the deterioration of natural keratin. The ingredients also provide gentle cleansing without stripping your hair of its natural oils and moisture.

You can use it a few times a week.

Reviewers love that it’s scented with their signature Cote d’Azur aroma.

Best for thick hair

Biolage ColorLast Purple Shampoo

  • Price: $
  • Pro: can be used daily
  • Con: Some reviewers dislike the scent.

If you have gray hair that’s also prone to breakage, we recommend this toning purple shampoo. It neutralizes brass and unwanted warm tones while conditioning and protecting hair through the use of pure purple pigments and plant extracts.

You can use this shampoo daily, although the brand suggests that once the tone has been neutralized you switch to using the product 1 to 2 times a week.

This product has a strong scent, which may bother some users.

Best for coarse hair

dpHue Cool Blonde Shampoo

  • Price: $$
  • Pro: paraben-free and sulfate-free
  • Con: drying

This cool blonde shampoo from dpHUE is suitable for all hair types. It gently cleanses while using specially formulated violet pigments to neutralize unwanted yellow and brassy tones.

Reviews for this product are mainly positive, but some people found it to be drying.

Best for fine hair

Pantene Silver Expressions Purple Shampoo

  • Price: $
  • Pro: great value
  • Con: subtle violet tint

This toning shampoo from Pantene can reduce dullness and eliminate brassy tones. Purple pigment neutralizes and brightens white and gray hair, while pro-vitamin B5 hydrates and strengthens.

The bottle is generously sized (17.9 ounces).

It does have a subtle violet tint to it, which bothered some reviewers.

Best for damaged hair

Unite Hair Blonda Daily Shampoo

  • Price: $$$
  • Pro: can be used daily
  • Con: Some reviewers dislike the scent.

This is a nice option if you want a gentle shampoo you can use daily without drying out your strands. The creamy formula adds shine while protecting and strengthening damaged hair.

This product has no toning benefits.

This shampoo has a strong scent, which may bother some users.

Joico Color Endure Violet Shampoo$good valuesynthetic pigments
Redken Color Extend Graydiant Shampoo$strengtheningsynthetic pigments
Klorane Anti-Yellowing Shampoo with Centaury$plant-based formulaSome reviewers dislike the scent.
Clairol Shimmer Lights Shampoo$good valuedrying
Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo$suitable for all hair typesSome reviewers dislike the scent.
Sachajuan Silver Shampoo$$$ultraviolet protectionpricey
Philip Kingsley Pure Silver Shampoo$$$suitable for all hair typesmay weigh down finer hair
Matrix Total Results So Silver Shampoo$can be used dailymay cause irritation
L’anza Healing ColorCare Silver Brightening Shampoo$$sulfate-freemay weigh down finer hair
Amika Bust Your Brass Cool Blonde Shampoo$$for all hair typessticky
Oribe Silverati Shampoo$$$protects against free radical damagepricey
Biolage ColorLast Purple Shampoo$can be used dailySome reviewers dislike the scent.
dpHue Cool Blonde Shampoo$$paraben-free and sulfate-freedrying
Pantene Silver Expressions Purple Shampoo$great valuesubtle violet tint
Unite Hair Blonda Daily Shampoo$$$can be used dailySome reviewers dislike the scent.

There are so many gray hair shampoos on the market that it can be hard to decide on just one. Here are a couple of things to be mindful of:


Blue- or violet-based toning shampoos are the best choice as they neutralize unwanted warmth and brassiness. They also help counteract yellow or orange tones.

Be ready for some trial and error. Remember that the lighter the shade of purple shampoo, the more subtle it will be.


Formulas made of more natural ingredients may be less drying than formulas that use synthetic pigments. Look out for hydrating ingredients on the label like coconut oil, shea butter, honey, and glycerin.

Some formulas might be too harsh for your hair, and you might need to try a few before you find the best fit.

Research has indicated that certain nutritional deficiencies, including copper, can lead to premature graying.

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 and skin care products
  • synthetic dyes, when used for a long time. While shampoos from brands like Redken, Joico, Clairol, Sachajuan, Philip Kingsley, Matrix, Drybar, and Amika are great for reducing brassiness, you may want to only use them a few times a week.
  • sodium sulfates, which can over-strip moisture from already dry gray hair

What does purple shampoo do for gray hair?

Purple shampoo neutralizes brassiness, gets rid of unwanted yellow tones, and adds vibrancy to gray hair.

How can I make my gray hair soft and shiny naturally?

By shampooing regularly, and using a moisturizing conditioner you should be able to soften and add shine to gray hair. You can also look into adding a weekly moisturizing mask and leave-in conditioner to your routine.

Can you use regular shampoo on gray hair?

You can, but your hair may look dull, brittle, brassy, or yellowish without the proper shampoo.

Maintaining your gray hair’s shine and luster requires specialized shampoos that are specific to your color — much in the same way that color-treated, damaged, and thin hair all have specific needs to maintain their shine and luster.

Try 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.