If You Have Gray Hair, These Are the Shampoos You Should Use

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Best Shampoos for Gray Hair

Byrdie / Chloe Jeong

Silver hair is having a major moment, with icy gray hues being the coolest (pun intended) hair color out there. We’re all for rocking these statement-making shades. Just keep in mind that this type of color commitment is going to call for a bit more upkeep, specifically when it comes to your shampooing protocol.

“The difference between having hair that’s colored gray versus any other color is that your natural base shade has to be lifted first before the gray color can be deposited on top,” says Kristen Fleming, color director of Chicago’s 3rd Coast Salon. “This means the color will fade quicker than others, so ideally, the less you shampoo the better for silver hair.” (Water is any color’s No. 1 worst enemy.)

When you do suds up, reach for a blue- or violet-based toning shampoo a few times per week; these pigments work by neutralizing unwanted warmth and brassiness so that your silver shade stays crisp and cool, explains Fleming.

Meet the Expert

  • Kristen Fleming is a sought-after hair colorist in Chicago, the color director of 3rd Coast Salon, and a blonde specialist. With over 16 years of experience, she’s been educated by some of the best in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
  • Aaron Bradford is a certified L'Oréal color artist at Cédric Salon in New York, specializing in creating beautiful blonde and brunette shades.

Ahead are the best shampoos for gray hair. 

Best Hydrating: Pureology Hydrate Shampoo

Pureology Hydrate Shampoo

Courtesy of Sephora

What We Like
  • Good for all hair textures

  • Great scent

  • Concentrated formula

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

Sulfate-free with an anti-fade complex, this is an all-around great choice for color-treated hair. It’s also deeply moisturizing, which, according to Fleming, is a major boon for those with gray hair.

“To achieve true gray and silver, the hair has to be prelightened to the palest color it can be, which compromises its integrity,” she explains. In other words, going gray takes a toll on your hair. Picking shampoos that are extra-hydrating (and always, always, using a conditioner) is super important. 

Size: 9 fluid ounces | Scent: Minty, herbaceous | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Brightening: Philip Kingsley Pure Blonde/Silver Brightening Daily Shampoo

Philip Kingsley Pure Blonde-Silver Daily Brightening Shampoo

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Add shine

  • Violet tint is subtle

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

The key to rocking the gray hair trend is not only making sure your silver shade is cool, but also that it’s extra shiny. Dull gray hair just isn’t cute. That’s where this sudser comes up huge. It does have a subtle violet tint to it, though it isn’t quite pigmented as some of the other options on this list. Instead, it’s infused with optical brightening ingredients that translate to an “I just left the salon” shine and long-lasting glossiness.

Size: 8.45 fluid ounces | Scent: Lavender | Sulfate-Free: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Color-Protecting: SACHAJUAN Silver Shampoo

Sachajuan Silver Shampoo

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • UV protection

  • Adds shine

  • Volumizes

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

Yes, this too has violet pigments, but it goes above and beyond the gray-enhancing call of duty. Credit the addition of UV protectants that help guard against sun-induced fading (yes, the sun takes a toll on your hair just like it does on your skin) while also hydrating and increasing shine. Also nice: It’s a great option for all hair types and textures.

Size: 8.4 fluid ounces | Sulfate-Free: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Luxury: ORIBE Silverati Shampoo

Oribe Silverati Shampoo

Courtesy of Dermstore

What We Like
  • Great scent

  • Protects against environmental stressors

  • Strengthening

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

  • Bottle can be hard to squeeze

Go ahead and treat yourself to this splurge-worthy sudser, one of Fleming’s favorites. (After all, if you’re only using it a few times per week, one bottle is going to last quite a long time.) Regardless, it’s worth the price, thanks to the carefully crafted formula that touts a litany of carefully chosen ingredients. Along with a combo of blue and silver pigments to keep silver shades vibrant, there are also gentle cleansers, strengthening keratin, and a complex of protective antioxidants to further help safeguard your color. Not to mention that in true ORIBE fashion, it smells incredible, too.

Size: 8.5 fluid ounces | Scent: Cote d’Azur | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for All Shades: Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo

Blue Malva
What We Like
  • Works on all hair colors

  • Post-consumer used plastic bottle

What We Don't Like
  • Scent can be polarizing

Another one of Fleming's recommendations, here’s one shampoo to use even if you ultimately decide gray hair isn’t the look for you. Its bluish-purple tint is made to keep gray hair bright and fresh while also neutralizing brassiness in all shades, from blonde to brunette to red. Bonus points for the packaging: The bottle is made of 80% post-consumer used plastic.

Size: 33.8 fluid ounces | Scent: Eucalyptus | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Daily Use: UNITE Hair Blonda Daily Shampoo

Unite Hair Blonda Daily Shampoo

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Can be used daily

  • Adds shine

What We Don't Like
  • No toning benefits

Cutting back on how often you shampoo is super important. If you’re only doing so a few times per week, go ahead and use a pigmented shampoo each time. But if you fall into the daily hair-washing camp, it’s best to reach for tinted formulas only two to three times weekly. Overdoing it can end up leaving a purplish cast to your gray, obviously not the intended effect.

In between, lather up with this noncolored pick. The gentle, shine-enhancing cleanser will keep your bright shade fresh and is the ideal daily option. Fleming is a fan of both this product and its toning counterpart. 

Size: 10 fluid ounces | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Professional: Hair.com by L’Oréal Serie Expert Metal Detox Shampoo

L’Oréal Professionnel Metal Detox Shampoo

Hair.com

What We Like
  • Chelating benefits maintain color

  • Thick, creamy texture

What We Don’t Like
  • Shouldn’t be used daily

Aaron Bradford, a colorist at Cédric Salon in New York, says this is one of his top picks. It’s actually a chelating formula that’s “amazing if you live in areas with hard water or spend a lot of time in salt or chlorinated water,” he says. “It will help neutralize any of those chemicals or trace minerals that leave gray—and blonde—hair looking dull and even green over time." FYI: It does have a thicker, creamy texture that can take a bit of getting used to.

Size: 10.1 fluid ounces | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Highlighted Hair: René Furterer Okara Silver Toning Shampoo

René Furterer Okara Silver Shampoo

Dermstore

What We Like
  • Great for various shades of gray hair

  • Adds shine

What We Don’t Like
  • Can’t be used daily

“This is perfect for those who highlight their hair to blend the gray and want a cooler result,” says Bradford. He adds that it’s also a nice option if you simply want to add some shine to dull gray hair, though is quick to point out that this isn’t a shampoo that should be used daily. Instead, he suggests using it just once or twice per week.

Size: 6.7 fluid ounces | Sulfate-Free: No | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Fine Hair: SACHAJUAN Moisturizing Shampoo

Sachajuan Moisturizing Shampoo

Amazon

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Can be used daily

  • Adds shine

What We Don’t Like
  • Pricey

If you have gray hair that’s also on the fine side, Bradford recommends this pick. It adds shine and moisturizes surprisingly well—both of which gray hair tends to need—without weighing down the roots, he says. This also makes it a great everyday shampoo in general, especially as it doesn’t have any tint or pigment. Plus, a little bit goes a long way, and it lathers beautifully.

Size: 8.4 fluid ounces | Sulfate-Free: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Thick Hair: L'Oréal Professionnel Resveratrol Vitamino Color Radiance Shampoo

L'Oréal Professionnel Resveratrol Vitamino Color Radiance Shampoo

Amazon

What We Like
  • Can be used daily

  • Good value

What We Don’t Like
  • May weigh down finer hair

Bradford says this is a great daily shampoo for anyone with thick and/or dry hair. And if you at any point decide that you do want to color your grays, you can still keep using this product. The color-protective formula helps lock in color for up to eight weeks.

Size: 16.9 fluid ounces | Sulfate-Free: No | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Final Verdict

Using a good shampoo dedicated to gray hair can go a long way toward helping maintain your hair. The Philip Kingsley Pure Blonde/Silver Brightening Daily Shampoo (view at Saks Fifth Avenue) has a subtle lavender tint and optical brighteners to keep your shade crisp and shiny, while the UNITE Hair Blonda Daily Shampoo (view at UNITE Hair) is a nonpigmented, everyday choice that imparts lots of moisture and shine. If you’re looking to splurge, the ORIBE Silverati Shampoo (view at Sephora) tones gray hair, imparts protective antioxidants, and has strengthening keratin. It also boasts a super sophisticated bergamot/jasmine/sandalwood scent.

What to Look For in a Shampoo for Gray Hair

A Purple or Blue Tint

Warm tones in your natural hair color, contact with chlorine, excess sun exposure, or even overwashing can cause your hair to oxidize and take on a brassy hue. Make sure to look for either a purple or blue shampoo to help counteract yellow or orange tones.

Hydrating Ingredients

Whether your gray is entirely natural or dyed, a mix of hydrating, nourishing ingredients will help your hue look its best—especially if your hair falls into the latter category and requires some heavy lifting. Ingredients like argan oil, coconut oil, shea butter, honey, and glycerin can help restore moisture and impart a soft, shiny appearance. Always follow your shampoo sudsing with a conditioner.

FAQ
  • What does purple or blue shampoo do for my gray hair?

    Purple and blue shampoos help counteract any brassiness that may take shape after your hair is exposed to the elements. The cool hues work to neutralize the orange or yellow tones that result from overwashing, sun exposure, chlorine, or iron in your shower water.

  • How often should I shampoo my gray hair?

    If your hair is dyed, Fleming notes that you should shampoo less frequently than you normally would to help prevent your silver hue from fading. Otherwise, lather up two to three times at most during the week, and make dry shampoo your best friend on those off days.

  • Should I complement my purple shampoo with a purple conditioner?

    It certainly wouldn't hurt! Because you don't live in a bubble, it can be hard to keep environmental factors from altering your hue. While a purple shampoo can put in the work to counteract brassy tones, pairing it with a coordinating conditioner can help keep your hue pristine until your next salon visit.

Why Trust Byrdie

Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. Since she doesn’t have gray hair, she relied on expert input and lots of product reviews when writing this article.

According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any shampoos for gray hair from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at contact@byrdie.com and we will evaluate the product ASAP.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Millington KR, Marsh JM. UV damage to hair and the effect of antioxidants and metal chelatorsInt J Cosmet Sci. 2020;42(2):174-184. doi: 10.1111/ics.12601

  2. Seiberg M. Age-induced hair greying—the multiple effects of oxidative stressInt J Cosmet Sci. 2013;35(6):532-538. doi: 10.1111/ics.12090

  3. Ko Y-H. Influencing factors on color and product-function associationPsychol Rep. 2011;108(3):861-873. doi: 10.2466/01.09.24.

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