The Best Shampoos for Gray Hair


Go on, admit it: there’s something profoundly sexy and liberating about revealing your fifty shades of gray. No covering it up. No shame. Going au naturel. Letting it all hang out… (Just to be clear, we’re talking hair here!)

Going gray is inevitable, but there is no reason why it should diminish your sex-appeal. Gone are the days when gray, silver or – dare we say it – white tresses automatically pushed you into the geriatric category. The silver fox is hot; and, whether you are 25 or 65, you can rock those lighter locks. 

But it’s going to take a little bit of work to ensure that you don’t slip from silver fox to scraggly mutt. Gray hair isn’t just a different color, it’s also structurally different. Gray hair tends to be coarser, weaker, duller, and more brittle. Changes in the production of pigment (melanin) and sebum make gray hair more fragile and sensitive to environmental damage.

What does this mean for hair care?

Hydration, hydration, hydration. Products packed full of natural hydrating ingredients are a good place to start. Where possible, avoid heat styling and synthetic ingredients such as parabens, synthetic dyes, and sulfates that can further dehydrate and damage your hair.

Because gray hair is more sensitive to environmental damage, it can quickly take on yellow or brassy tones. Shampoos that contain blue or violet tones can help to combat this and keep your hair looking fresh and vibrant. 

If finding the right shampoo for your gray mane is starting to sound like a lot of work, don’t worry. We’ve compiled a list of the best shampoos for gray hair in 2023. All you have to do is pick one from the list and then lather, rinse and repeat. 

1. Blu Atlas Shampoo


This luxurious shampoo is packed full of natural goodness, with more than 96% of the product’s ingredients derived from natural sources. This means no parabens, phthalate, sulfates or synthetic fragrances.

While not specifically formulated for gray hair, this shampoo ticks all the boxes when it comes to repairing and fortifying weak or damaged hair, which is why it tops our list. Four key ingredients work to hydrate, replenish and invigorate your hair. Vegan biotin strengthens hair fibers, aloe barbadensis leaf and jojoba oil provide moisture and antioxidants, and saw palmetto hydrates the scalp and adds volume to your hair. 

Because the shampoo utilizes natural coconut-derived surfactants to cleanse away dirt and excess oil, this product from Blu Atlas is gentle enough to be used on a daily basis. The bottom line? Saving the planet has never looked – or smelled – sexier. 

2. Klorane anti-yellowing shampoo with centaury


Another gentle shampoo that is free of parabens, silicones and mineral oils, this biodegradable product is largely (86%) made up of naturally-sourced ingredients.

Formulated for blonde, platinum, silver, and gray hair, this shampoo uses the blue pigments found in the petals of the centaury flower to offset the yellow or brassy tones that often plague those with lighter hair. While this shampoo has color-correcting properties, it won’t stain your hair or your bathtub. 

3. Clairol Shimmer Lights Shampoo


This shampoo from Clairol makes it that much easier to maintain shining, shimmering shades of gray. Whether your hair is color-treated or naturally gray or silver, this shampoo will keep your grays looking cool by depositing purple tones onto your hair with every wash. 

The purple tones counteract brassiness and enhance silver highlights, resulting in vibrant and shiny hair. A word of caution though: this shampoo contains synthetic chemicals that might dry out your hair, so it might not be the best choice if your hair is dry or damaged.

The product is not intended for daily use, but as a treatment (up to twice a week) when your hair begins to look brassy. For a stronger effect, leave it on your hair for three to five minutes before rinsing off. 

4. Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo


The humble malva flower has been used for centuries for its medicinal and beauty-enhancing properties. It’s not surprising therefore that Aveda has made this little flower the star ingredient of its shampoo targeting gray and silver hair. The naturally rich blue pigment of the flower reduces brassiness, while the plant’s anti-inflammatory and soothing properties benefit your scalp. 

This product, which is 100% vegan and packed full of natural plant-based ingredients, also contains ylang-ylang, lemon, and eucalyptus essential oils that give it a heavenly botanical scent. 

5. Sachajuan Silver Shampoo


Would you rather your hair were described as silver or gray? Neither is inherently better, but silver just seems, well, more glamorous. It is as if gray got dressed up for the red carpet. 

Sachajuan has created a shampoo for blonde and gray hair that has silver in both the name and the product. Okay, more accurately, silver pigments. The silver pigments in Sachajuan’s Silver Shampoo neutralize yellowing, ensuring that your hair is always paparazzi ready. The shampoo also includes the company’s Ocean Silk Technology – a combination of algae extracts that help maintain the correct mineral balance, boost moisture and increase elasticity. The result? Silver strands that shine. 

In addition, the shampoo offers protection from the sun’s UV rays, which prevent further damage. On the downside, this shampoo contains sulfates and is likely to stretch your hair-care budget. 

6. Philip Kingsley Pure Blonde/Silver Shampoo


Another good shampoo for gray hair that makes use of silver pigments and falls on the pricier end of the spectrum, Philip Kingsley Pure Blonde/Silver Shampoo includes optical brighteners that boost reflectivity and shine. The pigments won’t stain, so you can enjoy the calming scent of lavender without worrying that your hair is going to take on a similar tone.

Although the shampoo contains synthetic ingredients such as the moisture-locking dimethicone, it is gentle enough to be used on a daily basis. 

7. Oribe Silverati Shampoo


If you can afford to splash out on hair-care products, Oribe’s Silverati Shampoo will do wonders for your graying chevelure. 

In addition to brightening gray and silver hairs with a blend of blue and silver pigments, this shampoo is specifically formulated to combat some of the damage that comes with aging. Extracts of European silver fir and arctic root act to restore moisture and elasticity, while hydrolyzed vegetable protein binds to damaged strands to repair the structure and improve the strength of individual strands.

Not only does this shampoo work to repair hair, it also protects against future environmental damage. A signature complex that combines the natural benefits of watermelon, lychee, and edelweiss flower provides protection against the elements and oxidative stress. 

While this shampoo isn’t designed for daily use, it can be used several times a week. 

8. Unite Hair Blonda Daily Shampoo


While this shampoo doesn’t contain any toning pigments, it is specifically formulated to meet the needs of blonde, gray and highlighted hair. 

Gentle enough to be used on a daily basis, this shampoo – which is free of parabens, sulfates and sodium chloride – contains moisturizing coconut and restorative chamomile. 

Unite Hair Blonda Daily Shampoo will leave your hair feeling soft, shiny and smelling fantastic. 

9. Biolage Colorlast Purple Shampoo


If you are looking for an instant tone correction, Biolage Colorlast Purple Shampoo might be the product you need. 

As the name suggests, this shampoo contains purple pigments that instantly reduce the appearance of unwanted yellow or brassy tones. Castor oil and extracts of fig and orchid fortify the hair and help to prevent future damage caused by environmental stressors.

For the best results, you should leave this shampoo on your hair for three to five minutes before rinsing. Weekly use of this shampoo should ensure that unwanted brassy tones stay hidden, but more frequent use may result in your hair taking on undesired purple tones. If this happens, don’t panic; the purple tones should wash out within three shampoos (with a regular, non-pigmented shampoo). 

This shampoo has a strong scent that tends to be polarizing – some love it, while others find it a little overpowering.

10. Redken Color Extend Graydiant Shampoo


There’s a reason why the Redken brand is so popular among hairdressers: it consistently delivers high-quality hair-care products. 

The brand’s Color Extend Graydiant Shampoo is no exception. Formulated for both color-treated and naturally gray and silver hair, the shampoo is infused with silver and violet pigments to neutralize unwanted yellow undertones. Packed full of amino acids, this shampoo nourishes damaged and wily hair, leaving it softer and shinier after the first wash.

For the best results, lather, rinse, and repeat, leaving the second lather on your hair for three to five minutes. To keep the brassy tones away, use this shampoo once or twice a week.

11. Luseta Purple Shampoo


Free of sulfates, parabens and gluten, this purple-tinted shampoo gently cleanses your hair whilst reducing brassiness, repairing split ends, and providing protection against future damage. Coconut oil moisturizes and nourishes the hair, while quinoa seed extract delivers essential amino acids to strengthen and repair. 

The formula from Luseta also includes biotin, also known as vitamin B7, which supports the growth of healthy hair. To protect against sun-related damage, the shampoo includes a full-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen. 

12. Kérastase Blond Absolu Ultra-Violet Shampoo


It should perhaps come as no surprise that the French luxury hair care brand Kérastase uses an extract of the famous Alpine flower – edelweiss – in its ultra-violet shampoo. For centuries, edelweiss has been used for its medicinal properties and, more recently, scientists have become intrigued by the beauty benefits of this small white flower. Edelweiss extract, which is a powerful antioxidant, has been shown to have multiple hair-care benefits, including counteracting age-associated hair loss and thinning. 

Edelweiss isn’t the only flower to make it into Kérastase’s gray-friendly formula; malva flower extract gives the shampoo its distinctive color and keeps your brassiness at bay. 

While this product does contain synthetic ingredients, which can sometimes dry out your hair, it also contains hyaluronic acid, which helps lock in moisture. 

13. L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Purple Shampoo 


If you are looking for a budget-friendly solution to your yellow-tone woes, this purple shampoo from L’Oréal ticks all the boxes. Not only is it affordable and probably available in your local supermarket, it is also completely free of sulfates, parabens, harsh salts and abrasive surfactants. 

The formula, which uses hibiscus extract to counteract brassiness and yellow tones, is scented with coconut, violet and thyme. This product should be used two or three times a week, so if you wash your hair more regularly than that, alternate with your regular shampoo. 

14. Rene Furterer Okara Silver Toning Shampoo


Like many toning shampoos for lightly pigmented hair, this product from Rene Furterer uses purple pigments to noticeably counteract brassiness and yellow undertones from the first wash. 

What sets it apart however, is the okara (soybean) extract that reinforces the natural structure of your hair, leaving you with smooth, glossy locks. Soybeans are naturally rich in amino acids, including methionine and cysteine, that are similar to those found in keratin in human hair. These amino acids help to repair damaged hair. 

Although it is gentle and silicone-free, this shampoo should only be used once or twice a week.   

15. Jean Louis David Go Blondie Shampoo


While many hair-care products reap the benefits of plant and flower extracts, this color-reviving shampoo from Jean Louis David turns to precious stones for sparkle.

Okay, that’s not entirely accurate. The sapphire powder used in this shampoo doesn’t make your hair sparkle, but it is packed full of iron and titanium which stimulate collagen production. This improves your hair’s density and results in soft, luscious locks that shine. Brilliantly. 

16. Gem Lites Flawless Diamond Colorwash


Speaking of precious stones… this shampoo gives you that flawless diamond finish. No diamond powder here, but no harsh chemicals, parabens, sulfates or mineral oils either. This semi-permanent color-depositing shampoo has been formulated specifically for highlighted and color-treated hair, but it also works well on porous, naturally gray hair. 

Use daily, as you would a regular shampoo, to remove unwanted yellow and to keep your silver strands looking fresh and vibrant. 

17. Amika Bust Your Brass Cool Blonde Repair Shampoo


Great looking hair comes at a price, but with Amika’s violet-tinted shampoo you don’t have to worry about your environmental or ethical impact as a consumer. The brand, which is committed to sustainability, produces vegan and cruelty-free products that come in recycled and recyclable packaging. 

Their shampoos are free from sulfates, parabens, phthalates, and mineral oil. But, don’t worry, reduced environmental impact doesn’t mean reduced efficacy. This shampoo, which includes quinoa protein and plant butters, has been clinically proven to tone, hydrate, strengthen and repair hair. 

18. R+Co BLEU De Luxe Reparative Shampoo


Given the name, you would be forgiven for assuming that this is a blue shampoo targeting brassy orange undertones. However, this is not the case. This luxury shampoo is not targeted specifically at those with lightly pigmented hair, but makes our list of the best shampoos for gray hair because the BLEU range from R+Co is intensely reparative. 

The brand’s proprietary ‘bleu molecule complex’ repairs damage by treating the surface of the follicle and restoring the cuticle. Argan, tamanu, and maracuja oils hydrate, nourish and strengthen the hair, while extracts of blood orange and primrose soften and protect. The scent conjures up the sensation of a vacation in Positano and you’ll step out of the shower with hair that feels deeply refreshed.

While the shampoo does contain some synthetic ingredients, it is free of parabens, sodium chloride, phthalates, and sulfates. 

19. Matrix Total Results So Silver Purple Shampoo


This purple clarifying shampoo gets rid of dull, yellow tones and leaves you with shimmering silver tresses. Designed for those with shades ranging from crisp white to smokey gray, this shampoo works equally well on those with color-treated and naturally gray hair. 

The product, which has a mossy botanical scent, should be used twice a week. 

A word of caution: this shampoo contains ingredients that cause skin irritations in certain people, so conduct an allergy test before use and wear gloves when applying the product. 

20. Pureology Strength Cure Blonde Shampoo


While this product works on both natural and color-treated blond, gray, and white hair, it is especially effective for those with color-treated hair as it contains Pureology’s patented anti-fade technology. 

The shampoo gets its purple pigment and tone-correcting properties from bright purple orchid extract. The formula repairs and strengthens hair by leveraging the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin and the plant-based protein Keravis. 

Lightly fragranced with notes of pear, rose and sandalwood, this shampoo will brighten and strengthen your hair with every wash.  

21. Shu Uemura Yūbi Blonde Anti-Brass Purple Shampoo


Shu Uemura combine ancient Japanese beauty practices with modern technology to create products that transform your hair. 

The Yūbi Blonde Anti-Brass Purple shampoo incorporates Japanese white peony – which has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties – to nourish your hair. The shampoo’s violet pigments that work to counteract brassiness were created in collaboration with one of the leading ink manufacturers in Japan. 

The ingredients in this shampoo – which has fragrance notes of fresh tea, ginger and jasmine – can sometimes cause skin irritation, so it is advisable to wear gloves when using the product. 

Frequently asked questions

What causes hair to change color?

Hair, like skin, gets its color from a pigment called melanin. This pigment is produced by the melanocyte cells, which are located in the bottom part of the hair follicle. As you grow older, you produce fewer melanocyte cells and subsequently less melanin. Over time, the melanin in the hair shaft is replaced by air pockets, which results in gray, silver, or white hair. Simply put, white hair is hair that has lost all of its pigment. 

What determines when you go gray?

How early and how quickly you go gray is largely determined by genetics. If your parents started graying prematurely, you are more likely to take on silver strands at a young age than peers whose parents kept their color longer. Gray hair can also be a sign of a nutritional deficiency, such as a deficiency in vitamin B12, or a medical condition such as neurofibromatosis, tuberous sclerosis, or thyroid disease.

What is vitiligo?

Vitiligo is an autoimmune condition that affects the melanin-producing melanocytes. With this condition, the immune system mistakenly attacks cells that produce pigment in your skin and hair. While vitiligo is more commonly associated with patches of discolored skin, it can also result in patches of gray or white hair. Although this condition usually manifests before the age of 30, it can develop at any age. 

What is poliosis?

Popularly known as ‘white forelock’ or a ‘mallen streak’, poliosis is a condition where you are born with or develop a patch of gray or white hair. Poliosis, which can also affect the hair on other parts of your body – such as your eyebrows or eyelashes – can be caused by genetics, autoimmune disease, or damage to the hair follicles. The difference between poliosis and vitiligo is that while vitiligo affects the melanocytes (the cells that produce pigment), poliosis alters the presence of melanin in the hair bulbs of affected hair follicles. 

What is the relationship between stress and gray hair?

Anyone with children is likely to attribute their gray hair to their offspring, but, for the most part, graying is caused by genetics rather than unruly little humans. However, stress can play a role in the rate at which those gray hairs appear. 

Your hair follows a natural cycle of death and regeneration. You shed the old strands and new strands grow in. The presence of melanocytes determines the color of the new strand that grows in. As we age, the melanocytes decrease. If you speed up the rate of this cycle (specifically, in your thirties and forties), gray hairs may seem to appear more rapidly. 

Stress can cause a condition known as telogen effluvium, which speeds up this cycle and has you shedding your hair at three times the usual speed. 

Why does gray hair look and feel different?

Gray hair isn’t just a different color, it is also structurally different. The changes in melanin and sebum production mean that gray hair is thinner and drier than pigmented hair. Because of this, the hair is more fragile and more susceptible to environmental damage.

Why does gray hair turn yellow?

Because the gray hair strands are structurally weaker and more porous, they are prone to oxidation. Environmental factors such as pollution, UV rays, regular exposure to salty, hard, or chlorinated water, and heat treatments can all alter the amino acids in the hair fibers causing them to release yellow molecules. 

Does smoking have any effect on gray hair?

Smokers seem to have an increased risk of going prematurely gray. One study found that smokers were more than two-times more likely than non-smokers to begin graying before the age of 30. Smoking can also contribute to the yellow tones that discolor gray, silver, and white hair. 

Is it possible to overuse purple shampoo?

Because purple shampoos deposit pigment on your hair, it is possible to overdo it. If your hair starts to look dull or takes on violet tones, you need to adjust your haircare routine. The regularity with which you can use purple shampoo differs from one product to the next, so be sure to follow the instructions carefully. 

What’s the deal with sulfates, parabens, and phthalates?

Sulfates, parabens, and phthalates are synthetic ingredients that are often used in shampoos and other beauty products. Sulfates, primarily sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate, are particularly effective cleansing agents that are used to get rid of dirt and oil. The problem with sulfates is that they can irritate the scalp and strip the hair of beneficial oils and moisture. 

Parabens (methylparaben and propylparaben) are often included in cosmetics because they prevent the growth of bacteria. Unfortunately they are also easily absorbed by the skin and in addition to potentially wreaking havoc on it – irritation, itching, flaking, and even hives – they can also affect your body’s hormone regulation.

Phthalates, which keep your cosmetics smelling good for longer and can act as lubricants, are generally bad news for your body. In addition to potentially disrupting your hormones, they can impact your immune system and thyroid functioning, as well as harm your kidneys and liver. 

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