Whether you're a full-fledged silver fox or looking at a pandemic-induced threading of grays, finding the best shampoo for gray hair means balancing a host of concerns. You want something that works with your hair texture, especially if you've noticed it becoming coarse and dry with age, as well as countering any yellow tones for a true, gleaming silver.
According to Shelly Aguirre, hairstylist at Chicago's Maxine Salon, toning your hair is key for a beautiful silver color. Striking the right shade "can make someone actually look younger and hip," Aguirre says, and most crucial is eliminating any yellowness, where gray-focused shampoos now excel.
Speaking to the texture change, New York-based dermatologist Dr. Francesca Fusco previously told InStyle that witnessing your hair becoming wiry and rebellious is par for the course. To soothe (and smooth) your hair, a shampoo with moisturizing agents like macadamia, argan, and almond oils is helpful, as well as vitamins C and E.
You don't have to go overboard with at-home tinting for a pretty color, either. Master colorist Linda de Zeeuw at Rob Peetom Salon in New York once told InStyle she recommends a color-depositing shampoo with a strong purple hue every three weeks to keep grays vibrant and healthy, while one with less intensity is ideal for daily or bi-weekly maintenance. The color theory is akin to wearing a blue-based red lipstick to make your teeth look brighter, so think of the shampoos below as a pep in your gray hair's step.
Ahead, shop the best shampoos for gray hair to help you appreciate your unique tone and texture — no salon visit or hair dye required.
- Best for Brassy Hair: Matrix Total Results So Silver Color Depositing Purple Shampoo
- Best for an All-Over Icy Glow: Milk_shake Silver Shine Shampoo
- Best for Picking Up Highlights: L’Oréal Paris Hair Care EverPure Sulfate Free Brass Toning Purple Shampoo
- Best for Shine: Clairol Shimmer Lights Shampoo
- Best for Curls: Klorane Anti-Yellowing Shampoo with Centaury
- Best for Wiry Hair: Redken Color Extend Graydiant Purple Shampoo
- Best Smelling: Oribe Silverati Shampoo
- Best for Dry, Fragile Hair: Joico Defy Damage Protective Shampoo
- Best for Blending in Grays: Get Back Gorgeous Purple Shampoo
- Best for Smoothing: Kick Purple Shampoo
Best for Brassy Hair: Matrix Total Results So Silver Color Depositing Purple Shampoo
When a shampoo has nearly 15,000 five-star ratings, you know it’s worth its weight in gold (or silver, as the case may be). The before-and-after photos of people going from a dull “dishwater gray” to gleaming silver are impressive, and shoppers call it the best shampoo they’ve ever used for eliminating orange tones and returning enviable softness to coarse hair.
Best for an All-Over Icy Glow: Milk_shake Silver Shine Shampoo
This aptly named shampoo uses milk protein, vitamin-rich blueberries, and violet pigments to lend strength and brightness to gray hair, and on top of unheard-of softness, shoppers say their hair has never looked so vibrant. Multiple reviewers dub it the best product they’ve ever used for gray hair, discarding yellow tinges for a cool, halo-esque silvery glow.
Best for Picking Up Highlights: L’Oréal Paris EverPure Purple Shampoo
Likewise beloved is L’Oréal’s EverPure shampoo, which brightens hair so well that with one use, both natural and salon-given highlights are left sparkling and icy. It’s so effective that shoppers write they get non-stop compliments on their hair and swear they see changes within a single shower. Highlights without sitting in a chair for 45 minutes? Technology came through on this one.
Best for Shine: Clairol Shimmer Lights Shampoo
It doesn’t get more trustworthy than Clairol’s iconic Shimmer Lights Shampoo, which has made lifetime devotees of salt-and-pepper shoppers. Thanks to the shampoo, they say their gray has never looked so reflective. Leave the affordable classic on while you wash up in the shower, and by the time you rinse it out, any yellow is kicked and traded for a proudly shining silver.
Best for Curls: Klorane Anti-Yellowing Shampoo with Centaury
Where some shampoos for gray hair come with an intense purple shade, Klorane’s formula uses a more subtle mix of botanical indigo pigments to cleanse and balance. It’s vegan and free of parabens, sulfates, and silicones, which shoppers say makes their natural curls look and feel fantastic. As a bonus, it makes detangling such a breeze that conditioner is optional. Optional! If you have curls, you know that’s a bold statement.
Best for Wiry Hair: Redken Color Extend Graydiant Purple Shampoo
Those who go gray early know their way around the best shampoos, and in the words of one shopper who’s had grays since 17, Redken’s still has them “madly in love” with the way it transforms coarseness into a soft, beautiful texture. “Wiry, brittle, and unmanageable” hair flips to strands that are soft, strong, and easy in a single wash, and it’s so good that it’s garnered life-time disciples.
Best Smelling: Oribe Silverati Shampoo
If you’ve ever had the chance to smell an Oribe product, you know that the price is worth it for the after-shower whiffs alone. If you haven’t, imagine the smell of a glamorous yacht on the French Riviera, plus a field of roses — it’s that good. The brand’s gray-dedicated shampoo looks like quicksilver, switching yellows and mousey drabness out for a gleaming all-over platinum.
Best for Dry, Fragile Hair: Joico Defy Damage Protective Shampoo
Fixes for damaged hair usually come as deep conditioners, masks, or protein treatments, but Joico’s shampoo is the rare one that rescues hair so well, shoppers say it’s like it healed itself. The formula is moisturizing, ultra-gentle, and recommended by hairstylists to leave dry hair in great condition.
Best for Blending in Grays: Get Back Gorgeous Purple Shampoo
If you’re currently looking at a smattering of grays rather than a full head of them, shoppers write that Get Back Gorgeous’s shampoo is the most helpful thing they’ve found. It blends transitional grays with their dominant hair color while extracting brassiness, allowing them to embrace both colors and go “way longer” between color appointments.
Best for Smoothing: Kick Purple Shampoo for Blonde Hair
Kick’s shampoo is so stunning, shoppers say that they were able to return $60 worth of salon products after seeing the smooth, silver-lit highlights it brought out in their gray hair. Those working with a stubborn yellow tint say it’s the only product that’s helped keep their strands manageable, and the most surprising thing is the “silky smooth” texture it leaves in its wake.
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