Prevention January 29, 2020

Prevention

Hair

11 Best Shampoos for Gray Hair in 2020, According to Stylists and a Dermatologist

Prevent brassiness, amp up shine, and boost moisture with these silver-friendly shampoos.

If you’ve decided to embrace your gray hair, you’re in luck: There are tons of great shampoos that allow you to revitalize your natural hue, whether your hair has that salt-and-pepper speckle, you’ve gone fully gray, or you’re amping up your strands with a color treatment at the salon.

As for why your hair is going gray? “Our hair follicles contain pigment making cells, which make melanin. This is what gives hair its color,” explains Noelani Gonzalez, M.D., an instructor in dermatology at Mount Sinai in New York City. “As we age and mature, these cells stop making pigment, and that is when you start growing gray hair.”

Excess sun exposure could be partially to blame, too, says Loretta Ciraldo, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in Miami. “In my 40-plus years of dermatology, I’ve noticed that there is typically more gray hair on the top of the scalp in most people,” she explains.

As a result, your hair may start to feel thin and lifeless, because “as we age, our body also produces less oil, which makes your hair feel drier,” Dr. Ciraldo says. (The common belief that gray hair is coarser is not true, she says. It just may feel that way because it lacks moisture.)

Your goals, then, are to boost hydration and shine, says Tina Deeke, a colorist with Maxine Salon in Chicago. If you’re fully embracing the gray and getting your hair colored, a demi-permanent color may be the way to go, as this will result in a more subtle grow-out, she explains.

But if your hair is only partially covered in gray, consider asking for a semi-permanent color treatment. “This lasts four to six weeks and will make your grays look like a highlight,” says Linsey Barbuto, owner Perlei Salon in Wayne, NJ. Whether you color your hair also affects what type of shampoo you’ll need to care for it.

How to choose the best shampoo for gray hair

Stick with purple: Shampoos that have violet or purple undertones (they will look bright purple out of the bottle) will counteract the yellowing of gray hair, which can look brassy and dull. These will be clearly labeled that they are intended for gray or blonde hair.

Alternate your options: If you get your hair colored, you’re going to want to both protect that color and enhance your gray. Deeke recommends alternating a shampoo that’s safe for color-treated hair (look to the front label for guidance) with a silver-enhancing shampoo (as mentioned above). Then, always condition after shampooing to lock in moisture.

Dr. Ciraldo also recommends doing an at-home mask every so often. Apply a thin coat of organic coconut oil to your hair, cover it with a shower cap, and sleep in it overnight to add moisture and freshen up strands. “It’s a nice perk for gray hair that I’ve advised patients to do for years,” she says.

Look for UV filters: To best protect your color from fading or turning brassy, look for shampoos that offer UV filters, suggests Deeke. This will help protect against damage that leaves hair looking dull and feeling dry.