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Caring for gray hair presents unique challenges, but choosing the right shampoo can make a big difference. Scroll on for 18 of our best shampoos for gray hair.

18 Shampoos for Gray Hair Our Editors Stand Behind

Caring for gray hair presents unique challenges, but choosing the right shampoo can make a big difference. Scroll on for 18 of our best shampoos for gray hair.
18 Shampoos for Gray Hair Our Editors Stand Behind

Whether natural or painted on at the salon, gray strands often require some extra help to look and feel their absolute best. Dullness, brassiness, and dryness often conspire to dash your silver fox dreams, but building a comprehensive hair care routine tailored to your hair’s needs can help keep hope alive. And, at the heart of any good hair care regimen for silver strands lies a shampoo for gray hair.

The best shampoos for gray hair set the scene for styling success, ensuring your grays are smooth, hydrated, and super reflective. Ahead, discover what can make gray hair

challenging to care for at times, and discover some of our editors’ favorite formulas for silky, silvery strands.

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

Arming yourself with the right hair care products can transform the look and feel of rough grays, but it’s important to know why grays are wirier in the first place. For the most part, structural and physiological changes within hair follicles are to blame.

“[Natural] gray hair tends to have a coarser texture compared to pigmented hair,” says Redken brand ambassador Dominique DiBenedetto. “This change in texture is attributed to a reduction in sebum production” in those follicles, she says. With less sebum to lubricate it, the hair becomes drier.

Restoring natural grays to a softer, more manageable state is doable with extra TLC. This includes using a salon-approved gray hair shampoo, following it up with a moisturizing conditioner, and taking the time to indulge in a hair mask. Reducing heat exposure and limiting chemical treatments can also help get your gray locks on the right track. For a more in-depth look at achieving silky hair, check out our article How to Get Soft Hair.

Good hair day by @hair.dominatrix

Does purple shampoo really work on gray hair?

It’s true: Scooping up a cool-toned purple shampoo for gray hair can help your hue appear sharper and brass-free. Many shades of gray hair have inherently yellow undertones that can benefit from a violet color-correcting formula.

According to DiBenedetto, various factors can contribute to a brassy gray look, including “the hair's porous nature, increased exposure to environmental elements, and the natural progression of the aging process.” Plus, she mentions how the absence of melanin makes gray hair more translucent, allowing underlying brassy tones to peek through.

Swap a purple shampoo in for your regular shampoo once or twice weekly for noticeably brighter, shinier strands.

Good hair day by @jackmartincolorist

What type of shampoo is best for gray hair?

Determining the best shampoo for gray hair depends on whether your strands are salon-made or natural and what concerns you want to address. For example, those with color-treated hair should prioritize color maintenance and preservation with color-safe shampoos. If, on the other hand, your grays are natural, moisturizing, volumizing, and frizz-fighting formulas may help give your hair more life.

When selecting a shampoo for gray hair, also consider whether or not you want to go sulfate-free. Sulfates are detergents that give products like body wash, toothpaste, and shampoo their cleansing lather. These cleansing agents are generally regarded as unproblematic but can make certain gray hair types, like curls and coils, even more prone to dryness, brittleness, and frizz. The creamier, more hydrating ingredients found in sulfate-free shampoos gently cleanse the hair and scalp without stripping moisture.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to selecting the best shampoo for gray hair, and you may need to experiment with a few before finding the right fit. If you need suggestions, we’ve rounded up 18 of our best gray hair shampoos available from the L’Oréal portfolio of professional brands.

Our Best Moisturizing Shampoos for Gray Hair

Good hair day by @ricksislandsalon

Matrix Food For Soft Shampoo

As the name suggests, Matrix’s Food For Soft Shampoo is among our best shampoos for making your gray hair feel softer. Formulated with hyaluronic acid (a popular skincare ingredient) and avocado oil, this shampoo hydrates hair, leaving it silky and shiny-looking.

Mizani Moisture Fusion Clarifying Shampoo

Mizani's Moisture Fusion Gentle Clarifying Shampoo is a gentle cleansing shampoo suitable for all types of ringlets. The charcoal-infused formula can help rid your hair of product build-up without stripping your locks of much-needed moisture.

Redken All Soft Shampoo

Redken’s All Soft Shampoo features a targeted delivery system that treats brittle hair from the root to the core to the tip. The nourishing formula features the brand’s exclusive Moisture Complex as well as argan oil and helps replenish moisture in every part of the hair fiber.

Pureology Hydrate Shampoo

Many people decide to blend their grays with highlights to ease into their new hue. However, the chemical processing required to achieve those highlights can further dry out grays. Pureology’s Hydrate Shampoo intensely hydrates both coarse grays and chemically processed strands while ensuring hair color remains vibrant.

Biolage Professional Hydra Source Shampoo

Inspired by the ever-hydrated aloe plant, Biolage Professional’s Hydra Source Shampoo helps optimize moisture levels within the hair, making it a great option for dehydrated grays.

Shu Uemura Urban Moisture Shampoo

We love multi-tasking hair products, so we adore Shu Uemura’s Urban Moisture Shampoo. The unique formula cleanses, hydrates, and helps defend against environmental pollutants (a major culprit of brassiness and discoloration).

Our Best Toning Shampoos for Gray Hair

L’Oréal Professional Serie Expert Silver Shampoo

L’Oréal Professional’s Serie Expert Silver Shampoo tones both natural and color-treated white, gray, and blonde hair. Violet micro-pigments in its formula help neutralize unwanted yellow tones to reduce brassiness and restore your hue’s cool tone.

Matrix So Silver Shampoo

You can count on Matrix’s So Silver Shampoo to consistently maintain the cool character of your salon gray, silver, or white. This purple shampoo for gray hair helps tone down warmth while illuminating highlights and brightening blonde, gray, and white shades.

Redken Blondage Color Depositing Purple Shampoo

Anyone with white locks will want to stock their shower shelves with Redken’s Blondage Shampoo. This citric acid-powered shampoo gently cleanses hair while strengthening it and removing unwanted brassiness for more balanced color.

Kérastase Blond Absolu Anti-Brass Purple Shampoo

Perfect for orange-yellow to very light yellow undertones, Kérastase’s indigo-tinted Blond Absolu Anti-Brass Purple Shampoo reduces brassiness for instant neutralization and color illumination.

Our Best Shampoos for Frizzy Gray Hair

Matrix Mega Sleek Smoothing Shampoo

Stop dreaming of sleeker grays and make them a reality with Matrix’s Mega Sleek Smoothing Shampoo. Made with shea butter, Mega Sleek is a smoothing shampoo that helps control rebellious, unruly hair and protect it against humidity.

Redken Frizz Dismiss

Frizz will be officially dismissed from your vocabulary when Redken’s Frizz Dismiss Shampoo is your designated wash day product. Not only is the shampoo free of frizz-causing offenders like sodium chlorine and sulfates, but it’s also infused with ingredients like babassu oil for enhanced smoothness and shine.

L’Oréal Professional Liss Unlimited Shampoo

L’Oréal Professional’s Liss Unlimited Shampoo is ideal for those living in humid or tropical climates. The formula is backed by pro-keratine (to maintain hair hydration) and kukui nut oil (to act as a humidity blocker) to help your mane withstand even the muggiest of weather. Complete your routine with the brand’s Liss Unlimited Mask to get the most out of the frizz-fighting system.

Our Best Shampoos for All Gray Hair Types

L’Oréal Professional Serie Expert Metal Detox Shampoo

Hard shower water is a common, if underrecognized, culprit for color dulling and fading. If you have hard water (or suspect you might), swap out your usual shampoo for L’Oréal Professional’s Serie Expert Metal Detox Shampoo. The first step in a mix-and-match system, this shampoo helps detoxify the hair, neutralizing metals, and hard minerals to restore the healthy look and feel of color-treated hair. Read more about its patented technology in our Metal Detox Review.

Matrix High Amplify Shampoo

Naturally occurring grays are thinner than their pigmented companions, giving ‘dos a flat appearance. When limp hair needs a boost, pick up Matrix’s High Amplify Shampoo to cleanse hair and add lightweight volume to your style.

Biolage Professional Scalp Sync Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Although there are several causes of dandruff, the reduction in sebum that occurs when going gray can be one of them. If your striking silvers are peppered with itchy scalp flakes, find solace with Biolage's Professional’s Scalp Sync Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. It’s made with pyrithione zinc to help target dandruff, control the appearance of visible flakes, and relieve scalp irritation.

Kérastase Elixir Ultime Le Bain Shampoo

A lack of shine causes even the most gorgeous gray hair to appear dull. Give drab grays the boot and lather up with Kérastase’s Elixir Ultime Le Bain Shampoo. With oils like marula, camellia, and argan, the formula provides the ultimate shine and nourishment for your silvers.

Biolage Professional Color Last Shampoo

A low-pH shampoo like Biolage Professional’s Color Last helps seal hair’s cuticle, prolonging the life of color-treated or highlighted grays. Use it as your go-to shampoo for soft, shiny silver strands.

Now that you know how to care for silver, white, and salt-and-pepper hair, here are expert-approved tricks for Transitioning Into Gray Gair With Highlights.

Header image credit (right): @hair.dominatrix

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