The Best Products to Use on Naturally Gray Hair
There's no official countdown or way to predict when it will happen, but hair will turn gray at some point. And when hair turns gray, the color isn't the only thing that changes. It's common for hair to adopt a new texture and flexibility, too.
"Hair texture can, indeed, change once you have gone gray," says Dr. Francesca Fusco, a dermatologist at Wexler Dermatology in New York City. "Of course, other things will influence it as well. For example, chemical treatments, overuse of heating tools like blow-dryers and flat irons, dyes, and bleaches — and a very oily scalp which can be seen in dandruff. White or gray hair can sometimes, but not always, be coarse, wire-y, dry hair, and be difficult to manage."
To keep hair strong and smooth, the focus of your haircare routine once you've gone gray should be hydration and brightness. Look for shampoos and conditioners that are formulated with hydrating ingredients, such as nourishing oils like macadamia, argan, and almond, and vitamins C and E.
Gray hair can also develop a yellowish tint — not unlike the plight that blondes are familiar with. So, the other concern is neutralizing these unwanted brassy tones so that gray hair looks shiny and vibrant. To achieve this, Linda de Zeeuw, master colorist at Rob Peetom Salon in New York City, says to use a color-depositing shampoo or conditioner or a gloss, and to avoid styling products that have gold tints to them all together.
"Use these [color-depositing] products once every three weeks, because they add pigment to the hair," she explains. "If you use them during every wash, it will cause too much build-up of pigment which can make the hair look darker or even purple!"
The only other thing you should differently when you have gray hair? Limit how often you use hot tools. Both Dr. Fusco and de Zeeuw say that heat can make already dry hair even more dehydrated. If you do need to use a blow-dryer or flat iron, be use to prep hair with a heat protective spray.
Here, every product you need in a gray haircare starter pack.
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Davines Momo Shampoo
All thanks to the nourishing hero ingredient Cartucciaru Melon, this shampoo doesn't just clean hair without stripping away natural oils, it also moisturizes it.
Olaplex No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner
The bad news? Dry hair tends to be more prone to breakage and frizz. However, there's a way to fix it. Olaplex's hydrating, reparative conditioner re-links broken bonds to strengthen hair. Expect fewer split ends and a smoother texture.
Kristin Ess Hair Signature Gloss Temporary Hair Color in Crystal Quartz
A gloss can brighten up dark gray hair, plus enhance the silver tones of your color, but you can skip the salon appointment and do it yourself for just $14. Celebrity hairstylist Kristin Ess just introduced glosses to her haircare line that add shine, vibrancy, and neutralize brass.
Redken Color Extend Color Depositing Graydiant Shampoo
Washing your hair with a color-depositing shampoo once a week will neutralize any brass tones in gray hair. With the added bonus of amino acids in its formula, the shampoo will also strengthen and soften dry, damaged hair, too.
Oribe Silverati Conditioner
If a color-depositing shampoo isn't your jam, try a brightening conditioner instead. Specifically formulated for hair that's gone gray naturally, this Oribe conditioner hydrates hair and gets rid of any unwanted yellow tones.
Christophe Robin Shade Variation Care Nutritive Mask with Temporary Coloring in Baby Blond
For gray hair that's gone yellow and brassy, a weekly color-depositing mask is a solid alternative to using a violet or silver shampoo and conditioner. This Christophe Robin one has a violet tones in it that'll make gray hair shades look vibrant again.
O&M Frizzy Logic Finishing Shine Spray
While every hair color looks best when it's shiny, gray shades thrive when they're glossy. A shine-boosting spray only takes almost zero effort to use and can also cut down frizz and flyaways.
Alterna Haircare Caviar Anti-Aging Perfect Iron Spray
The best way avoid dry hair is preventing it. Before using any heat tools, spray your hair with a protective spray. On top of creating an invisible shield between your hair and your flat iron, this formula also works to hydrate, strengthen, and reverse environment effects on hair.
Moroccanoil Luminous Hairspray Strong Finish
Hairspray is one product that everyone loves to hate, but let's get real: We all use it. This Moroccanoil formula crushes the myth that all hairsprays are sticky and leave white filmy residue on hair. It holds styles, but it's infused with shine-boosting argan oil that will help bring out the silver tones in gray hair.
R+Co Trophy Shine Texture Spray
A texturizing spray is the key to getting that undone wavy look, but these products generally have a matte finish, which can make gray hair look flat. That's where R+Co's spray comes in. It gives hair a piece-y, bedhead finish, but since it has sweet almond oil in it, it also makes any style super shiny.