The 13 Best Shampoos for Gray Hair to Keep It Cool, Smooth and Shiny
Whether you’re in the process of transitioning to gray or you’ve had a full head of silvery strands for years now, finding the right shampoo can make a big difference in the tone and texture of your hair. Gray hair is prone to picking up yellow tones from everyday elements like sunlight, hard water and pollution. It also tends to grow in coarse and wiry. Luckily, with a bit of patience and a proper purple shampoo, you can keep your hair cool, smooth and shiny.
Now, a general rule of thumb to help simplify your shopping: The lighter the shade of purple shampoo, the more subtle the effect will be. So, if you have a softer gray coloring—or have just a few patches or strands of silver sprinkled throughout—a violet-tinged shampoo will do the trick. If you have an icier gray or very white strands that you want to keep on the cooler side, opt for a darker purple or even indigo-hued shampoo for best results.
A final tip: Whatever shampoo you choose, make sure to follow the instructions on the label, so you don’t end up with lavender hair (unless that’s what you want, in which case, rock on).
Our picks at a glance:
- The Classic: Clairol Professional Shimmer Lights Shampoo
- Pro Pick: Biolage ColorLast Purple Shampoo
- Best for Thinning Hair: Thicktails Hair Growth Shampoo
- Best for White Hair: Klorane Anti-Yellowing Shampoo
- Best for Coarse Hair: dpHUE Cool Blonde Shampoo
- Best for All Shades of Gray: Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo
- Best for Frizzy Hair: Philip Kingsley Pure Blonde Booster Shampoo
- Best Splurge: Oribe Silverati Shampoo
- Best for Damaged Hair: Moroccanoil Blonde Perfecting Purple Shampoo
- Best for Fine Hair: Sachajuan Silver Shampoo
- Most Customizable: IGK Mixed Feelings Leave-In Blonde Drops
- Best Budget: Pantene Silver Expressions Purple Shampoo
- Best Overall: MATRIX Total Results So Silver Color Depositing Purple Shampoo
1. Clairol Professional Shimmer Lights Shampoo
This purple shampoo is a longtime favorite among many bright blondes and silver foxes because it tames brassiness and enhances the color to icy levels. A once-weekly wash is enough to keep your hair looking true to color—just wash your hands right after.
2. Biolage ColorLast Purple Shampoo
“Gray hair can tend to look yellow easily because of product buildup and minerals in water,” explains Sunnie Brook, a celebrity stylist. “Because of this, I always recommend using a clarifying shampoo once a week, followed by Biolage ColorLast Purple Shampoo to really enhance those sparkly tones,” she adds.
3. Thicktails Hair Growth Shampoo
Best for Thinning Hair
Are your grays looking wispier than usual? This shampoo was created for you. Whether your hair thinning is being triggered by menopause, postpartum and/or stress, this shampoo can help by blocking DHT production (a hormone that contributes to hair loss). Plus, it's especially gentle on graying strands (though you might have to swap in one of the purple shampoos on this list once a week to keep the brass at bay).
4. Klorane Anti-Yellowing Shampoo
Best for White Hair
If you’re looking for a milder shampoo, we recommend this botanical blend from French favorite, Klorane. Rather than an intense violet or deep purple tint, this formula has subtle indigo tones (and is free of drying sulfates) to brighten up your gray strands just so.
5. dpHUE Cool Blonde Shampoo
Best for Coarse Hair
Thanks to the silk proteins and hibiscus flower extract in dpHue’s purple shampoo, you’ll strengthen the hair cuticle while cancelling out brassy tones at the same time. And while some highly pigmented shampoos are too much for daily use, this one deposits just the right amount of color, so it can be used as often as needed without turning your hair violet. Pro tip: Mix it with a hydrating shampoo for even sleeker, shinier results.
6. Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo
Best for All Shades of Gray
If you’re rocking a salt and pepper style or are dealing with 50 shades of gray, try this bluish-purple shampoo that’s favored for its ability to neutralize brassiness in all hair colors. The ylang ylang, lemon and eucalyptus scent make it even more enjoyable to use.
7. Philip Kingsley Pure Blonde Booster Shampoo
Best for Frizzy Hair
Philip Kingsley is best known for its Elasticizer hair mask, but it also excels at blonde and gray haircare—as proven by this shampoo. It’s made with lavender oil, which promotes scalp health, and violet micro-pigments to gently tone your grays. The hydrating formula also reduces static and smooths the cuticle, making it an especially good choice for frizzy hair.
8. Oribe Silverati Shampoo
Aside from smelling like an absolute dream (which is par for the course with Oribe), this luxe shampoo is packed with a brightening blend of blue and silver pigments to make your grays shine; the European silver fir extract locks in moisture to dry ends, while protecting against pollution (and the bottle looks pretty darn chic in your shower, too).
9. Moroccanoil Blonde Perfecting Purple Shampoo
Best for Damaged Hair
This sulfate-free shampoo is extremely hydrating, making it ideal for parched gray strands. Infused with argan oil (which is packed with vitamins A and E), it helps repair and seal the hair’s cuticle, while the violet pigments handle any brassy tones that have crept in.
10. Sachajuan Silver Shampoo
Best for Fine Hair
Straight from Stockholm comes this salon-grade shampoo that doesn’t just increase shine, block UV rays (one of the main culprits of brass) and counteract existing yellow tones—it also volumizes limp roots. Bouncier, brighter hair? Right this way.
11. IGK Mixed Feelings Leave-In Blonde Drops
If you're constantly fighting brassy strands, you might want to pick up a bottle of these leave-in drops. Though they’re not technically shampoo, they can be added to any shampoo (or conditioner) you already have, which is what makes them so genius. That and you can customize the level of toning you want by adjusting the number of drops you add in. Oh, and they provide UV protection as well, which we know is crucial for keeping brass away.
12. Pantene Silver Expressions Purple Shampoo
This drugstore favorite was formulated specifically for gray and silver strands. With plenty of purple pigment to neutralize brass and brighten up dullness, it also features the brand’s classic ingredient: pro-vitamin B5, which hydrates and strengthens hair. The handy pump top and generously sized bottle make this budget-friendly buy especially easy to use as well.
13. MATRIX Total Results So Silver Color Depositing Purple Shampoo
When a shampoo has over 31,000 five-star ratings, you take note. This highly concentrated shampoo contains direct dyes that neutralize yellow tones specifically, so it works across platinum, silver and extremely light blonde to white hair. (Heads up: Since it is so pigmented, we recommend wearing a pair of gloves to avoid staining your nails.)