As the saying goes, ‘gray hair, don’t care’.
It would be nice if it were that simple! It’s a sad fact that society hasn’t always made it easy for women to wear their gray hair with pride. While men with greying hair e.g. George Clooney are nicknamed “silver foxes”, the expectation for women is that they should dye their hair and remain youthfully glamorous as long as possible.
Luckily, in recent years, celebrity icons like Andie McDowell, Helen Mirren, Meryl Strep and Jamie Lee Curtis (to name just a few) have chosen to ditch the hair dye and rock the natural look causing a shift in people’s perception of women with gray locks.
It’s a welcome change to see famous women in the media embracing aging and looking great in the process!
While it’s certainly becoming more popular to embrace the silver-haired look, it can still be difficult to make the decision to stop coloring our hair. Whether you decide to keep your natural color or give it a color boost at the hair salon, there are lots of special shampoos available that can enhance different hair colors, both grey hair and dyed.
What causes grey hair?
Hair turning grey is a natural part of the aging process that happens to us all. As we age, the hair follicles stop producing melanin (the pigment that gives hair its color). Less melanin in the hair shaft causes the hair to appear gray, silver, or white.
Of course, it’s not just aging that can lead to grey hair – sometimes it can be caused by things such as smoking, illness or medical conditions, stress, or even just genetics.
While it won’t stop the greying or change your hair color, the right shampoo can enhance both the new color and the health and shininess of your hair. The regular shampoo you’ve used all your life may no longer be adequate as your hair starts to grey and it may cause your hair to look dull and brittle with unwanted brassiness.
A color shampoo like blue shampoo or purple shampoo might be the best option to counteract unwanted tones that can occur as the first silver strands start to appear!
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What is blue shampoo?
Blue shampoo is a special type of shampoo that is designed to brighten and counteract orange tones in brown hair. Hair can pick up unwanted warm tones from the environment, styling products, and even from the water you use to wash your hair.
Blue shampoo contains blue pigments that work to neutralize the warm tones in your hair and keep it looking at its best between salon visits.
Blue shampoo is available in both sulfate-free and regular formulas. Sulfate-free shampoos are gentler on your hair and scalp, but they may not lather as well as regular shampoos.
Some of the best blue shampoos include Matrix Brass Off Shampoo or Color Balance by Joico.
What is purple shampoo?
Purple or violet shampoo is better suited to blonde hair or lightened hair. It is not recommended for people with dark hair, as it may leave an unnatural-looking purple tint.
If you’re looking for the best purple shampoo, one particularly good option is Fanola No Yellow Shampoo, however, there are plenty to choose from.
To keep hair soft and in great condition blue conditioners and purple conditioners can be used in addition to the shampoo color of your choice.
Color-depositing shampoos are another type of shampoo that can help to enhance your hair color and make it look great. They contain pigments that deposit onto your hair, helping to maintain your color between salon visits.
How do blue and purple shampoos work?
To understand a bit about how these shampoos work, we can look to the color wheel for a simple explanation of basic color theory.
The opposite colors on the color wheel cancel each other out, so, for example, purple is opposite yellow on the color wheel and when purple is applied to yellow tones in hair, the purple cancels out the yellow, resulting in a more neutral, cooler tone.
This is why purple shampoo is often recommended for those with blonde or silver hair, as these hair colors can often develop yellow or brassy tones over time.
On the other hand, blue is the opposite color to orange on the color wheel. This means that blue shampoo with its blue-violet pigments can help neutralize orange undertones or copper tones in hair.
This is particularly useful for those with darker hair colors, such as brunette or red hair, which can develop brassy orange tones with prolonged exposure to the sun, heat styling, or as a result of chemical treatments.
Tips for maintaining silver hair color
As you go through life your hair goes through many changes, not least the change of color as we get older. It can be hard to know exactly what to do to keep it looking at its best, especially if your hair care routine has been limited to normal shampoo and conditioner!
The following are a few tips to keep your locks vibrant and shiny, whether it is color-treated hair or you are rocking your natural hair color.
Check your water quality
If you’ve got hard water, use a clarifying shampoo to keep your hair free of any mineral deposits that can dull the color and leave it dry and tangly. Alternatively, you could install a shower head filter that reduces unwanted minerals and prevents build-up in the hair (which can strip it of its natural moisture leaving you with dry hair).
Deep condition your grays
Use a deep conditioner or hair mask (argan oil is an excellent choice) at least once a week to keep your hair moisturized and prevent breakage.
Choose the right shampoo
Choose a shampoo that is specifically designed for silver hair and your specific hair type. Look for products that contain healthy ingredients such as amino acids and are formulated to protect the hair shaft and enhance the color.
If you notice any unwanted yellow or brassy tones of yellow in your hair, try using a purple or blue shampoo once or twice a week to neutralize the colors and get your hair looking its best. These don’t need to be used daily – once or twice a week is sufficient for best results.
Protect your grey hair from sun and heat
It is important to protect your hair from sun exposure and other environmental factors as much as possible.
In the sun you should always wear a hat or use a UV-protectant spray as sun damage can dry out the hair and give white hair unwanted yellow tones.
Try to minimize heat styling your hair and always use a heat protectant to keep gray hair looking its brightest.
Blue and purple shampoos can help your silvers shine
Embracing your gray hair can be a freeing and empowering choice.
Even if caring for your tresses is different than it was back when you were a brunette, a blue shampoo can neutralize any yellow undertones and keeps your locks looking bright and shiny.
If your hair was originally blond, the best shampoo will be one with purple pigments which will help to protect blonde locks and any silver highlights.
Even if you’ve got virgin hair and it’s your first time noticing brassy hair (due to sun exposure or chemicals such as chlorine, a toning shampoo every once in a while can be beneficial.