Consider them silver strand savers.

By Melanie Rud
August 13, 2020
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Gray hair is having a major moment—in all kinds of different ways. (Case in point: The Instagram hashtag #grayhair had nearly 800,000 posts as of last check.) First and foremost, there’s a major movement to ditch the dye and embrace going—naturally—gray. “I think this is a beautiful thing, and a lot of women can totally rock this look, even if they’re at first unsure about it,” says colorist Kristen Fleming, color director of 3rd Coast Salon in Chicago.

On the flip side, intentionally dying your hair gray or silver is another, “super hip, contemporary trend,” according to Fleming, and also extremely popular, as seen on both social media and celebs of all ages.

Regardless of which way you’re going gray, there are a few important things to keep in mind. If you’re transitioning to natural gray, be patient, particularly if you’ve always colored your hair in the past, advises Fleming. The growing-out process can admittedly sometimes look a little strange, and keep in mind that naturally gray hair also can have a different texture, yet another thing you’ll have to get used to, she points out. (For some helpful inspo on how to rock this in-between period, check out the hashtag #grombre.)

If you’re aiming to intentionally lighten your hair to a silver shade, patience is also a virtue. It’s going to take several trips to the salon in order to achieve that desired lightness without wreaking havoc on your strands, particularly if you’re starting with a darker hair color to begin with. To that point, keep in mind that going gray does require lots of maintenance, warns Fleming. "You’ll need to do plenty of strength and moisture treatments, continue to tone it, and be gentle with your hair," she says.

Either way, having the right products at home can make all the difference when it comes to keeping your new gray hue fresh and shiny. Ahead, 10 products that will help you do exactly that. 

1

$46, dermstore.com

Brassy, yellow tones are the arch nemesis of any gray or silver hue. The easiest way to keep them at bay? Suds up with a blue- or violet-based shampoo a few times per week. (These cool colors neutralize those unwanted warm tones because they fall opposite one another on the color wheel.) This particular sudser, one of Fleming’s go-tos, is tinted with a blend of both blue and silver pigments to keep your silver shade crisp and vibrant. Bonus points for the addition of strengthening keratin proteins and protective antioxidants.

2

$25, ulta.com

No matter whether your gray is natural or out of a bottle, work this gloss into your at-home haircare routine every two to three weeks. The semi-permanent color delivers a sheer tint to refresh and revive your color, all while counteracting unwanted brassiness. The formula is also chock-full of moisturizing, shine-enhancing argan oil and ginseng. One bottle holds enough for one to two applications (depending on hair length and thickness) and the gloss lasts for six to eight shampoos.

3

$28, sephora.com

There’s no denying that going gray via the bleach method can take a serious toll on your tresses. Keeping your hair strong and healthy is imperative both during—and after—the process. Enter this treatment, an at-home version of the salon variant beloved by stylists. It boasts a unique type of technology that repairs broken bonds (caused by chemical processes, such as lightening) in each hair shaft, drastically improving the look and feel of your stands. Use it once to three times per week, depending on the state of your hair, leaving it on damp hair for 10 minutes prior to shampooing and conditioning.

4

$35, amazon.com

Reach for this option if you’ve lightened your hair to a platinum or silver shade. The wash-out tint is meant to be used weekly as a color refresher, helping to tone your hue and stretch out the time in between your salon appointments. It also imparts plenty of shine and softness (never a bad thing). FYI, treat it like actual hair color and wear gloves when you apply it to prevent staining. Pro tip: Ask your colorist about this product, too. According to Fleming, there’s a take-home version available at salons that your colorist can tint to best work for your particular gray shade.

5

$29, ulta.com

We already mentioned that blue and violet pigments are choice for knocking out brassiness in any kind of cool gray hair color; this innovative product lets you customize that toning effect. How it works: Simply mix in one to four drops into a haircare product of your choosing. Use more drops in a leave-in product for a more intense effect, fewer drops in a wash-out product (such as shampoo or conditioner) for a more subtle result. Versatility for the win.

6

$11, ulta.com

This multi-tasker delivers the two most important things gray hair needs—color toning and lots of moisture. Violet pigments neutralize unwanted warmth, while a power trio of jojoba, coconut, and argan oils pack a hefty dose of hydration. You can even use it daily in place of a regular conditioner, though for best results, just be sure to let it sit on your hair for five minutes or so.

7

$36, sephora.com

No matter how subtle it may be, you don’t want to use a pigmented shampoo daily. Alternate it with a deeply hydrating formula, since both natural and colored gray hair can always benefit from a potent dose of moisture. This one fits the bill, loaded with conditioning ingredients such as panthenol, a litany of oils, and algae extract. But don’t worry, it’s still an effective cleanser, completely removing dirt and oil, and won’t ever weigh down your strands. Plus, it works on all hair types and is even made from 95 percent naturally-derived ingredients.

8

$9, target.com

As a general rule of thumb, dying your hair silver is a task best reserved for the pros; it’s a complicated process and you don’t want to risk doing unnecessary damage to your hair. That being said, if you have naturally fairly light hair to begin with and have your heart set on going the DIY route, try this at-home color.  The multi-tonal shade ensures your end result looks totally salon-worthy, and never flat or one-dimensional. Though again, we’ll underscore that it’s meant only for those starting with a light blonde base.

9

$23, ulta.com

Specially formulated to tone gray and silver hair, this sudser packs a punch thanks to a blend of customized pigments. Top tip: Leave it on for three to five minutes, depending on how much toning you need, once or twice weekly. It also boasts a combo of amino acids that help to simultaneously strengthen your hair with every wash.

10

$24, nordstrom.com

To keep your (natural or artificial) gray hue looking oh-so fresh, your best bet is to pair a toning shampoo with a toning conditioner. Try this pick, which Fleming calls a “true stand-by.” While it does have a purple tint to impart brightness to silver strands, it actually also works well to combat brassiness on any shade, making it an especially good choice to use while you’re making the transition to embracing natural gray.