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How to Turn Your Gray Hair a Shiny Silver Color

Is gray hair in style?

The gray hair color trend has been one of the hottest hair looks season after season, showing no signs of backing down. More and more people of all ages are letting their gray hair grow in. So what causes gray hair? The most common reason is aging, but lots of other things from genetics, hormones, diet, and lifestyle can contribute to gray hair. Women who rock gray hairstyles have an unbothered and carefree vibe and there’s something so bold and empowering about letting the world see your roots grow in. But white hair can be dry, coarse, and prone to frizz, and can easily look dull. And like just blonde hair, gray hair tends to go brassy or turn yellow over time. 

In order to make your gray hair shiny and soft, you need the right products and hair care tips. We’re breaking down everything you need to know about white hair and going gray — read ahead for our complete guide to gray hair.

Why does gray hair turn yellow? 

In order to understand why gray hair turns yellow or brassy, you first have to understand gray hair. What we refer to as gray, is actually a combination of your normally pigmented hairs interspersed with white hairs. Gray or white hairs contain very little melanin, making it really easy for strands to pick up pigments from their environment, and turning them yellow over time. Below are the most common causes of gray hair turning yellow.

  • Sun exposure. The sun’s UV rays strip the blue color molecules from your gray hair, leaving only the yellow in its place, leaving your strands brassy.
  • Harsh water. The minerals and other chemical residues in your shower water; as well as the chlorine in swimming pools can deposit and attach to your hair shaft, turning your gray hair yellow.
  • Heat styling. Your hot tools can cause damage to your strands by reacting to the minerals in the harsh water you washed with, causing your gray hair to look yellow. 
  • Medications. Some medications, like chemotherapy drugs, can change the color of your gray hair to yellow.
  • Pollution. Harmful materials in the environment like pollution and cigarette smoke can deposit into your gray hair and make it look brassy.
  • Product build up. Hair care products can build-up over time and cause discolorations to your gray or white hair. This alters the reflective colors in your hair, making it look dull and brassy. 

Hair and color by Tom Connell

How to make gray hair soft, shiny, and silver 

Use a hydrating shampoo regularly

We discussed how gray hair is dryer and more brittle than other hair colors. So starting your hair care routine with a hydrating shampoo and conditioner is the foundation for keeping silver strands soft and shiny.

Swap in a clarifying shampoo

To keep your gray hair bright and shiny, switch out your hydrating shampoo for a clarifying shampoo once a week. This helps to remove impurities and product build-up. Follow the clarifying shampoo with a purple-based conditioner (more on this in a minute).

Use a purple shampoo and conditioner

Combat the brassy tones in your white hair by using a purple shampoo or conditioner. These products deposit purple pigments to balance out the yellow. You can use either or both at the same time. Purple conditioner typically has a more subtle effect. Commit to using a shampoo with purple or blue pigment weekly, or at very least twice a month.

Use a serum for shine

Shiny hair means that it reflects light. Light reflects off of dark easier than it can off of light. So gray hair is not as light reflective as dark hair. But here’s a hack to boost its shine, use serum! Serum helps to seal the cuticle of your hair down, making it easier for light to reflect off of the grays. For extra shine in your gray hair, use a hair serum made for blonde, gray, white, and silver hair.

Use hairspray the right way

Most hairsprays are drying which can give a matte finish to already coarse gray hair. If you absolutely must use hairspray to hold your strands in place, there’s a right way to do it. Start by lifting your hair up in sections and apply a medium hold hairspray to the hair that’s near the scalp. Spraying underneath the visible top section of hair gives your gray hair hold, without dulling out its sheen. 

See a hair stylist for a keratin treatment

Keratin treatments involve a stylist applying a protein-rich keratin mixture to your hair. You lose keratin along with pigment as it grays, so a keratin treatment reinforces your gray hair and restores manageability.

Do weekly deep conditioning masks

Thanks to an often dry, wiry texture, gray hair is notoriously hard to manage. A weekly deep conditioner in the form of a hydrating hair mask will nourish your brittle strands making them look and feel healthier. Conditioning hair masks restore shine and brightness to gray, white, and silver hair, while making it more manageable.

Get a gloss treatment

A hair gloss treatment is like a clear hair toner that adds shine. Hair gloss gives you longer-lasting and more vibrant color, as well as reduces split ends, frizzy hair, and dryness. Purple hair gloss treatments can also be used to balance brassy tones in your gray hair. A professional glossing treatment with your stylist every six to eight weeks will brighten your silver strands and keep unwanted tones away. 

Eat a balanced diet

Keep your gray hair soft and shiny by eating a hair-healthy diet full of antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies. These foods neutralize the reactions that negatively impact the cells responsible for maintaining the pigment in your hair follicles. Some of the best options include

  • Berries
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Red grapes or red wine (in moderation)
  • Fresh herbs and spice

Avoid consuming anything overly processed or high in sodium. Limit these pro-inflammatory foods and drinks:

  • Soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Candy
  • Commercial baked goods
  • Processed, high-fat meats like bacon, sausage, and salami

In addition, the following minerals help to keep your hair healthy:

  • Biotin
  • Collagen
  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Selenium
  • Copper

Hair and color by Tom Connell

Don’t use chemically-laden hair products

Lots of products contain harmful chemicals that increase your chances of gray hair. Chemicals like parabens and sulfates speed up your melanin depletion and excessively dry out your hair. Especially in the care and maintenance of gray hair, make sure all of your hair care products use only natural and sustainably sourced ingredients like ours at Davines. All of our products are free of harmful toxins, parabens, and sulfates.

Be more careful with your hair than you’re used to

Gray hair is weaker than darker pigmented hair, making it more susceptible to breakage. Be careful of over-styling or using too much heat, both of which will be more damaging to gray hair.

Protect your strands from chlorine

Protect your gray hair from the harsh chemicals of the pool or hot tub, by practicing smart chlorine hair care before or after your hair is exposed.

See your hairstylist for regular trims

Whether you have short gray hair or are growing it long, get a trim every 6-8 weeks to keep split ends away and keep your silver hair soft and shiny.

Reduce your stress

Stress can lead to gray hair. Practice taking a few deep breaths every day. Research shows that taking deep, slow breaths activates parts of your brain that you can't normally access. Take a few deep slow breaths a day (or even just one) to reduce your stress.

Protect your hair from UV rays

UV rays are just as damaging to your hair and scalp as they are to your skin. And they can be especially damaging to gray hair. Wear a hat or head scarf if you plan to be in the sun for a while.

Stay hydrated

Hydration boosts overall hair wellness! When the body is dehydrated, the hair becomes dehydrated and ends up looking dull and lifeless. Without water, your hair becomes limp, weak and prone to breakage.

How to keep gray hair shiny and healthy

If you have gray or white strands, the Davines line of hair care products will help you keep them looking shiny, soft, and silver. Our products are free of harmful toxins, parabens, and sulfates. And they aren’t just good for your hair, they’re good for the planet. All of our formulas use natural ingredients and are made with renewable energy and packaging that minimizes the environmental impact. To find a Davines stylist in your area, use our salon locator.

Color-enhancing shampoo for cool blonde or gray tones.

Color-enhancing conditioner for cool blonde or gray tones.

Multi-function oil that adds shine and softness.

by Jaclyn LaBadia, featured contributor

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2 Responses


January 15, 2024

I have hair thats blonde, whitish, and gray. The color is pretty,, but it looks kinda dull and frizzy on the ends. I have been trying to find a good shampoo and conditioner without changing the pH of my scalp….I don’t want an itchy scalp. Any suggestions


February 10, 2023

I have more than ninety percent white hair due to age. I want to know the difference between the Alchemic Silver shampoo and conditioner and the Heart of Glass shampoo and rich conditioner. Also, understanding the difference between, and if to use together, the Heart of Glass Rich conditioner versus Intense treatment. My goal is soft and shiny gray strands. I do not apply heat to my hair and am growing out my hair. What regimen do you think optimizes the health and appearance of the hair?

Thank you

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