The Key to Maintaining Silver Strands
Last year Pinterest searches for gray hair increased by 879 percent, suggesting we may soon see a spike in silver foxes: people who are toying with growing out their natural grays, looking to make more of the silver strands they already have—or who are considering going silvery-platinum, courtesy of a colorist, like Lana Mai (@lana.mai.hair) who created the gorgeous dye job featured above. And while silver strands can be dazzling, without the proper care, they can also start to appear rather dull and dusty. So, if you’re thinking about going gray—or you’re already there—consider these strategies to keep your silver sparkling.
Suds up regularly with a purple shampoo or purple conditioner
To combat silver hair’s tendency to adopt a yellowish tinge, you should commit to using a shampoo or conditioner with purple or blue pigments at least twice a month. Purple pigments counteract yellow tones, brightening and boosting your gray hair’s dazzle factor. Whether you choose a purple shampoo or purple conditioner—or both—is a matter of personal preference, though purple conditioners typically have a subtler effect than shampoos.
Lighten up your stylers
Heavier styling product formulas, such as waxes, muds, pomades, and even some finishing oils, can build up on the hair and make grays look drab. Similarly, any colored styling products (e.g. tinted yellow, red, brown) can potentially stain your silver, so try to stick to products that are white, clear or have a faint purple or blue tint.
Water, sun or pollution can impact the tone of your grays and make them muddy, dull or brassy. To minimize these negative effects, choose products that boast environmental shields, such as Prose’s horehound extract, which protects hair from pollution, and coconut and karanji oils, which absorb UV rays.
Pro Tip: You may also want to consider using a clarifying shampoo once a month to get rid of any buildup—especially if you have hard tap water or live in an urban area where pollution is heavier.
Keep your locks in good condition
Gray hair tends to be dryer and more brittle than most other hair colors so, to ensure your silver stays smooth and shiny, it’s important to use a conditioner every time you shampoo, a deep conditioner at least once a month—and, possibly, a leave-in conditioner, which can keep your strands soft and help minimize frizzing. Some of Prose’s best-for-gray-hair ingredients include porphyra algae, which smooths and minimizes fuzzing, and honey, which conditions and nourishes.
Pro Tip: Plucking your gray hairs won’t cause more to grow in its place, but you are at risk of damaging your scalp and hair follicle, meaning that repetitive plucking can lead to wiry, unruly and even coarse gray hair.
Dial up the shine
Gray hair tends not to be as light reflective as heavily-pigmented hues like brown and black, so you may need to cheat a bit to up its gleam quotient. You can try a clear finishing oil (though avoid anything with a yellowish tint per the advice above, as it can stain the hair over time)—or invest in a glossing treatment at home or in the salon. Results will typically last about a month, depending on how frequently you shampoo.