Color depositing shampoo for gray hair can be a great option if you want to enhance or change your gray hair. But going shopping to find your favorite is an overwhelming (and expensive) process. Save yourself a headache by using our product guide below.
What’s the Best Color Depositing Shampoo for Gray Hair?
Think color depositing shampoo is just for colored hair? Think again! Whether you’re looking to blend your grays, enhance your gray hair, or add a pop of color, color depositing shampoo can be an excellent product in your haircare arsenal.
This article will narrow down the best picks for color depositing shampoo and explain what they do and why you might want to use them. But first, let’s briefly look at the products we’ll cover.
Our Top 7 Picks:
- Best Overall: Matrix Total Results So Silver Color Depositing Shampoo
- Best for Covering/Blending Gray: Celeb Luxury Colorwash
- Best for Reducing Brassiness: Klorane Anti-Yellow Shampoo with Centaury
- Best for Deep Hydration: Bold Uniq Purple Shampoo for Blonde Hair
- Best for a Tight Budget: Jhirmack Silver Brightening Ageless Shampoo
- Best for Enhancing Gray/ Silver Tones: Pantene Silver Expressions Pro V Shampoo
- Best for Bright/Novelty Colors: Overtone Color Depositing Conditioner
Why You Need a Color Depositing Shampoo
We’ll get into a more detailed breakdown of each of these products in a minute, but first, let’s explore the benefits of color depositing shampoo.
What Is Color-Depositing Shampoo?
Unwanted yellow or orange tones in gray, white, or silver hair can make your tresses look dull and dingy. Many factors can cause this. Frequently, environmental influences like smoke, pollution, or chemical deposits in the water.
In other cases, it can be due to hormonal changes, health issues, or medications. Hair products can also cause buildup that leaves a yellowish or orange tinge to the hair.
Counteracting brassy tones with blue or purple-based shampoo has long been one of the most popular methods of maintaining gray or white hair. Nearly all the shampoos you’ll find aimed at gray hair will have a blue/purple pigment that gets deposited onto the hair.
Many also contain vitamins, oils, and gentle cleansers. If used over time, these ingredients together can correct brassy tones and leave you with brighter, whiter, more silvery strands while improving the health and condition of your hair.
Color-depositing shampoo is, as the name implies, shampoo that deposits color onto the hair shaft while at the same time doing the regular job of a shampoo giving you a clean, shiny head of hair.
The colors in these shampoos can be subtle or bright; they can provide results after one use or over time. In any case, they are a temporary form of hair color.
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What Color Depositing Shampoos Do for Gray Hair
Color Depositing Shampoo can do a lot for your gray hair, including:
- Tone your hair color. Color depositing shampoo can help correct unwanted tones in your hair and give it a deeper, richer color by enhancing its natural or artificial tones and highlights. Purple shampoo for gray hair is probably the best-known example of this.
- Cover gray. While color-depositing shampoo doesn’t fully cover gray, some products can disguise or blend grays or help turn your gray into temporary highlights.
- Create fun colors. Having gray hair doesn’t mean losing your sense of adventure or your desire to have fun with hair color. Those who had naturally dark hair before they went silver may find that their gray years present an exciting opportunity to experiment with a pastel or bright palette without the damaging effects of bleach.
- Protect your hair. Most color-depositing shampoos are formulated with color-treated hair in mind, which means many of them are gentle, natural, and non-stripping formulas that include ingredients to protect and moisturize the hair.
Best Color Depositing Shampoo For Gray Hair Top 7 Picks:
Let’s take a look at our top 7 picks:
1. Matrix Total Results So Silver
The Matrix product line started in salons and has been a trusted name in hair care for decades. This purple shampoo formula does what it says it will do, removing excess brassy tones and giving hair more shine and glow. It works in all shades of gray or blonde.
2. Celeb Luxury
Celeb Luxury Gem Lites are a line of color-depositing shampoos that offer a variety of colors to choose from. Whether your goal is to enhance gray with their silver color or blend and cover with a color that matches your natural hue, this product is a winner.
3. Klorane Plant-Based Purple Shampoo
Klorane Anti-Yellow has been a favorite of blondes and gray ladies for many years. Recently, Klorane decided to change its formulation, which was white, to be more eco-friendly and better for the hair.
The new version of their anti-yellow shampoo is a purple-colored formula featuring extracts from the bright purple flower Centauri. While some customers are frustrated with the change, others are pleased with how the product works.
4. Bold Uniq Purple Shampoo
Dryness is a common complaint when using any type of hair colorant, including some color-depositing shampoos. This ultra-hydrating formula solves that problem with vitamin B, coconut oil, and marula oil.
5. Jhirmack Silver
Jhirmack products come from a tried and true brand that’s been a household name since 1968. Their shampoos are among their best-selling products for a reason. They do what they’re made to do; cleaning, conditioning, and toning gray, white, and light blonde hair.
6. Pantene Silver Expressions
- Doesn't stain surfaces
- Can make hair waxy if used too often
Pantene’s Pro V live is a steady favorite for those looking for a better grade of drugstore shampoo. Their Silver Expressions Shampoo performs similarly to other Pantene shampoos, adding shine, removing brassy tones, and improving manageability.
Overtone is one of the best-selling hair products of the last three years. It’s not actually a shampoo, but we love it, so we included it on this list. Their array of highly-pigmented conditioners and masks yield excellent results on all hair types.
You can use their silver color-enhancing conditioner to maintain your gray or add a burst of color using any of the other hues available. The sky’s the limit!
Finding the Best Color-Depositing Shampoo for Gray Hair
Before purchasing, know precisely what you want from your color depositing shampoo. You’ll need to decide first if you wish to cover your gray or enhance it and then choose a product based on that.
If you want to cover gray, you can choose a product made with lots of pigment that matches your natural hair color. These pigments can make your grays less noticeable.
If you’re looking to enhance and brighten your silver hair, most purple shampoos listed in their piece should work well. It’s simply a matter of your preference.
Avoiding Product Build-Up
When using any color depositing product, you have to be aware of the fact that it can build up on your hair over time. This happens with some products more than others, and sometimes it’s a matter of trial and error.
Whatever product you use, it’s important to follow package instructions. Don’t leave the product on for longer than necessary or use it more often than directed.
It’s also wise to use a clarifying shampoo in place of your color, depositing shampoo once every week to 10 days to remove any buildup and allow your hair to breathe.
Using Color-Depositing Shampoo With Other Products
Color-depositing shampoo can be used along with other color-enhancing products or on its own. Conditioners that also add color can help you enhance your results and can be used either before or after the shampoo, depending on the product you choose.
You can also use color depositing shampoo with other hair care products made for color-treated hair. These products will be gentler on your hair and help you maintain your shade and tone.
When to Switch From Coverage to Enhancement
Let’s say you’re a brunette helping your gray blend into your brown hair by using a color depositing brown shampoo. At what point do you just give in to the gray and start using products to enhance your silvery tones instead?
It’s ultimately up to you, but color depositing shampoos and conditioners are not made to cover a full head of mostly-gray hair.
The product is likely to go on spotty and wash out quickly due to the porosity of gray hair. If you’re more than 20% gray, it might be best to either embrace it or switch to a permanent hair dye.
Your Hair Type
Most color depositing shampoos work just as well across all hair types. However, curly hair and very long or thick hair will need more product, so plan to purchase accordingly.
Also, if your hair is dry and coarse, as gray hair often tends to be, follow your shampoo with a conditioner specifically made for dry, color-treated, or mature hair.
Frequently Asked Questions
Take a look at some of the most asked questions regarding color depositing shampoo for gray hair:
How long do I leave in color depositing shampoo?
Directions vary from product to product. Most suggest leaving the shampoo in for 2 to 3 minutes before rinsing. Some only suggest you do this the first time you use it, then use it as a regular shampoo going forward. Always read and follow product instructions.
What’s the difference between purple and blue color depositing shampoo?
Purple shampoo neutralizes yellow tones in your hair, while blue attacks orange. Purple is the most common color used in shampoos for gray hair because the gray/white/silver colors are light and are most often plagued by yellow.
However, if you have darker mixed (salt and pepper) hair or hair on the darker steel gray side, a blue shampoo might be a better bet.
How do I prevent staining of my sink/shower/fingers when using color depositing shampoo?
While color-depositing conditioner and other dye products do tend to stain, color depositing shampoo rarely does. The product may appear to initially stain shower walls.
But water usually takes care of it. If stains do occur, they usually can be easily removed with cleaners that contain bleach.
I want to try a bold color like pink or green on my white hair. How long will it last?
Color-depositing shampoo alone likely won’t give you a bold color. You can try a color depositing conditioning treatment or semi-permanent dye first, then keep up your results with a matching shampoo. The shampoos can help you maintain your color longer between treatments.
Will purple shampoo make my hair look purple?
It shouldn’t, and it usually does not. It just corrects the hair’s color, neutralizing yellow tones, so the hair looks silvery and pale.
However, if you overuse purple shampoo, using it too many times per week or leaving it on for too long, you may begin to see your hair take on an unnatural purplish tint in the sun.
So, What’s the Best Color Depositing Shampoo for Gray Hair?
The best color-depositing shampoo for gray hair depends on what you want out of it. Do you want to disguise your grays or celebrate them? Go natural or rock an edgy bold look?
There are so many great products available, and you have some solid advice in this article to begin your adventure. So, do some shopping around and find the best shampoo for your unique needs!