in the The devil Wears Prada, Miranda Priestley sports a stunning silver hairdo. The producers were said to be hesitant at first, but Meryl Streep was able to convince them. Glad she did, because Priestley’s gray hair was an integral part of her look. It also looked tremendously healthy and nourished. She must have had a really good conditioner for gray hair in her arsenal!
The best gray hair conditioners at a glance:
- Best overall: Moroccanoil Blonde Perfecting Purple Conditioner$26
- Best for Frizzy Gray Hair: Pureology Hydrate Soft Softening Treatment$41
- Best for Natural Gray Hair: Light conditioner with a pattern, $25
- Best for Short Gray Hair: Kérastase Blond Absolu Strengthening Conditioner$44
- Best for Dull Gray Hair: #mydentity #MyRefresh Silver Pearl conditionno$24
- Best for long gray hair: Joico Color Balance Purple Conditioneright$24
- Best for curly gray hair: All about Curls Divine Treatment$13
- Best for Damaged Gray Hair: Balmain revitalizing hair conditioner$44
- Best for greasy gray hair: L’Oréal Paris Elvive Exceptional Clay Rebalancing Conditionah$6
- Best for Dry Gray Hair: Blonde Angel Color Enhancing Treatment$32
- Best for Fine Gray Hair: Big SexyHair Big Boost Up Conditioner$42
We’re going to look at the best conditioners for gray hair, but first it’s good to know why we turn gray in the first place. There are several reasons for this, and the first, of course, is aging. Studies have shown that most people turn gray before the age of 50. “Hair typically turns gray with age from loss of melanin, but other health factors can also cause it,” explains Guy Tang, celebrity colorist and founder of hair care brand #Mydentity. In fact, smoking, nutritional deficiencies, certain medical conditions, and just plain old genetics can play a role in hair turning gray. (While stress has always been associated with gray hair, that’s still up for debate.)
Why your hair changes texture when it turns gray
If you’ve already started getting gray hair, you may have noticed other changes in your hair. “For most people, as their hair goes gray, there’s also a change in texture, usually coarser,” says Tang. “That can be a problem because it’s going to change the way you need to style your hair.” Gray hair feels like this due to loss of pigment or melanin – plus the follicle doesn’t produce as much sebum. A hair oil or serum can help here, but also a moisturizing conditioner.
What to do with brassy gray hair?
Another problem that grey-haired people can encounter is brass. “Your stylist can help you correct this with color, and at home you can use a purple shampoo and conditioner to help,” says Tang. Purple shampoos are often associated with blonde hair, but they’re great too for gray hair.
What to look for in a conditioner for gray hair?
When it comes to specific ingredients to look for in conditioners for gray hair, Jamie Wiley, Global Artistic Director at Pureology, recommends looking for moisturizing and conditioning ingredients. “Like jojoba, shea butter and avocado oil. These will penetrate the hair and deeply nourish it,” she says. It’s also good to avoid anything that will strip moisture and dry out your hair. “These are found in volumizing shampoos and volumizing products,” she says. Tang also says to avoid drying ingredients like SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) or alcohol.
Are you ready to jazz up those silver strands? Keep scrolling to learn more about 11 of the best conditioners for gray hair.
Moroccanoil Blonde Perfecting Purple Conditioner – $26.00
A great choice for a gray hair conditioner that can be used on all hair types and textures is this from Moroccanoil’s Blonde Perfecting line. While violet pigments and amino acids help to tone and brighten your grays, it also gets a great help from microencapsulation technology. Over 99 percent of argan oil’s powerful antioxidants penetrate deep into the hair cortex, repairing hair and leaving color sealed and unaffected.
Best for frizzy gray hair
Pureology Hydrate Soft Softening Treatment – $41.00
To combat frizz, Wiley says a good deep conditioning treatment is necessary. This one from Pureology contains shea butter, which locks in moisture and deeply nourishes the hair. It also has almond oil which is an emollient so it fills in the gaps in your hair cuticle leaving it smooth and soft to the touch.
Best for natural gray hair
Sample Light Conditioner – $25.00
If you have heavily textured natural hair, you can’t go wrong with this lightweight conditioner from Tracee Ellis. While it’s color safe for gray hair, it contains incredibly moisturizing ingredients for your coils and curls. Coconut oil moisturizes and seals hair while Irish moss keeps the scalp healthy.
Best for short gray hair
Kérastase Blond Absolu Fortifying Conditioner – $44.00
You don’t need to use a lot of conditioner if you have short hair, but you don’t want to use anything too heavy either. Otherwise, buildup could build up on your scalp. This Kérastase Blond Conditioner uses hyaluronic acid and edelweiss flowers to keep hair strong and protected from damage while preventing your gray from turning brassy.
Best for dull gray hair
#mydentity #MyRefresh Silver Pearl Conditioner – $24.00
Does your gray look dead and boring? Breathe some life into it by adding a color-boosting conditioner like this one from Tang’s #MyRefresh line. Intense color is infused into your hair along with a powerful combination of botanical oils such as sunflower seed, argan and cuckoo seed to keep strands soft, shiny and hydrated.
Best for long gray hair
Joico Color Balance Purple Conditioner – $24.00
Long hair needs plenty of moisture, so a color-correcting conditioner with hair-loving ingredients is key. Joico’s Color Balance protects your silver strands from brassiness with its purple pigments and green tea extract (a protective antioxidant), while its proprietary liposome delivery system continuously releases rosehip oil, arginine and keratin to keep everything healthy.
Best for curly gray hair
All About The Divine Curl Treatment – $13.00
Curly hair needs a conditioner that doesn’t mess around. Thanks to a powerhouse of natural oils and plant extracts such as coconut oil, shea butter, marula oil and almonds, Divine Treatment intensely moisturizes all curl patterns. Plus, it’s free from annoying chemicals like drying alcohols, parabens, and SLS.
Best for damaged gray hair
Balmain Revitalizing Conditioner – $44.00
When your gray hair is paying the price of overusing hot tools or using harsh products, you need a conditioner that can really revitalize dead and damaged hair. Balmain’s revitalizing conditioner is enriched with cashmere to leave it soft and supple, while organic argan oil and vitamins E and F nourish, strengthen and repair. The conditioner also protects against UV rays and fading, leaving your gray looking as radiant as ever.
Best for dry hair
Blonde Angel Color Enhancing Treatment – $32.00
This conditioner from Kevin Murphy will fight for your hair, eliminating dryness while preserving your silver hair, thanks to an impressive range of plant extracts and oils. Sunflower Seed Extract is a standout ingredient as it protects color from fading, while Brazil Nut, Jojoba Oil and Olive Oil provide moisture, shine and protection against breakage.
Best for fine gray hair
Big SexyHair Big Boost Up Conditioner – $42.00
Fine hair can often feel limp and lifeless, which is why finding a volumizing conditioner can be of great help. This contains collagen, strengthens and hydrates the hair follicles and gives the hair up to 30 percent more volume without it feeling heavy. It’s also free of SLS to keep your gray.
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