Going gray is no cause for gloominess -- the right hair care routine ensures that your locks stay sleek, shiny and manageable, whether they're a satiny silver or a vibrant white. Because gray hair typically has a coarse, more brittle texture than pigmented hair, moisturizing conditioner plays a vital role in a healthy, gray-oriented hair care regimen. Ultimately, your personal preferences and budget dictate the choice of the “best” gray hair conditioner for you, but professional opinions help you make an educated choice.
Vogue's website and colorist Kyle White of the Oscar Blandi Salon both stress the importance of keeping gray hair bright and “sparkly” rather than dull, yellow or brassy. To that end, the duo recommends Aveda's Blue Malva Color Conditioner, which aims to neutralize brassy tones in all shades of gray hair, encouraging a more silvery shade. The same sources praise Clairol's Shimmer Lights Conditioner, which moisturizes, reduces yellow and brassy tones and refreshes faded highlights. Speaking to The Daily Mail website in 2013, celebrity hairdresser Denise McAdam championed Pure Silver Conditioner by Philip Kingsley for helping gray hair retain its brightness.
If your gray hair is particularly prone to frizziness -- a common issue for this hair type -- trichologist Carole Michaelides suggests Lee Stafford ArganOil from Morocco Nourishing Conditioner. While this conditioner moisturizes, its lightweight composition keeps fine hair from going limp, Michaelides tells The Daily Mail. For those with thin or fine hair in need of a little extra volume, Good Housekeeping touts the designer spray-in conditioner from the Kerastase Specifique line.
If convenience takes precedence in your hair care routine, turn to shampoo-conditioner combos to manage your silvery locks. Good Housekeeping ranks Samy Fat Hair “0” Calories Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner -- a value-priced option -- among the best, citing its impressive ability to thicken the hair-shaft diameter and leave the hair feeling softer. In the same price range, Today Health recommends Giovanni Colorflage Perfectly Platinum Color Defense Shampoo and Conditioner for its UV-protection, antioxidant content and hydrating ability.
Whether your hair is gray or purple, conditioner is just one half of the equation. For de-yellowing action, Vogue praises Klorane Shampoo with Centaury, Sachajuan Silver Shampoo and Phyto Phytargent Brightening Shampoo, while Good Housekeeping recommends pairing the volumizing, nongreasy Kerastase Specifique Bain Densitive GL Revitalizing Shampoo with its complementary conditioner. Just as its conditioning counterpart helps brighten brassy hues, the brightening ability of Clairol Professional Shimmer Lights Shampoo is commended by Today.
- Vogue: The Brighteners: Shampoo and Conditioner for Gray Hair
- Aveda: Blue Malva Color Conditioner
- Clairol: Shimmer Lights Collection
- Good Housekeeping: Hair-Thickening Shampoos and Conditioners
- Today Health: Going Gray? Don't Hide It -- Own It
- The Daily Mail: From High-Tech Blue Rinses to “Hair Varnish,” the Products You Need to Make Gray Locks Look Glam