Dancing in the Dark: The Truth about Hair Darkening Shampoos

Last Updated on January 30, 2023 by Gaga

Permanent hair dyes are the most efficient hair coloring product for covering gray. Permanent colors provide the evenest coverage of gray hair and the longest-lasting results. However, this type of hair dye also contains the strongest chemicals that can damage your hair. In addition to harsh formulas, permanent coloring also requires commitment. You should be visiting your stylist every couple of weeks for a root touch-up. If you miss a trip to the salon, the newly grown gray hair may look unattractive.

During the pandemic, a visit to the salon is not always possible, so people seek the easiest way to cover their grays at home. That’s why many gray-haired women and men opt for milder products that are easier to use and less harsh for their hair. Although less effective than permanent dyes, some of these products can cover gray hair or at least soften the contrast between white strands and natural hair colors.

The most commonly used alternatives to traditional dyes for covering gray hair include shampoos for darkening hair, gray-reducing shampoos, and shampoos for black hair.

three women with graying hair

1. Hair Darkening Shampoos

Ready to paint it black? Hair-darkening shampoos specifically work by depositing plant pigments that coat the hair shaft when left in the hair for a while. The color lasts for several shampoos and fades gradually until it’s completely washed off. These shampoos are easy to use but can stain your skin and the surrounding surfaces.

Although hair-darkening shampoos are typically advertised as plant formulas, I highly recommend performing an allergy test before using them, because some herbal ingredients can also cause allergic reactions. This is especially important if you purchase a product from abroad or it if offers an incomplete ingredients list.

On one hand, some hair-darkening shampoos provide good coverage for gray hair. On the other hand, some brands just deposit a little pigment over the hair shaft to make gray strands look like subtle strakes that blend nicely with the pigmented hair.

The good thing about darkening shampoos is that they’re gentler to your hair than permanent colors.

The less good news is that, since the color washes out gradually with each shampoo, you’ll need to use darkening shampoos regularly to maintain the results.

Suggested use: Follow the instructions provided for the specific product. Some products can be left to work longer to ensure better coverage. Keep in mind that prolonged application may also result in a darker color.

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Brands to Consider: Deity Color Change Shampoo- Natural Dark Brown Rinse is a plant formula that covers the gray well. To maintain the results, aim to use it every time you wash your hair.

2. Black Hair Shampoos

Although they’re classified as shampoos, these are actually plant-derived semi-permanent hair dyes in shampoo form. They’re easy to apply but tend to leave stains on the skin and on the surfaces in your bathroom. So, make sure to wear gloves. The color will last for several shampoos. Although they’re usually advertised as plant formulas, some brands may contain synthetic ingredients. To stay safe, you should conduct an allergy test before using them.

Brands to consider:

  1. Dexe Black Hair Shampoo by Ecofan is an herbal formula that takes only 10 minutes to cover your grays. The color lasts for up to a month.
  2. Herbal Natural black hair Shampoo by BIOGREEN ROOTS (also comes in the brown shade) works well for covering gray hair and is less messy than other black hair shampoos. The color lasts for a couple of washes.

3. Gray Reducing Shampoos

Control GX Grey Reducing Shampoo: Is It Just for Men?

There’s absolutely nothing in the composition of this shampoo that determines that it’s meant only for men. But there’s something in men’s preferences that makes the claim on the box true. The majority of men don’t like to appear in public with freshly dyed hair. This shampoo is a good way to darken their hair gradually while maintaining a natural look. Opposite to men, women like switching between colors and prefer products that offer more obvious color changes.

How Does Gray Reducing Shampoo Work?

This shampoo uses oxygen from the air to activate the dye. The oxidation process that causes the hair’s darkening takes place 10-15 minutes after application. In the next 24 hours, more minor changes in hair color may still occur.

Control GX shampoo is supposed to be used 1-2 times a week, but it’s advised that you experiment to tailor the frequency of use to your own needs. With regular use, the number of grays decreases, but gradually so that the color always looks natural. Sound perfect? Yet there are a few imperfections.

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  • The biggest complaint about this shampoo is that it stains everything it touches until rinsed off. Make sure to use an old T-shirt and a towel.
  • Another problem is that the remaining content of the shampoo continues to oxidize inside the tube. To minimize this, try to expel most of the oxygen before closing the cover tightly.
  • Finally, although it’s sulfate-free, it contains a lot of ingredients that are hard to pronounce.

Despite these imperfections, Control GX Gray Reducing Shampoo has many satisfied users among men.

beautiful middleaged woman with long grey hair hair

Final Words

Most hair-darkening products have limited efficiency in covering gray hair and their ingredient list may be incomplete. As a precaution, always do an allergy test before application. The brands listed in this post have acceptable efficiency and few reports of allergic reactions.

When it comes to Control GX shampoo, this may be the right product for men who want to cover and blend grays to make them less obvious but prefer natural-looking results.

Consulting a professional is a good starting point for taking proper care of your gray hair. If that isn’t possible, ask the seller for information. Read customer reviews and try to find some useful tips. Don’t automatically pick a cheap brand because your health is the most important thing in life. While it’s great to keep your hair dark, don’t keep your health and wellness in the dark!

smiling gray haired woman in casual clothes

About the author

Website | + posts

Gaga is a blogger and founder of the Softer Hair website. She often says that insomnia is to blame for her first blogging attempts. Being the night owl, she hated the morning alarm. She left her office job and returned to what she loved most - writing.


1 thought on “Dancing in the Dark: The Truth about Hair Darkening Shampoos”

  1. I just want to pop in and say the Control GX Lighter Shades shampoo works amazingly. I have grey hair and after using it daily for a few weeks my hair went back to brown. Now I just use it once or twice a week to maintain. It looks more natural than any other traditional dye I tried in the past.

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