Silver Hair Upkeep: Washing, Conditioning, Toning, and Reinforcing

Written by Gaga

Edited by Stacy J. Shaneyfelt, editor, proofreader, freelancer, and children’s author 

Going Silver Isn’t an Easy Process

To get beautiful, silver hair color, you must first use bleach until your hair becomes almost completely white. The darker your current color is, the more bleaching sessions you need to gradually lighten your hair. Only the base that’s light enough will allow the silver color to hold and last.

In other words, it’s best to seek help from an experienced hair colorist from the beginning. A skilled colorist will safely guide you through the necessary stages to get a perfect light base and will then mix the colors properly to achieve the desired look. This way you’ll avoid serious hair damage and reduce the appearance of unwanted yellow tones.

woman with silver hair

Silver is a High-Maintenance Hair Color

Silver hair color is fleeting and needs special attention between coloring sessions. Without proper maintenance, your silver hair can soon show damage, become prone to frizz, and swiftly lose its color vibrancy. Darker tones are slightly more consistent than lighter ones. Fortunately, there are products specially formulated to refresh the color when your silver starts to show signs of dullness and fading.

How to Maintain Silver Hair

Tips for Washing Silver Hair for Greater Color Longevity

Don’t shampoo your hair immediately after coloring. Just apply a regular conditioner and rinse it off. Then wait several days before shampooing to give your hair time to replenish its natural oils.

In order to make the silver color last longer, shampoo your hair less often. Frequent shampooing will result in faster color fading.

When washing, avoid the use of hot water, which can lift the cuticle, allowing color pigments to escape. Use regular conditioner every time you wash your hair and rinse it with lukewarm water. Finish with cool water for a short time to seal the cuticle. Don’t use cool water near the roots and over your head as cool water isn’t good for your sinuses. (I discovered this the hard way!).

Carefully Choose Shampoos for Silver Hair                      

Use mild sulfate-free shampoos that are designed for colored hair. Sulfates can dry out your hair. Sulfate cleansers are too harsh for bleached hair that’s already dry and porous and has a harder time retaining color.

Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo is a color-safe and highly moisturizing, repair shampoo. It helps maintain bonds within hair fibers to restore internal strength and reduce the breakage of processed hair. The matching Olaplex No. 5 Conditioner is another product to keep your silver hair shiny and healthy.

A quality dry shampoo for colored hair will help you to prolong the time between shampoos.

Dry shampoo and too many styling products can build up on your hair, causing it to lose color vibrancy.  Silver hair gets dull easier than some other colors. When the dullness and other signs of buildup become obvious, you need to use a gentle clarifying shampoo that’s suitable for colored hair. Just make sure not to clarify more than once a month as clarifying shampoos tend to strip a bit of color every time you use them.

Keep Silver Hair from Turning Brassy

A couple of weeks after the coloring session in the salon, your silver hair may start to show yellow and orange tones. These tones come from the bleaching process.

The easiest way to eliminate these unwanted warm tones is to use a purple or silver toning shampoo and conditioner. It’s best to ensure that these toning shampoos are sulfate-free to avoid the color fading effects from harsh sulfate cleansers.

purple shampoo on silver hair

Use shampoo once a week to keep unwanted warm tones under control and sustain your sparkling silver. Some mild toning shampoos are suitable for regular use.

To enhance the toning effect, you can also use the corresponding purple/silver conditioner.

Purple toning masks are milder than shampoos. They don’t dry your hair and contain moisturizing and nourishing ingredients. The toning effect is usually slightly weaker than when using a purple shampoo.

Purple Shampoo for Silver Hair                 

Aveda Blue Malva Color Shampoo gently cleanses hair and scalp, neutralizes brassy and yellowing tones, and adds brightness and shine to silver and gray hair. It has a terrific scent and doesn’t leave your hair feeling stripped. If you prefer using products from a certain line, you can purchase the Blue Malva Color Conditioner made by the Aveda company. The shampoo contains ammonium lauryl sulfate, but it is not listed high on the ingredient list, which means that there’s just a small content of sulfate cleansers present in the shampoo formula. 

Silver TLC: How to Keep Silver Hair Healthy

Deep Condition to Reduce Breakage

Since your hair has gone through the bleaching process, you may experience dryness, brittleness, and breakage. Deep conditioning ensures that the active ingredients penetrate inside the hair, reduce the effects of damage, replenish moisture, and increase the elasticity of hair fibers. Do deep conditioning once a week or whenever you notice that your hair needs moisture and extra TLC.

MATRIX Total Results So Silver Triple Power Toning Mask acts as a hybrid between a toner and a deep conditioner. The conditioning ingredients make hair feeling silky smooth, while purple pigments banish unwanted yellow tones and give a cool-toned finish to silver and blonde hair.

healthy silver hair

Protect Your Silver Locks from Heat

To prolong the longevity and vibrancy of your silver color, limit the use of heat styling tools. Allow your hair to dry naturally or use a hair dryer only when your hair is almost dry. Also, use a low heat setting when do use a blow dryer or a flat iron, and make sure to apply a good heat protectant. To curl your hair, use methods that don’t require heat such as foam hair rollers.

Protecting Silver Hair from Environmental Factors

Hard water: If you live in an area with hard water and don’t have a whole house water filtration system, invest in a filtered shower head.  It’ll remove chlorine, heavy metals, and other hard water deposits, resulting in less mineral buildup and more shiny and manageable hair. Your silver hair will also be less prone to discoloration.

Another way to eliminate hard water deposits that can ruin your color is to use chelating shampoos. This method is less efficient as chelating shampoos are pretty strong and may affect the longevity of silver hair color in a negative way.

Chlorine: Before hitting a swimming pool, put on a swimming cap or saturate hair with a chlorine-protecting conditioning product such as AquaGuard Pre-Swim Hair Defense. Rinse hair thoroughly immediately after swimming in a pool or salt water.

Sun exposure: Wear a hat if you’re planning to spend a day out in sunny weather or use good sunscreen for your hair to prevent discoloration and sun damage.

Use Color-Depositing Products to Refresh your Silver Between Salon Visits

The silver color fades quickly requiring frequent salon trips, which could be quite expensive. Fortunately, it’s possible to extend the time between salon visits using products that temporarily deposit direct dye pigments onto the hair shaft such as color rinses and color depositing conditioners. These products temporarily revive the shiny and silvery look of your locks and neutralize the unsightly yellow tones, helping your silver hair stay gorgeous for longer. The good side is that they don’t damage your hair, while the biggest drawback is that the application can be a messy process.

Brands:

Color Rinse: Roux Fanci-Full Temporary Color Rinse (42 Silver Lining)

Color Depositing Conditioners: Keracolor Clenditioner (Silver) and Celeb Luxury Colorditioner (Silver)

Celeb Luxury Intense Color Depositing Colorditioner Conditioner, (Silver)

If you find that all written above isn’t enough to protect the integrity of your hair, you can try some at-home bond-repairing treatments. Also, consult your stylist about using Olaplex Bond Multiplier or other corresponding bond-multiplying treatment when bleaching and coloring your tresses.

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1 thought on “Silver Hair Upkeep: Washing, Conditioning, Toning, and Reinforcing”

  1. I cannot find any shampoo or conditioner for white hair. I am not blond, gray or silver. Just white! Any suggestions for those of us who seem to be ignored by the shampoo industry?

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