Woman in shower lathers hair with Arey Wash shampoo for grey hair

How to Choose the Best Shampoo and Conditioner for Grey Hair

Our Expert Stylist’s Guide to Grey Hair Care 

Like heartbreak and your first wrinkle, it had to happen one day, but your first grey hair can still be quite a shock.

It takes time to adjust to anything new. You might be seeing your first grey hair, or already embracing heading towards full platinum locks. Either way, your hair has changed, and now your haircare habits need to change too.

Grey hair can be as beautiful and healthy as pigmented hair. Think of it as a new friend you're just getting to know. 

As a stylist, I know how overwhelmed my clients get by all the products out there. It can be hard to know what’s the best solution for your grey hair. 

When my client, Allison Conrad, saw her first grey, we decided to dig deep into the science of greying. We wanted to approach hair aging in a positive way. That’s why we came up with Arey – a haircare system offering clean, creative, effective grey hair solutions.

At Arey, we know grey hair has different needs. That’s why our products focus on a whole-body approach to going grey.

 

Why You Need Different Haircare Solutions for Grey Hair

Your hair goes grey when it starts to lose pigment (melanin) from inside the strand. Your hair doesn’t change color, it loses color.1

Your grey hairs don’t just look different from the rest of your hair. Grey hairs are different on a chemical and structural basis: 

    • Grey hair is coarser: this can make it stiff and hard to style. But don’t worry – silky, smooth locks are still possible with the right grey hair solutions.

    • Grey strands grow faster: yes those silver sprouts really are out-pacing the rest of your hair. Grey brow and beard hair can grow four times faster than pigmented hair.1

    • Grey hair is easily damaged: loss of its protective pigment leaves greying hair vulnerable. Sun, wind, and cold all damage greys more than pigmented hair.

    • Greying hair is dry: your scalp produces less natural moisturizers (sebum) as you age. This leads to dry, dull, and wiry strands – especially for curly hair.

It can be scary when you first see your hair turning grey. Don’t panic. Grey hair can still be your best hair if you look after it properly.  

Research shows that only 30% of greying is caused by genetics. The rest is down to how you care for your grey hair. The best grey hair solutions can help delay greys, reduce greys on new hair growth, and potentially reverse grey hair.

So, whether you're covering up the greys, rocking your greys, or wanting to delay your greys, you need to use the best products for your new hair. That’s why I wanted to share what I tell my clients when they ask my advice on caring for their grey hair.

 

Do I Need to Use Purple Shampoo? 

Purple shampoo tones away brassy or yellow tints with a temporary dye that lasts only a few washes. Purple shampoo isn’t essential – it’s a personal color choice

If you want to tone your hair, you only need to use it as an occasional grey hair treatment – once a week at most.

When shopping for purple shampoo, look carefully at the ingredients. Some purple shampoos contain oxybenzone – a chemical sunscreen that can affect your hormone balance and cause allergies. I always recommend my clients steer clear of that. 

Woman looks at her grey roots in the mirror

Make Sure Your Hair Products Are Helping, Not Hurting Your Greys

Whether you go the purple route or not, you need to make sure your haircare products are safe for grey hair. Some of the worst ingredients for grey hair are also the most common in shampoos and conditioners. 

It can be overwhelming trying to figure out a new haircare routine for greying hair. There are so many products vying for your attention.

At Arey, our commitment to clean products means that we worry about the bad stuff so you don’t have to.

That's why all our products are free from sulfates, parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, polyethylene glycol, formaldehyde, and dyes. Plus, our gluten-free, vegan, and cruelty-free products are naturally fragranced with cedar and sage.

So that you don’t get information overload, I put together a hitlist of top ingredients you should not be using.


8 Things Not to Use on Your Grey Hair

Here are some of the unhealthy ingredients that Arey never puts in our products:

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate: sulfates are powerful cleaning agents that strip too much sebum from your scalp and hair. A definite no-no for curly hair, they also dehydrate grey hair. The result – dry, frizzy, brittle hair.

Mineral oil: this sounds like a moisturizer, but it just coats the surface of your hair strands. This weighs down your hair and makes it hard for the strand to absorb moisture. 

Synthetic colors: colorful shampoos can tint your greys. Synthetic colors such as D&C Red 27 or FD&C Blue 1, have been linked to cancer, skin irritation, and ADHD. These ingredients are already banned in the European Union.

Aerosols: many aerosol hairsprays and dry shampoos use benzene, butane, isobutane, and propane as propellants. Their use exposes your lungs, skin, and the environment to toxic petroleum products. 2

Alcohol: used to remove oils. Alcohol is super-drying for all hair types, and especially grey hair. 

Phthalates: used to create soft texture in shampoos and sprays. Phthalates have been linked to cancer and heart disease.3

Formaldehyde: a cancer-causing chemical found in hair straightening and smoothing treatments.4 

Parabens: widely-used preservatives in cosmetics. They have been linked to a risk of breast cancer.5

Luckily there are a lot of good choices out there. Grey hair can still be your best hair if you spend a little time learning what it needs. 

 

What Are the Best Products for Soft, Healthy Grey Hair?

At Arey, our core belief is that haircare should be easy, clean, healthy, and effective. We want your greying hair to be the best it can be. 

Whether you’re embracing the greys or wanting to delay the greys, your new silver locks need specialized care. That's why our Mela-9™ Complex is designed for the special needs of grey hair.  

Here are my stylist tips to keep your grey hair healthy and happy:

Cleanse With Care

Only use a gentle shampoo. That means no sulfates. 

Sulfates are what give shampoo its suds. Look for milder plant-based alternatives that won’t strip your hair.

Woman in shower pours Arey Wash shampoo for grey hair into her hand

Grey Hair Needs Moisture

Look for conditioners with ingredients that nourish and strengthen your hair strand like:

Panthenol and hydrolyzed barley protein: help retain moisture and add strength to the inside of the hair strand. 

Jojoba oil and shea butter: we use these in our leave-in conditioner Mend to seal and protect your hair’s outer layer (the cuticle) without weighing your hair down. 

Coconut oil: locks moisture into your strands to smooth and repair damaged hair and split ends.  

Jojoba and avocado oil: these moisturizing seed oils are a gloss-boosting solution to dull and dry grey hair.6  

Grey hair is dry hair and it can be frustrating to have constantly thirsty locks. Don’t despair – if you use the right moisturizing products, your grey hair will be smooth and manageable again.

A Healthy Scalp Means Healthy Hair

If you’re experiencing dull hair, an itchy or flaky scalp, flat oily roots, and dry ends, your bad hair day could actually be a bad scalp day.

Your scalp self-moisturizes by producing oils and self-renews by shedding old skin cells. You get buildup when dead skin cells and sebum collect on the scalp. This causes clogged pores, oiliness, and bacterial infections. 

As a stylist, I know that even the cleanest hair can be hiding scalp buildup. The solution - exfoliate your scalp with a gentle scrub. Regular exfoliation also allows the scalp and follicle to benefit from topical growth and grey hair treatments.

Promote Hair Growth and Strengthening

It’s not just haircare products that provide grey hair solutions. Diet and lifestyle are important too. 

✅ Vibrant, healthy hair means you’re getting enough vitamins and nutrients to keep your body operating at its peak condition.

 Unhealthy, dry, and frizzy hair may be a sign that you need to change or supplement your diet or hair care routine. 

If you’re eating a healthy diet, you might assume you’re covered. But life happens. Noone’s perfect and most of us don’t get all the vitamins and minerals we need through diet alone. 

Smiling man with dark hair looks at Arey Not Today, Grey hair supplement

Luckily, there’s no need to get a degree in nutrition – the right supplement can balance out what aging is taking away from you. At Arey, we’re all about finding grey hair solutions that work holistically with your body.

Don’t Forget That Grey Hair Needs Sunscreen

Melanin – the substance in your body that produces hair, eye, and skin pigmentation – acts as a natural sunscreen for your hair. Because grey hair lacks melanin, it’s very vulnerable to sun damage. In my 20 years as a stylist in California, I regularly see how sunshine dehydrates grey hair and can even turn it yellow. 

You’re used to protecting your skin from sun damage – you can protect your hair the same way. 

Look for a non-aerosol leave-in conditioner like our best-selling Live In Mist. We designed Live In Mist to protect your hair from UV damage – but its conditioning and styling benefits have made it a customer favorite.
 

Discover the Benefits of Science-Backed Solutions for Grey Hair 

At Arey, we care about your hair health. That’s what motivates us to create innovative science-backed grey hair solutions that slow the signs of aging hair and improve hair health. We want to make it easy for you to do the right thing for your hair. 

Your hair health is important to us – that’s why we offer 25% off on all subscriptions to help keep you on track with your hair health goals. Because we believe that science + consistency = results.

We are Arey.

Aging is beautiful – but if your greys are growing faster than you wish, we are here for you with science-based, effective solutions. We want you to feel happy and confident with your hair. Have questions? Say hey@areygrey.com.



Jay Small, Stylist and co-founder of Arey, cuts a client’s hair

AuthorJay SmallJay Small is a sought-after hair stylist in Los Angeles with over 18 years of experience. His clients consist of high-profile business and creative leaders. He trained as an apprentice to the owner of Paul Mitchell and worked in education and product development for Paul Mitchell Systems. Jay is incredibly passionate about the creative process both in terms of styling hair and developing effective products.



REFERENCES:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6290285/ 
  2.  Independent lab finds 'troubling' levels of cancer-causing chemical in more types of dry shampoo products, report alleges | CNN 
  3. Phthalates: Are They Safe?  
  4. Formaldehyde in Hair Smoothing Products: What You Should Know | FDA  
  5. What to Know About Shampoo Ingredients 
  6. 17 Dangerous Ingredients to Avoid in Hair Care Products