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6 Ways to Prevent Gray Hair From Turning Yellow, According to Experts

These tips and tricks will keep your gray strands healthy and shiny for a long time.

Taking care of your hair, no matter what style or color you are rocking, should be a regular part of your beauty regimen. Embracing gray hair seems to be more and more popular these days, whether it's a bit salt and peppery or full on silver. There are even a lot of benefits to going gray, but it's important to keep the strands healthy. Like all colors, gray needs some TLC, so there's no yellowing or brassiness.

Your gray or silver locks could be turning yellow for several reasons. Akirashanti Byrd, the founder and CEO of Curl Centric shares that "yellowing  is typically due to a buildup of pigment in the hair shaft." She explains that exposure to environmental pollutants, UV radiation, yellow-tone shampoos, certain chemicals, or even medications are all cause for an unwanted change in color. The good news is that there are various ways to avoid the yellow. Keep reading to to hear from stylists and hair care experts on the best methods to keep gray hair gray.

READ THIS NEXT: 5 Ways You're Ruining Your Gray Hair, Stylists Warn.

Use a clarifying shampoo.

Shampoo Aisle
Radu Bercan/Shutterstock

Clarifying shampoos offer a deeper clean than your average shampoo. They are made to get rid of all the extra build-up or residue left on your scalp from other styling products or environmental factors. Amie Justine, the owner and lead stylist at Emma Justine Color & Extension Lounge recommends using clarifying products just once a week. "Too much and your hair will start to dry out," she warns.

Switch to purple products that are sulfate-free.

Woman Using Purple Shampoo

If your gray hair is already starting to yellow, it's best to incorporate violet based products into your hair care routine.

"To help counteract and neutralize those unwanted yellow tones, use a purple shampoo once or twice a week," says Harman Arwal, a beauty and lifestyle blogger at Your Girl Knows. She explains that using the purple conditioner after the shampoo is key or else the strands could become dehydrated.  The sulfate-free options will also help reduce chemical buildup and are generally better for minimizing scalp irritation.

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Add silver highlights.

Stylist Mixing Color
Vladimka production/Shutterstock

Similar to how the purple reverses yellowing, silver highlights can accent the gray without looking unnatural. "The silver highlights can help reflect light, making the hair look brighter," Byrd tells Best Life. Adding highlights will ultimately help contrast any yellow tones and will make it less noticeable in the long term. If you do get highlights, make sure to get them touched up on a regular basis to keep the yellow at bay.

Wear a hat outside.

Older Woman With a Hat on Outside

The sun is the number one cause behind yellowing hair. It doesn't matter what color your hair is, if you're outside with bright rays for a long period of time, lightening or yellowing is going to occur. However, it might be easier to spot on the grays. Lauren Holland, a professional hair stylist and leading hair care expert at explains that the sun eliminates the blue and purple molecules in your hair which allows the yellow tones to seep out. "Be mindful of how much time you spend outside and make sure to cover your head." 

Keep an eye on your diet.

Beta Carotene Rich Foods
Luke SW/Shutterstock

Different types of food and beverages affect your body in varied ways—the same goes for your hair. "Limiting your intake of beta-carotene-rich foods can prevent yellowing," says Holland. Though they are beneficial for you in many ways, vegetables including carrots and spinach, as well as fruits such as tomato or cantaloupe are ones to look out for if you do notice more yellowish areas. Too much of the wrong food can likely throw your hair coloring way off balance.

READ THIS NEXT: If You're Letting Your Hair Go Gray, Do This First, Experts Say.

See your stylist regularly.

Woman Getting Her Hair Done
Ground Picture/Shutterstock

Your hair is constantly changing in color and texture as you age and no one knows how to better take care of it than your stylist. They can give you new products, address any concerns, and help to keep your hair at its best.

"Seeing your stylist regularly for a trim and a treatment to remove stubborn build up and a toning gloss service for gray hair will go a long way to keep your gray locks looking fresh," Justine says. Plus, who doesn't love a good salon moment?

Courtney Shapiro
Courtney Shapiro is an Associate Editor at Best Life. Before joining the Best Life team, she had editorial internships with BizBash and Anton Media Group. Read more
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