How to Prevent Silver and White Hair from Turning Yellow

Christina Majaski
Senior couple outdoors

If you are you wondering how to prevent silver and white hair from turning yellow, you are not alone. While this often happens, there are effective ways to prevent it.

Why Hair Turns Yellow

If you have silver and white hair that is turning yellow, there are a few reasons why this might be happening. For some seniors, when their hair loses pigment, it has a yellow tone that naturally shows through, so hair color changes may be age-related or genetic. For the majority of seniors, however, a yellow hue is a result of external responses to both pigment loss, as well as the surrounding environment.

Environmental reasons might include:

  • Residue from shampoos
  • Chemicals from hair products or over-processing
  • Natural oils on the scalp
  • Mineral deposits from the water coming into your shower
  • Discoloration from smoke
  • Pollutants in the air, including smog and car exhaust
  • Chlorine from a swimming pool

How to Prevent Silver and White Hair from Turning Yellow

Since there are numerous reasons why white hair turns yellow, start with making small changes and see what cause(s) might be contributing to your unwanted hue. Here are some ways to keep your white and silver hair from yellowing:

Change Shampoos

Buy a shampoo that has a blue or violet color that will neutralize the yellow tones and keep the hair white, and avoid shampoos that have yellow tones. Shampoos that are made just for gray hair are another option to brighten up the gray. However, since gray hair shampoos have blue undertones, only use them once per week. If you use them more often, your hair could take on a blue tone. During the rest of the week, use an inexpensive, clear fortifying shampoo, such as Suave or Herbal Essences brand.

To increase the silver and white tone in your hair, try:

  • SoSilver shampoo by Matrix - This shampoo, formerly known as Color Care So Silver, cleanses and neutralizes any of the brassiness and eliminates yellow tones. This shampoo works for both natural and color-treated hair that is gray to white. It costs around $25 for a 33.8 oz bottle.
  • Clairol's Shimmer Lights - Clairol Shimmer Lights renews and refreshes highlights and conditions to tone down brassiness on blonde and silver hair. It costs about $13 for a 16 oz bottle.

Talk to Your Stylist

If your hair has been over-processed, talk to your stylist and have it professionally colored until you can grow it out silver and white without the yellow tones. You might need to adjust the color a few times or try a clear cellophane gloss treatment. This will keep your hair vibrant and shiny.

Another suggestion for how to prevent silver and white hair from turning yellow is to ask your stylist for silver highlights to cover up the yellow tones. This is a good thing to try while you are changing shampoos or trying other methods.

Prevent Swimming Damage

If you are a swimmer, always use a swimming cap to protect your hair, as well as shampoo and conditioner for swimmers, such as Ultra Swim Shampoo. Hair should be rinsed before swimming and then protected in a swim cap. Swimming is one of the best exercises for seniors, but it is important to take steps to keep your hair healthy if you spend time in chlorinated water.

Change the Environment

Since there are a lot of things in the environment that are beyond your control, look at what could make a difference. Consider changing your shower head to one that filters the chemicals out of the water. Also, wear hats when you go outside during the day to prevent sun damage to your hair. In addition, look at your lifestyle. If you are a smoker, your hair may be another reason to quit smoking.

Lower the Heat

senior woman drying hair

If you use a curling iron, it's possible that it's burning your hair and causing the discoloration. This can happen when you use any type of heated styling device including a hairdryer or straightener. You might need to consider changing your curling iron and using a heat protectant spray on your hair when you style it.

Stop Perming Your Hair

If you perm your hair, the chemicals could be causing the color change from silver to yellow. You might have to look at other options and a new hairstyle if this is the case.

Consult Your Physician About Medications

Certain medications can also cause your hair to turn yellow. You'll need to check with your physician to find out if your scalp medication or topical creams are the cause. If so, you can ask for alternatives to prevent your hair from continuing to turn yellow.

Get a Checkup

Yellowing hair can also be an indication of certain diseases or disorders, such as inflammatory diseases that lead to skin rash and muscle weakness. If your hair is turning yellow, it's a good idea to schedule a checkup to rule out any concerns for disease.

Stop Using Dandruff Shampoo

Many dandruff shampoos include a chemical called selenium sulfide, which can cause your silver hair to turn yellow. If you have problems with dandruff, consider one of the shampoos recommended above, designed for silver and gray hair. Baking soda is also used for clarifying and deep cleaning without using dandruff shampoos.

Try Herbal Remedies

If you've noticed your hair changing to a yellow hue, you can also try herbal remedies to prevent or remove the discoloration. You can use lemon juice and water or chamomile tea to brighten your hair tone after you shampoo.

The Perks of Healthy Hair

Seniors who look and feel great are generally happy. Having healthy-looking silver and white hair makes many seniors feel more confident, more attractive, and enjoy everyday life a little bit more.

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How to Prevent Silver and White Hair from Turning Yellow