A friend’s grandmother once told me she swore by Heinz tomato ketchup as a pre-shampoo treatment to brighten her silver hair. Though I’ve since heard the trick applied more usually to chlorinated blonde hair, enhancing the beauty of grey has always intrigued me.
Hairdressers and trichologists will tell you that, as hair greys and becomes coarser, it loses its ability to reflect light and so appears more dull. Good grey shampoos and stylers generally use purple or blue tones to brighten the hair, ridding it of yellow-orangey brassiness, as well as oils, silicones or humectants to add gloss. I’ve had several friends (or their mums) testing grey hair brighteners over the past nine months, and the winner by a mile was L’Oréal Srie Expert Silver Shampoo (£10.99). Its brightening and glossing properties are apparently peerless – if sometimes hand-staining – and needed only once a week (alternate with something reliable such as Touch of Silver). Incidentally, I asked a platinum blond to try it too and she described it as “Debbie Harry in a bottle”.
Also a major hit with both greys and blondes was Bleach London’s Silver Conditioner (£5), which imparts more moisture and detangles better than others. It also scored points for not having patronising “nana packaging”.
Similarly, White Hot Hair’s excellent range rightly focuses on the chic stylishness of well-cared-for grey. The pleasingly named, and effective, Shooshing Crème (£13) is a styling cream to add shiny volume without dragging down roots (I’d still apply to lengths only). Finally, Aveda’s Blue Malva range is a beauty classic and still works brilliantly if you can cope with staining your grouting.
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