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What is the best hair dye to go silver?

Going silver or gray has become an increasingly popular hair color trend in recent years. While some choose to embrace their natural gray locks, others opt for hair dyes to achieve the stylish silver hue.

The Basics of Silver Hair Dye

When looking for a silver hair dye, there are a few key considerations:

  • Permanent vs. semi-permanent/temporary – Permanent dyes will fully lighten and deposit color that won’t fade or wash out. Semi-permanent and temporary options gradually wash out over several weeks.
  • Bleaching – Most silver dyes require pre-lightening or bleaching hair to a pale blonde or platinum base first.
  • Tones – Silver hair dyes come in different shades and undertones, from icy and ash to steel and blue.
  • Ingredients – Try to avoid harsh chemicals like ammonia and opt for more natural, conditioning formulas.
  • Application – Most silver hair dyes come as easy to use creams, but some are developer-activated liquids that require mixing.

Reviews of the Top Silver Hair Dyes

Based on effectiveness, safety, and ease of use, here are the top picks for the best hair dyes to go silver or gray:

Overtone Extreme Silver Coloring Conditioner

Type: Semi-permanent, conditioning formula

Key Features:

  • Subtle, buildable silver coloring
  • Free of harsh chemicals like peroxide and ammonia
  • Instense deep conditioning
  • Vegan and cruelty-free


  • Gradual, natural-looking results
  • Very gentle, nourishing formula
  • Minimal commitment since it washes out slowly
  • Easy to use by simply applying like a conditioner


  • Can take several applications to build up to a silver shade
  • Color wears off over 4-6 weeks
  • Better for blending grays rather than going fully silver

Clairol Professional Shimmer Lights Shampoo

Type: Toner shampoo

Key Features:

  • Removes yellow, orange brassy tones
  • Boosts shine for brighter silver
  • Color-protecting formula
  • Paraben and gluten free


  • Gentle for frequent use
  • Enhances vibrancy of silver hair
  • Affordable price point
  • Easy to incorporate into regular routine


  • Not a hair dye, just a toning shampoo
  • Needs to be used regularly to maintain effects
  • Can dry out hair with overuse

Lunar Tides Silver Hair Dye

Type: Semi-permanent

Key Features:

  • Pre-mixed, no developer needed
  • Vegan, PPD and ammonia free
  • Deep conditions as it colors
  • Long-lasting results


  • Vibrant, intense silver color
  • Minimal odor compared to other hair dyes
  • Conditions hair well during processing
  • Easy to apply alone


  • Requires very pale, pre-lightened hair
  • Can cause staining of skin and surfaces
  • Fades faster than permanent options

Wella Color Charm Permanent Gel Hair Color

Type: Ammonia-free permanent gel

Key Features:

  • Salon-quality, professional formula
  • Contains argan oil for conditioning
  • Customizable with 10 volume developer
  • Up to 25 washes of fade-resistance


  • Longest lasting silver color results
  • Allows for mixing custom shades
  • Minimizes damage to hair
  • Gel consistency is easy to apply


  • Requires developer and mixing
  • Can be drying if not conditioned properly
  • More complicated application process

How to Go Silver Step-By-Step

Successfully going silver requires careful preparation, application, and maintenance. Follow these step-by-step instructions for best results:

  1. Cleanse hair and scalp. Use a clarifying shampoo to remove any buildup.
  2. Lighten your base. Use bleach or color remover to strip hair to a pale yellow-white shade.
  3. Tone hair. Apply a violet-blue toner to neutralize brassiness and prepare for silver dye.
  4. Mix and apply dye. For permanent dyes, mix color and developer smoothly. For semi/demi-permanent, apply directly. Thoroughly saturate hair.
  5. Process the time recommended. Permanent dyes need 30-45 mins, semi-permanent 1-2 hours.
  6. Rinse thoroughly. Use lukewarm water and continue rinsing until water runs clear.
  7. Deep condition. Apply a hydrating mask or treatment for 5-10 minutes.
  8. Style as desired. Let hair air dry or blowdry using heat protectant.
  9. Maintain color. Use purple shampoo weekly and deep condition to keep silver vibrant.

How Long Does Silver Hair Dye Last?

How long silver hair dye lasts depends on the type of formula:

Hair Dye Type Lasting Power
Temporary/rinse 1-2 shampoos
Semi-permanent 4-8 weeks
Demi-permanent 15-20 shamps
Permanent Until grown out

Permanent dyes have the longest lasting results at 4-6 weeks of unfading silver color. Semi-permanent and demi-permanent dyes fade gradually over washes. Temporary rinses only last until the next shampoo.

Maintenance Tips for Silver Hair

To keep silver hair looking vibrant and avoid brassiness, follow these maintenance tips:

  • Use purple shampoo 1-2 times weekly. This neutralizes yellow tones.
  • Wash with cooler water and alternate with dry shampoo to preserve color.
  • Apply weekly deep conditioning masks to hydration and shine.
  • Use leave-in treatments with violet/blue pigments to refresh tone.
  • Avoid chlorine, saltwater, and heat styling which can strip silver color.
  • Get a gloss or toning service done every 4-6 weeks to maintain vibrancy.

DIY Options for Silver Hair

Looking to go silver without the commitment of permanent dye? Here are some natural, DIY methods:

Diluted Food Coloring

  • Mix a few drops of blue and purple food coloring into conditioner.
  • Apply to damp hair, leave on for 15-30 minutes.
  • Rinse out in cool water.

Herbal Rinses

  • Brew black, sage, or nettle tea. Let cool.
  • After shampooing, pour over hair. Allow to sit then rinse.

Baking Soda Rinse

  • Mix 1 tbsp baking soda with water to form a paste.
  • Work through damp hair. Leave on 3-5 minutes.
  • Rinse thoroughly.


Going silver is a fun, stylish hair color option with many different products and techniques to choose from. For beautiful, long-lasting silver locks, aim for pale, pre-lightened hair and use a quality permanent or demi-permanent dye. Maintain your silver tone with purple shampoos and deep conditioning. With the right formula and proper care, you can rock a seriously chic silver mane!