Easy Methods for Getting Yellow Out of Your Gray Hair

It's time to get back to your glamorous gray! These are some great options to pull the yellow out of your gray hair.

Published December 6, 2023
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gray haired woman

Gen Z spends thousands of dollars to master that shade of platinum time has blessed you with. And while it might have taken you years to embrace your stunning silver locks, you've lovingly accepted their glowing appearance. If lately you've noticed your gray hair turning yellow, learn how to whiten your hair with these homemade and store-bought remedies. 

DIY Solutions to Get Yellow Out of Gray or White Hair

It's easy to get lost in a Sally's Beauty store, so you might try these homemade solutions for removing yellow from gray hair first. You can shop your pantry for some of the ingredients, though for others you might need to special order them. 

Try a Vinegar Rinse to Whiten Your Gray Hair

Vinegar is a magic ingredient, so it's not surprising you can also use it to pull yellow out of your hair. You'll want to repeat this method once a week for it to be as effective as possible. 

  1. Mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with one gallon of water.
  2. After shampooing your hair, rinse it using the diluted vinegar.
  3. Work it through your hair and rinse well with clean water.
  4. Condition with a white conditioner and style as usual.

Try a Hydrogen Peroxide Mix

People have been forgoing the salon and using hydrogen peroxide to bleach their hair for decades. Bring back this adolescent fad with this hydrogen peroxide mix. 

  1. Mix equal parts of 10-volume hydrogen peroxide (3%) and conditioner.
  2. Apply this mixture to your hair and comb it through.
  3. Place a plastic cap over your hair and let it process for about 20 minutes.
  4. Rinse well and then shampoo and condition your hair as usual.
Need to Know

You shouldn't put this mix on your hair more than once every month. 

Easy Baking Soda Mix to Remove Yellow

Baking soda is another at-home option to try once a month.  

  1. Add about two teaspoons of baking soda to two teaspoons of your regular shampoo or a gentle clarifying shampoo.
  2. Gently work the mixture in and leave on the hair for a few minutes. 
  3. Rinse and condition. 

Try a Betony or Hollyhock Rinse on Your Gray Hair

If you grow hollyhock or betony, you can make a tea of purple betony flowers or purple hollyhock petals and hot water, and steep your lovely locks in it. For this one to work, you should use the rinse once every week. 

  1. Let the tea steep until you get the desired purple color. 
  2. After shampooing, rinse your hair with this tea and work it through the strands.
  3. Rinse hair well with clean water and condition.
Quick Tip

The darker the yellow tinge in your hair, the darker the tea should be. For instance, if you have a light yellowing, then steep the tea to a dark lavender color. For more yellowing, steep until it's room temperature for a dark purple rinse. 

Commercial Products to Get Rid of Yellow Hair 

Before you pop on down to the drugstore, get familiar with color theory. Part of the solution to getting rid of yellow hair is neutralizing the yellow with other pigments.

Purple is the best at neutralizing yellow tones, though blue can work for more orangey-yellow shades. Thankfully, you don't have to be a cosmetologist to get access to the shampoos that'll get rid of the yellow color in gray hair.

Senior woman examining hair products in a pharmacy

Here are some of our favorites: 

Brighten Gray Hair With Clairol Shimmering Lights Shampoo

Purple comes to the rescue in Clairol Shimmering Lights Shampoo. It contains a purple pigment to cancel the yellow color in your hair.

  1. To cut the chance of the pigment grabbing onto your hair and staining it purple, mix equal parts with your regular shampoo in your hand before applying it to your hair.
  2. Rinse the first shampoo and repeat the mix.
  3. Leave the second shampoo application on for about five minutes.
  4. Then, rinse your hair well and condition as usual.

This product can be used straight from the bottle and gives wonderful results. However, some customers have seen their hair turn more brassy or yellow. Just remember that everyone's hair history is different and that all of these products may have varying results. You can get Shimmering Lights at most beauty supply or online stores for about $10-$20.

Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo to Get Yellow Out of Gray Hair

Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo neutralizes yellow with the natural pigment in coneflowers. This shampoo doesn't have to be diluted and can replace your regular shampoo.

  1. Two shampoo applications are recommended with this product.
  2. Rinse well and condition with Blue Malva conditioner for best results.

This shampoo has received rave reviews for its gentleness and effectiveness at getting rid of brassy or yellow tones in hair. The only con for this shampoo is the cost of around $55 a bottle. 

American Crew Gray Shampoo Removes Yellow From White Hair

The American Crew Gray Shampoo removes that yellow tinge with the aid of a violet pigment. But hydrolyzed milk protein softens the hair for an overall rejuvenated look. 

  1.  Shampoo twice with this product and rinse well.
  2. Condition and style your hair as usual.

While this product was designed with men in mind, women can use it too. Remember, hair is hair no matter your gender identity. While customer reviews state that this shampoo works well at getting rid of the brassiness, there are some complaints about its smell and that it tends to put a faint blue pigment in the hair.

You can grab a bottle of American Crew Gray Shampoo at salons that sell American Crew products or through Amazon for less than $15.

Quick Tip

Many purple shampoos also have corresponding conditioners that you can use to help keep the yellow cast at bay. Follow the instructions for the specific brand or product. 

Use Color Treatment to Get Yellow Out of Gray Hair

For those who would rather have the color issues handled all at once, you can use a toner to get rid of the yellow discoloration. Ask your colorist or stylist for a color toner to remove the yellow in your hair. This is a clear or pale violet color toner mixed with a low-volume peroxide developer. Like color, this will last about six to eight weeks.

Your stylist may also suggest a demi-permanent or permanent color in an ash-based shade to help neutralize the yellow tones. 

Woman getting gray hair washed at salon

Need to Know

Your hair isn't something you want to go rogue with. Take a lesson from the many bleach fails on TikTok and make sure you ask a licensed cosmetologist for recommendations on toners if you're not going to pay for them to apply them at the salon. 

Why Gray Hair Turns Yellow

At the end of the day, there are several reasons gray hair can turn yellow.

  1. Medications can sometimes give it a yellow tint. 
  2. Sun can also contribute to a yellow cast, so try protecting your hair from sunlight with hats or leave-in products that protect your hair. 
  3. Overly chlorinated water or water with high iron levels can give your hair a yellow look. A salon-recommended product like Malibu C Hard Water Remover may remove minerals and reduce the yellowing. 
  4. Smoking can also add a yellow hue to silver hair. 
  5. One of the most common (and preventable) reasons is yellowing caused by the hair products you use. If your shampoo or conditioner, for example, has a yellow or gold tint to it, then it can stain and build up on your hair, giving it a yellow cast.
Need to Know

Because gray hair has little to no pigment due to a loss of melanin (that stuff that gives your cells color) from the aging process, it can be hypersensitive to certain pigments, chemicals, and environmental factors. 

Get Back to Your Glamorous Gray

Once your detective work is over and you've gotten to the root cause of the yellowing, you can get back to your glamorous gray! Setting a schedule to treat your hair with these homemade or store-bought methods will keep the brassiness at bay. Erase drab from your vocabulary; it's got no business being near someone as fabulous as you!

Easy Methods for Getting Yellow Out of Your Gray Hair