How to Prevent White Hair From Becoming Discolored

by Kimberly Johnson ; Updated July 18, 2017

Be proactive about preventing hair discoloration.

James Woodson/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Snowy-white locks may seem like a low-maintenance style, but without proper care, those pearly white strands can look like a multicolored rainbow. White hair contains no pigment, so it absorbs color from pollution, styling products, and chlorine found in water. Another hazard is that products made specifically for white hair can actually turn it purple. Preventing the dreaded discoloration requires protecting your strands from the elements and using the right type and amount of products.

Wash your hair daily using a quarter-sized amount of a clear moisturizing shampoo. Rinse your hair well after cleansing to remove all residue. Avoid using shampoos that have colors due to fragrances or dyes. The color can deposit on white hair over time.

Apply a quarter-sized amount of white conditioner to your hair, spreading it throughout. Rinse the product out thoroughly. Use only white conditioners to prevent the color from depositing on your hair.

Wash your hair once per week using a quarter-sized amount of shampoo designed to whiten hair, often called a brightening shampoo. Massage the suds throughout the scalp and strands thoroughly to help remove any small traces of discoloration. Rinse your hair thoroughly with water. Don’t apply this product more than once per week, or your hair can turn purple.

Wear a hat every time you go outdoors, especially if you will be in direct sunlight for long periods of time. Wrap longer hair into a hair elastic and tuck it under the hat to ensure all strands are covered. Ultraviolet light from the sun can cause yellowing in white hair.

Install a water filter either for your entire home, or for the shower that you use most often. Most water supplied by municipalities contains chlorine, which can leave deposits on your hair and discolor it over time.


  • Stop smoking or avoid smoky areas, as the particles can deposit in your hair and turn it yellow.

    If you swim in a pool, always wear a swim cap to protect your hair from the chlorine in the water.

    Create your own brightening treatment by mixing equal parts of conditioner with 30-volume peroxide. Apply it to all areas of your hair and scalp and leave it on for 20 minutes before rinsing it out. This type of peroxide is available at beauty supply stores.

Photo Credits

  • James Woodson/Digital Vision/Getty Images

About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.