Ok, so you decided to embrace the gray. Whatever your reason may be, we’re with you. Because hey, this is life, and it’s beautiful, gray hair and all, so congratulations and welcome to the club. But you may be thinking “Now what?” Does hair care change at this point? Is it the same? While it doesn’t necessarily have to change too much, there are a few things you should consider in order to optimize the look and feel of your strands.
First, let’s look at why hair turns gray to begin with. Understanding this can help us to not only know how to take care of it, but also know how to keep it looking it’s most vibrant yet.
As hair ages, it loses pigment and eventually turns gray and/or white. As this happens, your follicles are producing less oil, causing the hair to also grow drier. At this time, it becomes more sensitive to UV rays and other external factors, which may cause your graying hair to actually appear tarnished and yellow.
Properly taking care of your grays begins with cleansing. Gray hair tends to be on the drier side, so you’ll want to make sure whichever shampoo you’re using is super moisturizing. Avoid ingredients like mineral oils, sulfates, parabens and alcohols, which can further damage hair. Instead reach for those with castor oil, vitamin E and scalp reviving charcoal, which will help to nourish hair and leave it looking brighter and feeling smoother.
It’s also important to keep a clarifying shampoo in your routine. As products build up, they can cause unwanted changes to both the look and feel of your graying hair. Whiter hair may also become soft and flat. To combat this you’ll want to look for volumizing shampoos.
Product build-up can lead to yellowing or brassy tones and can also leave hair feeling less than smooth. To avoid this, look for products that are clear. For example, a lot of dry shampoos have a gold tint to them. If you notice this in the one you use, trade it out for a silver-specific or clear one.
Protect your baby grays from being tinted by the sun by adding in UV protection to your routine. It can be a hair mist, leave in conditioner or styling product, as long as it has some SPF. This is especially important during the summer months when hair is in the production stage and being exposed to more frequent sunlight.
Typically when we think of our hair drying out, our minds go straight to conditioning and how we can get as much moisture into it as quickly as possible. But patience is key. One of the simpler ways to achieve more hydration is an at-home deep conditioning. Start with once or twice a month, and increase to once per week if necessary. If you are still struggling with dry hair, a daily leave-in conditioner can help to lock in moisture. Finally, if all else fails, talk to your stylist about a hair repair treatment at your salon. This can help you reach that goal and then worry about maintaining the moisture instead of building it.
A favorite trick of many gray-stylists is purple shampoo and conditioner. This helps to not only rid the strands of any tarnishing from the aforementioned and keep your grays a cool tone, but it also helps to restore shine, soften coarse hair and give your strands a stunning silvery gloss. If you’re also dealing with the dryness mentioned, kill two birds with one stone and try a purple hair mask.
Whatever this new chapter in life brings, it absolutely does not have to bring those haunting thoughts of a dried up, dull tumbleweed sitting atop your head. Going gray is a process, but one that can be exciting and quite glamorous when done right. Just be sure to protect and repair, and you’ll have nothing to fear.
Have any hydration tips that have saved your locks? Let us know in the comments below.