Wondering how to care for gray hair? Looking for tips as your hair transitions to gray? We’ve asked our resident hair stylist, Krysia, to share with us a bit more about gray hair and how to take care of it.
The Science behind gray hair
The age and pattern in which your hair turns gray is mostly due to genes you’ve inherited from your parents. While stress and some medical conditions can contribute to hair going gray, it’s mostly genetics.
What is the science behind hair turning gray? Hair follicles contain pigment cells called melanin which give your hair its color. As we age, these cells start to die resulting in new hair strands that lack pigment and can be ash(salt & pepper), silver, gray or bright white in color.
Society and unrealistic beauty standards
Society tells us to fight the aging process at all costs. The anti-aging beauty industry is an estimated $58.5 billion dollar market. There are countless products out today geared to help us fight wrinkles, lift, tighten, smooth, tuck, dye and hide our gray hair. However, during the pandemic when many salons were shut down, people opted to stop dying their hair and go natural. Now more than ever, we are seeing men and women embracing the aging process and going against these unrealistic beauty standards. Gray tones have even recently become a trendy fashion color. People of all ages are dyeing their hair gray on purpose-bleaching and toning their hair silvery platinum, rich titanium, or steely dark gray. There is even a movement of gray hair advocates across social media who encourage you to put down the dye and rock your gray.
So you’ve decided to embrace the gray?
Growing out your gray roots gracefully can feel a bit daunting. Luckily, there are a few ways to grow out gray hair gracefully.
During the grow-out period, there will most likely be a “line of demarcation” or the line where the gray hair ends and the dyed hair begins. To soften this harsh line, you can ask your stylist for a transitional color, adding some hi-and low-lites. This puts just a bit of the hair color back into the roots, and a bit of a lighter shade into the ends-creating a blended, multi-toned look. Platinum highlights are another way that can help blend grey hair and add a bit of blonde pigment to brighten your gray. You can also opt for a daily temporary root touch-up to use during the grow-out period. Lastly, if you’re feeling daring and ready for a big change, you can cut the dyed hair off for a fresh, gray, shorter do.
How to care for your gray hair
Because of its lack of pigment and tendency to be coarse in texture, it is so important to add hydration to gray hair. A nourishing, sulfate and paraben-free shampoo and conditioner such as the Plaine Products Citrus Lavender line will help keep hair hydrated, soft, and manageable. Try shampooing every other day or 3 times a week to avoid drying. Plaine Products Beauty Oil is a deeply moisturizing blend of premium oils packed with antioxidants and essential fatty acids. Beauty Oil is a very beneficial product for gray hair and can be used on damp or dry hair to add shine, tame frizz, define curls, and moisturize scalp and hair. It can also be used on beard hair to moisturize and soften. If your hair is overly dry, try adding a few drops of Beauty Oil to Citrus Lavender Conditioner to create a deep conditioning treatment. Apply to hair, concentrating on dry hair ends, put on a shower cap to contain heat, and let sit for 10 minutes before rinsing clean. Another great way to add shine and luster to dull gray hair is by opting for a clear gloss treatment at the salon.
What’s with the purple shampoo?
Environmental factors such as minerals in water, pollution in the air, and dullness due to heat styling can turn white or grey hair a yellowish/orange tone. Remember the color wheel theory from art class? Yellow is the opposite of purple, so products that contain violet pigment are used to neutralize unwanted yellow and brassy undertones in grey hair. Gray-haired clients should keep a brightening shampoo and/or conditioner in their hair care lineup to battle brassiness. Once a week, a purple shampoo can be used to control and tone down those unwanted yellow tones. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for application and remember not to leave the purple shampoo in for too long or you could end up with purple hair!
And until Plaine Products has its own purple shampoo, Krysia’s pick is Amika Bust Your Brass Shampoo. It’s Sulfate/Paraben/Mineral Oil-free, vegan, cruelty-free, and recyclable.