To enhance the health of your gray hair, it’s super important to understand why it’s gray.
Once you come to this understanding, what often happens is that you develop the know-how to make the best choices for your hair, in order to keep it healthy.
Many people tend to see gray hairs pop up and panic by resorting to color treatments to avoid this natural progression of hair.
Everyone handles this experience in their way, and whether you have chosen to embrace your gorgeous gray strands or not, it is still essential to understand.
But First, Where Does Gray Hair Come From?
For each and every hair strand on our head, there exists a follicle, and within the follicle lies several pigment cells otherwise known as melanocytes.
These pigment cells produce melanin, which gives the hair growing from your scalp its color; blonde, brown, black, silver/gray, etc.
Over time, our hair begins to stop producing melanin, which causes the hair to grow without color.
This is because the pigment cells in our hair follicles develop less and less, up to the point where they are no longer existent.
When this occurs, the strand of hair no longer contains as much color and will, therefore, become apparent.
According to Healthline, this natural and gradual lack of pigmentation and melanin or transparency in the strand is what allows the hair to appear as gray or white. The light is reflected differently by these strands as they begin to lose pigment.
How Does This Affect The State Of Your Gray Hair?
Have you ever felt a gray strand and asked yourself why it feels so different from the rest of your hair?
If you have, then you’re posing a great question!
You see, in addition to our hair growing with less melanin being produced, our follicles also begin to produce less sebum.
This allows our gray strands to feel drier than our non-gray hair.
Sebum is a natural oil our scalps produce to moisturize the hair as it grows.
This explains why your gray hair strands feel a bit more coarse than your non-gray hairs.
This also causes gray hairs to look wiry, frizzy, and stick out all over.
The good news is this can all be managed, and the results are amazing!
Now that we’ve gone over some essential information to understand gray hairs a bit better, let's get into the good stuff, shall we?
Step One, Protect Those Grays!
Remember, your gray hair is clear; however, if you are not protecting your hair, then you run the risk of having your grays turn yellow.
Significant preventative measures for this include wearing protective wear like a hat or tying your hair up with a scarf if you are going to be in the sun for an extended amount of time.
Also, if you are an active swimmer, be sure to thoroughly cleanse your hair to remove chlorine after leaving the pool.
Use A Clarifying Shampoo
You want to be sure that you’re not leaving anything on your beautiful strands, so opt for clarifying cleansers when choosing a shampoo.
Any build-up can instantly affect your style, and with grays, this is no different.
Be sure that you’re removing all the build-up from your beautiful gray tresses weekly to keep your hair healthy and hydrated.
Give Yourself A Scalp Massage Weekly
One of the best parts of going to a salon is sitting at the washbowl, to get a scalp massage during your shampoo.
But, you can’t always have the luxury of a stylist massaging your scalp, so it’s essential to know that you can do this too.
Here’s How To DIY:
Try vigorous motion, using your finger pads to cleanse the hair and scalp thoroughly. This also helps to stimulate blood flow and can kick your oil production into gear.
You can also get these benefits with a hot oil treatment or by just massaging your scalp with dry fingertips for 5-7 minutes every week, or bi-weekly.
After removing the build-up using a clarifying cleanser, it is equally important to use a hydrating conditioner.
Conditioners are excellent at helping you regain lost moisture and restore your hair's natural shine.
The longer your beautiful hair can hold on to moisture, the less likely it will feel dry and look frizzy.
Avoid Hair Products With Colorants
A big concern for anyone with gray hair seeking quality products is making sure the product won’t turn your hair yellow.
It is essential to read the ingredients carefully when considering any product you mean to add to your regimen.
Because gray hair has very little or no pigment, it can easily pick up color.
To avoid this possibility, do your best to ensure your products do not contain any added colorants.
Generally, colorants will include 3-part names. like FD&C Yellow No. 5, or will have the color and number designation as simply something like Yellow No. 5.
Ingredients labeled like this are subject to FDA batch certification.
Colorants not subject to the FDA’s batch certification rules will still have similar labeling.
Minimize Heat Styling
We already know how using direct heat sources can completely alter the state of our hair even before we experience grays.
So it should come as no surprise that keeping heat styling to a minimum is best practice when caring for gray hair.
If you are consistently flat ironing, hot curling, or using concentrated blow drying on your hair, then you are removing tons of moisture from the hair.
You are, as our CurlMix Co-founder says, "...ironing your hair," when using direct heat sources.
Direct heat from flat irons, curling irons, etc. causes the cuticles of your strands to be stripped off or break away from the surrounding fibers.
This can be very challenging to deal with, especially when your follicles are already producing less sebum to keep your strands naturally moisturized as it is.
Instead, opt for indirect heat sources like diffusing, hooded or dome dryers or blow dryers in constant motion on medium to low heat.
And if you absolutely must use a direct heat source, be sure to use a protectant.
Everything we experience in our bodies, from our skin, hair to nails, directly affects the state of our physical wellness.
Just as important as it is to create healthy practices in our hair care regimen from the outside, it is also important to care for ourselves on the inside.
Always drink lots of water; water keeps your body hydrated, thus aiding in keeping your hair moisturized.
Be sure that you are receiving adequate vitamins and minerals regularly.
We recommend speaking with your doctor about diet options or vitamin supplements that may be helpful to add to your routine.
And, That's All!
Gray hair should be adorned proudly and cared for just as much as you would care for your hair if it were still growing with its original pigment.
Take the time to consider your routine alongside some of the tips I have mentioned here.
We're confident that, with the time, you are sure to see an overall improvement in the look and feel of your naturally gray hair.
Now It's Your Turn!
We want to hear from you about your experience with gray hair!
Tell us when you decided to embrace your gray hair? What changes did you make, if any, to your routine?
What works best for you to help keep your grays moisturized and healthy?
Leave us a comment below!