How to Go Gray with Grace and A Great Haircare Routine
Why does society want to make aging every woman’s nightmare? You see when men age, they get called a “silver fox”, but there’s no equivalent term for other genders. For women, aging is supposed to be our ruin, an approaching expiration date where we’re past our prime. This sort of ageism is true for athletes of all gender as well. But what if we change the narrative? This week, we’re going to talk about how to go gray (grey?) because we know that gray hair does not signify your impending mortal doom.
Of course, you don’t have to go gray, but it’s always nice to have options. I mean, look at our internet favorite Claire Saffitz absolutely rocking the gray streak.
- Hair turns gray for a number of reasons, but mostly genetics
- You can grow out your gray hairs or get “highlights” to ease in the transition
- Keep your gray hair toned and hydrated for shining locks
Why does hair go gray?
Starting off with the basics, what is turning our hair gray in the first place? My friend in high school would already have gray hairs popping out. Usually, the time in which your hair starts graying is determined by genetics (1). As we grow older, our hair follicles gradually produce less color (1). Stress can exacerbate your graying because it causes your hair to shed and regenerate faster, and the follicles may turn gray if you’re older (1). Poor diet, hormonal imbalances, and illnesses also contribute to premature graying (2).
If you have these health conditions, you may spot a gray hair or two (1):
- Vitamin B12deficiency
- Thyroid disease
- Alopecia areata
How to transition into gray hair
When learning how to go gray, you may be surprised that there are several different ways of going about it. The easiest way, of course, is to just grow it out and let your grays chill. Admittedly, some people shy away from this approach because they don’t like the uneven gray patterns. To ease the transition, women who grow out their grays will also opt for a shorter haircut (5).
However, if cutting cold turkey from the hair dye isn’t your thing, you can actually use hair dye to help the process. It won’t be your usual color; it’d be shades of gray. (Contrary to popular belief, gray hair isn’t the same color for everyone.) Your colorist can give you a stylish, gray look by helping you settle on a transitional color (2). This usually involves adding highlights and integrating some of the pieces that still have pigment, creating a look that complements your eye and skin color (2).
How to take care of gray hair
So now you know how to go gray. But wait, that’s not it. Let it be known that gray hair is not the same and therefore should not be treated the same as your previous natural hair color. The texture changes, the color can easily become brassy, and dullness is pretty common (2). So here are some key tips to keep your gray hair healthy and glowing.
1. Purple, toning shampoo and conditioner
Purple shampoo isn’t just for blondes. The purple adds a color-correcting element to the yellow brassiness gray hair tends to develop (2). Keep your gray hair vibrant and without those unwanted tones.
2. Check the quality of your water
Still getting brassy tones in your hair? Your water quality may be to blame. Minerals in hard water can cause your strands to develop a yellow tint (2). The solution is pretty straightforward: get a water filter for your shower for the best water quality!
3. Hydrate your hair like you’re in the desert
Definitely add a leave-in conditioner to your gray hair routine. Compared to your natural hair before, your gray hair can become coarse, dry, dull, frizzy, and/or brittle (2). This can easily be solved by adding an extra hydration element to your haircare routine.
4. Be careful of heat
Learning how to gray means learning to be extra cautious of heat. This rings true from heating tools to the burning sun. Gray hair is more porous than dyed hair, so your hair will be more susceptible to damage and other environmental impurities (3). Gray hair influencer Lynn Shabinsky or @whitehairwisdom on Instagram never heats her tools up past 350 degrees (3). Too much sun can turn your gray hair yellow, so make sure to always wear a hat when you go out (2).
5. Hair gloss
Even if you follow all of these steps to a tee, your gray hair might still need a little TLC. If that’s the case, try using a clear hair gloss to add the shine back into your hair. You can get it done at the salon or at home, and it lasts for weeks (4).
So now you know how to go gray. Whether you choose to or not is completely up to you and whatever you are comfortable with. Just know that gray hair is not something to fear. It’s another part of life’s journey.
Written by Jessica Lu