The gray hair color trend has been one of the hottest hair looks season after season, showing no signs of backing down. More and more people of all ages are letting their gray hair grow in. So what causes gray hair? The most common reason is aging, but lots of other things from genetics, hormones, diet, and lifestyle can contribute to gray hair. Women who rock gray hairstyles have an unbothered and carefree vibe and there’s something so bold and empowering about letting the world see your roots grow in. But white hair can be dry, coarse, and prone to frizz, and can easily look dull. And like just blonde hair, gray hair tends to go brassy or turn yellow over time.
In order to make your gray hair shiny and soft, you need the right products and hair care tips. We’re breaking down everything you need to know about white hair and going gray — read ahead for our complete guide to gray hair.
In order to understand why gray hair turns yellow or brassy, you first have to understand gray hair. What we refer to as gray, is actually a combination of your normally pigmented hairs interspersed with white hairs. Gray or white hairs contain very little melanin, making it really easy for strands to pick up pigments from their environment, and turning them yellow over time. Below are the most common causes of gray hair turning yellow.
Hair and color by Tom Connell
We discussed how gray hair is dryer and more brittle than other hair colors. So starting your hair care routine with a hydrating shampoo and conditioner is the foundation for keeping silver strands soft and shiny.
To keep your gray hair bright and shiny, switch out your hydrating shampoo for a clarifying shampoo once a week. This helps to remove impurities and product build-up. Follow the clarifying shampoo with a purple-based conditioner (more on this in a minute).
Combat the brassy tones in your white hair by using a purple shampoo or conditioner. These products deposit purple pigments to balance out the yellow. You can use either or both at the same time. Purple conditioner typically has a more subtle effect. Commit to using a shampoo with purple or blue pigment weekly, or at very least twice a month.
Shiny hair means that it reflects light. Light reflects off of dark easier than it can off of light. So gray hair is not as light reflective as dark hair. But here’s a hack to boost its shine, use serum! Serum helps to seal the cuticle of your hair down, making it easier for light to reflect off of the grays. For extra shine in your gray hair, use a hair serum made for blonde, gray, white, and silver hair.
Most hairsprays are drying which can give a matte finish to already coarse gray hair. If you absolutely must use hairspray to hold your strands in place, there’s a right way to do it. Start by lifting your hair up in sections and apply a medium hold hairspray to the hair that’s near the scalp. Spraying underneath the visible top section of hair gives your gray hair hold, without dulling out its sheen.
Keratin treatments involve a stylist applying a protein-rich keratin mixture to your hair. You lose keratin along with pigment as it grays, so a keratin treatment reinforces your gray hair and restores manageability.
Thanks to an often dry, wiry texture, gray hair is notoriously hard to manage. A weekly deep conditioner in the form of a hydrating hair mask will nourish your brittle strands making them look and feel healthier. Conditioning hair masks restore shine and brightness to gray, white, and silver hair, while making it more manageable.
A hair gloss treatment is like a clear hair toner that adds shine. Hair gloss gives you longer-lasting and more vibrant color, as well as reduces split ends, frizzy hair, and dryness. Purple hair gloss treatments can also be used to balance brassy tones in your gray hair. A professional glossing treatment with your stylist every six to eight weeks will brighten your silver strands and keep unwanted tones away.
Keep your gray hair soft and shiny by eating a hair-healthy diet full of antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies. These foods neutralize the reactions that negatively impact the cells responsible for maintaining the pigment in your hair follicles. Some of the best options include
Avoid consuming anything overly processed or high in sodium. Limit these pro-inflammatory foods and drinks:
In addition, the following minerals help to keep your hair healthy:
Hair and color by Tom Connell
Lots of products contain harmful chemicals that increase your chances of gray hair. Chemicals like parabens and sulfates speed up your melanin depletion and excessively dry out your hair. Especially in the care and maintenance of gray hair, make sure all of your hair care products use only natural and sustainably sourced ingredients like ours at Davines. All of our products are free of harmful toxins, parabens, and sulfates.
Gray hair is weaker than darker pigmented hair, making it more susceptible to breakage. Be careful of over-styling or using too much heat, both of which will be more damaging to gray hair.
Protect your gray hair from the harsh chemicals of the pool or hot tub, by practicing smart chlorine hair care before or after your hair is exposed.
Whether you have short gray hair or are growing it long, get a trim every 6-8 weeks to keep split ends away and keep your silver hair soft and shiny.
Stress can lead to gray hair. Practice taking a few deep breaths every day. Research shows that taking deep, slow breaths activates parts of your brain that you can't normally access. Take a few deep slow breaths a day (or even just one) to reduce your stress.
UV rays are just as damaging to your hair and scalp as they are to your skin. And they can be especially damaging to gray hair. Wear a hat or head scarf if you plan to be in the sun for a while.
Hydration boosts overall hair wellness! When the body is dehydrated, the hair becomes dehydrated and ends up looking dull and lifeless. Without water, your hair becomes limp, weak and prone to breakage.
If you have gray or white strands, the Davines line of hair care products will help you keep them looking shiny, soft, and silver. Our products are free of harmful toxins, parabens, and sulfates. And they aren’t just good for your hair, they’re good for the planet. All of our formulas use natural ingredients and are made with renewable energy and packaging that minimizes the environmental impact. To find a Davines stylist in your area, use our salon locator.
by Jaclyn LaBadia, featured contributor