How To Keep Your Gray Hairs Soft
Your hair changes as you age. Perhaps the most obvious is when the hair loses its pigment over time, resulting in a dusting of grays. However, a silvery hue isn’t the only noticeable change as you go gray: The actual texture of the strands themselves face some shifts as well.
How your hair texture changes as you go gray
When your hair follicles produce less melanin (natural pigments our bodies produce that give our hair and skin it’s color), they tend to produce less sebum as well. Without the natural emollient, the hair can become coarse and more fragile over time. As your hair follicles begin to produce less melanin, you also lose protective layers on the hair strand, resulting in a cuticle that has a smaller diameter, creating a finer texture to your hair. Your finer hair will feel more coarse and dry because it is not retaining moisture as well due to the loss of these protective layers. When the hair doesn’t retain moisture, frizz tends to follow behind.
If you’re not used to tending to coarse, dry hair, this may pose an issue. However, we have a clever trick to help lock in hydration and keep your gray strands touchably soft.
How to care for your new coarser hair.
If you have coarse, dry hair already, you might not notice a significant textural change as your grays settle in. However, for the uninitiated, you should know that tending to coarse hair requires a few tweaks and your usual routine might not cut it.
1. Hydrate the strands.
For dry, coarse strands, hydration is everything. Consider it a sign to give your hair some extra love: Use moisturizing shampoos and conditioners, such as REF Intense Hydrating Shampoo and REF Intense Hydrating Conditioner and incorporate a hair mask such as REF Intense Hydrate Masque, once or even twice a week.
2. Hair oils are your friends.
Seal in all that hydration with a good hair oil such as REF Leave In Conditioner or Davine Oi Oil, but do not to overdo it, as oil buildup can lead to brittleness, especially for low-porosity hair. Kind of counterintuitive, no?
3. Mist and seal before stylers.
You might even want to mist the strands before applying your styling products—again, you want to lock in as much hydration as possible, and water tends to evaporate from dry, coarse hair as soon as you step out of the shower. Use a mist spray bottle during product application, and then apply a layer of protection such as a keratin-infused sealer like Davines Nourishing Living Enzyme Infusion.
Specific stylers will vary depending on your hair type, so be sure to identify your specific strand pattern before piling on products—the grays may feel more coarse, but they don’t mess too much with your curl pattern. That said, those with straighter hair should still look for products that allow for movement and breathability, while those with curls or coils might need a bit more hold.
4. Rework your clarifying routine.
Scalp care is important, and you do need to remove gunk and buildup every once in a while. But if you find your strands parched dry, you might want to rethink your clarifying shampoo or scalp scrub schedule—perhaps extend it to a biweekly basis if you find once a week way too drying.
5. Supply your scalp with stimulating oils.
Your follicles will begin producing less sebum as you age, but you can give them some extra help by massaging stimulating oils onto the scalp regularly to promote the production of natural oils. Try diluting rosemary or tea tree oil with a lightweight carrier oil (like jojoba, which is closest to the skin’s own sebum), as both contain stimulating actives.
We often discuss gray hair in terms of color (it is the most visible change, after all), but those silvery strands transform in texture, too. Specifically, the loss of melanin and sebum can cause it to become drier and more coarse. If you’ve never dealt with this type of hair texture before, you may want to consider tweaking your hair care routine—starting with this low-lift hack.