The choice to embrace your gray hair is a liberating one. Silver strands are a symbol of natural beauty, confidence, and wisdom. Although you boldly celebrate your gray hair, it doesn’t always hold its shine like you want it to. Don’t fret, there are many solutions to prevent lackluster gray hair. Read on to learn what your haircare regimen needs to get your grays shining again.
Why Does Hair Turn Gray?
With age, the pigment cells, called melanocytes, in our hair follicles slowly die. The fewer pigment cells present in a follicle, the more it will grow in gray, silver, or white. Although it differs for everyone, most women will experience some level of graying before the age of 50. The causes of gray hair include genetics, diet, lack of vitamins, smoking, stress, and disease.
What Causes Gray Hair to Dull?
Embracing gray hair seemed effortless, until its shine faded. Many silver-haired women struggle with dreary grays. Dull hair often lacks moisture and is matte in texture. It also tends to look rough and weighted-down. There are several factors that contribute to dull hair including product buildup, a lack of nutrients, smoking and extreme environmental conditions. Additional causes include excessive sun exposure and heat styling. Luckily, it is not difficult to transform your lackluster grays into glossy, polished hair for the many years to come.
How to Boost Gray Hair’s Shine
Choose your Shampoo and Conditioner Wisely:
The wrong haircare products will quickly rob your silver tresses of their shine. Starting with shampoo, it is best to use a purple-shampoo or a restorative shampoo. The violet hues in a purple shampoo can neutralize brassy, yellow tones and restore your cool gray tones. Purple-toned shampoos will remove impurities and product buildup from your scalp, which brightens the appearance of dull hair. Keep in mind, gray hair not only changes in color, but in texture too. This means it is important to choose formulas that suit your color and texture needs. A restorative shampoo, like the one from Better Not Younger provides the nourishment and moisture to properly hydrate grays. Consider beneficial ingredients like rice bran oil and argan oil. Rice bran oil is known to strengthen the hair shaft and increase shine. Argan oil provides the scalp with intense moisture and prevents dryness.
As far as conditioner goes, treat your grays with a creamy conditioner that introduces extra hydration and radiance. Look for ingredients like ceramides and aloe vera when choosing a radiant conditioner. Ceramides are lipids that help your skin and hair retain moisture. Also, aloe vera, rich in vitamin C and E, acts as a natural conditioner. Aloe vera is known to rejuvenate the hair, giving it more elasticity and shine.
Replenish your Grays from the Inside Out:
Restore your silver’s shine by stacking your diet with colorful foods and essential vitamins including:
- Vitamin A — Vitamin A promotes cell growth and helps skin glands produce sebum (oil). Foods that are rich in vitamin A include fortified cereals, carrots, cantaloupe, and dairy products.
- Vitamin Bs— The vitamin B complex serves gray hair well in a few ways. Firstly, biotin and B6 plays a large role in strengthening hair follicles to grow shiny strands. Also, B5 helps balance hair moisture and sebum production. Strong sources of B vitamins are leafy greens, salmon, milk, and oysters.
- Vitamin C — Vitamin C is vital in the process of creating collagen. Collagen helps to increase your hairs shine by supporting sebaceous glands and providing moisture retention. Load your diet with citrus fruits, peppers, potatoes, and blackcurrants for vitamin C.
- Vitamin E — Vitamin E aids in replacing the protective fat layer on your hair’s cuticle. It is also known for its antioxidant properties that reduce free radical damage. Eat sunflower seeds, almonds, peanut butter, red bell peppers and spinach for vitamin E.
- Zinc — Zinc is vital in repairing hair tissue. Additionally, it regulates the activity of oil glands, ensuring your hair shines. Introduce zinc into your diet through meat, shellfish, legumes, and nuts.
Shield your Silver Strands from the Sun:
Gray hair burns easily in the sun due to its texture and porosity. Melanin assists in protecting hair from UV rays; however, since gray hair is left without this pigment-making protein, it is more prone to UV damage. Overexposing your grays to the sun is a sure way to turn them into an undesired brassy tone. Ahead of your long summer walks or days at the pool, wear a hat or scarf. Remember to also protect your grays against chlorine, by wearing a swim cap or immediately washing your hair after a swim.
Avoiding heat exposure includes hot tools too. If you are heat-styling your hair, keep your hot tool below 350 degrees. When applying heat, always use an alcohol-free heat protectant.
Brush your Hair Correctly:
Brushing your hair with the proper technique can boost shine and smoothness in your slate locks. The sebaceous glands naturally produce oil to hydrate the scalp and hair. This oil may buildup on your scalp, so brushing your hair is a means of distributing the oils through the roots to the ends. Consider using a boar-bristle brush when brushing for shine and working through tangles. Boar bristles are made of all-natural ingredients and promote a sleek and smooth finish.
Use a Deep Cleanser on your Scalp:
The secret to lustrous gray hair is a healthy scalp. Natural buildup on the scalp can include dead skin, sweat, dirt, and product residue. Hormonal changes that cause gray hair result in reduced follicle function. Additionally, overusing the same product can contribute to buildup overtime, making your grays appear dull. Excessive buildup can lead to skin irritations, weak follicles, and even hair loss. A deep scalp cleanser or exfoliator will slough away dead skin cells and product buildup, making way for healthy, shiny hair.
When looking for a scalp cleanser, choose one that contains activated charcoal or apple cider vinegar. Activated charcoal helps cleanse impurities and removes unwanted oils and dirt from the scalp. It unclogs your pores and detoxifies hair follicles, which increases the overall health and shine of your strands. Additionally, apple cider vinegar works wonders in balancing hair and scalp pH levels. ACV smoothes the hair and makes shinier and less frizzy.
To apply a scalp cleanser, apply the product on your scalp. You can distribute the product with your hands or with a gentle scalp brush. Make sure you have thoroughly covered your scalp. Rinse, shampoo and conditioner as usual. It is recommended to cleanse your scalp once or twice a week.
Ditch the Dry Shampoo:
Although dry shampoo is magical for many reasons, it is known to take away shine from hair. The fine powder of dry shampoo decreases light reflectivity that can leave your hair dull and washed out. If you wash your hair 2-3 times a week, there is no need to make a habit out of using dry shampoo.
No Harsh Chemicals:
The regular use of chemical-heavy products leaves your grays vulnerable to discoloration. Gray hair is already thin and susceptible to dryness, so the continual use of harsh ingredients will only make matters worse. Stray away from products with sulfates, parabens and alcohol. Sulfates are cheap detergents that remove your hair’s natural oils. Parabens are used as preservatives, but can cause skin irritations. Lastly, isopropyl alcohol should be avoided as it increases dryness and breakage.
Be Considerate of Clothing and Makeup Choices:
It may sound strange, but there are certain colors that give an illusion of shinier silver locks. Steer clear of any yellow or orange colored clothing, because those hues can emphasize brassy tones. Gray-flattering neutrals include black, charcoal, and navy. These colors provide bold contrast to your beautiful gray hues. If you’re looking for a little more color, try deep reds, blues and purples.
To brighten your complexion, try a blush with peachy or rosy shades. Avoid tawny blush and eyeshadow colors.
DIY Shine Mask:
A fun and relaxing way to care for your grays is with a do-it-yourself hair mask. Common kitchen ingredients like avocados and eggs replenish silky, shiny hair. Avocados and eggs are high in fatty acids and vitamin B and E, all known to increase shine. Additionally, rosemary essential oil increases circulation and promotes hair growth.
Ingredients for an at-home mask:
- 1 avocado
- 1 egg
- 3 drops rosemary essential oil
Blend the ingredients and apply to your hair. Focus your application on the mid-shaft to your ends, then on the scalp. Cover your hair with a shower cap for 20-30 minutes and then rinse and wash. Your steely locks are bound to shine after this extra T.L.C.
Gray hair is a powerful statement of self-acceptance and confidence. Going gray means fewer salon visits and less color damage; however, there is still work to be done. To maintain bright, shiny silver tresses it is essential to use gentle products, consume a nutrient-rich diet, and cleanse your scalp. Implement these practices into your haircare regimen and the lustrous locks will follow. Shine on!
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