Hair color 411: color is determined by the type and concentration of the pigment molecule, melanin. Hair goes gray when those molecules begin to wear out. It might seem the new gray hair is frizzier or thinner but it isn’t the gray, it is the follicle. When follicles age they also change and menopause is the biggest game changer. Even though it seems we need to care for gray hair differently, what we really need to do is care for all of our “older” hair, differently. Gray hair has the added challenge of trying to maintain a nice shade of gray (Not Fifty.)
If you’ve survived the transition from some gray to mostly gray, now you’ve got to learn some new how to care for your no more colored hair skills. The challenge of natural gray hair is that like any other goddess-given hair color, it comes in a wide range of tones and that tone might not always agree with your skin color. The perception of hair color is largely managed by how it reflects light. Naturally gray hair is usually less shiny and consequently less reflective. If you (heaven forbid) smoke cigarettes, live in a smog filled city like Los Angeles or wash with heavily mineralized water, your gray can become even less reflective.
Caring for gray hair isn’t that different from caring for any other hair – you want to keep it clean and moisturized, and shiny. The bane of hair that has less pigment is a yellow cast that can be treated with a violet shampoo, but only periodically as it can be harsh and drying. The best shampoo for your tone might require a little trial and error but when compared to coloring your hair all the time, it’s a small price to keep your gray locks lovely. More and more hair product designers are getting into the silver-care game, which really isn’t all that different from the blond game, but it is nice to know that the professionals who have already done the experimenting are coming into the shower with you. This new combo set from Kerastase is a rich and safe alternative to that old-harsh stand by Shimmer Lights. We love the products from Virtue and they can be used to great effect on gray hair. The Alpha Keratin in Virtue targets the underlying damage of all hair issues – even the loss of elasticity and shine.
Piyushkumar Ragha, Salon/ Chemist Director of the Propaganda Hair Group in Austin, Texas suggests Davines Alchemic Silver Shampoo Piyush says, “This magical product will help to hydrate the sometimes wiry and dry grays along with cleaning them up. In most cases, when gray hair tends to become dingy or lackluster, and Alchemic will help to brighten it. The violet base in the shampoo and conditioner will clean that gray and make it sparkle!”
Terrence Parker of the Beverly Hills, Christophe Salon doesn’t mince words about gray hair. He is, after all, an award-winning colorist and he likes to use all the tools in his kit to make clients look and feel wonderful. “Everyone goes gray, “says Parker “but not everyone goes gray beautifully.” Parker adds, “Gray hair is hair that has lost its’ pigment and usually its vitality, so I’m only a fan when a client’s coloring and mindset can pull it off.” He suggests a great targeted shampoo and conditioner and is a big fan of Olaplex’s newer products. He suggests carefully and infrequently employing a violet(not blue) product and even a salon glossing. If trudging back to the salon for gloss after just having “cut the ties” to coloring, isn’t your jam, a clear gloss at home can also do the trick. Unlike colored gloss which is a little scary to DIY, a clear gloss provides translucent color and intense conditioning and you can’t really mess it up. If you have gray hair and if you put a gloss on, it will have a very tonal effect as opposed to being one solid opaque color. Gloss automatically makes your hair super shiny and smooth. And perhaps less frizzy, which is a great thing for gray hair. It’s a color/condition two-fer that will last for up to 6 weeks.
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