How to Enhance & Care for Gray Hair

Mature woman smiling, side view, close-up
Embrace your grey. (Image: Ralf Nau/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

As your follicles stop producing melanin -- a process ruled by your genes more than your lifestyle -- your hair pigment fades and you go gray. While the graying process is simple, the acceptance process often comes with a few complications. But worry not -- think of gray hair as a blank slate, a foxy silver style that complements any eye color and virtually any face and body type. Tweak your hair-care regimen just a bit to let your sleek gray hair shine through.

Step 1

Mature woman reading shampoo label in store, close-up
A grey haired woman buying shampoo. (Image: Noel Hendrickson/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Shampoo and condition your hair every other day, at minimum. Without its former pigment, gray hair is vulnerable to discoloration -- such as yellowing or dulling -- from environmental pollutants. Prevent this process with a hydrating shampoo, which also helps protect gray hairs from becoming brittle, and a conditioner that contains antioxidants. The conditioner helps protect your coif from UV and environmental damage.

Step 2

Woman combing her wet hair
Apply a deep conditioner once a week. (Image: Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images)

Apply a deep-conditioning treatment once a week to restore moisture that is lost along with the pigment. Keep up the moisturizing treatments to keep your hair shiny, soft and manageable, rather than dull or wiry.

Step 3

green shampoo bottle on yellow background
Wash your hair with a toner shampoo. (Image: Viktoriia Kulish/Hemera/Getty Images)

Wash your hair with a toner shampoo specifically formulated for gray hair about once every month or two. These subtly cool-hued toners give your hair a cool sheen and help offset any yellowing that may occur. For your first application, mix just a bit of the toner shampoo with your regular moisturizing shampoo. Experiment with ratios until you find the tint you like.

Step 4

Spray
Use alcohol free styling products. (Image: TibiP03/iStock/Getty Images)

Style your hair with alcohol-free shine spray to control frizz, a common issue for brittle gray hairs, and lend your locks a healthy but subdued sheen. Unlike alcohol-heavy versions, alcohol-free sprays prevent additional dryness. Seek sprays with vitamin B5 to bolster your hair's structure. For bolder styles, turn to a lightweight volumizing mousse and gentle brushing with a barrel brush, which gives your hairdo a healthy lift.

Things You'll Need

  • Hydrating shampoo

  • Antioxidant conditioner

  • Deep-conditioning treatment

  • Shampoo with blue or violet toner

  • Alcohol-free shine spray

  • Volumizing mousse, optional

  • Barrel brush, optional

Tip

To bring out the best in your gray hair, choose a modern hairstyle with clean, streamlined edges, such as a classic fade for men or a pixie cut for women. Trim your hair every six to eight weeks to keep broken strands and split ends under control.

Avoid heavy styling products, such as thick waxes, greasy pomades or oil-based serums, which weigh down your style and often give gray hair a dusty look or unappealing coating. Likewise, stay away from intensive heat styling and perms to avoid damaging or drying out your hair.

If your toner shampoo gives your hair an overly blue or purple-hued tint, switch to a clarifying shampoo until your hair returns to normal.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
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