Whether you’ve just spotted your first gray hair or you’ve been seeing them come in for a while, graying hair is a natural part of aging that vastly differs by person. Whether you’d prefer to cover it up or embrace it, there are options and products available that will help to tame and work with your natural gray. In this article, we’ll dive in to the science behind why hair turns gray and what your options are, plus our favorite Herdis products for gray hair!
The science behind gray hair.
When hair turns gray, it is because the hair follicles have stopped producing melanin, the pigment that gives hair its natural color. Melanin is produced by specialized cells called melanocytes that are found at the base of each hair follicle and, as we age, these melanocytes begin to produce less melanin, and eventually, they may stop producing it altogether.
The exact reason why this happens is not fully understood, but it is thought to be due to a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. Genetics is a major factor in determining when and how quickly hair turns gray, while other factors like stress, smoking, poor nutrition, and exposure to certain chemicals can contribute to premature graying of hair.
Although there is no way to reverse gray hair once it has occurred, there are ways to slow down the graying process. This starts with - you guessed it - a healthy diet, avoiding smoking, managing stress, and protecting your hair from harsh chemicals and pollutants. While genetics are the main decision-maker when it comes to graying hair, these lifestyle changes can help to keep your hair healthy and delay the onset of gray hair.
How is gray hair different?
Long story short, gray does not affect the composition of hair itself. The composition of hair remains the same regardless of its color. Hair is primarily made up of a protein called keratin, which is produced by cells in the hair follicles. The texture and thickness of hair may change with age, but this is not directly related to graying.
However, the absence of melanin in gray hair can make it appear thinner and more brittle than pigmented hair as melanin plays a role in protecting hair from the sun's harmful UV rays. Without it, hair may be more vulnerable to damage from environmental factors such as heat, sunlight, and pollution. As a result, gray hair may be more prone to breakage and dryness.
To keep gray hair looking healthy and strong, it's important to use gentle hair care products that won't strip the hair of its natural oils, and to protect hair from excessive heat styling and sun exposure. At the least, we recommend using a deep conditioning treatment at least twice a week to preserve moisture and elasticity of gray hair.
What you can do about it.
If you have gray hair and would like to change its color, there are several options available. Here are some of the most common methods:
Enjoy custom color.
If you're not yet ready to go gray, coloring your hair is the most common way to cover gray hair, and your Herdis stylist can help you achieve your color goals. Depending on if you're going lighter or darker, the approach will differ but this will typical require regular root maintenance for to avoid hard lines.
Embrace your gray.
Many people choose to embrace their gray hair and let it grow naturally. This can be a great option if you want to avoid the maintenance and cost of coloring your hair. When going gray, your hair stylist may decide to blend your existing hair color with grays, allowing your hair to gradually transition from your current hair color to your natural gray.
This technique involves either adding subtle streaks of color to your hair to blend in the gray when grays are lighter than your current color, or using an all-over color to blend light gray/white with your natural hair for a darker gray shade.
It's important to remember that any hair coloring technique can damage your hair if not done properly, and it’s always a good idea to consult with your Herdis stylist to determine the best option for you and to ensure that your hair is healthy and well-maintained.
Here are our favorite products for gray hair.
Kérastase offers a range of products specifically designed to meet the unique needs of gray hair. Here are some of the best Kérastase products for gray hair:
Chroma Absolu Damanged Color Hair Care Set
This set is specially formulated for color-treated hair and helps to detangle, nourish, and protect hair from damage. It contains a blend of antioxidants and moisturizing elements to protect hair from environmental stressors.
This overnight hair serum is designed to repair and strengthen hair while you sleep. It contains a blend of ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and antioxidants to nourish and protect hair, while also promoting hair growth.
Bain Ultra-Violet Gray Set
This purple shampoo is designed to neutralize unwanted yellow and brassy tones in gray and white hair. It contains a blend of purple pigments and antioxidants to protect hair and maintain a bright, cool-toned color.
The bottom line.
While going gray can feel like a burdensome change, there have many methods and products adapted to allow us to cover or embrace our grays while maintaining hair health. It's important to note that the best products and approaches for gray hair may vary depending on your individual hair type and concerns. It's always a good idea to consult with your Herdis stylist to determine the best products for your hair!