Making the choice to embrace your natural gray hair, and to let it grow out can go against everything society is shouting at you. The pressure to look like you are in your twenties throughout middle age can be overwhelming.
We are pushed to make our bodies, skin, and hair look young, refreshed, and moisturized to perfection, and oftentimes, it is unachievable with our natural aging process.
Gray hair, in particular, can be difficult to get to look its best, as the texture and type of our hair can change as gray hair grows in.
Unwanted tones can be hidden throughout gray hair, and it can feel dry, coarse, and generally look dull and lifeless.
Fortunately, more individuals are embracing their natural aging and their gray hair, and as a result more is being learned about maintenance, care, and upkeep of different hair types, gray tones, and textures.
We’ll be looking at how to make gray hair smooth and shiny shortly.
Why Does Our Hair Turn Gray?
To fully understand how we should proceed when it comes to caring for our gray hair, we should have a general idea as to why hair changes to gray in the first place.
There is tissue under the skin in our scalp that surrounds the roots of our hair called the hair follicle.
The root is what keeps each hair shaft – which is the part of our hair you are able to see – attached to our scalp.
Each of these hair follicles contains a specific number of pigment cells that contain melanin, which is what gives our hair its color.
When we age, the pigment cells gradually die over time, and when there are fewer pigment cells, it causes the hair shaft to contain less melanin, which makes it a more transparent color like gray or white.
Eventually, all of the pigment cells will die off causing our hair to grow completely gray.
You can imagine that losing pigment cells may have an impact on our hair type, texture, and growth pattern.
Stress can contribute to gray hair, but it doesn’t directly cause it.
When we get stressed our bodies release hormones that can trigger some hair loss.
As a result, the growth cycle of our hair happens at a faster rate, and the pigment cells tend to die off more quickly, meaning gray hair starts to grow sooner.
This, of course, is a simplified explanation of the process, which can be much more complex and impacted by hair type, skin type, and genetics, to name just a few factors.
Common Challenges of Gray Hair
With newly turning gray hair, there may be noticeable differences between your new growth and what you are used to when you had your natural color growing in.
To start, remember gray and white hair actually lack color and are transparent.
This gives the opportunity for discoloration and unwanted yellow or green tones to poke through.
You are also more at risk of your hair appearing dull and lifeless.
Gray hair can also be much more coarse and dry.
It may feel more straw-like, have less elasticity, and be difficult to keep moisturized.
Some areas may seem wiry, stick out at odd angles, and be completely uncooperative with styling.
Finally, as your gray hair grows in, it may be significantly thinner, and less dense than how your hair was before.
It may also appear more frizzy and even damage and break more easily.
Signs That Your Hair May Need a Little TLC
Hair takes on damage, breaks, and eventually turns gray.
It’s a fact of life.
It is easy to neglect your hair, put off haircuts and maintenance trims, and put forth minimum effort, but your hair will show signs of it.
However, it is possible to take good care of your hair while still maintaining a simplistic routine.
First, try to run your fingers through your hair.
Take time to feel it and gently play around a little.
Do you notice it getting tangled easily?
Is there any falling out, or does it feel dry or leave flakes?
These are all signs that you may need to switch up your routine and try some different products.
Grab a single strand of your hair and hold it in front of you.
Tug on it.
Does it stretch without breaking, or does it give a clean and even break?
If it is the former, your hair has some damage.
Healthy hair generally snaps off when you give it a hard tug.
Finally, check the color of your hair under different types of light.
Walking out into natural sunlight, try a soft warm light, and fluorescent light.
Do you notice any discoloration or unwanted tones?
Caring for Your Gorgeous Gray
When your hair changes to gray, that means the products you use and your routine should adapt along with that change.
Change Your Products
You will want to invest in a blue or purple-hued shampoo and use it at least twice a month.
These shampoos are made specifically for gray hair, and they work to keep your color pure, healthy, and vibrant.
A clarifying shampoo is also a good choice as it will prevent the build-up of impurities that cause discoloration.
You may also notice your hair is more frizzy and a different texture than you are used to.
Generally, gray hair is harder to style and needs more care.
Keep this in mind when you shop around for products.
Hair gloss is another good thing to use, as your white hair may still contain some natural tones making it appear yellow or orange.
A hair gloss won’t change the color of your hair, but it will tone it so the unwanted tones are neutralized.
Gray and white hair are especially prone to oxidizing which is what causes discoloration.
Be Careful During Heat Styling
Be careful with heat and heat styling, especially if your hair is fine as it is extremely sensitive to heat.
Using heat can discolor your hair and cause more harm than good.
Try lowering the temperature of your tools, be sure to use a heat protectant, and try to trade in your curling iron for some non-heated rollers.
This also includes direct sunlight and tanning beds.
These both expose you to harmful UV rays which are super unhealthy for your hair.
If you are going out into the sun, make sure to wear a hat or use a product in your hair that helps protect it from UV rays.
Keep your hair hydrated.
Gray hair is generally much drier than it was when your hair had its color.
This happens because your scalp produces less of its natural oils as you age.
Also, you want to be careful with what products you are using.
If you see “dimethicone” on the label go with something else.
This is a type of silicone that does not dissolve in water and can cause build-up in your hair and weigh it down.
Look for moisturizers that are specially made for aging or gray hair.
Regular Maintenance And Trims
Finally, keep up with regular maintenance and trims.
Set a schedule to visit your hairstylist to keep your gray mane looking fresh and vibrant.
A simple cut and style can take off damage, refresh your look, and leave you feeling great.
Talk to your stylist about any concerns or issues that you may have regarding the upkeep of your gray hair.
Ask for product recommendations or even for them to show you an easy and effective style.
How To Make Gray Hair Smooth And Shiny
As mentioned above, your scalp produces less of its natural oil as you age, which can leave your gray hair looking dull and lifeless.
If you find yourself in this predicament, don’t fret.
If you’ve been wondering how to make gray hair smooth and shiny, there are plenty of options to try out.
Wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo.
This will rid your locks of any unwanted build-up and impurities that weigh down your hair and cause discoloration.
It will also work to tone your hair and refresh the color.
Invest in a clear, colorless hair oil or serum.
This will give your hair that beautiful shine.
Try to avoid any amber-colored ones as they may impact the color of your gray.
Apply a small amount throughout your damp hair and use a heat protectant spray.
Dry your hair and style it as you would normally, and you can add a bit more to the ends for a finished look.
Keratin treatments will help with the coarse feeling that gray hair tends to have and make it feel less wiry.
This is a more time-intensive option, but it means that there will be less effort at home put forth to tame unruly hair.
Keratin treatments will soften your hair and add a shine to it.
Hairspray deposits onto your hair and gives it a matte finish which can leave it looking dull.
They can also contribute to drying out your hair.
If you absolutely need to use hairspray, try to lift your hair in sections and spray underneath towards your scalp.
That way it will have a minimum impact on the hair that is visible, and will still look shiny and smooth.
Mix in Some Platinum
To add some dimension to your gray for that extra pop, you can add some platinum highlights to mix in.
These will liven up your hair, add dimension and the lighter platinum tones will contrast nicely and subtly with your natural gray.
The following are some product recommendations that will come in handy when you want to make your gray hair become smooth and shiny.
Routinely washing your hair a couple of times a month with a silver shampoo is essential for lively gray hair.
This will tone any unwanted pigments and bring life to your lovely locks.
Redken has a highly reviewed one, as does Bold Uniq, and Jhirmack.
Clarifying shampoos are helpful because they remove any buildup and impurities that may be weighing your hair down and making it fall flat.
Neutrogena offers one here, some other highly rated options are OGX Purifying and Charcoal Detox Shampoo, and Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar Blend Shampoo.
Conditioning Treatments and Hair Masks
As I mentioned earlier, gray hair is drier than your normal hair and it is a good idea to condition and moisturize it.
Just be wary of what is in your conditioners, and remember, you ultimately know your own hair the best.
Use what you are comfortable with.
Some highly reviewed conditioners on amazon include this one from Pureology and this one from Biolage.
As for hair masks, these are a great way to add much-needed moisture to your hair and pamper yourself.
Especially, if you pair it with a refreshing face mask.
Bold Uniq has a silver hair mask, other good options are Blondwood and this keratin hair mask.
Hair serums will give you that much-desired shine and make your hair look and feel much healthier.
There are several options available that have received outstanding reviews on Amazon such as this argan oil hair serum by Herstyler, Frizz Ease by John Frieda, if you are looking to also help with thinning hair this one from PURA D’OR is good.
Lastly, castor oil is also an acceptable choice as it will moisturize your hair and encourage more growth.
There is absolutely no shame in fully embracing your newly gray hair.
With some TLC, your natural gray will be the envy of all your friends and family with its life and vibrancy.
After reading this post, you now know how to make gray hair smooth and shiny.
Be sure to keep on top of a routine.
Research your products and choose those which are the most suitable for your individual hair type.
Be sure to get regular cuts and trims and talk to your hairstylist and ask questions.
Ask about products and get their opinion.
There is no need to desperately try and cover your gray hair when a bit of care will keep it looking great!