Some of us may have spent a small fortune over the years covering those stray gray hairs, but once it’s time to embrace the gray, it can get even more time consuming and tricky to maintain. But if you know how to avoid common gray hair mistakes, silvery hair can be just as dazzling! So, are you ready to achieve shiny gray hair? Keep reading for tried-and-true ways to soften and add shine to gray hair.
You’ve probably realized by now that your pre-gray hair shampoo won’t cut it. Instead, use shampoos specifically tailored to gray hair. Gray hair can also take on a yellowish hue, so use a silver-specific shampoo like Redken Color Extend Graydiant Shampoo to keep your hair in tip-top shape.
Environmental pollutants and UV light can also dull gray hair, so prevent buildup by washing at least every other day. Pick a hydrating shampoo with antioxidants to provide extra protection against environmental damage. And to add more shine, opt for a clarifying shampoo once each week. This helps to remove impurities and surface buildup on your strands, resulting in a softer, shinier mane.
Gray hair is coarser than other hair types, so the right conditioner is vital. And Jack Martin, owner of Jack Martin Salon in Tustin, California, is adamant about conditioning these coarser hair types. “Gray hair is very porous and conditioning helps to fill in what’s missing to keep the gray vibrant and shiny,” he says.
Also, keep in mind that if you skimp on conditioner, porous white and silver hair can absorb colorants found in products like argan oil, lending an orange or yellow cast to your grays. Similar to gray hair shampoos, the best conditioners for gray hair will contain a violet, blue, or silver pigment-depositing formula to help neutralize those brassy undertones. They counteract this issue and also help seal your hairs’ cuticles, allowing the conditioner’s pigment to do its job with long-lasting results.
Avoid heavy styling products like gels, sprays, and waxes. Many of these products will build up on your hair and dry it out. It’s also important to use clear products, as some colored styling products can stain your hair. If you must use something with color, a faint purple or blue should be fine.
When it comes to hair sprays, use caution. Many hair sprays are pretty dry, which can leave a matte finish on your hair. If you’re in love with your current product, but it isn’t doing you any favors in the shine department, here’s a tip. Lift up your hair in sections and spray it on your hair near the scalp, underneath the visible top section. This will provide hold and support without the dulling effect.
It’s also important to invest in the best hairbrushes and gentle accessories for gray hair. Just remember that gray hair is more delicate than the hair you had years ago.
Keep in mind that shiny hair is a result of light reflection. It’s easier for light to reflect off of dark hair and cast a shine, but for gray hair… not so much. However, you can still use styling tools and products to seal gray hair’s cuticle to allow light to bounce off of it.
A clear serum will add extra shine to your hair, so be sure and shop for something clear and colorless over something that’s amber-colored. Here’s how to apply serum on gray hair:
Pigmentation softens hair. So when we lose pigmentation as our hair turns gray, it can feel more course or wiry than the hair we once had. Ask your hair care professional about whether a mild keratin treatment can soothe any unruly texture or frizz you’re experiencing. Keratin treatments usually last for about 3-4 months and will soften and add shine. Plus, it will greatly reduce the time you spend trying to add shine with at-home treatments!
If you’re still transitioning into your gray, you should be still seeing your colorist for touch-ups every 6-8 weeks. If you’re already completely gray and not satisfied with your color, ask them about adding some platinum pieces throughout your hair. When done correctly, this can brighten the tone and add a little dimension.
Even if you’re not coloring your gray, you should still book a trim every 6-8 weeks. Ask your stylist to skip the razor because it can cause your ends to look untidy. Gray hair looks even more unruly when it’s not freshly trimmed, so keep that in mind!
When you’re getting your hair cut, ask your stylist about a hair glosser, not a glaze. Glazes will promote shine, but they don’t last as long as glossers. This treatment will fill in the raised hair cuticles, which will make hair more reflective. Remember: more reflection, more shine!
Related Article: Are you using the right shampoo and conditioner and still experiencing dull, lifeless hair? The culprit could actually be your water! Thankfully, shower filters are generally inexpensive and not too difficult to install. Learn about the benefits of shower filters, the different types of filters on the market, and how your skin and hair can benefit.