How To Keep Gray Hair Healthy [9 Easy Tips]

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
Updated:

If you have decided to embrace the graying process and wonder how to keep your gray hair healthy, you have come to the right place. Here's how to identify the unique hair care needs of gray hair and what you need to do to keep your gray hair healthy.

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Gray hair is a visible sign of aging just like wrinkles. It’s a part of life, and there is nothing wrong with it when you embrace the process. But keeping their gray hair healthy could be an issue for most adults and seniors.

Here’s what you need to do to keep your gray hair healthy.

What Causes Gray Hair?

Graying is usually caused by the aging process. But premature graying can be caused due to many factors including genetics, smoking, stress, ethnicity, and more. hair becomes gray due to melanocytes – the cells that produce melanin or the pigment that gives the dark color to your hair. As you age, melanocytes will wear out and stop producing melanin. Without melanin, your hair will lose its dark color and become white, gray, or silver. 

Even though most people think that gray strands are more wiry and coarse than natural hair, it isn’t so. But gray hair becomes finer than pigmented hair since they are prone to drying out due to less oil produced in the scalp with aging. Once the melanocytes wear out and stop the production of melanin, that is pretty much it for your natural hair color.

You have two options when this happens: either you embrace your gray hair and care for it or cover your gray and commit to a regular coloring session.

Reasons To Love Your Gray Hair

If you have decided to embrace the graying process, you have taken the first step towards caring for your gray hair. There are many reasons to love your gray strands including:

  1. Silver hair hues are a hot trend among celebrities and fashionable individuals across the globe. More and more adults – both men and women – are visiting hair salons these days to request gray dye color services. This trend has inspired many seniors to quit hair coloring and embrace their gray strands.
  1. You will be reducing the number of toxic chemicals you apply to the skin by embracing your gray hair. On the other hand, wearing your naturally gray hair is a sign of enhanced self-esteem,
  1. Your gray hair strands can look more appealing with proper maintenance and the right hairstyle.
  1. Eliminating professional color services helps save you time and money in the long run.
Takin great care of your gray hair will help project a more youthful appearance.

What Are The Problems Associated With Gray Hair? 

Even though you can’t stop the graying process, you can do your best to keep your silver strands soft, healthy, and manageable. Maintaining gray hair may require a different hair-care regimen than what you currently follow.

While your hair is unique, it will change in texture, quality, color, and thickness when graying. Here are some of the most common problems associated with gray hair.

Texture Changes

The hair follicle produces less melanin as you grow older. Melanin provides a protective layer for your hair. The protective layer becomes even thinner due to the lack of melanin in old age. This may cause your gray hair to become coarse and wiry over time. On the other hand, unpigmented hair may lack shine due to the lack of natural oils. 

Dullness

The lack of production of natural hair oils with aging results in dull gray hair. Although most people think that less hair oil is good due to reduced greasy hair, it isn’t the case because natural oil acts as a conditioner for your hair. Natural oils nourish the hair, protect it from the elements, and maintain your hair’s luster. 

Dryness

With aging, the texture of your hair changes. Your hair becomes drier than pigmented hair. Gray hair has a rough texture and is more prone to frizz. You may find it difficult to manage gray hair than pigmented hair.

Breakage

Gray hair is more finer and fragile than pigmented hair. The cuticle becomes thinner with aging. You need to use a delicate hand when staying gray hair to prevent excessive breakage. Avoid hot styling tools since these tools can make your gray hair thinner and susceptible to breakage. If you opt for a commercial shampoo for gray hair, make sure to use a sulfate-free shampoo to eliminate brassy and yellowish tones and hydrate the hair.

Discoloration

Gray hair has a porous cuticle layer. Hence, it attracts pigments from the environment more than pigmented hair. That is why gray hair easily turns brassy or yellowish over time. 

Less Polished Look

Gray hair tends to provide a less polished look when not cared for properly. Unkempt gray hair may impact your self-confidence. That is why regular care is important to maintain your silver strands and make them look attractive and polished.

How To Care For Your Gray Hair?

Gray hair requires a different hair care routine than pigmented hair. If you just start to notice grays, you don’t have to drastically change the hair care routine. But if more than 30% of your hair has turned gray, follow these tips to care for your silver strands and make them healthier.

Tip 1: Use A Purple-Toned Shampoo & Conditioner

Silver strands are more prone to turn yellow or brassy over time. The yellowing occurs due to the hair not having melanin. There could be many causes for this phenomenon. A purple-toned shampoo and conditioner help neutralize the yellowing and maintain your silver locks.

On the other hand, a quality shampoo & conditioner is the answer to the dryness and roughness of gray hair. A moisturizing and soothing shampoo will make your silver strands more soft and manageable. 

Here is my list of the best shampoos and conditioners for gray hair.

healthy gray hair man
Good hair care practices aren’t just for women. Men, too, should take steps to improve the health of their gray hair too.

Tip 2: Moisturize Your Hair Frequently

Gray hair is more prone to drying than pigmented hair. Use a quality hair growth and protection mask to keep your grays moisturized and shiny. The protection mask should contain natural ingredients like aloe vera, acai, and oat extract to provide enough moisture to your gray strands. 

You can learn more about the best hair masks for gray hair in this guide.

Tip 3: Avoid Discoloration

Unpigmented hair is more prone to discoloration from hard water, chlorine, and the sun. Both direct sunlight and heat may discolor your gray strands. Since gray strands lack melanin, they are more prone to sun damage. Make sure to use a heat protectant spray before you go out in the sun. Never style your gray hair with heat to avoid discoloring the hair.

Tip 4: Use Appropriate and Flattering Hairstyles

You may soon find out that hairstyles used for pigmented hair no longer work for gray hair. Make sure to ask the hairstylist to cut your gray hair in a way that works with its new texture. The right haircut will enhance the looks of your new shade and make styling easier.

Using less heat for styling your new shade means less damage to your gray strands. Also, you should avoid harsh chemical treatments such as perming and straightening to avoid damage to your gray strands due to excessive heat.

Be cautious when using oily serums for gray hair, pomades, and waxes since they can build up on your gray hair and make it look dull over time.

Tip 5: Wear Makeup And Clothing That Complements Gray Hair

When your hair turns gray, you may find out that your go-to colors no longer flatter your looks. In fact, having gray hair tends to wash out your complexion. So you need to opt for pink, warm peach, and gold shades to get back your glow.

Women can opt for pigmented lipstick or lip gloss in a warm shade to brighten up their complexion. Make sure to opt for rich shades like fuchsia, purple, emerald green, and royal blue when choosing your clothing.

The best way to choose your makeup and clothing colors is to experiment and see what works best for you.

Tip 6: Use Hair-Protecting Sprays And Serums

Hair-protecting sprays and serums are important to give your gray hair the necessary shine and beauty. If you have oily hair, you should use these products sparsely since adding anything with an oily base won’t go well with an already oily scalp. 

Tip 7: Maintain A Healthy Diet And Supplement When Needed

The quality of your diet has an effect on the health of your gray hair. Make sure to get plenty of fruits, vegetables, and quality proteins every day. Avoid processed foods as much as possible. Drink plenty of water to keep the skin hydrated. Supplementing with gelatin can help your gray hair. Gelatin has essential amino acids and is great for your skin. 

Tip 8: Avoid Over-Brushing

Older hair is more fragile and breaks easily. Keep brushing to a bare minimum to prevent excess breakage and use a soft hair brush for elderly people with fragile hair. Less is more when it comes to brushing aging hair

Tip 9: Handle Your Hair With Care

Whether you are washing, styling, drying or brushing your silver strands, handle your hair as gently as you can. Avoid rubbing or playing with your gray strands. Rough handling may lead to frizzier hair that is more prone to breakage. Choose styling tools like flat irons that are made for gray hair.

Maintaining healthy gray hair isn’t easy. There are many issues that can affect the condition of your silver strands. This article provides information on what you need to do to keep your gray hair healthy.

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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