How To Make Gray Hair Smooth and Shiny: 11 Simple Tips

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

If you have been torturing your hair for years to get just the right look, here are a few easy tricks and advice you can immediately put in place to restore a shiny and smooth texture to your gray hair.

woman with shiny and smooth gray hair
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Income Disclosure: Product recommendations are based on my personal experience working with seniors. I may earn a commission on items purchased from affiliate links in this guide. Learn More.

Women (and men too!) over the age of 60, have often been dying their hair for many years, meaning it usually doesn’t look as healthy and vibrant as they would like. If you have been blow-drying, curling, coloring, or even straightening your hair for a lifetime, it becomes easier to understand why it may have lost its smoothness and shine.

Fortunately, there are a few easy tricks and advice you can follow to improve the texture and look of your hair – without an expensive trip to the salon.

The Nitty-Gritty

Gray, white and silver hair can still be visibly healthy and will most likely respond well to the usual hair-hydrating methods and products. But healthy eating, nutritional factors, and lifestyle also play a huge part in hair health. The same hormonal and genetic changes that cause your hair to turn gray in the first place will also cause the oil-producing glands to work less effectively. So, gray hair can become frizzy, wiry, brittle, and dry.

Tip 1: Avoid Using Too Many Hair Styling Products

If you love using mousse, gel, and hairsprays when you are styling your hair, there are other alternatives to consider when your hair has started to turn gray. These products contain alcohol and even though they are effective to keep your style in place, they will also dry your hair out. These products also produce a “matte finish”, which means that your natural shine will fade away.

See my list of the best mousses for gray hair here.

Tip 2: Stay Hydrated

It is not always easy to get the recommended 8 glasses in every day, but it is crucial to keep your hydration levels up if you want your hair to be shiny and healthy. Perhaps surprisingly, alcohol and sugary beverages can also damage your hair, which is even more reason to increase your water consumption to improve the health of your hair.

Tip 3: Include More Vitamin E In Your Diet

Vitamin E is one of the best vitamins for gray hair to make your hair shiny and it also encourages hair growth. It is also believed that Vitamin E slows down the aging process which means your hair should stay shinier and smoother for longer. Vitamin E is available in capsule form and you can buy it online or in most health shops.

healthy-gray-hair
Keeping gray hair properly hydrated will reduce frizz for an overall healthier appearance.

Tip 4: Use Natural Oils

If you have done a bit of research, you may already know that you can apply different types of essential oils to your gray hair to get that shine back. The most effective and best products include lavender oil, tea tree oil, rosemary oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, and castor oil. Use one of these oils now and again as a replacement for your regular conditioner for instant results.

Tip 5: Eat More Fish

If you already enjoy eating seafood and fish, you might enjoy the fact that these foods are really great when it comes to the health of your hair. Many types of fish contain omega-3, which is known for improving scalp hydration and stopping hair loss. Other types of fish also contain high levels of vitamin E and protein, which help to improve the strength of your hair. There are also fish that contain zinc and iron to improve shine.

Tip 6: Avoid Stress

Similar to most health issues, stress will have an adverse impact when it comes to your hair. To combat stressful situations, you should be including a few things such as regular exercise, yoga, and head massages to keep your stress levels down and keep your locks silky and shiny.

Now that you know what you should be eating and what you should be avoiding, here are a few hair care tips you can use to improve how your gray hair looks.

Tip 7: Double Cleanse With Your Shampoo

First, make sure you are using shampoo for dry hair types. Use your shampoo twice, concentrating on your roots and not your ends. The first wash will clean your scalp while the second removes any build-up that remains on the hair follicles. While rinsing, the foam from the shampoo will cleanse the remainder of your hair.

Tip 8: Choose A Conditioner For Your Hair Type

Make sure you are using a conditioner that matches up to your hair texture and type. If for example, your hair is fine, avoid a heavy conditioner. If your hair is naturally coarse and thick, then choose a heavier product. It is also recommended to moisturize your hair twice. Leave the second application on for at least 5 minutes before your rinse.

When you apply your conditioner, start at the mid ends (avoid your roots) and use a comb to detangle or remove knots. Rinse your hair thoroughly before applying the conditioner again. Leave on for 5 to 10 minutes before you rinse again.

Tip 9: Use A Leave-In Conditioner For Your Ends

A leave-in conditioner will improve the moisture levels of your gray hair and improve shine. A leave-in conditioner will definitely make your gray hair feel silkier and softer.

Tip 10: Always Use A Heat Protector Before Styling Your Hair

If you use heat when styling your hair, the heat will dry your hair out, making it coarse and dull. In addition to your leave-in conditioner, invest in a heat shield for your hair to minimize or prevent damages.

Tip 11: Use A Moisturizing and Nurturing Mask

Regardless of whether you have gray, white, or salt and pepper hair, always use a mask on your hair after you have used a blue shampoo. These shampoos can dry your locks out, so make sure you use a mask directly after applying one of these products to protect your hair and to stop it from drying out.

Here is my list of the best hair masks for gray hair if you’d like to learn more about those.

Final Thoughts

Even though gray or white hair lacks color and pigmentation, it’s still healthy and will most likely respond well to common routines, a healthy eating plan, and the right products.

The same hormonal and genetic changes that cause your hair to start losing its pigmentation will also cause the oil-producing (sebaceous) glands to become a lot less productive. With less of these natural oils, gray hair can become frizzy, wiry, brittle, and dry. This is why it is recommended to treat gray hair in the same way as any person born with frizzy and dry hair.

We also recommend looking for products that are specifically formulated for either gray or dry hair. These are the products designed to maintain or add moisture to your hair which will help to reduce that wiry and dry texture.

Lastly, make sure you are following a healthy eating and include any supplements or vitamins that may be lacking in your diet.

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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