Gray Hair or Mature Hair

How to Take Care of Gray Hair?

Gray hair is popular today! Many people fully embrace this mark of maturity. Even younger individuals are rushing to use white hair dyes to mimic older adults. How can you maintain gray hair? What treatments should you use to enhance it? Let's dive into a hair trend that exudes elegance and maturity.

Why Does Hair Turn Gray? Melanin at the Center of the Process

Before we provide you with some tips to enhance your gray hair, we need to understand the process that leads to this inevitable discoloration. Under our skin are melanocytes. These are cells that produce melanin, a colored pigment responsible for the color of our skin and hair. The more melanin these cells produce, the darker the skin and hair.

Each individual has a supply of melanin that is not endless. Once this supply is depleted, melanin gradually stops being secreted, and hair begins to lose its color at the root. It's a more or less lengthy process, depending on the individual. Its scientific name is "canities."

Gray or White Hair, Is There a Difference?

We sometimes describe them as gray and other times as white, but is there really a difference? In reality, no, all hair turns white. This grayish tone is actually just an optical effect due to a blend of white highlights and pigmented highlights.

Factors That Accelerate Graying

Like many aging-related phenomena, not everyone is equal when it comes to the appearance of gray hair. In fact, some people will discover their first gray hairs before the age of 30, while others will always have a natural shade even after the age of 40. Why such inequality?

Several factors will influence the early onset or not of gray hair:

  • Heredity: If your parents experienced early graying, it's likely to happen to you too.
  • Tobacco: Smoking plays a role in premature skin aging and, consequently, the quality of hair.
  • Health: More rarely, certain health disorders can accelerate the appearance of gray hair, such as a thyroid disorder or vitamin B12 deficiency (associated with anemia).
  • Stress: Can stress be the cause of premature gray hair? This question has been debated in the scientific world for a long time, but recent research published in the journal "Nature" in January 2020 suggests that a period of intense stress can indeed lead to premature gray hair.

Characteristics of Gray Hair

Once it has turned gray, hair has a different texture than hair that still benefits from a supply of melanin. It's drier, less manageable (more split ends), and more fragile.

How to Maintain Gray Hair

Here are five recommended practices:

  1. Use a Silver Shampoo: Why do gray hairs sometimes take on a yellowish appearance? While healthy hair is rich in amino acids, gray hair gradually loses the benefits of this molecule, which deteriorates and turns yellow with age. Gray hair also becomes more sensitive to heat, especially to sunlight, which can further enhance the yellowing effect. To limit this effect, we recommend using a specific shampoo. This type of shampoo contains purple or blue pigments that neutralize the yellow color. In terms of frequency of use, it's not necessary to use it every time you wash your hair. It's preferable to alternate it with a gentle cleansing treatment.
  2. Use Suitable Shampoos: For the maintenance of gray hair, it's important to adapt the shampoo. However, remember that it's not necessary to clean the scalp every day. Excessive shampooing is harmful to the hair fiber, regardless of hair type. This observation is even truer for gray hair, already weakened by the lack of melanin to protect it. Moreover, spacing out shampoos has another benefit. It stimulates the production of sebum (which also decreases with aging). This substance plays a fundamental role in hair hydration.
  3. Moisturize: Gray hair is often dry. Therefore, hydration is essential to restore the flexibility of the hair fiber and protect it from environmental aggressions. As mentioned earlier, reducing the frequency of shampoos is a good practice. At the same time, it's also recommended to apply a hydrating care product rich in keratin (mask, conditioner) once a week to provide maximum nourishment to gray hair.
  4. A Good Haircut: Long hair is beautiful, but it also needs to be well-maintained, flexible, and full of vitality. Gray hair requires even more attention. That's why adopting a medium or short haircut is an idea worth exploring. Several reasons for a medium or short haircut include ease of maintenance, a modern appearance, and reduced split ends, as they require more regular visits to the hairdresser. If you still want to maintain the length, don't hesitate to visit the hairdresser regularly to trim the ends. This is sufficient to give a boost to the hair fiber.
  5. The Trick to Concealing Gray Hair: When the first white strands appear, the reflex is often to rush to your hairdresser for coloring. While this trick may work for a while, you should know that hair dyes are particularly harsh on the hair fiber. Additionally, they need to be done regularly to avoid the root effect. If your hairstyle is starting to sprinkle with gray hairs, why not give them some highlights? This is a way to go through this transition smoothly and limit the damage caused by excessive coloring. In fact, only a few strands will be colored.

Gray hair is inevitable, but it doesn't have to mean neglect. Thanks to an adapted hair routine, it's very possible to make your gray hair a true beauty asset.

The three main points to remember about gray hair:

  • Gray hair is a mark of age, but it can also be accelerated by other factors such as stress, certain illnesses, or smoking.
  • Gray hair is the result of a reduction in melanin production, which occurs with age.
  • Gray hair can tend to turn yellow. To avoid this phenomenon, using a suitable shampoo is the first step to take.

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