The Cookbook


8 Crucial Tips For Healthy Gray Hair

Today at NaturAll, we’re tackling GRAY HAIR: a concept that means maturity, dignity and power for some… and makes other people shudder. If you are starting to see gray hairs, don’t have any at all, or if you already rock a gray crown, you probably still have some questions about gray hair. So here's a guide to learn a little more about it...

beautiful gray curly hair

The gray hair journey starts with melanocytes, cells that live around the hair follicle and produce melanin. Melanin, of course, is the natural pigment in skin and hair. The melanin produced by melanocytes disperses into the cortex of developing hair strands, and the structure and concentration of that melanin determines the color and shade of your hair.

With age and other causes, your melanocytes slow down, stop producing melanin, and eventually die. This happens in a few follicles first, and eventually throughout your hair, resulting in hair without any pigment. This is the process of going gray. While graying is affected by a range of factors including genetics, lifestyle, stress, and even ethnicity, the number one factor in graying is age.

But it’s not just the color and pigment of your hair that alters when you stop producing melanin- the structure and properties of your hair will also change. When melanocytes die, this can cause a slight change in the shape of the hair follicle. Since your curl pattern is determined by the shape of the follicle, you may notice gray hairs will not follow the curl pattern you’re used to- they may be more or less curly than before.

Additionally, gray hair strands can develop a medulla: a hollow core that makes those strands more wiry and unruly. The absence of melanin in the cortex can also lead to reduced elasticity and strength, and a tighter cuticle layer, making gray strands more difficult to penetrate with color treatments. Simultaneously though, this medulla can make your gray hairs more porous. If you're used to low porosity hair, you may be in for a change. (Not sure what porosity is? Learn more!)

Finally, melanin is a protectant from environmental damage. With the loss of melanin, your hair will become more vulnerable to UV rays, and you’ll be more likely to experience broken hair, split ends, frizz, tangling, cuticle damage, and even yellowing.

Many women opt to color their gray hair, either to avoid the effects described above, or simply because they prefer the look of colored hair. But gray hair can be tricky, time consuming, and expensive to maintain colored and many women choose to embrace their grays. The choice is up to you! If you want to color your hair, check out this guide to dyeing your natural hair. But if you do choose to keep your gray hair, here are some tips for keeping it healthy!

natural grey wash n go

1. Be more careful with your hair than you’re used to.

Gray hairs have reduced strength and elasticity, making them very breakable. Be careful of over-styling or using too much heat, both of which will be more damaging than before.

If your hair feels especially weak or brittle, try a protein treatment every 4 to 8 weeks. Protein treatments can help strengthen your hair and improve elasticity.

2. Moisture is more important than ever before!

Grey hair tends to be more dry, so be diligent with conditioners and moisturizers. Always use oils to seal in moisture, use a daily leave-in conditioner, and if you’re still struggling with dryness, deep condition more often- even up to once a week.

We recommend NaturAll's Hydrating Avocado Kiwi Line which includes a conditioner, leave-in conditioner, moisturizer, deep conditioner, and oil. Avocado is known for its moisturizing properties, and we've formulated these products specifically to hydrate and moisturize dry hair. 

white natural hair

3. Avoid conditioners or hair products with mineral oil.

Mineral oil coats your hair, weighing it down and making it more difficult for moisture to penetrate your gray hair. Mineral oil is important to avoid, but there are other ingredients you should avoid in hair products. Always read the label and check out this list of ingredients to avoid in hair products.

4. Avoid harsh shampoos and other chemicals that can dry out your hair.

Not only can shampoo dry out gray hair that is already vulnerable to dryness, but shampoos with sulfates can actually cause discoloration of gray hair! But don’t eliminate shampoo completely. You still need to use a clarifying shampoo to remove mineral buildup in your hair. That mineral buildup can actually be the cause of discoloration or yellowing of gray hair. Try this hydrating, sulfate-free, and natural shampoo option or learn more about how to select a shampoo and wash routine.

5. Take extra precautions to protect your hair from UV radiation.

UV radiation is always a risk to natural hair, but it can be especially damaging to grey hair. Wear hats or scarves if you know you’ll be out in the sun for a while.

6. Gray hair can look dull or less vibrant than it used to. Vitamin E Oil can help with shine!

If your gray hair is lacking vibrancy, try our Jamaican Black Castor Oils and Deep Conditioner, which feature Vitamin E Oil and contains other natural oils to help keep your hair moisturized, strong, and shiny.

grey natural twa

7. A healthy body is the key to healthy hair.

Be sure to exercise regularly and fill your diet with nutrients, protein, and water, which will ensure your hair gets everything it needs to grow. Not sure where to start? Learn more about foods to eat for healthy hair.

8. Figuring out your gray hair can be challenging!

The new texture and pattern of your hair can make your go-to styles difficult, and if you’ve been using the same tried and true regimen for years, you may need to start over and create a completely new regimen for your changing hair. Be patient with your hair and yourself, and treat this challenge as a new journey and adventure :-)

fabulous grey afro

What are tricks you’ve learned to taking care of your gray hair, or questions you have about gray hair? Let us know in the comment section!

At NaturAll, we create and elevate clean haircare and beauty standards, providing freshly-made products that are better for you and your hair. Sourced from small farmers in Jamaica and Ghana. We source ingredients directly from small farmers in Jamaica and Ghana, so we always know how our ingredients are sourced and exactly who is being supported by our business. We are proud to support Black farmers and small businesses around the world. We believe that what goes on your body is as important as what goes in it. Too many hair products are made with synthetic ingredients that are irritating, damaging, or even hazardous, and the problem is worse in hair products marketed to Black women.

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