Today at NaturAll Club, we’re tackling GREY HAIR: a concept that means maturity, dignity and power for some… and makes other people shudder. If you are starting to see grey hairs, don’t have any at all, or if you’re already rocking a grey crown, you probably still have some questions about grey hair. So let's learn a little more about it...
The grey hair journey starts with melanocytes, cells that live around the hair follicle and product melanin. You’ve probably heard of melanin- it 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 grey. While greying is affected by a range of factors including genetics, lifestyle, stress, and even ethnicity, the number one factor in greying 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 grey hairs will not follow the curl pattern you’re used to- they may be more or less curly than before.
Additionally, grey 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 grey strands more difficult to penetrate with color treatments.
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 grey hair, either to avoid the effects described above, or simply because they prefer the look of colored hair. But grey hair can be tricky, time consuming, and expensive to maintain colored and many women choose to embrace their greys. The choice is up to you! If you do choose to keep your grey hair, here are some tips for keeping it healthy.
- Be more careful with your hair than you’re used to. Grey hairs have reduced strength and elasticity, making them very easy to break. Be careful of over-styling or using too much heat, both of which will be more damaging than before. You can also try a protein treatments every 4 to 8 weeks.
- Moisture is more important than ever before! Grey hair tends to be more dry, so be diligent with conditions 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. Our Avocado Deep Conditioners are a great option, harnessing the power of fresh fruits to penetrate your hair strands with moisture.
- Avoid conditioners or hair products with silicones or mineral oil. Both of these chemicals coat your hair, weighing it down and making it more difficult for moisture to penetrate your hair.
- Avoid harsh shampoos and other chemicals that can dry out your hair. But don’t neglect to use a clarifying shampoo or apple cider vinegar rinse to remove mineral buildup in your hair- this can cause discoloration or yellowing of grey hair. Special shampoos for grey hair will help avoid discoloration from the shampoo itself.
- Take extra precautions to protect your hair from UV radiation. Wear hats or scarves if you know you’ll be out in the sun for a while.
- Grey hair can also look dull or less vibrant than it used to. Vitamin E Oil can help with shine! We especially recommend our Growth Serum, which features Vitamin E Oil and contains other natural oils to help keep your hair moisturized, strong, and shiny.
- 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.
- Figuring out your grey hair can be frustrating! 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 :-)
What are tricks you’ve learned to taking care of your grey hair, or questions you have about grey hair? Let us know in the comment section!