Hiya my silver haired friends! I thought it was time for a little gray hair update and a talk about texture.
Whether you're straight haired, curly or wavy, coarse or fine, everybody's hair needs a bit of TLC in the texture department, especially when going gray.
Have you heard it said too? That GRAY HAIR HAS A COARSER, MORE WILD TEXTURE?
I remember reading that for the first time and becoming very WORRIED!
Was my hair going to become a mop of wiry grays!? Would they stand up on top of my head, like I was touching one of those static electricity balls!? Would my hair be rough and not nice to the touch!?
These are all daunting questions, ON TOP of the stress of just plain old growing out you grays!
I am sooooooooo happy to tell you, that not only did my gray hair NOT grow in more coarse, it's MUCH softer and less frizzy than it has ever been in my adult life!
Everybody will have a different experience, just like everyone of us starts with different hair. I can't promise you, that you too will have as positive an experience as I have, BUT, there are many things you can do to protect and nourish your hair as you transition to gray. Often times, you end up taking better care of your newly gray hair than you ever did before, in turn giving you great texture!
Personally speaking, my hair has always been thick and a little on the more coarse side. So, any difference in texture in my gray hair has been less noticeable, if noticeable at all! Also, after years of coloring my hair, it was so dry and so frizzy, that once I stopped, my new hair growth was many times softer, smoother and hydrated. Cutting out the chemicals and becoming more aware of conditioning my hair, gave great results. Sometimes I can't believe the difference.
So, without further ado, here are my top four tips for helping your hair to be the softest, most manageable hair no matter what type you have!
Tip #1. Check back in, what kind of hair do you have now!?
Our first tip is pretty general and there's wiggle room in there, but it's a good guideline to start with. If your hair is curly, you're going to cause damage and frizz by a daily effort to straighten it! And vice versa, if your hair is straight, curling everyday with heat will eventually effect your texture. I suggest taking stock of what your current hair is like. You'd be surprised, sometimes your hair can change!
A great example of this is ME! I was slightly curly-haired as a kid. As I became older, my hair grew curlier and curlier. In my teens and 20's I had a great curls. After my son was born, the curl loosened, until it became more of a scraggle. This can happen for a variety of reason. Today, left untouched in the drying process, I'd say that I'm at the point of a nice wave.
I posted recently that I thought I should start embracing my natural curls again, to cut back on hair damage. And that's just what I did! But, I was surprised to find that coaxing my hair into curls was taking so much more effort than before, and the curls were half of what they used to be.
I had to stop and realize that: MY HAIR WAS NOT EXACTLY CURLY ANYMORE!!!!!
Isn't that strange? Because it's been so long since I tried to air dry and coax my curls, I failed to understand that the texture of my hair had changed! After lots of reading up on the subject and changing my hair care routine, I've come to find the best (and easiest) way to embrace my more wavy me. As an added bonus, my hair feels softer than even before!
(Here I am yesterday morning. Please ignore the puffy, tired eyes. My kitty passed away a few days ago and I have been sad. :( But, I wanted to show you that your grays can be soft and light, not coarse and wiry. My hair was air dried here.)
(This is another recent picture. This time it's the end of a long day, and my hair is a little less soft looking. I used a hair dryer that day because I was in a hurry. Usually a big No-No! But sometimes necessary. Depending on your type of hair it can really add a lot of frizz if not done correctly. )
The point is again, simply by taking stock in what your current hair is like, and then trying to work within your range of natural hair style, you'll be inflicting less damage on your hair, therefore giving it a much better chance at being healthy and soft.
Tip #2. For all you curly and wavy haired girls - LEARN about hair care for you hair type!
This is really huge. There is SO MUCH to learn about caring for your curls and waves. Our hair is ALREADY different because it's gray, but being curly adds another layer of complexity. It's a fun topic though, and easy too. It's worth looking into.
This is a very random, slightly odd picture of me, and what my curls used to look like a long, long time ago. All I remember is that Noah was a baby when I took this, and I was INCREDIBLY sleep deprived! Gosh, I look like a completely different person! Whaaaaaaaa. It's so sad! I don't want to look completely different! :(
I knew about the very famous, curly/wavy-haired only, expert salon in NYC called Davachan Salon. My SIL goes there and her hair is BEAUTIFUL! I also have a good friend named Brianne who is an AMAZING hairstylist and is trained and certified in the Deva cut. She transforms curly hair. Take a look at her page, she's located between Cincinnati and Dayton. She's also just a super, wonderful person! :)
You can find a Deva stylist in your area for a cut if you're so inclined. I was also told about this FANTASTIC BOOK:
Curly Girl: The Handbook! This was cute, a quick read, and full of helpful helpful tips. I learned about tossing out even my all-natural, organic shampoos, for conditioner only, or a non-sudsing "no-poo" alternative to help with moisture. It went in depth on how to wash your hair without breakage, and also the best ways to air dry! I learned about conditioning my hair and about styling products. It was very interesting.
So, bottom line, if your hair is anything but straight, know about the additional ways you can care for and style your hair. SUPER effective and fun!
Tip #3. It's ALL about theMOISTURE. Pick your products well!
No matter what your hair is like, we all need moisture in our hair, ESPECIALLY those with gray!
Gray hair can easily become dry and brittle. We need lots of conditioning. The trick is, is to condition our hair, but avoid heavy build-up, which can weigh our locks down and cause a yellow cast.
It's a balancing act. My own strategy is to use products free from stripping chemicals, that really pack a moisturizing punch. I try to find things that give the most softness, but feel the least heavy. When I start to see build-up, which just looks like a tinge of yellowing on my white hair, I use a blue tinted or clarifying shampoo and conditioner one or two times in a row. Here are two moisturizing products that I've recently found and highly recommend!
(Before I go further, I should clarify, I use Shikai's Color Reflect shampoo in platinum each time that I was my hair. And when it begins to look less silvery white and more yellow, I reluctantly use Clairol Shimmer Lights Shampoo and Condition one or two times. I hate the chemicals, but it works! Moderation and balance I decided.)
While I really really wanted to try the wonderful looking line of Deva products aimed at adding moisture to curly and wavy hair, they were quite expensive and I just didn't feel like committing yet. I had a gift card to Target, so I decided to start there to see if they had any curly hair products that were made without harsh ingredients. I ended up with
"smoothie" helps to smooth away frizz and hydrate. I've found that a little goes a long way. (Watch out though, too much can make your locks feel a bit heavy.) It smells nice too. Oh! And it is organic and full natural ingredients. Win-Win!
I have also been using their Coconut and Hibiscus Curl and Hold Conditioner. Like it's "smoothie" cousin, this wash out conditioner really helps. It keeps my hair feeling soft and manageable!
Tip #4. Heat is the enemy!!!!!!
I've mentioned before that I came into this whole exercise of "going gray", with the preconceived idea that in order to look good, grays needed to be sleek, smooth and straight. I was really wrong. I don't know why I even thought that. I think it had something to do with silver hair reflecting less light. Straight hair is usually more light reflecting than curly hair, so I put two and two together. I was incorrect though, with good care, you really can make any style of gray look just lovely. Straight or curly!
I think one of the most important things you can do to help keep your hair feeling soft instead of brittle, is to use as little heat styling as possible. This includes hair dryers, curling irons, flat irons and rollers. For me, this has been my biggest challenge! I've been blow drying my hair and using large rollers and flat irons to straighten my hair for a long time. Without them, I was left with a pouffy, frizzy mess! I thought that I couldn't live without their help.
Boy, was I wrong! And if your hair is anything like mine, I think you'll be surprised too! Ok, ready for the secret......... AIR DRYING!!!
By simply figuring out when I would have time to shower and air dry my hair, it made a HUGE difference. (A good trick if you can, is to take a shower at night, a few hours before bedtime.)
When you air dry, especially in conjunction with a nice, conditioning cream, and ESPECIALLY WITHOUT MESSING WITH YOUR HAIR, you end up with hair that has little frizz and breakage. I wish I knew the exact science, but I don't. All I know is, even when I use the dryer slowly with a round brush, I still end up with a more coarse look and frizz. Most importantly though, over time, heat really can damage your hair, and one of the best reasons to stop the hair dyes and go gray, is to cultivate healthier hair! Why work against things?
I understand that sometimes, you do need to use heated tools to achieve a nice look. I get it! So for me, what I've been doing lately, is starting with an air dry, and finishing up with just a bit of curl from a large barrel curling iron. The curling iron fixes any scraggly looking waves and helps my hairstyle look a tiny bit more finished. I was sure to find a curling iron that did not pull on my hair, and you can experiment to find out what the lowest heat setting is that will work for you. Moderation, that's all!
If you are able to cut out the hair dryer, that will make a great difference in your hair's texture. I also recommend trying out heat-free days! On days like these, I air dry and then gently clip my hair back with a cute barrette. It just gives your hair a chance to rest.
And there you have it! My top four tips for taking care of your gray hair's texture! I hope this was helpful!
A BIG thank you, thank you soooooooooo much to everyone who has stopped by to read along with my gray hair posts. It means so much to me. And, to all of you who have taken the time to leave AMAZING, supportive, caring comments. I could never have done this without you!
I'm so glad that we are able to help each other. :)
Until next time......