Ready to fully embrace your gray hair? You are in great company! Gray hair is a magnificent manifestation of the beauty that accompanies the passage of time. It showcases sophistication, individuality, and self-assurance, serving as a reminder that true beauty lies in embracing your authentic self, at any age. Choosing to embrace your gray hair is an act of self-love and confidence. It breaks free from societal norms and beauty standards that often associate youth with desirability. By accepting and appreciating the gray strands that grace your head, you send a powerful message to others and yourself – that beauty transcends age.
Why Does Our Hair Go Gray?
Most of us are aware that our hair is most likely going to turn gray as we get older, but what does age have to do with hair color? According to the Cleveland Clinic, gray hair is essentially hair with reduced melanin. Melanin is a dark brown or black pigment occurring in the skin, hair, and iris of the eye in people and animals. As you grow older, there is a gradual decline in the number of stem cells that mature to become melanin-producing cells.
However, it’s important to note that gray hair can occur at any age, and its onset can be influenced by various factors. Some people may experience premature graying, where their hair starts turning gray or white earlier than expected. This can be influenced by genetics, stress, certain medical conditions, or lifestyle factors.
Additionally, some individuals may choose to dye their hair gray or silver as a fashion statement or personal style choice. This intentional coloring allows people of any age to embrace the beauty of gray hair, regardless of their natural hair color.
What Factors Affect the Development of Gray Hair?
Aside from age, there are a few factors that determine if you are more likely to go full on gray or start getting strands of gray hair at a younger age. Like your eye color or body type, one way to gauge how your hair will look when you’re older is by taking a look at your parents and their genetics. Smoking is another major contributor to going gray at an earlier age. The nicotine and tobacco present in cigarettes and cigarette smoke constricts blood vessels; which in turn, reduces blood flow to hair follicles, resulting in hair loss and premature hair graying. Having a thyroid condition may also affect your likelihood of developing gray hair earlier, as an overactive or underactive thyroid gland may impair melanin production.
There are quite a few films and cartoons that portray a person going gray overnight as a result of stress. While it might literally not happen overnight, according to The National Institutes of Health, stress may factor into the early development of gray hair. As we explained earlier, hair color is determined by the amount of melanin, the pigment-producing cells are called melanocytes, which are made from melanocyte stem cells that live in the hair follicle at the base of the hair strand. Some studies show that stress causes the release of the chemical norepinephrine into the follicle, causing the melanocyte stem cells to rapidly turn into pigment cells and move out of the hair follicles. Without stem cells left over to create new pigment cells, the new hair will turn gray or white. However, this chemical is not released by your everyday stress, so you don’t need to worry about going gray from simple everyday stressors.
I Have Gray Hair, Now What?
Once your hair goes gray, there is no going back. One option is to dye your hair on a regular basis. This can be costly if you go to a salon and can also be time consuming based on how much hair you have and the frequency in which you need to go. Colored hair often gets very damaged and spending money on treatments and moisturizing products becomes a pricey affair.
The second option is to embrace this change and rock the natural silver fox look. (Which we LOVE!) With the right products and styling, a gray head of hair can look modern, fresh and chic.
Keep Your Gray Hair Gorgeous
As you grow older, the color of your hair isn’t the only thing that changes. As you age, the ability to produce sebum also diminishes, which results in the hair feeling more coarse and dry. It is important to use products that will keep your silvery locks nice and moisturized to compensate for the loss of sebum production. When you wash your hair, it’s important to use a shampoo and conditioner that has hydrating ingredients like argan oil, such as the Argan & Macadamia Revitalizing Shampoo ($6.99) and Deep Leave-In Conditioner ($8.99) to keep your hair moisturized and soft to the touch. And just like blond hair, gray hair has the tendency to develop a yellowish tint so it is important to use products to counterbalance that. Redken Color Extend Graydiant Conditioner ($25) helps to remove yellowish undertones and contains lactic acid to add strength.
Styling Tips For Gray Hair
In addition to great products, here are a few styling tips you can use to keep your gray locks less granny and more gorgeous.As influencer and gray hair embracer Jin Cruce points out, as we get older we tend to get settled into a certain style of how we like our hair to look, so it’s important and fun to play around with different ways to part your hair to switch things up.
Fellow silver fox Tennille Murphy, an interior designer and lifestyle blogger with some of the best curls we’ve seen, advises (we) throw your fears of growing gray away. Going gray doesn’t take away from how fabulous you are. That’s far from the truth!
Demystifying Gray Hair Myths
Myth 2: Stress causes gray hair. Truth: While stress is often blamed for causing gray hair, there is limited scientific evidence to support this claim. Graying hair is primarily determined by genetics and natural aging processes. However, in some rare cases, extreme stress or traumatic events may trigger a condition called “telogen effluvium,” which leads to temporary hair shedding.
Myth 3: Gray hair is coarser and thicker than pigmented hair. Truth: Gray hair is not inherently coarser or thicker than pigmented hair. The texture of hair is determined by various factors, such as genetics and individual differences. Some people may notice changes in hair texture as they age, but this is not directly related to the presence of gray hair.
Myth 4: Gray hair can be reversed or restored to its original color. Truth: Once hair turns gray, it is not possible to reverse the graying process or restore it to its original color naturally. Hair dyes or color treatments are commonly used to cover or change the appearance of gray hair. However, these methods are temporary and require regular maintenance.
Myth 5: Gray hair signifies poor health. Truth: Gray hair is a natural part of the aging process and does not necessarily indicate poor health. The graying of hair is primarily influenced by genetics, and premature graying can occur due to certain medical conditions or vitamin deficiencies. However, in most cases, gray hair is simply a result of aging and does not reflect a person’s overall health status.