One of the most common complaints about gray hair is that it tends to be drier, and therefore duller and more prone to frizz than the rest of your strands. To help explain why this happens and walk us through some solutions, we spoke with Jay Small, a celebrity hairstylist with over 20 years of experience and the founder of Arey, a haircare brand that specializes in grays.
First off, why is the texture of gray hair different?
“The hair is made up of three layers: the cuticle, cortex and medulla. The cuticle is the outermost layer and is composed of many overlapping pieces that are similar to the scales on a snake,” explains Small. “When a strand loses color, it also loses much of its mass or structure, which makes it more susceptible to the cuticle being disrupted, which then causes the overlapping layers to look and feel rough and frizzy,” he adds.
Got it, so what can we do about this?
“Grey hair needs to maintain moisture and flexibility to stay smooth,” advises Small. To accomplish both will require a three-step approach. Not to worry though; it’s not much more complicated than your existing routine.
Step 1: For starters, you want to make sure you’re using a gentle shampoo and a nourishing conditioner. Again, moisture is especially important for gray hair. In between washes, Small also recommends using a natural bristle hairbrush to “move the oils that naturally build up at the scalp to the ends, which can feel the driest.”
Step 2: Add a rich styling cream (if you have thicker or coarser strands) and/or a lightweight oil (if your hair is on the finer side) to your regimen. Apply it to damp, freshly washed strands and brush through so all of your hair is evenly covered.
Step 3: Once your hair has air-dried about 50 to 60 percent of the way, blow it out for an even smoother finish. Just make sure you point the nozzle of the dryer downward to help lay down any fuzzy strands.