You don’t mind that your hair is turning grey, but now you’re wondering how to wash gray hair. Of course, that’s in stark contrast to how most men and women think of grey hair. Everyone talks about how to cover or color gray (grey) hair; but, how about learing why hair turns gray; how to wash gray (grey) hair, taking care of it and embracing it-even…gasp!…wearing it well and making it look good?
Why Hair Turns Gray (Grey)
But before getting into how to wash grey hair, why hair turns gray has been a much researched and debated topic for some time now; and perhaps you’re wondering why it turns grey, too. What we have known for some time now about why hair turns grey is that the hair has lost much of its melanin.
Melainin is what gives hair its color. The more melanin, the darker hair is. Once the melanocytes, which are the cells at the hair root that produce the pigment melanin, start dying and stop producing melanin, hair greys. Hair turns white once melanin ceases to exist altogether in the hair.
Hydrogen Peroxide, Stress and Grey Hair
According to a recent article in the New York Times, “Well-Unlocking the Secrets of Gray Hair,” the writer, Tara Parker-Pope, deduced from the most current knowledge in the scientific community that grey hair is hair that is essentially “bleached from the inside out.” According to scientists, hydrogen peroxide plays a big role in why our hair turns grey.
Is stress a factor in turning hair gray? Some say it is, some say it isn’t. Determining if stress is actually a factor is a much more difficult factor to quantify and qualify than genetics, and so forth.
Yet, in the same NY Times article, Dr. Gerald Weissmann, researh professor at the NYU School of Medicine, was quoted, essentially saying because of the better understanding of how hydrogen peroxide plays such prominent part in the greying process, scientists are that much closer to identifying if stress contributes to grey hair.
How to Wash Grey Hair (Brushing It)
Besides trying to forget that you actually have gray hair, again, if you’re like most everyone when it comes to grey hair, there’s really nothing to learning how to wash gray hair.
Gray hair has more cuticle layers than hair that hasn’t grayed or whitened yet. That means you need to spend more time with it when washing it, brushing or combing it, and taking care of it.
Grey hair is generally coarser and thicker than hair that isn’t grey. That means it combs or brushes differently than when it had a different (natural) color to it.
Speaking of brushing grey hair, that’s what you will want to do when washing it: brush it. Even if you’re not used to combing or brushing your hair while in the shower, if you have grey hair now and you want to really take care of it, you’re going to have to get used to the idea that you need to really work the shampoo into its more numerous cuticle layers by brushing it deep into the grey hair.
How to Wash Grey Hair (Shampoo Selection and Use)
Purple-based shampoos are best for grey hair, since the ingredients therein help to shine grey hair and neutralize brassy tones, so use them. Aveda has a good purple-colored grey hair shampoo.
Regularly use a hydrating shampoo. This is because grey hair can tend to need more hydration. Monitor how your hair is doing in this regard and act accordingly.
Do not use a protein-building shampoo, according to Amelia Smith in her video, “How to Choose Shampoo for Grey Hair.”
Use a clarifying shampoo. This is to eliminate unwanted buildup in the hair, to which grey hair with its more numerous cuticle layers can be more susceptible.
Spend more time washing shampoo into grey hair, again, because it usually has more cuticle layers than hair that isn’t gray.
If you can make it possible, wash and rinse your hair with the purest water you can make available. All sorts of chemicals are in tap water. Pure water will only help, not hurt, your hair.
There you have it in short form: How to wash grey (gray) hair and why hair turns grey.
Amelia Smith, eHow, How to Choose Shampoo for Gray Hair
Tara Parker-Pope, New York Times, Well-Unlocking the Secrets of Gray Hair