6 Hairdresser Secrets for Making Gray Hair Shine
It requires a much different routine than pigmented strands.
Gray hair is uniquely fabulous—but that's not to say it doesn't have its challenges. While your past hair-related woes may have been about mastering the trendiest hairstyles or finding your perfect color match, your current ones are likely about taming frizz, adding moisture, and refining your sparkling silver hue. And after a lifetime of learning the former, it's no surprise if you need help with the latter. To give you a hand, we asked expert hairstylists for their secrets for making gray hair shine. Soft and silky strands are ahead if you follow their tips.
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Use purple shampoo.
If you've colored your hair in the past, then you're likely familiar with colored shampoo. And now that you've gone gray, your needs may change. "The best shampoo to look for is a purple-colored shampoo," says Cindy Marcus, a professional hairstylist in Las Vegas and editor-in-chief of Latest Hairstyles. "The purple tones help to keep gray hair from yellowing and enable white hair to remain white and vibrant."
If you have overly coarse or frizzy hair, you'll want to alternate between a purple shampoo and a hydrating shampoo. "In doing this, you are adding needed moisture back into the hair along with eliminating brassy tones," says Marcus. The same routine can be done with a volumizing shampoo if more fullness is needed.
Choose a conditioner for your hair type.
While you'll want to choose a colored shampoo, your conditioner should match your hair's specific needs. "For someone with coarse textured hair, you would want to look for a conditioner that is hydrating or moisturizing," says Marcus. "Women with fine hair would benefit from a conditioner that provides fullness and volume." Ask your stylist if you need help deciding.
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Avoid over-washing and over-styling.
Now that you know how to wash your hair, it's important to know how often. Unfortunately, sudsing up several times a week can strip hair of the natural oils that are needed to keep it healthy and shiny. "For best results, it is advised to wash hair about once a week," says Marcus. Because this is a somewhat low frequency, Marcus suggests going to the salon once a week for a wash and blowout if you can. Adding a curl or two can help you maintain volume longer while going over the style with a flat iron can add a shiny effect, Marcus notes. The key here is that less is more.
Avoid heat damage.
Gray hair is more easily damaged by heat than hair that has not lost its pigment. Because of that, you'll want to be extra cautious when using hot tools. According to Teresa Romero, artistic and education director for Jose Luis Salon, this includes always using a heat protectant before using hot tools and using tools with a range of heat settings (and keeping the temperature low). You'll also want to move somewhat quickly. "Do not leave a hot tool on your hair for a long time," she says. "Pro tip: If the hair is too hot to touch with your finger, then it is too much heat for the hair."
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Get trims often.
Cody Renegar, an L.A.-based celebrity hairstylist whose clients include Gwyneth Paltrow and Marie Osmond, you'll want to trim gray hair frequently. "Gray hair is a tiny strand of microscopic bubbles when looked at under a microscope and those bubbles can easily fray and split on the ends causing the hair to actually break and frizz and become shorter," he says. "Keeping these ends nice and clean and crisp will keep the hair growing long and healthy." Most experts recommend trimming every eight to 10 weeks.
Don't be afraid to accessorize.
Now that your hair is trimmed, washed, and styled, it's time to have fun! Janine Jarman, the owner of L.A.'s Hairroin Salon and founder of Curl Cult, suggests fun barrettes, elastics, and claw clips. "Keep an eye out for gray-colored accessories," she says. "Although a bit hard to find, they look chic in the hair." Plus, they'll help you style your hair in a low-effort way as you inch toward your next wash.
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