Sleeping With This Can Soften Your Gray Hair, Experts Say
This is the one thing you need to combat dry and coarse locks.
Gray hair is one of the most visible signs of aging, but you may find that one of the hardest things to accept is not your new hue, but how your gray hair feels. As chic as gray hair can be, the texture is not one you'll be used to, and you may have to work a little harder to take care of it. Why shouldn't you have luscious locks like Andie MacDowell's or gray hair as enviable as George Clooney's? As it turns out, there's one easy change that will soften your gray hair in no time—and you can do it in your sleep. Read on to find out what you may want to invest in.
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Hair will naturally become drier as it grays.
Gray hair is a natural part of getting older. According to Reid Maclellan, MD, the founder of Cortina and an adjunct professor at Harvard Medical School, it all boils down to the pigment cells found in our hair follicles, which produce the color of our hair. "As you age, the pigment cells in your hair slowly start to die and that is what causes people to start developing gray hair," he explains. "Your hair is producing less pigment as you age and in turn, you have gray hair."
At the same time, your hair will likely begin getting drier, because when your hair follicles lose their pigment cells, they also produce less sebum, Maclellan tells Best Life. "Sebum is the natural oil that hair produces," he explains. "Since less sebum is being produced, your hair might feel more coarse."
Sleeping with one thing can help to combat this.
You can embrace your gray hair without accepting its new texture. Gwenda Harmon, an experienced hairstylist and a beauty expert at Power Your Curls, says that sleeping on a satin pillowcase can help make gray hair feel and look softer.
According to Harmon, sebum covers each strand of your hair to help keep it moisturized, but when you produce less of this protective oil as you get older, it's important to hang on to as much as you can. "When you sleep on a cotton pillowcase, this oil is absorbed by the fabric. This can lead to your hair feeling dry and brittle," she explains. "Satin, on the other hand, is much smoother and less absorbent than cotton."
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Softening your gray hair can make it look better and be healthier.
This is not all about looks: Softening your gray hair will also "help make it healthier," according to Maclellan. As Harmon further explains to Best Life, drier hair is more susceptible to damage, like split ends. Maintaining moisture can help counteract this. "Satin pillows are often used by those with graying hair as they help to prevent breakage and static, keep hair moisturized, and reduce frizz," she says.
Of course, there are other benefits, and that includes the overall appearance of your hair. "Softening it can help make it more manageable and easier to style," Harmon says. "Gray hair also often looks a bit dull and lifeless and softening it can help it to look shinier and more vibrant."
There are other ways you can fight the dryness.
Switching to a satin pillowcase is something that can "easily be worked into your daily routine," Maclellan says, but it's hardly the only way you can soften your gray hair. Maclellan recommends that older adults use a hydrating hair mask, as well as make sure they're using a good conditioner to combat the dryness of their grays.
Harmon also tells Best Life that it's important for people with gray hair to pay attention to the everyday products they're using. "Use a color-safe shampoo and conditioner. Look for products that are specifically designed for gray hair, as they will help to keep your hair looking shiny and healthy," she says. "Finally, make sure you are getting enough protein in your diet, as protein is essential for healthy hair growth."