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In the opinion of celebrity hairstylist Michael Duenas, a cultural shift has already occurred. “Gray hair is not necessarily a look,” he says. “It’s a mindset.” In other words, as long as you’re confident, you’ll rock it no matter what.
But how does gray hair happen, and how can you make the most of it? Experts weigh-in on how to transition your locks and make the most of your silver style.
Why Hair Changes
If you didn’t know, the graying process occurs in “almost everyone,” says Duenas. “As you age, the melanin is naturally reduced in the hair follicle and cells which produces a colorless hair” that manifests as gray. Duenas adds that age is the main factor in graying, but studies have shown that stress can exacerbate it.
The catch here is, not all natural grays are the same hue. Some people grow the envied silver look, while others reveal salt and pepper strands. Both are great, and what you like depends on personal taste. However, if you’re going for the icy platinum look, you’ll probably require a bit of salon maintenance as well as some tips and products to lean on at home.
How to Embrace and Style Your Gray Hair
As a disclaimer, your journey to gray will depend on your current hair color, length, texture, and your specific desires. But there are a few basic steps stylists tend to follow for a smooth transition.
1. Start with highlights (if you need them): “If you have artificially colored hair, I recommend lightening [it] with highlights over time to help the blending process,” says Duenas. “This will eliminate the grown out, heavy line of demarcation.”
2. Take a supplement: If you have dyed hair, a hair growth supplement like Viviscal, Roszak says, could help new grays reveal themselves faster while ensuring they’re healthy and ready for their closeup.
3. Try a purple shampoo: If you have blonde hair to blend or dingier grays that need brightened, a purple toning shampoo can help. Duenas recommends Aloxxi’s Violet Shampoo. “It has a very strong violet pigment that will help fight brassiness and make your gray the most beautiful it can be,” he says. “The brighter and prettier your gray is, the easier the grow-out process!” You can also see your hairstylist every six weeks or so to get a professional tone, Duenas adds.
4. Consider a cut: If you don’t feel like waiting for the grays to grow out, you can start over by getting a chop. “Sometimes there are years and years of color on the hair, starting fresh can be great,” says Roszak, adding that “a gray bob is very chic.” Aside from that, there’s no one style that suits gray best. Simply follow your heart and do what makes you feel the most fabulous.
5. Fight the frizz: The one downside to gray hair is that it tends to be coarse and frizzy, so conditioner should be your best friend. Duenas recommends Aloxxi’s Essential 7 Oil Treatment Conditioner. “It’s heavy in moisture but light in weight, perfect for keeping frizz at bay,” he says. Duenas also recommends shampooing one less time per week than B.G. (Before Gray) and using a heat protectant that adds some shine like Aloxxi’s Bombshell Shine Spray.
6. Fully commit: Letting go of your longtime hair color can be emotional, but it can also be exciting. “Processing the decision to go gray is important, as any big change is,” says Roszak. “Committing fully and embracing it is key.”
7. Have patience: Hair typically grows about a half-inch a month, per Duenas, so depending on how much help you get with highlights, the graying process can be semi-long. But don’t give up! Once you finally get there, the upkeep will be so much easier and the end result will be so worth it.
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