So… When Should I Let My Hair Go Gray?
Taking the plunge and embracing your natural gray hair is a personal decision. As a general rule, says Mike Liang, advanced colorist at Julien Farel Restore Salon & Spa in New York, it’s time to embrace your gray when you reach 80% non-pigmented or white hair. If your once-shiny locks start to feel drier, or more brittle and damaged, or you are experiencing more scalp irritation, it may be time to put the hair color aside.
10 Things That Happen When You Go Gray
1. Your Hair May Look Thinner
James Corbett, color director at Clairol, says that coloring your hair makes it look thicker for two reasons. One, hair dye swells the cuticle, giving each strand more volume. Secondly, hair dye creates the illusion of depth and light in hair, making it look like it has more body. So when you stop coloring your hair, you may see a decrease both in actual volume, and in the appearance of body and thickness.
2. You’ll Want to Consider a Hair Supplement
Taking hair growth supplements such as Viviscal Professional will help make your hair growth thicker and fuller, and it will reduce the shedding and the appearance of damage to hair. This makes thinning hair look healthier and more youthful. Most women will start to see thicker hair growth and less fallout after about three months on Viviscal supplements, but we recommend taking two pills a day for six months for best results.
3. Your Hair Might Have an Awkward Moment
As you know, growing out your hair can mean an awkward hair stage in between, while you’re waiting for your length to come in. Luckily, Corbett has recommendations to ease those awkward two to three weeks without having to go back to permanent hair color. Instead, color with a semi-permanent gloss or try subtle highlights to help make the line of color demarcation less noticeable in your hair and ease this transition overall. Or, if you prefer, add a few highlights only around your face. These will help brighten your look.
4. Your Texture Will Change
This texture change in hair is inevitable, for better or worse. Liang explains, “Depending on your natural hair texture, strands can become coarser or more fragile as you go gray. Hair color can be good for your hair texture, as the fatty lipids in it can mean less flyaways and frizz.” But Corbett counters this, “On the flip side, hair might feel better and stronger…” now as it recovers from the damage of hair color. If you find your hair is too dry and frizzy, try these fixes for healthy hair.
5. You’ll Need to Find the Right Products
As you go gray, you’ll need to find a shampoo and a conditioner that are deeply moisturizing. You should also reconsider your styling products. Corbett warns, “After you stop coloring, you may need to use pomade, mousse, or texturizing sprays to give hair more texture and body.”
6. Now’s the Time for a New Haircut
“When women embrace their natural shade,” says Corbett, “they often want a bolder or more sophisticated style to maintain a look that reflects their personality and this new chapter in their life.” Do not worry, ladies with long locks, you can have long hair after age 40. Go for a haircut with graduated layers cut close to the face, which will help soften angular cheekbones.
7. You’ll Want to Update Your Wardrobe
“Sometimes a change in hair color can mean rethinking your entire look,” Corbett explains. Hair color is a big part of our image and our personal style, especially if you’ve been rocking the a signature hair color for a long time. To recapture your sense of style, find a great statement necklace or a new fashion trend that helps you express yourself.
8. You’ll Want to Step Up Your Makeup
Bright hair color brightens your face and your skin tone. As you allow your hair to lose it’s bright color, you may want to respond by adding more color to your face, to reduce any dullness and make your features pop. This can mean using more makeup. Experiment with a bold eyeshadow, a non-black color of mascara or a bright lip. This will really enhance your natural features.
9. You’ll Save Money
Whether your colorist has been doing highlights, all-over hair color, or root-only color touch-ups — or even if you’ve been DIY’ing your color at home — downgrading to little or no hair color will save you a lot of money. (Think hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year.)
10. You Will Feel So Free
It can feel so liberating to quit hair color. Corbett notes that quitting hair color helps us “embrace a new ‘I’ve gone gray and I feel great’ attitude.”
So embrace your inner beauty and your natural gray hair color and you’ll save money, reboot your style statement, and feel so much freer!