It’s always funny to me to hear myself say this out loud: “Growing out your grays is hard.” Because it’s not like you’re running a marathon or anything. You’re literally just existing! But it really is difficult, and of the many challenges one endures when growing out their grays (and there are indeed many!), I think one of the hardest is adjusting to the new texture.
My grays have a completely different texture than the rest of my hair. They’re coarser, rougher, bumpier… LOL. I wish you could see this weird little hand wave move I just did with my left hand when I said “bumpier.”
Oh, Karen, you’re such a weirdo. 😂
As I was saying, I call my grays my “ramen noodle hairs” because the wiriest of the bunch look like a block of dry, crispy dehydrated noodles.
So…what’s up with that? According to Jay Kushner, Senior Stylist and Director of Stylist Education at Joseph Cozza Salon in San Francisco, “The texture change when trying to embrace your natural gray hair can be a bit of a challenge for most people…it manages differently. As we age, a reduction of melanin (the pigment which puts color in hair) and sebum (the moisturizing oil secreted from the scalp) can contribute to the hair becoming more dry, coarse and wiry.”
To help you tame your hair’s texture, Jay recommends using an oil-based shampoo, conditioner and mask, as they usually work well because they’re moisturizing, softening and smoothing, and he likes Iles Formula Shampoo ($35), Conditioner ($41) and Mask ($67).
And for styling, he suggests sticking to cremes and oils, “which will soften and calm the texture even more,” and recommends steering clear of mousses, gels and beach salt sprays because they tend to make dry texture even drier.
Of course, what you should use ultimately depends on your individual hair and hair texture. About gray hair, Maya Lowe Batki, the stylist who did my big chop the other week, says that “It can get curlier. It can get straighter. It can get finer. Everybody’s gray is different, but texture change is a common thing.”
Maya recommends experimenting with different moisturizing products, and generally, when you’re applying them to your hair, try not get too close to your scalp, because that can lead to your hair looking and feeling heavy and weighed down.
So, over the past couple of weeks, I’ve upped the moisture considerably by alternating between using a moisturizing hair oil with an uber-hydrating leave-in conditioner (this silicone-free one by Kerastase has been my jam lately because it’s hydrating but isn’t heavy or greasy), which I use on damp hair after I get out of the shower.
I’ve also started using a specialty smoothing shampoo and conditioner combo — R+Co Bel Air ($28 each).
With the help of these tips and products, the crispy ramen noodle situation has improved, and my grays have been less cray-cray.
If you have gray hair, how do you deal with the texture? Do you have any tried-and-true suggestions? I’m always up for trying something new (’tis the beauty addict’s curse).
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,