Whether you are starting to see grey hairs, don’t have any at all, or if you already rock a grey crown of curly, you probably still have some questions about grey hair. You’re in the right spot! Today we’re talking all about rocking your naturally grey curls!
…In case you didn’t know, the grey hair journey starts with melanocytes, cells that live around the hair follicle and produce melanin. You’ve probably heard of melanin – it is the natural pigment in skin and hair. The melanin produced by melanocytes disperses into the cortex of developing hair strands, and the structure and concentration of that melanin determines the color and shade of your hair.
With age and other causes, your melanocytes slow down, stop producing melanin, and eventually die- this happens in a few follicles first, and eventually throughout your hair, resulting in hair without any pigment. This is the process of going grey. While greying is affected by a range of factors including genetics, lifestyle, stress, and even ethnicity, the number one factor in greying is age!
But it’s not just the color and pigment of your hair that alters when you stop producing melanin – the structure and properties of your hair will also change. When melanocytes die, this can cause a slight change in the shape of the hair follicle. Since your curl pattern is determined by the shape of the follicle, you may notice grey hairs will not follow the curl pattern you’re used to- they may be more or less curly than before.
Additionally, grey hair strands can develop a medulla: a hollow core that makes those strands more wiry and unruly (you learn something new everyday, right!?) The absence of melanin in the cortex can also lead to reduced elasticity and strength, and a tighter cuticle layer, making grey strands more difficult to penetrate with color treatments.
Finally, melanin is a protectant from environmental damage. With the loss of melanin, your hair will become more vulnerable to UV rays, and you’ll be more likely to experience broken hair, split ends, frizz, tangling, cuticle damage, and even yellowing.
Many women choose to embrace their grays (and we love it) and If you do choose to keep your grey hair, here are some tips for keeping it healthy!
- Be more careful with your hair than you’re used to. Grey hairs have reduced strength and elasticity, making them very easy to break – but be careful of over-styling or using too much heat
- Moisture is more important than ever before! Grey hair tends to be more dry, so be diligent with conditions and moisturizers. Always use oils to seal in moisture, use a daily leave-in conditioner like our curl rescue leave in conditioner or our weekly mask treatment crown deep conditioning mask .
- Avoid harsh shampoos and other chemicals that can dry out your hair. But don’t neglect to use a moisturizing sulfate free duo like our sulfate and paraben free keratin rich conditioner and hydrating shampoo!
- Take extra precautions to protect your hair from UV radiation. Wear hats or scarves if you know you’ll be out in the sun for a while. Or use our Party Curl Cocktail Spray!
- Figuring out your grey hair can be frustrating! The new texture and pattern of your hair can make your go-to styles difficult, and if you’ve been using the same tried and true regimen for years, you may need to start over and create a completely new regimen for your changing hair. Be patient with your hair and yourself, and treat this challenge as a new journey and adventure 🙂 – oh, and rock those gray curls, girl!