Are you going gray and wondering what in the world to do with your newly grown out, differently textured hair? Does your haircare routine need to change? What tips should you start listening to? I’ve laid out the top 6 things I do differently now that I have gray hair. Keep reading to find out how to add them to your routine.
This post is partially sponsored by EVOLVh, an ethical haircare line that meets ECOCERT requirements, COSMOS requirements, is Soils Association Approved, NaTrue Approved and Global Approved. As always, This Organic Girl only works with brands who we trust are making the world a better place.
By: Lisa Fennessy
IN THIS POST:
- I use a heat protectant and a hair SPF
- Always wear a hat
- Use a purple shampoo
- I’ve adjusted my brow makeup
- I try to use less heat on my hair
- I talk to myself differently
I can pretty much classify my life into two sections: BG and AG (before gray hair and after gray hair). BG involved a lot of hair dye appointments and at home attempts to dye my hair. My color story has ranged from almost red hair to super dark hair to chunky highlights and “just a few” face-framing highlights. I’ve also played with length, bangs, soft waves, crunchy waves, perms, crimpers, all the hairsprays, Sun In…and on and on.
But a lot of that has changed now that I stopped dyeing my hair. Most of these changes stem from the fact that gray hair has different needs than dyed hair. Here are 6 things I do differently now that I have gray hair—I think some will surprise you.
1. I use a heat protectant and a hair SPF
If you have gray hair, you might have noticed it turning yellow or brassy in some sections. There is a reason for that! And guess what—it’s avoidable.
Research has demonstrated that UV turns proteins in gray hair yellow. Why? Melanin in hair normally prevents hair from yellowing but gray and silver hair have little to no melanin content to prevent this.
So what can we do about it? A couple of things. One of them is to use a heat protectant. Another way is to use a hair SPF.
Luckly, I’ve found a two-in-one (which should really be called a 10-in-1 because it does so much more than just protect against heat and UV—but I’m getting ahead of myself).
RELATED: Do you need a hair SPF? Yes—and this is the best SPF for all hair types.
EVOLVh’s SuperFinish Polishing Balm is a gel serum you apply to your hair before drying or air drying. I first fell in love with this product because it’s weightless and textureless and doesn’t weigh my hair down AT ALL. Then I fell in love all over again because not only does it protect against heat and UV but it also smooths, adds shine, detangles, defrizzes, hydrates and helps to prevent breakage. Basically everything us gray-haired ladies need, amirite?!
If you’ve been looking for your holy grail gray hair product, this is it. EVOLVh’s SuperFinish Polishing Balm is basically better than all the seasons of Outlander combined.
RELATED: Get my FULL review of EVOLVh’s SuperFinish Polishing balm here.
SAVE: Code NEWKNEW15 will save you 15% on your first order at EVOLVh!
2. Always wear a hat
Nine times out of ten, I’m wearing a hat when I leave the house to help protect my gray hair from the elements.
Jenn Jones, master colorist and owner of Creature Studio in Atlanta explains, “Light colored hair like shades of blonde and gray are more susceptible to becoming discolored due to a number of factors like heat styling, medications, product buildup, sun, salt, chlorine and environmental pollutants.”
I have this visual of my Nan and Grandad’s house when they moved. They were lifelong smokers and when they took the picture frames off the wall to pack up, there was a white square where each frame used to be because the walls had yellowed SO MUCH from all the cigarette smoke. I picture that translated into sun and environmental pollutant exposures to my grays and throwing a hat on is a simple way to block it from happening in the first place.
I’m loving this one and this one right now.
3. Use a purple shampoo
But I also know that heat and sun and other exposures will happen no matter what, so when my hair starts to look a little dingy or brassy, I hit it with a purple shampoo.
Purple shampoos are called “purple shampoo” because they are actually PURPLE. Jenn Jones adds, “It’s basic color theory. Purple and yellow are complementary colors. That means when put together, they neutralize each other. These shampoos are going to get rid of unwanted yellow or ‘brassy’ tones in light shades of hair so the hair is left brighter.”
Generally speaking I use a purple shampoo and conditioner about once a week. These are my top picks.
4. I’ve adjusted my brow makeup
Maybe this sounds a little too nitpicky, but hear me out! Most people have hair on their head in several places. Let’s count them: the top of your head, your brows, your eyelashes and maybe some facial hair. And, generically speaking, you want all of that hair to complement itself in color.
For example, when I was dyeing my hair almost red, I used a brown brow pencil for my brows that had red undertones. Now that my hair has ZERO warmth to it, I’ve switched to shades of black and gray. I’ve always worn black mascara so that still works, but now I use either black or dark gray brow filler too and it looks great!
These are some of my top brow product picks for gray hair.
5. I try to use less heat on my hair
I say “try” because I know heat can turn gray hair brassy or yellow-ish, but I do love a good blowout and a flat iron…and a curling iron, lol. Sigh. One thing I have going for me is I do wash my hair less now that my hair is gray. I think overall, my strands are a little drier and my scalp is not as oily as it used to be, so really we are only talking about heat treatments a couple times a week. (When I was in college, I used to wash and blow dry my hair DAILY so progress over perfection, right?)
RELATED: THIS is my favorite hair dryer—yeah it’s $400, and yeah, it’s maybe not worth it.
6. I talk to myself differently
This is a beast of a topic, but really what it boils down to is that I used to body shame myself. I never really thought about it as body shaming, but that’s exactly what it was. My roots would come in and I would do deep internal eyerolls at myself. My self talk sounded like, “I hate my roots” and “Ugh, my f*cking hair.” I would even position myself in a crowd so people didn’t have a direct sightline to my roots—like I would stand up if everyone else was sitting down. It was a whole thing.
Except I didn’t know it was a whole thing until I stopped talking to myself that way and started experiencing positive self-talk like, “My face looks brighter with my gray hair” and “Wow, I never think about my roots anymore” and “DANG! I LOOK GOOD!” lol. True story!
Now, I can’t stop talking about the benefits of going gray. And I feel better about myself overall.
What do you do differently now that you have gray hair?
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CynthiaMay 31, 2022
Thank you for the tips. I really enjoy reading your posts. Did you change the colors your wear after going gray? I’m trying to figure out what colors work for me now. Do you have a post on the colors that work best for salt and pepper hair?
Lisa FennessyJuly 5, 2022
Hi Cynthia! I never thought I could wear pink but now that I have gray hair I love wearing pink. Same with pink lipstick. That’s the only difference I noticed. Still love wearing white and black which I think is unaffected by hair color ; ) xo, Lisa
Carol DavoliSeptember 10, 2022
Do you use a shower filter and if so what brand? Thanks!
Lisa FennessySeptember 19, 2022
Hi Carol, yes! My husband bought and installed them. Aqua something which I know does not help. I’ll ask him and get back to you! xo, Lisa
BethNovember 9, 2022
Thank you for introducing me to the Evolvh line! During my transition, I cut my long hair into a pixie at 4 months and went straight from Grey Hair Grow Out to Pixie Grow Out. Over the last 21 months I have spent a small fortune searching for products that work for me and recently tried Evolvh. I think my search is over. Forever grateful for the information and recommendation!
Lisa FennessyNovember 11, 2022
AMAZING! Have you tried their SuperFinish Polishing Balm Beth???
BethNovember 11, 2022
Yes! I originally tried the SuperFinish Polishing Balm and loved it, so I purchased a travel set of the UltraShine line to test before committing to the liter bundle. It is fantastic! I can easily go 3 days between washes and my hair is bright and shiny. The Josh Rosebrook hairspray is next on my list to try.