By Andi Douglas, nwaMotherlode beauty editor and mama of 3
This post may or may not be based on real life traumatizing events, but I will say I HATE gray hairs, they are completely ridiculous and should not be a thing, and I need to know to whom I can write a letter to about this.
I was under the impression that my existing hair would just start to grow in gray and I would have roots and I would dye those roots and the world would continue to turn. I did not expect for my gray hairs to arrive as new growth springing from the top of my head like a curly antennae that doesn’t even get good reception.
Now, don’t get me wrong: Going gray naturally and embracing the new hue is awesome. We’re living in a wonderful time where twenty-somethings are dying their hair gray for fashion, grandmas are wearing bikinis and you can wear leggings everywhere… praise! I just don’t happen to think gray hair would look good on me. I also don’t think dark brown hair looks good on me, which is why I get highlights. Once I have enough gray for it to be considered my natural hair color, I will definitely revisit this, but until then I’m going to discuss the best way to cover the gray I do have.
I was optimistically hoping to find a magic supplement or vitamin that would help delay the inevitable, but sadly how much gray you have primarily comes from genetics, although B12 and a healthy diet are both recommended for at least a little slow-down in the graying process. Throughout our lives, our hair produces some hydrogen peroxide, but as we age our bodies are unable to break down the cells as efficiently, which causes the hydrogen peroxide to bleach the hair gray.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work the same way as applying peroxide straight to your hair, or we would all look like Gwen Stefani by the time we were 80 and that would be b-a-n-a-n-a-s.
Quick myth buster: Plucking a rogue gray hair will not cause you to grow more grays in its place, but it is obviously not a long-term solution once you cross a certain threshold unless you want to end up with bald spots. However, once plucked, a gray hair will always come back in that same spot because that follicle has already been corrupted.
Alright, now that we have accepted that this is happening, let’s talk maintenance.
There are two options for dealing with your changing hue: at home or in a salon.
If you’re going to make a drastic change (ie: more than two shades in color, either lighter or darker, or multi-faceted highlights) a salon will be the best way to maintain healthy hair and get your desired result.
If you’re wanting to just cover the existing gray and stay pretty true to your natural color, dying your own hair at home can save time and money. Make sure you use permanent hair color, like Clairol Nice N’ Easy Root Touch Up, as gray hairs can be very stubborn and semi-permanent will generally not get the job done. Also, the semi-permanent formulas can often be harsher on hair due to the chemicals used. As they fade, those formulas can leave your grays with a yellowish tone.
When applying, don’t rely solely on the little squeeze bottle that comes with your kit. A paint brush or fine toothed comb can be used to get an even distribution of color, especially close to your roots. Make sure you’re using good hair products made for color-treated hair and condition regularly to keep your hair nourished and soft.
Another way to stretch the time between salon appointments or all-over color treatments is to use a product called hair mascara. Just like your favorite lash enhancer, hair mascara is applied with a small brush or wand and can be applied just to the few rogue hairs or along your roots. Color Wow Root Cover Up is a well-trusted permanent hair mascara used for a quick fix.
If you don’t have time for a proper cover-up with dye, consider grabbing a root concealer for a quick fix. L’oreal Root Cover Up Temporary Gray Concealer Spray is great for covering large areas. John Frieda Root Blur Instant Root Concealer allows you to blend for a custom color or match your lowlights and highlights equally and can be applied discretely since there is no spray.
Some products you just want to try because it seems cool and the price is right, and that’s the case with Everpro Gray Away Root Touch Up Magnetic Powder. Typically a powder would be a dusty mess, but reviewers love the lightweight feel of the powder for areas around their face as opposed to the heaviness of a spray. The magnetic formula clings to your hair with no mess.
If you’ve crossed the 50% line and have decided to embrace your gray, there are ways to brighten the color and battle the coarse texture that often accompanies gray hair. A purple shampoo used once a week will give your hair the cool tones that make platinum hair such a dynamic color. Using products with silicone can add shine and help smooth down your hair, but if you want something a little more permanent, try an at-home glossing kit, like John Frieda Luminous Color Glaze.
Confession time: I turned 40 last year and for some reason the gray hair has been the straw that broke the decrepit old lady’s back. My knees make noise (like really loud noise) when I walk up the stairs; I fall asleep on the couch during every movie; and honestly, the early bird special sounds amazing. So, expect a lot of anti-aging posts in the near future because this mid-life crisis is coming in hard y’all.
Andi Douglas always makes us laugh and is the mama of three especially cute kiddos. She loves talking about hair and make-up, so send her a question about either of those two topics and she’ll be happy to help a mama out. Email her at mamasATnwaMotherlodeDOTcom.