Keeping Gray Hair Healthy

Long-term solutions for gray hair, whether you’re covering up or letting it shine.
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Choose Dye for Your ‘Do

If there are just a few "salty" spots, try highlights. "They don’t cover gray per se, but they minimize it by blending the silver in with the rest of your hair color," says Kyle White, a senior colorist at the Oscar Blandi Salon in New York. If you have more than a little salt but it’s still less than 30 percent of your overall color, try a semipermanent dye, which covers gray but does no damage because it’s ammonia-free. (Most semipermanent dyes last for about 28 shampoos.) If a third or more of your hair is gray, go with permanent color. Clairol Nice ‘n Easy Perfect 10 Hair Color ($14) is available in 20 shades and is relatively low in ammonia.

Buy Clairol Nice ‘n Easy Perfect 10 Hair Color

Gloss Over It

Gray hair follicles produce little oil and next to no melanin, says Richard Korb, a scientist in research and development at Unilever (maker of Dove Hair Care). A glossing treatment can help. A good at-home version costs less than salon, and results last about a week. Try John Frieda Luminous Color Glaze, which comes in five tinted shades as well as one clear formula ($10).

Tip: To maximize post-glaze shine, deep condition weekly to smooth your hair’s cuticle (its outer layer) and create a flat, light-reflecting surface — Oscar Blandi Marine Mud Treatment ($26) instantly hydrates parched grays and will help a glossing treatment endure.

Buy John Frieda Luminous Color Glaze Buy Oscar Blandi Marine Mud Treatment

Fatten Up Scrawny Strands

The depletion of moisture and melanin (which plump strands) can also cause gray hair to become limp. Using a volumizing product like mousse can make the difference — it coats each strand and increases its diameter. We recommend Dove Body and Lift Volumizing Mousse ($4) and Keune Tinta Color Mousse($16; 800-330-9302 for stores), which comes in nine sheer shades so you can pump up your hair’s volume and mute gray.

Help Your Hair Relax

The cuticle of a silver strand tends to be rougher than a pigmented one, creating that wiry, won’t-lie-flat effect, says Teca Gillespie, a Pantene scientist. Glosses and conditioners add smoothness — as does using a boar bristle brush. It will also help to stick with a styler that contains silicone (a cuticle-flattening ingredient) such as Pantene Pro-V Smooth Serum ($7) and Kerastase Oleo-Relax Serum ($34), a potent wiry-strand smoother — a dime-size drop for your whole head is plenty.

Buy Pantene Pro-V Smooth Serum Buy Kerastase Oleo-Relax Serum

Go for Silver Foxhood

Fed up with maintenance? Consider going natural. "Silver hair can be elegant," says Rick Wellman, co-owner and color director of the Patrick Melville Salon, in New York City. "But you should still visit the salon twice a year. Left alone, gray can get dirty-looking and dull." At home, brighten up with a purple-tinted shampoo like Clairol Shimmer Lights Shampoo ($10). "Just don’t use it more than twice a week — or the purple can give gray strands a bluish cast," he says. Also, Pantene Pro-V Silver Expressions Shampoo and Conditioner ($6 each) can be used in combination to brighten silvery strands.

Originally published in MORE magazine, February 2009.

Buy Clairol Shimmer Lights Shampoo Buy Pantene Pro-V Silver Expressions Shampoo and Conditioner "Take a look at editors’ picks from Sally Beauty here":

First Published Mon, 2009-04-06 18:40

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