Does Your Hair Texture Impact the Way You Go Gray?
We asked several experts to weigh in.
Going gray may be universal, but texture certainly isn't, and that's why you might be wondering if your specific hair type—whether you have tight, coiled curls or baby-fine strands—informs the graying process in the first place. According to celebrity hairstylist Ted Gibson, your hair's unique texture doesn't impact when or how you go silver. As for the factors that are responsible for this transition? "Aging and genetics play a main role," explains IGK Hair Care co-founder Aaron Grenia, noting that stress and smoking can also speed up this timeline. What is most interesting, adds Grenia, is that this "loss of pigment in the hair can cause a texture change"—so while your current texture won't alter how you go gray, your new silver strands will transform your pre-existing hair type.
Ahead, our experts explain exactly what to expect from this shift.
While every woman's gray is a little different—blondes often experience a bright silver, while brunettes and those with black hair transition to a dark charcoal—there is one common denominator, notes Gibson: Whatever your starting shade or strand type, going gray will alter your hair and, more often than not, you can expect it to become coarser and thicker as part of this process. (In rare instances, Grenia admits that hair can become softer and thinner, though this has less to do with starting texture and is ultimately more about genetics.)
Melanin and Sebum
There's a reason for this sudden texture change. "When your body stops generating melanin, hair goes gray, silver, or white and follicles produce less sebum (which is the natural oil that hydrates hair)," explains colorist and R+Co Collective member, Richy Kandasamy. "As a result, gray hair tends to be drier, which gives it that wiry, dry, and stubborn texture. That will change depending on the individual and their natural hair texture."
A New Routine
Since coarser, thicker hair tends to look and feel damaged, dull, and dry, Gibson advises altering your hair care routine. "Products are your friends," he emphasizes, noting that they can help add shine and control and bolster your "new" hair's health. "As we age, we have to embrace this texture. Don't fret—using the right products can help you achieve beautiful hair." As for his best recommendations? Where he loves Goldwell's "Kerasilk Control" Shampoo ($29.86, amazom.com) and Conditioner ($31.52, amazon.com) for cleansing and hydrating, he prefers Moroccanoil's Restorative Hair Mask ($42, sephora.com) as a standalone treatment. For styling, he recommends his brainchild, the STARRING by Ted Gibson "Shooting Star" Texture Meringue ($52, violetgrey.com), a light foam-mousse hybrid with incredible hold.