What Causes Gray Hair? All You Need to Know

Posted by: Heather Ehresman

Just like wrinkles, gray hairs are contentious. Some would rather skip them altogether, others see it as a privilege to grow older and rock silver hair. Whichever camp you’re in, is good with us! 

Whether you want to cover up those silver sparkles or embrace them, here’s everything you need to know about gray hair.

What causes gray hair?

There are several reasons we get gray hair—from stress to plain and simple genetics. Hair goes gray—or, rather, loses its pigment—when the cells responsible for color, called melanin, stop being produced. There’s a host of possible reasons why this might happen, with age being the obvious one. It’s believed that stress, as well as nutritional, hormonal, and genetic factors, can all play a role, too.

When does hair generally go gray?

Like most things—it depends! The rate at which hair turns gray varies from one person to the next. Some may notice silvery strays in their 20s, while others may spot their first grays in their 40s. This is true for every hair color, but those with darker hair may notice their grays sooner, as the white strands stand out more.

When hair turns gray, does it change texture?

For some, gray hair can feel coarse or wiry. This isn’t a result of the hair losing pigment, but rather another natural process that takes place as we get older. Over time, your hair follicles produce less oil, which can cause this coarser texture. For clients who complain about wiry hair, we suggest a hydrating shampoo and conditioner like our new Bond Building product line from Bumble and bumble; also an in-salon treatment to smooth the hair like our Oribe Renewal Remedy treatment can also be added with any cut or color service to help tame and soften those grey strands.

Can I color my gray hair?

Absolutely! While some grays can be more resistant to color than others, there are several options for guests who hope to hide their silver strays. Every gray coverage service begins with choosing the right color product, so talk your stylist through the options. At Cole’s Salon, we use Wella Professional Hair Color which can hide those unwanted grays completely *or* create a look to minimize the appearance of grey hair—all while keeping hair healthy and happy.

What products are best to keep my gray hair looking great?

External stressors, such as chlorine or pollution, can cause gray hair to turn yellow over time. However, guests with yellowing grays can use a purple shampoo to neutralize that warmth. Cole’s has many solutions to brighten and tone unwanted warmth in gray hair. Our favorites include Oribe’s Silverati—specially formulated for grey and white strands that undoes dullness and yellow tones for softer, brighter, perpetually vibrant hair—or our newest Blonde Line from Bumble which includes a toning mist to help extend the silvery hue you are hoping for.

Not sure what service to book with us for your color appointment?  

Book a consultation, in person or virtually to start your hair color journey today!


Heather Ehresman is on the corporate team at Cole’s Salon.

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