Maxing the Beauty of Your Silver Strands
Round of applause, please! By ditching the hair dye and stepping into your silver (or never putting a colorist on speed-dial in the first place), you're showing the world serious beauty confidence.
Bonus: all those kudos you're no doubt receiving...
Once you've taken the silver plunge, it's time to step up your hair care regimen. Because as great as gray is, this hair hue is not without challenges. Once your follicles stop producing melanin - which, along with menopause is a natural byproduct of aging - strands also start to feel more coarse and wiry.
At the same time this loss of pigment is happening, our oil glands are also slowing down, which can contribute to dryness. Visually, that brittleness and loss of hydration can read as frizz, which is never part of any hair look we aspire to.
Happily, there's plenty you can do to coax-out luster and softness, and really make your silver shine. Behold...
5 Easy Steps to Stunning Silver
1. Build a gray-specific stash of shampoos + conditioners: In addition to being extremely hydrating, the secret sauce in most gray-specific cleansing and conditioning products is a violet pigment that helps neutralize the yellow tones and brassiness that frequently surface in silver strands. Since you'll be alternating these next-level brews with your regular shampoo and conditioner, consider splashing-out on salon-quality, gray-centric goodies. Just be sure that everything you use is sulfate-free. Gray hair is fragile; it needs extra TLC to look its best.
2. Scale back on heat styling: Your goal? Glossy, shiny silver strands. Standing in the way of that goal? Every second heat is in contact with your newly vulnerable gray locks. Now's the time to unplug and experiment with - gasp - air-drying, or even those soft, overnight curlers that yield waves sans scorch. At the very least, be sure to prep your hair with a thermal protectant every time you yield that blow dryer or styling iron.
3. Commit to frequent trims: Feeling scissor shy? We get it. After all, hair growth rate does slow down as we get older. Still, in her no-stones-unturned textbook Cosmetics and Dermatologic Problems and Solutions, skin doc Zoe Diana Draelos makes a compelling case for stepping-up your hair-trimming schedule during the menopause years. Lopping off an inch or two every other month "trims away split ends, formed when the missing cuticle exposes the soft internal cortex, and creates fresh ends that are less frizzy, more likely to maintain a curl, and less subject to static electricity," Draelos writes. In addition, trimming "creates the illusion of fuller, healthier hair." And while you're at the salon, you might just want to go ahead and take care of Step 4...
4. Splurge on the occasional clear salon glazing treatment: Less of a commitment than a salon glossing treatment, which penetrates the hair cuticle and can last for up to a month, a glaze contains no ammonia or peroxide and washes out in about a week. Like a glisteny clear topcoat for your gray locks, a glaze delivers major shine and tames frizz and annoying fly-aways.
5. Mind your makeup (+ brows): Depending on your skin tone, a face framed with gray and silver can sometimes lack a certain... peppiness. To ensure your complexion matches the "go for it" vibe you're feeling these days, consider investing in a dry skin-friendly creme blush and a few new lipsticks and don't be shy about using them. Trust us, you'll be pleasantly surprised at how just a little dab will perk-up your complexion. If you're a die-hard black eyeliner fan, it might be time to experiment with a softer navy or brown. And finally, move eyebrow-grooming to the top of your beauty To Do list. If you're looking a little sparse in this area, try a few pencil strokes. The big idea? Soft definition. If you're eager for even more tips and intel on this topic, read our lively, informative interview with celebrity makeup artist Matin Maulawizada here.