How to care for a few grey hairs
January 30, 2021 2:05 PM   Subscribe

I've noticed a few grey hairs on my head recently (less than 10 total). They seem to be thinner and frizzier than my other hairs. Are there any changes I need to make to my haircare routine to care for them properly? Difficulty: allergies and skin irritations mean any products with artificial fragrances are out, and "don't use shampoo" is not an option.

Additional details: I'm a woman. The rest of my hair is dark brown and slightly wavy, and tangles easily. Length is a few inches past my shoulders. My routine is shampoo my scalp, use a little bit of shampoo on my hair, use tons of conditioner, comb hair in the shower with conditioner, tease apart any tangles with my fingers. I let my hair airdry since blowdrying irritates my scalp.

I'm finding this very hard to google for because most of the advice seems to be about caring for grey hair when it's the predominant color (which I'm not remotely close to) or accelerating the greying process (which I'm not interested in).
posted by SockISalmon to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I think what you're doing currently sounds like you are already taking good care of your hair. If it bothers you that your greys are more likely to stick up (that's what mine did when I was at your stage--I'm more grey now), you can try smoothing them down with a tiny bit of the conditioner you currently use.

As my hair has greyed, it's gotten drier. I have to use a hair oil on my damp, freshly washed and conditioned hair to restore the texture to something I can work with. The one I use is Oi Oil by Davines, but I don't think it would suit you because of its added fragrance. So that's why I recommend you use your current unscented, hypoallergenic conditioner to smooth down your frizzy greys.

If you end up needing something stronger, you could look into something like a pure unscented oil like argan or jojoba, and using a little of that after you shampoo and condition.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:22 PM on January 30, 2021 [2 favorites]

My grey hairs are a slightly different texture than my not grey hairs. I think it’s just like that :(
posted by raccoon409 at 3:07 PM on January 30, 2021

Yep, grey hair has a different texture to pigmented hair, so as it comes in you will have mixed textured hair and then you have to mess around to figure out the right routines and products as the shift from slightly to mostly grey happens.

For me, these past couple of years have apparently flipped the grey hair switch early and now I’m like 20% silver. Luckily? I had confusingly mixed textured hair before this, where some of it is curly, some frizzy, some nearly straight... and the grey hair appears to be tamer than the pigmented stuff so far. Maybe it’s just the straighter hair going grey before the curly ones? Anyway I use a variety of techniques and products to get stuff to behave on the rare days I want that, and then most of the time I let it be, and big messy hair is just my brand.

From what I’ve seen, all the stuff you’re doing right now is the right way to treat grey hair already. It’s typically more brittle and dry, so you want to air dry when possible, use gentle products, moisturize consistently, and not fuss with it too much. One thing you do differently is combing in the shower. When hair is wet it breaks more easily, so combing in the shower can cause some damage, which might be part of why your greys are frizzing. But it is also easier to detangle when wet, so I get it. Consider just finger combing, maybe?

I use hair oil as mentioned above to get my frizz to chill out. Typically, once my hair is almost dry, I apply the bulk of it to my ends and then smooth my oily hands on the top of my head. Rarely does the oil get to my scalp. I don’t have the allergies you do so I can’t recommend a brand but coconut oil is popular for a lot of folks and a teeny bit goes a long long way. Some conditioners are okay to leave in and others aren’t so much. You could look for a you-compatible leave-in conditioner.

I also twist and bun my hair when it is damp (when I remember) so all the wave and curl begrudgingly gets in line. I try to keep the twists loose but the bun secure so there is some airflow but it doesn’t jostle. If your hair isn’t long enough for this you could look into some wraps to wear as your hair dries so it has less movement. This might affect your scalp though because it will be warm and damp for longer close to your head.
posted by Mizu at 3:44 PM on January 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

I find using my normal hair conditioner as a pomade when combing out my wet hair to be helpful. Maybe if the ornery ones at my temples stick out, I'll smooth a bit more conditioner on my wet hands and run over them to calm them down. I shampoo, then condition, then rinse, then dry using a towel on my head while getting dressed, then use the conditioner on wet hair, then comb, see how it is, then a dab here or there, and let dry.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:48 PM on January 30, 2021

If I were you, and we are only talking 10 hairs on whole scalp, I would either 1) pluck them out, no need to worry about alternative care regime or 2) it is only 10 hairs, ignore them, let the 99.8% of your hair keep on as previous and suck it up that there are 10 grey hairs not getting optimum care.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:28 AM on January 31, 2021 [3 favorites]

My hair is similar in color and texture to yours, except I am now about half grey and half dark brown. My husband is sensitive to artificial fragrances.

I swear by Daddy-O, a purple shampoo by LUSH. It's super annoyingly expensive, but I use it once a week or less with any old conditioner and my grey hair is so soft and shiny afterwards.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 7:15 AM on January 31, 2021 [1 favorite]

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