Nothing is more striking than a sophisticated, confident woman embracing her gray locks. Many women are celebrating their natural beauty by letting their silver shine. If you go gray, there are a few things you should know about maintaining shiny, conditioned strands. A lack of proper treatment can leave your grays looking dull and brassy. Read on to discover what may be causing your gray hair’s brassy tones and what you can do about it.
6 Common Causes of Brassy Tones in Gray Hair
1. Sun Exposure
The sun is the #1 culprit of turning gray hair yellow. When you over-expose your head to solar rays, the radiation will wipe out the violet molecules in your hair shaft.
Going for a swim lately? Chlorine oxidizes your hair and may cause it to lighten in color, especially when exposed to sun and wind afterward. Gray hair may turn a brassy or dull yellow-gray in a chlorinated pool.
The heat from hot tools can react with the water you wash with. If calcium is present in the water, the heat could turn mineral deposits on your hair green. Also, the heat from the hot tools could be burning your hair or the residue from the products you have applied.
Environmental pollution can cause oxidative stress that dulls your strands. This is a larger issue for those who use heavy styling products, like mousses and gels, that attract pollutants.
A common side effect of smoking is yellowing of the hair, skin, and nails.
6. Product Buildup
Product buildup often causes the scalp and hair to turn yellow. This type of brassy tone becomes more common when people use products with silicones, sulfates, and parabens.
How to Neutralize Gray Hair’s Brassy Tones
Brassiness is a dreaded hair woe. Here a few ways to neutralize the warm hues in your hair:
Protect your Hair from Heat
Tread lightly when it comes to heat and gray hair. Gray hair will burn more easily due to its texture and porosity, so when using hot tools to style, use caution to limit damage to your gentle strands. Stay in between the 200-350 range, and never let the hot tool remain in one place on the hair for more than 1-2 seconds. Always use a heat shield when styling your hair.
Shield your Strands from the Sun
Excessive sun exposure can dry out your hair and reveal underlying warm tones. UV damage can leave your hair dry and brittle. If you can’t stay out of the sun, you should wear a hat to protect your locks or a UV-protectant spray to avoid brassiness.
Rinse with Cool Water
The temperature at which you’re washing your hair can make a considerable difference in preserving your natural color to fight brassiness. Hot water opens the outer cuticle which allows the gray to fade. Lukewarm or cool water is the best temperature to rinse your hair in.
Replace Sulfate Shampoo with a Purple One
To best care for your gray locks, consider using a gentle sulfate-free shampoo. Sulfates push their way beneath cuticle cells diminishing your hair structure and exposing your hair to breakage. Harsh chemicals strip natural lipids and oils from your scalp, which disrupts sebum production. The lack of moisture in hair fibers will cause them to turn dull and frizzy. Instead of a harsh sulfate shampoo, use a gentle purple shampoo to defend your hair from brassy tones. Look for a shampoo, like the one from Better Not Younger, with ingredients such as D&C Violet 2, bamboo, and sage.
Avoid Chlorinated Pools
Chlorine strips your hair of natural oils leaving it dry and brittle. The more damaged gray hair becomes, the more prone it is to brassiness. If you’re unable to avoid swimming in a chlorinated pool, try to rinse your hair with a bottled water. Your hair soaks up any sort of moisture, so feed it non-chemically altered water before jumping in. Your strands will be saturated with freshwater; thus, they absorb less chlorinated water.
Natural Home Remedy
Apple cider vinegar and holly hock can be used as toners to neutralize brassy tones. Get one cup of water, two tablespoons of holly hock herb, and two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Next, boil the ingredients until you get a thick liquid. When your mixture cools, apply it to your hair. Let it sit for 10 minutes and then rinse with cool water.