For those of us who have ever had a silvery strand pop up (and then another, and another… ), we know the frustrating feelings you experience. Gray doesn’t feel like your regular hair does—it’s thicker, unruly, and generally does its own thing. Gray hair is devil-may-care hair, which might be a metaphor for aging entirely. Without getting too deep, cutting gray hair is another ball game as well. Teddy Kaminski, National Creative Team Member
for Alterna Haircare, explains how and what you need to know about cutting gray hair.
What You Should Know Before Cutting Gray Hair
“Gray hair tends to act as hair that has seen an overuse of hot tools—rough, dry, and less manageable,” he notes of the uncanny texture of grays. “As cells stop producing melanin and sebum production slows, hair loses its pigment and begins to dry out making it feel more coarse/wiry.”
Since the texture itself is so different, cutting gray hair requires extra TLC. It “takes a little extra attention to detail to create the perfect shape due to its coarser texture as it often shows more visible cut lines. Don’t let this intimidate you, just keeping in mind it’s a more visual process,” he shares.
The Don’ts of Cutting Gray Hair
According to Teddy, the one thing to avoid when cutting grays is adding harshness. Instead, you want to soften the hair overall. “I tend to shy away from using a razor or any techniques that may ‘rough up’ the thin cuticle layer that comes along with gray hair. Avoiding this will help to prevent any excess fuzz on already coarse and unmanageable hair.”
The Do’s of Cutting Gray Hair
Teddy recommends blunt cutting, “which is great to create weight lines where they are needed.” He shares that “point cutting should be utilized wherever possible to avoid unwanted ‘shelves.’ Longer lengths will benefit from soft layers for added bounce and shorter pixies look best with added texture.”
When cutting gray hairs, keep the texture of the hair top of mind, even more so than with colored hair. “Curl pattern and styling effort should always take a role in deciding on a specific cut. For example, on a client with mid-length curly gray hair, you would want to use techniques that are both curl safe as well as gentle on coarse gray hair for someone wanting to embrace and enhance their natural texture. In any case, added moisture will always be your friend for those with natural gray locks. My personal go-to’s are Alterna Haircare’s Replenishing Moisture Leave-In Conditioning Milk or Replenishing Moisture Priming Leave-In Conditioner for those needing a little extra bounce,” he shares.