Get the facts on age and hair health
If we had a dollar for every Facebook ad that tried to sell us the promise of herbal liberation from gray hair, we’d take more vacation time. And if we had another dollar for every ad we’re served featuring twenty-somethings with hair that glistens as if it were washed by Youth herself, we’d throw our 401Ks to the wind. But, alas, no hypothetical dollar bills will be given today. Gemmist is, however, here to dispel a couple of the most annoying and flat-out unproductive hair myths for all you beauties with a few more years under your belts.
Let’s get this one out of the way first. Stress is not causing your gray hair.
It may be causing your 7 a.m. chocolate cravings. But not gray hairs. So why do we hear that myth so damn often??
Well, with age comes more stressors. E.g., career milestones, mortgage payments, and children with iPhones. The thing is, correlation is not causation: just because you stress more as you age, and you get gray hair as you age, doesn’t mean one is responsible for the other.
So, what does cause gray hair?
We’re about to get scientific on you (but that’s why you love us, right?). Our bodies have millions of hair follicles lining the skin. The follicles create pigment cells that contain melanin. As we get older, those follicles make less melanin, and voilà—gray hair starts growing instead. That brings us to our next fact.
Hair doesn’t actually “turn” gray. Once a hair follicle produces hair, the color is there to stay. When hair goes through its natural cycle of dying and regenerating, it’s more likely to grow in gray—usually after 35. However, exactly what age graying begins seems mainly due to genetics. It’s widely accepted that by the big 5-0, 50% of people have 50% gray hair.
Whenever those heathered strands start cropping up, just look at them like your boss lady calling card. And if you just want to get those suckers covered up, remember that you have a genie in a bottle. And she goes by the name Hair Dye.
Next, does hair actually change every seven years?
Since we already told you we’re here to bust myths, you probably guessed the answer is no. But we bet you’ve heard this myth before.
The deal is that there are three phases in the hair growth cycle: anagen, when your hair is actively growing; catagen, in between the growth and resting stages; and telogen, when the follicle is dormant for up to four months and eventually sheds its strand of hair so that a new one can start the cycle all over again. The typical growth cycle is around four to seven years. At first. But only for the first couple of cycles. As your hair naturally sheds, the anagen phase gets shorter, and the strands that return change—becoming thinner with shorter growth phases. So yes, it is true that your hair changes over time, but the seven-year cycle applies to less and less of our head the older you get.
Now, you may be wondering to yourself, “is my hair texture changing?”.
Or, “why is my hair so dry and brittle?”. All hair texture types have the potential to change. Part of it comes down to the amount of sebum we produce. That amount varies with the size of our sebaceous glands, being low pre-puberty, quickly increasing at puberty, and remaining at a high level until about 45–50, when it dips. Those shrinking oil glands make it tougher for natural oil to reach the hair, affecting hair greasiness, shine, softness, and smoothness.
Other dry hair causes related to aging are actually linked to that new gorgeous head (or patch) of gray hair. Consider that when you go gray, your hair has no pigment or protein. Less protein means less elasticity and strength. AKA more time unclogging the shower drain.
Finally, here’s what to do for dry hair that comes with aging.
As your hair begins to change, it needs new products. And there’s no one-bottle-fits all approach. Different hair types respond to different ingredients—one woman’s coconut oil is another woman’s glycerin. Take our quiz to tell us a little more about your gray’s anatomy. We’ll match you with the products made to moisturize your hair type based on your hair concerns. Also, 5/5 agree that it’s a nice break from whatever you’re doing right now.
At the end of the day, you’re only getting better with age.
Let us take the guesswork out of your gray hair growth journey so you can focus on all the things that make aging so freaking fun. Like having a cocktail whenever you please and frankly not giving a damn about the small things anymore. We’ve got you covered.