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Many people cover up their gray hair with color, but gray can be gorgeous -- it just needs a little special care. Because gray hair is naturally thicker and coarser than other shades of hair, it may need more intensive or longer-lasting treatment to get the same results you got from products in your pre-gray days. Whether your gray hairs are silver, white or salt-and-pepper, you can keep them looking and feeling silky soft.

Wash your hair with a moisturizing shampoo, and bypass daily shampoos in favor of shampooing every other day. Look for a shampoo that lists water as its first ingredient, or one described as "moisturizing" or "hydrating."

Ask your stylist about highlights or lowlights, which smooth the outer cuticle of your hair, making it soft and shiny.

Use a lightweight conditioner every time you wash your hair and an intensive hair conditioner once a week. Gray hair absorbs more moisture than other hair, and it can look brittle and wiry. Regular conditioning restores your hair's softness.

Apply a clear gloss or glaze to smooth the outer layer of your hair, making it softer and shinier. If you're doing the glaze at home, look for one that contains fruit or seed oil to smooth strands. Or ask your stylist to give you a glaze that will promote shine.

Try a permanent wave solution, which can penetrate and soften gray hair.

Tip

Be careful when choosing styling products -- pick ones that are clear. Because gray hair is light and porous, colored residue from your styling products might show up on your hair as a faint discoloration.

If your gray hair tends to look brassy or yellowish, ask your stylist to add a little violet color to your glaze treatment. The violet will counteract the yellow tint.

About the Author

Holly L. Roberts

Holly Roberts is an award-winning health and fitness writer whose work has appeared in health, lifestyle and fitness magazines. Roberts has also worked as an editor for health association publications and medical journals. She has been a professional writer for more than 10 years and holds a B.A. in English and an M.A. in literature.