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Stay Away Grey: Interview with Arey founders, Allison Conrad and Jay Small

Stay Away Grey: Interview with Arey founders, Allison Conrad and Jay Small

Hear more about Arey, the novel hair care system from the founders.

December 1st, 2022

Only this year, did I start to dye my hair to cover my pesky white/grey hairs. I am thankful that at this point, they are thankfully sporadic!

Not thrilled with harsh chemicals in hair dye products, through the “magic” of Instagram algorithm and my fellow writer, Wendy Sy based in New York, I was introduced to Arey.

The duo behind the brand is Allison Conrad and Jay Small. Allison is a Stanford MBA grad and serial entrepreneur focused on e-commerce brands in the wellness space. With over 20 years experience in the beauty/wellness space as a hairstylist, Jay has worked in education and product development for Paul Mitchell Systems.

Hear more about Arey in their own words:

What’s in a name?

Arey is derived from the French word arrêt, meaning “stop”. After playing with different iterations we landed on Arey as it nicely rhymes with grey!

What prompted you to start Arey?

When Allison saw her first grey hair, the first thing she did was ask Jay, her trusted hairstylist of many years, what to do. At the time the only way to address grey hair was with hair dye, which led Allison to question why there wasn't a proactive solution. She was using wrinkle cream and SPF to prevent wrinkles, but there were no options for maintaining healthy, youthful hair. Enter Arey.

This led us to research the causes of grey hair, and we discovered a study that identified there is only one gene (IRF4) that causes it. With genetics only accounting for 30% of why we go grey, this means a large portion is left to diet and lifestyle choices. This inspired us to research ingredients that could offer a preventative solution to grey hair by supplying the body with what it needs to grow healthier, youthful hair and maintain pigment. Soon after the idea for Arey was born, we filed a trademark for the slogan "The Wrinkle Cream of Haircare".

Why was tackling the issue of aging hair from both an external and internal lens important?

As we researched the causes of grey we found that much was linked to diet and lifestyle, and there are 2 key areas: vitamin & mineral deficiencies and oxidative stress. Understanding the link between premature grey and nutrient deficiencies is what informed the formula for our daily supplement Not Today, Grey. Each ingredient in our supplement plays a role in cellular activity, including promoting cell turnover and improving the protein structure of hair. Oxidative stress results in free radicals that are located all over our bodies. When these build up over time they can stifle cell productivity and can lead to grey hair. This is why we include antioxidants such as Fo-Ti and sesame seed to help reduce oxidative stress in the hair bulb.

As we learned more, we were fascinated to learn about peptides and their applications within skincare. This led to the creation of our topical serum To The Root. We created this oil-free, scent-free topical serum to be applied directly to the scalp in order to target areas with initial signs of grey hair, similar to an eye cream. To The Root's patent pending formula uses antioxidants and a clinically effective peptide to create a healthy environment near the hair follicle and help with re-pigmentation by stimulating the MC1-R (Melanocortin 1 Receptor). Our best-selling product The System combines Not Today, Grey and To The Root as the ultimate inside-out and outside-in method for delaying grey [hairs] and preserving pigment.

We now offer a suite of topical products including our patent-pending Wash shampoo, to allow customers to choose the right regimen that fits in with their habits and lifestyle. For decades, skincare has been built around a multi-step regimen and we think it's just as important to have a hair care regimen.

Who would most benefit from using Arey?

Arey is designed to be used at the first signs of grey hair. We believe a proactive approach that preserves healthy hair is the best way to prevent signs of hair aging. Grey hair happens at all ages, therefore we measure grey in percentages, with 0-30% being the ideal range for [the] best results when using our products. Most users can expect to see a healthier scalp within the first month; fuller, smoother and more vibrant hair in months 2-3, and less grey hair growth and possible re-pigmentation in months 3 and beyond.

For those customers with 30% or more grey, the slowing of new grey hair growth and some re-pigmentation is possible, it will just be harder to measure the results with that higher percentage of grey. When formulating Wash, Smooth, and Live In Mist, we focused on how to address other common characteristics of aging hair: Coarseness, dryness and brittleness.

Our Wash shampoo delivers our patent-pending active ingredients while gently cleansing both the scalp and hair strand, without leaving either feeling over-cleansed. Smooth is a daily conditioner that draws moisture to the interior of the hair strand, swelling the strand while jojoba oil and shea butter close the cuticle. Live In Mist is a leave-in conditioner that provides natural UV protection from raspberry seed oil, helping protect from a main cause of oxidative stress, sun exposure.

Where can you purchase Arey?


Read about more 2023 Haircare trends in this Allure piece.

Elena Murzello

Elena Murzello

The daughter of a Filipino-Chinese mother and an Italian-East Indian father, she comes by her exotic global influences naturally. After pursuing degrees at the University of Victoria (Nursing), and the University of British Columbia where she got her MBA, she packed her passport and headed out to the airport. Stops in Buenos Aires, London, Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Dubai and Tokyo gave this world traveler a true appreciation of the international lifestyle. Elena authored the book The Love List: A Guide To Getting Who You Want, which was published in 2013. Elena has appeared on the Tamron Hall Show, NBC News BETTER, The Today Show (Australia) and Good Morning Washington. She has also published countless pieces for both online and print: Thrive Global, Huffington Post Canada, Cosmopolitan UK, BELLA and RESIDENT Magazine. And now, House of Coco. Besides being a published author, the multi-talented Murzello also secured a reoccurring acting role on the Showtime series The L Word, (available on Netflix) and has appeared in television commercials for international brands such as AT&T.

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