Dealing with gray hair and breakage

I did a big chop of my hair today. Big for me, anyway. It wasn't something I wanted to do, but found it necessary.



Over the past year, I have been struggling mightily with hair breakage. It has been frustrating and humbling, because I've always had long hair and definitely have some identity wrapped jo know that. 

Since turning 40 my hair has gone really gray and it is extremely fragile. I am finding it difficult to be able to both cover the gray style and style it the way I like (flat iron waves) without doing major damage.  Half of my hair had already broken off to my shoulders, and it looks like I'm growing out bangs when in actuality that hair has just broken off. So, I'm hitting the reset button with a shorter cut and I'm going to try to be gentler with it. Honestly, I don't like my hair this short, but it feels healthier and it was the right decision for now. 

Has anyone else had this experience?Would love to hear any tips on keeping gray hair from breaking off while still using a little heat to style it. I have a whole lot of frizz without using some heat to do my hair, and I while I'm trying to go with my natural curl more often, there are still days that I want to feel like my hair is "done" without risking some of it breaking off. 



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