Gray Hair: Why it Happens & What to Do About it
Maybe you’ve had gray hair for years or perhaps you’re only just noticing those first few strands starting to grow through. Either way, if you’re experiencing it, you’re probably wondering how and why it happens. Well, whether you’re a fan of your silvery strands or not, Evalectric is here to fill you in on all there is to know about gray hair. Why it happens, how and why to embrace/style it, and even a few tips on how to cover it if you’re not quite ready for gorgeous gray locks just yet!
Why Do We Go Gray?
As it happens, there are quite a few reasons why our hair might turn gray. We’ll go into the less common reasons soon but for now, let’s talk about the main factor – age.
As we grow older, our hair naturally begins to turn gray or silver, and eventually, white. This means that most of us by the age of 50 can expect around half of our hair to have changed color and be rocking a glorious gray hue.
Let us explain…
Firstly, each hair is made up of three parts:
- The shaft – the strand/section of hair that we can see growing out of the scalp
- The root – the section below the scalp that holds the strand in place
- The follicle – the tiny pit that each root sits inside of
Inside the follicle, you’ll find melanocytes. Melanocytes produce melanin, the chemical that determines the color of your hair. The color of your hair, therefore, depends on the amount of melanin contained within your follicles. The more melanin you have, the darker your hair will be.
As with most chemicals in our bodies, as we get older, they begin to slow down or stop producing completely. As this happens with the melanin in your follicles, your hair can no longer make your former color and starts to turn gray. Eventually, when those same follicles stop producing melanin altogether, those hairs will slowly begin to fall out and be replaced with white hair instead. These hairs contain zero melanin.
As we know, many of us go gray before we’re expecting to. Some of us may have even started to see gray hairs appearing in our teenage years. This, of course, is not a factor of age, so why does it happen?
Why Do Some Of Us Get Gray Hair Earlier Than Others?
As you might have already guessed, the answer to this question is usually genetics. Therefore, if your parents and grandparents went gray prematurely, you can expect to as well. It simply means that you (and they) have low levels of melanin in the hair follicles. So, they die off more quickly than for those with higher levels of the color-producing chemical.
As of right now, there is no way of halting this process or even slowing it down. If you’re genetically destined to go gray at an early age, only covering it up with dye can alter that fact.
Is this the option you’re after?
Keep on reading for Evalectric’s tips on how to dye gray hair later in this post!
Meanwhile, there is a possibility that your prematurely graying hair is a result of something other than genetics. Therefore, it may be well worth exploring if you’re not ready to embrace the salt and pepper life just yet!
Other Possible Reasons For Gray Hair
If you’re experiencing gray hair earlier than expected and want to stop it from happening, we highly recommend checking over this list of possible causes. It may help you to determine if any of these factors could be causing an early loss of color pigment throughout your locks. Plus, you’re likely to pick up some great hair care tips along the way!
You could be experiencing premature graying if…
We really don’t need to tell you how disagreeable smoking is to your health and wellbeing. It can affect you negatively in so many ways and, as it turns out, turning your hair gray might just be one of them. Studies have shown that those who smoke have an increased likelihood of going gray earlier and it’s all thanks to this habit. What’s more, if your hair is already gray and you’re noticing it has a yellow tint of late, that could be down to your smoking too!
It’s actually pretty simple.
Because gray hair has little to no color pigment, it’s much more susceptible to showing tints picked up from environmental factors. That could be air pollutants, those in water such as colors from shampoo or conditioning treatments, and so on. As a result, those who smoke will often find they have discolored tresses as they’re exposed to pollutants in the air around them.
Stopping smoking is always a good idea for your health. If the fact that it’s turning your hair gray (or yellow) is a way to help you cut down or quit altogether, we say go right ahead!
You Have Low Levels of Vitamin B12
If you didn’t already know, low levels of vitamin B12 are a well-known cause for loss of hair pigment. But how do you know if you’re deficient? Whilst you’ll need to visit your doctor for confirmation of your diagnosis, you could be low on vitamin B12 if you’re feeling particularly weak and tired or even light-headed at times. You may also experience headaches, pale skin, or even prematurely graying hair.
Again, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms it’s very important to go see your healthcare professional. If low B12 does turn out to be the cause, they are trained to help you – so avoid self-diagnosing!
You’re Stressed Out
If you’re wondering whether this one’s actually true, it is! When we’re stressed out, a chemical called noradrenaline is sometimes released into the hair follicle. This forces hair pigment cells to move out of the follicles. This means that when new hairs grow through, they show up as gray or white.
Therefore, limiting known stresses in your life may be beneficial in halting premature gray hair. Additionally, we recommend speaking to your health care professional for medical advice when you feel especially overwhelmed, gray hair or not!
Can I Pull Out Gray Hairs… and Will Three More Grow Back in Their Place if I Do?
First thing’s first. Whether you’re noticing just a few strands of gray or your mane is pretty much fully silver these days, you have the option to change that.
Spoiler alert, this option does not include pulling out the gray hairs you find!
In fact, there are countless reasons not to do this. The fact that repeatedly plucking healthy hairs from your head really stings is just the tip of the iceberg! Here’s every reason why you should immediately stop pulling out those silvery or white strands from your precious locks:
It Kinda Hurts!
One of the simplest reasons we can give for not pulling out hairs? It stings! Okay, so it’s a very brief sting and it doesn’t last all that long, but still! It’s not the most pleasant sensation and it’s certainly not a kind thing to do to your scalp.
It Won’t Stop the Gray
If you’re under the impression that pulling out gray hairs means they’re gone from your head forever, think again. Once you pluck it out, you’re only delaying the inevitable, which is that another equally gray hair will simply grow back in its place. Only this time, you’ll have to wait for it to grow long again!
You Might Damage the Follicle
Healthy hair follicles are essential for healthy hair growth. By ripping the hair from the follicle, you can cause all sorts of nastiness and unwanted side effects. Particularly if you’re doing it repeatedly and in the same places. Plucking out gray hairs can lead to:
- Infection – in some cases, repeated stress on the hair follicle from pulling can lead to infection as the follicle becomes aggravated. This of course means scalp problems and can lead to the follicle not producing healthy hair.
- Scarring – If this happens, you may find the follicle becomes scarred and can no longer produce new hairs which leads us to another possible issue.
- Bald patches – If you do keep pulling out these hairs and the follicle becomes too distressed (this can happen much quicker for some than others), you may find that they can no longer produce new hairs which will lead to small areas with no hair at all.
Finally, the answer is no. Plucking out a gray hair does not mean that three more will then grow back in its place. That said, after having read the info above, we really hope you’re no longer considering that as an option! If the gray hair has already arrived, it’s there to stay. Go ahead and embrace your stunning new silver locks. Or, if you just don’t feel ready yet, keep reading for our handy tips on dyeing your locks back to their former shade.
How to Color Gray Hair
Maybe you’ve been coloring your hair your whole life or perhaps you’re brand new to the game. Whichever is true for you, dyeing your gray hair needn’t be a daunting experience. It can actually be fun and once you know how, you’ll find it easier each time you need to touch up your roots or go for a completely new color. Always opt for a color designed to cover gray hair as you’ll likely find your new gray locks are a little more resistant to color than they used to be.
Perform a Patch Test
Dyeing your hair at home? Performing a patch test is essential. Add a small amount of the color to your inner elbow or just behind your ear. Then, wait 24 hours to make sure the most sensitive parts of your skin do not react.
Use a Barrier Cream
This will protect the skin on your face and prevent any of the fine hairs located there from darkening should you accidentally smudge the dye.
Protect Your Hands and Nails
Next, put on your gloves. They’ll prevent your delicate hand skin and your nails from darkening as they would if the color stayed on your hands.
Mix your Color
Once you’re all set up, mix your color as directed on the box. Don’t wait to apply it – these formulas can quickly dry out and this may prevent the color from developing as you wish.
Apply Your Color
When applying color to gray hair, you’ll need to work out which method works best for you. If you’re simply going over your roots, some are happy to simply use the nozzle attached to the bottle and then massage the formula into their roots. Others will need to use the brush and bowl technique. This allows you to make partings in your hair and brush the color directly onto the roots for greater color saturation. We suggest the second method if your gray hair is particularly resistant to color.
Set a Timer
Most dyes will have two separate timings to follow depending on how well your gray hair takes on color. If it dyes quite easily, rinse out your color after the first recommended time. If your locks are resistant, go by the longer development time. It’s usually a difference of around ten minutes.
Rinse Your Dye Out
When your developing time is up and it’s time to rinse out the dye, stick to cool/lukewarm water. Hot water will strip the color from your hair much quicker and you won’t see the best results. Additionally, choose color care shampoos after dyeing your locks and your color will remain intact so much longer!
Why and How to Embrace/Style Your Glorious Gray Locks
All of these dyeing tips aside, we really do want to be clear that gray hair is absolutely nothing to worry about, be embarrassed by, or something that you need to cover up. Growing older is a privilege and having glorious gray locks to go with it is something to be celebrated!
Additionally, if you already have grey hair in your teens or early twenties, you do not need to dye your hair if you don’t want to. There are no two ways about it; gray hair is gorgeous and if you’re into embracing it, we here at Evalectric know you’re going to look amazing! Keep reading for our top tips on caring for your glorious gray hair…
Use Products Designed for Gray Hair
If you’re noticing that your gray hair feels and behaves differently from your formerly brown, blonde, black, or red locks, you’re not alone. Whether it’s thinner, thicker, finer, or more brittle than it used to be, there are high-quality haircare products out there specifically designed with ingredients to pamper your gray tresses from the inside out so make the most of them! Our top choice? The Evalectric Hair Serum for the ultimate treat.
Wear a Summer Hat
Remember those environmental factors we talked about before? The sun is one of them. It can cause your gray hair to turn yellow. Stop this from happening by wearing a hat on warmer days!
Use Heat Tools Sparingly
Gray hair is a little more susceptible to heat damage. So, make sure you’re not going in with a curler or flat iron every day. On the occasions that you do, use a heat protection spray made to protect gray hair so it looks healthy, shiny, and soft!
Think About Your Style
If you’re content with the cut and style you have currently and simply want to change up your look by embracing your gray locks, we say go for it!
If you’re up for a change, however, playing with a new cut or style can work wonders for the structure and shape of gray locks.
For example, cuts and styles with tons of natural-looking texture and volume look amazing with gray hair. Therefore, shorter styles with gentle waves or curls will always look stunning! Meanwhile, styling your hair into a chic bun, a fun ponytail, or even a side-parted down-do will look just as amazing with gray hair as it did with your former color!
However you decide to color, cut, or style your hair whether embracing your new shade right now or not, always remember, gray is gorgeous!
If you’re looking for some new hair care products to help you pamper your gray hair, check out the Evalectric bestsellers here.