Is Grey Hair Different?

A hair is either pigmented or it’s white.

When and why it happens. The logic.

Your hair follicles have pigment cells that make melanin, a chemical that gives your hair its colour. As you age, these cells start to die. Without pigment, new hair strands grow in lighter and take on various shades of grey, silver, and eventually white. Once a follicle stops making melanin, it won’t make coloured strands again. It’s mostly your genes that dictate how early and how quickly it happens. So if either of your parents had a full head of grey hair in their 30’s, there’s a good chance you will, too. ’Grey’ is not actually a colour or hair pigment in itself – it is a unique colour that results from normal hairs interspersed with white ones. Your hair colour turns from grey to white when all hair pigment cells stop being produced. It’s a unique colour for everyone.

Did I go grey early?

Some people go grey 10 or more years earlier than the average person does. It’s premature if you’re grey before:

  • 20 if you’re White / Caucasian
  • 25 if you’re Asian
  • 30 if you’re Black

Do health problems turn hair grey?

They could. These conditions include:

  • Lack of vitamin B12 
  • Lack of Vitamin D
  • Certain rare, inherited tumour conditions
  • Thyroid disease
  • Vitiligo, a condition that destroys pigment-making cells in the scalp
  • bad diet

Alopecia areata causes patches of hair (usual ones with colour) to fall out. This can look like sudden greying because the hair that’s left is grey or white. When your hair regrows, it could be grey, white, or your normal colour.

A fine product which ensures you have the perfect conditions for hair health & growth is Biotin

Does stress make you go grey?

Not directly. But it can cause a condition that causes your hair to shed about 3 times faster than normal. It’s possible that when your hair grows back, it’s grey instead of your original colour. One of the reasons for this is because stress, illness and an improper diet can deplete your body of Vitamin B, and various studies have shown that a lack of Vitamin B can cause hair to turn white prematurely. Other studies show that certain B vitamins, when taken in large doses, start to reverse the greying process within 3 months, and that the hair goes back to being white when the vitamins are stopped.

  • Vitamin A helps the sebaceous glands beneath the skin produce sebum, an oily substance that keeps your hair follicles moisturized. 
  • B vitamins are essential to the hair. B6 can help hair return to its natural colour after a serious illness, and B12 deficiency can contribute to premature greying. Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) and pantothenic acid are part of the B-vitamin group, and some believe taking them together can help reverse greying hair. Niacin (vitamin B3) helps scalp circulation. Be careful if you take niacin supplements because they can cause uncomfortable flushing that feels like prickles. Biotin is also known as vitamin B7 and plays a role in producing keratin, a major component of skin and nails.
  • Vitamins C and E: As antioxidants, vitamins C and E help prevent the deterioration of the hair follicles as you age. Wheat germ and wheat germ oil are good sources of vitamin E, and you’ll find lots of vitamin C in citrus fruits.

Will smoking make you go grey?

Having a fag can cause issues all over your body. That includes the hair on your head. One study showed that smokers are 2 1/2 times more likely to grey before age 30 than nonsmokers. It also can make silver-grey look yellow. Ensure you have your purple or toning shampoo that can rid these unsightly stains.

To pluck or not to pluck?

And no if you pluck a grey, three will grow back. That doesn’t happen. Still, don’t pluck. You’re just delaying the inevitable. Another grey strand will replace it. Besides, pulling hair out can damage follicles to a point that they no longer sprout hair. This can make your mane look thin over time. Bald or Grey? you have a choice.

Does grey hair feel different?

Grey hair is thinner than hair with natural colour because its cuticle is thinner. Your hair needs that natural protection from water, ultraviolet rays from the sun, humidity, chemicals, and heat styling. Without that barrier, your hair loses water. So your grey will feel dry, fragile, and coarse. Afro hair tends to be more prone to damage, compared to that of Asian and white people. Hair usually greys at an age when your sebaceous glands (which are attached to each hair follicle) begin to secrete less oil than before, which could cause it to feel drier than before. Using a simple moisturising oil such as a serum can help to make your hair feel less dry.

Does grey hair look different?

It may seem coarser by its look but contrary to popular belief, grey hair is unlikely to be coarser in texture than your other hair. In fact, our hair gets finer as we age, so unless you turn grey very young, grey hair is usually not coarse at all.

Tame those locks

Because grey hair is often finer and drier, you might want to change your hair products. A volumising shampoo and an intensively moisturising conditioner can be very effective. Moisture treatment and hair oils can fight dull, dry greys. Anti-frizz products can help, too. Heat and light from lamps or the sun can “bleach” grey hair and make it look yellow. Ask your stylist about how to prevent this. A colour toning shampoo can help keep your locks vibrant.

Special care for Afro hair

Afro hair usually is thinner, drier, and breaks more easily, compared to the hair of people of other races. So comb and otherwise treat it gently, especially if you use chemicals to relax your hair. Add moisture with a light conditioner that penetrates your hair shafts, instead of lanolin or other oily treatments that simply coat the strands.

No-Dye Camouflage

If you’re sporting just a few grey hairs, you can hide them if you get creative. Wear a headband. Or switch up your hairstyle, part it where there is less grey. If you have long hair, wear an up-do to hide grey roots.

Go Natural, Why I love to embrace the grey!

If you’re ready to ditch the dye, you can go grey gracefully while it grows out. Ask your stylist how much grey you actually have. If it’s a lot, you can go lighter through highlights to minimize grow-out. The thing is with grey hair, is that its range of colour is so unique and it’s the hardest colour to mimic. Grey hair is a gift, it denotes wisdom and it’s a badge of honour. It shows that we survived this thing called life! Think of them like wisdom highlights!

Get the Right Cut

Rock a great cut with lots of style and texture, and get a trim every 6-8 weeks. Women who are 100% grey often wear their hair short. But consider long layers. They can be beautiful and add movement to healthy, bouncy hair. Get in touch with your hairdresser now. Or me.

About the author @aarondornhair
Aaron Dorn is a hairdresser with twenty years of experience. A background in finance and computers. He continues to cut hair and is a consultant for several companies within the hair and beauty industry.

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