When you have grey hair and you color it, doesn’t it seem like it grows faster than ordinary hair?¬† You color it this week and by next week there it is peeking out already!¬† Well, join the club.¬† I encourage my students¬† who do chemistry that discovering and owning a patent on grey hair removal is money for life (along with wrinkles, fat, long hair, bigger cups etc.).

The hair can turn grey for various reasons:

  • Age:¬† Human hair naturally goes grey when they get older.¬† Some are luckier than others in that the grey hair comes in by sections on the head.¬† They may have a grey stripe on one side or at the temples.¬† There are some outliers who are lucky enough to not have grey even though their hair may become a lighter shade of their originally color.
  • Genetics:¬† If your parents/grandparents have grey hair, you have a greater chance of inheriting the trait.¬† Sometimes it will skip a sibling and/or give more to some than others.¬† I have also seen cases where the child is born with a white stripe or blonde section on the head.
  • stress:¬† There are instances of people who had traumatic events happen to them like a serious accident or a divorce and the hair gets a white stripe or goes grey all over.¬† This can thankfully be a temporary occurrence if the person gets help and the hair is able to repair itself.
  • Diet lacking essential vitamins:¬† If the diet is lacking in certain vitamins, the hair can become brittle and sometimes go grey earlier than life intended.¬† Checking with your medical practitioner is best to rule out this instance.

To get back to our question, why does it seem that grey hair grows faster?¬† if you think about it, since hair grows at about 1/2 inch or 2 mm per month, it is constantly growing even though it does not seem like it.¬† The most complaints I know come from persons with more than 25% grey because it is usually all over the head.¬† ¬†They usually have a darkest brown or brown color that is the color they keep on a normal basis.¬† When the hair has this much grey, the contrast is so noticeable that they say that the color “did not take”.¬† Actually, it did, but overnight the regrowth is just cresting the scalp and they are frustrated that it is not taking longer to show.

As it is not great to be coloring the hair too often,  there are some ways to make hair color last longer:

  1. moving to a lighter shade of hair color that is closer to the grey so when it grows in it is not as noticeable.  Most people are resistant to this option because they are used to seeing themselves one way and do not want to change as they get older.
  2. having a semi-permanent or temporary shade;  again, the hair will grow in, but since it washes off, it can be done more regularly.
  3. get a temporary color in a stick or spray that you can apply at home.
  4.  some people alternate between covering their hair with hair extensions or wigs and coloring.
  5. embrace the grey; this option is usually a last resort for most people.  If you have a medical issue e.g. cancer treatments coloring the hair should be off your list of priorities anyway.   For most, because people have to be staying in the workforce longer, it is important that they try to look younger and this is not an option.

Grey hair does not grow in faster than normal hair.  It just seem like it because it is much lighter and usually wiry or curly.  It is strong and delicate at the same time.  To care for your grey, use a blue-based shampoo to keep it looking shiny if you do not color. If you relax and use a permanent color, your grey hair will suffer.  Eventually, you will have to decide if you want the straight hair more than you want to color.  Scientists and hairstylists are still figuring out how best to delay the grey so until we do just work with it.

By Paula Barker, Silkielocks.com

Buy my e-book:¬† Dreadlocks:¬† a Hairstylist’s Manifest (Silkielocks.com, Amazon.com)



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