Transitioning Your Hair Color: Gracefully Going Gray

This week, I approach the subject of transitioning to gray hair and embracing it.

In case you hadn’t noticed, gray hair has become a trend right now, not only for those who are gray, but for the young without a gray in sight. It’s always easier to accept a white mane if we are not forced into accepting or rejecting what’s happening to our hair as we age. It really can place us in a dilemma as our regular colors won’t hold anymore, and if they do, within a couple of weeks they will often fade off to an obnoxious orange or green hue.

I’m actually battling the same decision myself right now, so here are my findings and my thoughts.

As we age, everything fades. You will notice the eyebrows and eyelashes fade too, not only in color but also density. There are products one can use to help revitalize the growth of brows and lashes. I do suggest these, as the more hair we can keep, the more youthful one’s eyes will appear. However, the only way to overcome the fading is to re-color them with product especially for lashes and brows. This is better done by an expert at the same time you have your hair color treatment.

Understanding the cause of white hair

When there are fewer pigment cells in a hair follicle, that strand of hair will no longer contain as much melanin and will become transparent like gray, silver or white — as it grows. As we age, fewer pigment cells will be around to produce melanin.

You may be familiar with hydrogen peroxide used in all permanent hair coloring. It’s been claimed it may also be a culprit that speeds up the greying process. According to a 2009 study published by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, hydrogen peroxide naturally occurs in our hair follicles, and as we get older, it builds up. This build-up blocks the production of melanin, our hair’s pigment.

This makes me wonder, if we have been coloring our hair with hydrogen peroxide for the past years to cover what the beginnings of gray, is it actually blocking our potential melanin production, therefore making our roots whiter at a faster rate? Food for thought, don’t you think?

Simple steps to help retard grey hair

Low vitamin B12 levels are notorious for causing loss of hair pigment. Try eating foods such as liver and carrots. Foods packed with certain vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants will help protect cells against toxins and help prevent grey hair!

Black strap molasses is rich in copper and is known to help raise the melanin levels. “Grandma tales” tell us Indian Gooseberry also helps and can be eaten raw or you can apply the pulp to hair.

A sage and rosemary infusion poured through hair after shampooing will actually darken hair (but not cover gray.)

A color solution

As we age, we fade, skin tone included, so it’s best to embrace the process wisely. That’s not to say we can’t cheat a little, in fact I think we should! Take it gradually, and most importantly, as elegantly as we can. Spend the money on  a good professional colorist. If you are unsure where to go, Google research today can be very helpful. Most salons have a review section you should check.

If you are blonde, you are half way home to a solution. Ask your hairdresser to add lighter highlights that match your white hair so as to blend them through your blonde. Highlights are better than a block blonde and much lower maintenance. This way, over time, you will be transitioning to gray hair by allowing it to finally take over.

An auburn head of hair could opt for a similar step to the blonde, adding highlights to blend the white hair.

I’m a brunette and I’ve decided to keep the gray where it’s first appearing on my temple areas and continue coloring the rest of my hair with a natural color pigment shampoo with no peroxide. I will use Davines. This semi non-peroxide color won’t actually cover stray grays 100%, but stains them to blend with my natural dark brown hair. The key here is to separate these temple sections cleverly to make them look natural and not forced, and to be sure to protect them well by covering them in a hair mask or conditioner and clipping them away tightly when applying color to the rest of the hair so as not to lose them.

Perhaps you have gone through the transitioning to gray hair dilemma already. If so, let us know your remedies and ideas!


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