This question is the one a lot of people ask when they notice their first grays. There are a lot of pros and cons to turning your naturally gray hair to a different color like dark brown. Some people just shave it off to save time and money, while others choose to embrace the grays by dyeing their full head as close to their natural color as they can. But the question remains — do you need to dye your gray hair?
What Causes Gray Hair
There are many reasons that your hair can turn gray. But the most common ones could be genetics or aging. Stress is not a factor in your hair turning gray. Many Caucasian people might start seeing grays by the time they are 30. Alternatively, Africans may start turning gray in their mid-40s, while Asians in their late 30s. It is stated that the chances of having gray or white hair increase between 10 and 20 percent every ten years. That is due to the hair follicles losing their pigment. The pigment cells that give your eyes, skin, and hair their colors are known as melanin. When these cells die, your natural hair strands turn gray, then sliver, and, eventually, white. For dark-haired people, it can give them a salt and pepper look.
However, genetics can also play a big part when your hair decides to go to a natural shade of gray. Premature grays can happen to people before the age of 30. Even teenagers can show a few grays at 17 (such as myself). But the best way to determine when you may start going gray is by speaking to your parents. If their hair began losing pigment when they were young, the chances are that yours may too.
There are other medical reasons for silver hair. Autoimmune issues could be a factor since your immune system could attack your cells. Vitiligo is such an issue since it can target cells in your scalp, such as melanin. Alopecia areata is another medical concern that causes some hair loss. However, the leftover hair may become gray. If you have this condition, your hair may grow back in your natural color, gray, or silver. Overall, it is best to speak to your doctor if you are concerned about it.
Can You Prevent Gray Hair?
If you notice that your hair is in the beginning phases of graying, there are ways to slow down this process. One of the methods of keeping your natural color for longer is to make sure that you are getting enough vitamins. B12 and Zinc are the best ones to look out for since they can help keep your color (B12) and hair (Zinc).
Moreover, you can take multivitamins if you are worried about your genetics. But you can find B12 in groceries like meat and animal products, as well as milk and eggs. The latter is excellent for Vegetarians, but Vegans would have to consider taking supplements. However, these are no magic cure since you would need to take them for a long time for them to have any effect. Another thing you may want to do is to massage egg oil onto your head. You can do that twice a week and leave it overnight. Egg oil has anti-oxidant xanthophylls, which may undo the early stages of graying. You can also quit smoking, as well as to just take good, general care of your hair.
Why Dye Your Hair?
Some people may want to dye their hair because they may be uncomfortable with showing their grays. There are many colors to choose from, but it is vital to make sure that you use products that are designed to cover grays. Things like semi-permanent hair dye will not do the trick. Namely, that is because it may not cover the roots. Therefore, you may want to look into permanent dyes.
Dyeing your hair gives you the opportunity to try out different colors and styles. Plus, you do not have to dye your whole head in one color. You can opt for particular parts (that have a lot of grays) to get highlighted, for example. That could add bounce and dimension to your style as well as mask the gray hairs. Highlights could be good for people who have cool-toned hair color like black or brown.
However, some grays do not let dyes stick to them. If that is the case, then you may want to take the option of dyeing the rest of your hair lighter colors to hide the grays. The best advice would be to go to the hairdresser and hear what they have to say. They could give you ideas for more options besides dyeing. A specific haircut could also hide your grays well.
Some People Dye Their Hair Gray Entirely Instead of Getting Rid of It
Another hair dyeing opinion is to go full-on gray or white. That can be a stylistic choice, which would make yourself look like a silver fox — a classy, charming, sexy look with the wisdom of age but the face of youth. Plus, if your hair keeps going gray, then you would not have to dye it any longer. That could save you money, and none would be the wiser. If you decide to go gray or just to let your grays shine, then go for it. You can always change your mind and try another color. But if you do decide to go fully gray, then you may want to have shades of it instead of a single hue. That could help your hair look more natural and dynamic.
How to Dye Your Hair Naturally
Now, if you do decide to dye your hair and experiment with colors, then you have two options: naturally or artificial dye. If you want to try to do it by yourself, then I have some suggestions on what you could use. However, before you go over all your hair, you may want to cut a small piece of it and test it. That is so that you could see how your hair reacts and if the color would even work for you.
If you want to go a bit dark, then you may want to consider using coffee. Make a cup and let it cool, mix it with a few cups of leave-in conditioner, and add two tablespoons of coffee grounds. You have to do this a few times to notice a difference.
Alternatively, you could also use tea. However, when doing so, you should go with the color that is closest to your natural color. Tea cannot change the color of your hair, but it can hide the grays. So mix about three to five tea bags in two cups of water and let it cool. You can add leave-in conditioner and dried saga (to open the hair follicles for the gray hairs.)
You can also use different types of herbs where particular ones could go with your natural hair color. Plus, you can use carrot and beet juice to add a red tint to your hair. But they can also stain your clothes, so don’t forget to wear something old. It would be best to go for two shades that are lighter or darker than your natural color.
Keep in mind that there are both pros and cons to natural hair dye.
- It has less artificial chemicals
- You save money
- You can dye at any time
- You are most likely not a professional, so mistakes could happen
- Mistakes can cost you since you would have to go to a salon to fix them
- You cannot go as big, i.e., change from one color to another, quickly
Artificial Hair Dye
If you are not into DIY, then a salon would be the right call. There, you would have a range of colors to choose from. Plus, you do not have to clean up after yourself. But you would be adding artificial chemicals to your hair, which could weaken it. So there are also both pros and cons you should know before you walk through the doors of a salon.
- You’re handled by professionals that know what to do with and how to work your hair
- Changing dramatically from one color to another is easier
- Adding highlights, and lowlights to make your natural hair pop takes less effort
- Experimenting with color. You can go “wacky” and see if you like it. Plus, it is a way to express yourself
- It can weaken your hair. When you artificially dye your hair, you damage it. That is because the melanin needs to be lifted for the dye to get in. That, in return, causes the cuticles to lift, which can be seen as the covering and protection of your hair
- You might have to change multiple products to make your new hair shine
- You would be damaging and thinning out your hair
- The price of going to a salon is pretty steep. That is not only for the first time you dye but for the following touch-ups in six to eight weeks as well
- It could be harmful to your skin — some colors could discolor it. Plus, if you have sensitive skin, then you could have an itchy reaction to the hair dye
If you’re into artificial dyes, see this article which talks about hair dye safety.
Some people may embrace their new silver tone while others will go for the option of dyeing it — both are respectable choices. Dyeing your hair could make you more confident, but showing off your grays could make you look wiser. The choice is, of course, up to you in the end since everybody has a different style. So to answer our original question — you do not need to, but you can if you want to.