The industry for gray hair treatment is thriving. Indeed, it is a multi-million dollar niche in hair care because so many people think it makes them look elderly. People whose hair turns gray prematurely or those in their 40s and 50s want to look as young as they feel. This is what fuels a large section of the hair color industry.
Hair turns gray because the follicles no longer produce the pigment (melanin) that provides the natural hair color. Melanin is the substance that gives us our skin color as well as our hair color. Without that pigment the hair can appear lifeless and the shaft becomes more brittle. At this point you can do two things—you can enjoy your new look while making your hair as healthy and vibrant as possible or you can color it.
Providing your hair with nutrients, in a shampoo or through vitamin supplements, will make your hair healthy looking and supple. One ingredient that many help is Emu oil, a substance that is said to rejuvenate the follicle and prevent or halt the production of gray hair. The Omega 3 oils contained in Emu oil nourishes the body as well as the hair follicles, softening your skin as well as moisturizing your hair shafts. It can also darken the hair and revitalize the pigment.
If you find that your hair is turning gray and you are relatively young, it may be time to have a physical check up. Thyroid disorders can cause follicles to stop manufacturing melanin as can a deficiency of vitamin B12. Even if you eat enough foods with B12 or take supplements, your body may be having trouble absorbing it. This could be an early warning sign of other conditions such as Crohn’s disease, bacteria in your small intestine or a lack of protein. Smoking also causes your hair to prematurely turn gray.
There are many substances that are said to prevent or reverse gray hair such as seaweed, blackstrap molasses, nettles, chlorophyll, wheat grass and other natural remedies. But just because these are natural doesn’t mean they are harmless; excess consumption of seaweed, for instance, can overdose your body with iodine and cause thyroid problems—which may make you hair fall out! Always consult a physician before trying any remedy, natural or chemical, for gray hair or any other condition.
If you’ve ruled out all physical causes of gray hair and you want your natural hair color back you can use natural coloring agents for the healthiest treatment. Chamomile or calendula is good for golden highlights while hibiscus will redden your hair. If you want darker hair, black tea or rosemary sage will do the trick. Combine four tablespoons of such dried herbs with 3 cups of water and boil the mixture, letting it simmer until about half of it has evaporated. Pour the rest into a misting bottle and spray it on your clean, conditioned hair. The treatment is temporary and you may have to repeat it every few weeks.
If you prefer a more permanent solution there are dyes on the market that avoid harsh chemicals. Check the labels and avoid those that list ammonia as an ingredient. Better still, check with your hair stylist for the best and most affordable natural dyes.