Why Do We Go Grey?
Why do we go grey?
Going grey is a rite of passage that we all must pass through at some point in our lives. Most of us find our first grey hair by the time we’re 30, usually at our temples or widow’s peak.
While we will all go grey (some earlier than others) we don’t all want to stay grey. Whether you want to take this opportunity to try on a new shade or hold onto your natural hair colour for a little longer, there are a wide range of hair dyes existing – with many being designed with grey hair in mind.
But why does hair turn grey in the first place? And how is it different to any other colour? From the science behind the colour you were born with to the perfect dye for grey locks, here’s everything you need to know about going grey.
What creates our natural hair colour?
Let’s start with the science. Hair colour is produced by cells known as melanocytes, which nestle into the hair bulb as the follicles develop in the womb. The melanocytes produce pigment that colours the hair and produces a fantastic array of natural shades from blondes to brunettes and redheads.
The exact colour of your hair depends on the ratios of two groups of melanin: eumelanin (brown, blonde and black pigments) and pheomelanin (red and orange pigments). Your hair colour changes over time due to fluctuations in the levels of these melanin groups.
Ever wondered why a lot of people’s eyelashes are darker than the rest of their hair? That’s because the levels of eumelanin can be higher in those follicles. The same science applies to the ginger-tinged beards we often see on men. In this case, it’s the pheomelanin levels that are higher.
Why do we go grey?
Your hair goes through many cycles during your lifetime. The active cycle, when the hair is growing, is called the anagen phase. The anagen phase can last three to five years, and produces hair that grows up to 60cm in length.
Once this phase is complete, the follicle “turns off” and cuts off blood supply to the hair. It remains off for up to three months, during which time your hair is shed and the follicle remains empty until the process starts again. Balding happens when more and more of the hair follicles fail to start up again, meaning less and less hair can grow back.
Pigment production also turns on and off during this cycle of hair growth and shedding. When the anagen cycle starts again, if the pigment doesn’t turn back on at the same time, the hair will not receive any colour and will grow white. The grey appearance of your hair is actually white strands interspersed with coloured hair. When pigment production completely stops, your hair turns totally white.
How is grey hair different?
Contrary to popular belief, grey hair is not coarser – but it is typically finer than coloured hair. Grey hair may seem coarser because oil glands produce less sebum as you grow older, which results in drier, rougher-textured hair.
It’s common for people to pull out their grey hairs as and when they find them. If this sounds like you, try to resist the temptation! Pulling out your hair can actually distort your follicles and damage hair from the root, resulting in more crinkly, coarse hair.
Can I prevent myself from going grey?
Unfortunately, there’s no way we can stop our hair from going grey as it happens to all of us eventually! While lifestyle, hormonal fluctuations and diet can impact the speed at which we go grey, the greying process is largely genetic. This means that if your parents went grey early, there’s a good chance you will too. There are also a range of health conditions that have been linked to premature greying, such as diabetes, pernicious anemia and thyroid problems.
How to dye grey hair
Grey hair can be more difficult to dye – it’s often finer and has a tendency to dry out quickly. We recommend using a hair dye that has been specifically formulated for use on grey hair and includes a nourishing conditioner to create a glossy shine for weeks after you colour.
Use Casting Crème Gloss, our semi-permanent range, for glossy natural looking colour that covers 1st greys.
If you’re looking for more commitment, use Excellence which is for 100% grey coverage.
From natural, golden brown to bright and vibrant blonde, we have a range of shades designed to revitalise your hair and provide up to six weeks of intensive colour care.
Ageing and greying is a natural process that happens to us all. Embrace your grey or keep it at bay with our range of hair products designed to give you colour that defies the test of time.