No one wants to go gray, as is it a sure sign of aging, so spotting that first gray or white hair can be upsetting for most people. Although many folks expect to start seeing some gray strands once they hit their early 40’s or 50’s, for those in their 20’s and 30’s, finding even one gray or white hair can be a major blow to one’s self-esteem and confidence. The good news is, there are many ways to prevent and treat prematurely graying hair. Here are some natural ways to stave off those gray strands and improve your hair’s health, too.
Addressing the Causes: Why Gray Hair Happens
Your hair turns gray or white due to a reduction in melanin. This pigment comes from melanocytes, which are the cells your body produces to send out melanin to various areas in your body, like your skin and hair. Melanin production slows for many reasons, but the most common factor is aging. Other reasons for graying of your hair include:
Medical Conditions: Diseases like hypothyroidism, sinusitis, anemia, neurofibromatosis, tuberous sclerosis and chronic colds can lower melanin.
Heredity: This is a major cause for many people, but there are still things they can do to prevent or at least slow down the graying.
Emotional Problems: Chronic stress, depression and anxiety can take their toll on many areas of your body, including your hair.
Poor Nutrition: A lack of vitamin B, iodine, copper and iron can lower melanin.
Hormonal Fluctuations: Pregnancy and menopause may cause a drop in your melanin, leading to graying.
Unhealthy Lifestyle: Making poor choices, like eating junk food, as well as smoking and drinking excessively can reduce melanin.
Hair Dyes and Synthetic Products: The use of poor quality, chemically-laden hair products can damage your hair and prevent melanin absorption.
What You Can Do: Natural Remedies for Graying Hair
Most people think there is nothing they can do to treat graying hair, but there are a variety of ways to approach this problem, both inside and out. Start from the inside of your body with some simple yet healthy lifestyle changes. Eat healthy foods, get lots of exercise, address your stress and get an ample night’s sleep. Quit unhealthy habits, like smoking and drinking excess alcohol.
To treat your hair directly, choose natural substances and avoid putting harsh chemicals on your hair. Here are eight natural remedies you can try:
Indian Gooseberry: An Ancient and Effective Gray Hair Treatment
Phyllanthus Emblica, Amla or Indian gooseberry is one of the most well-known home treatments for gray hair. In fact, people have used it in Ayurveda for centuries to address a host of hair issues because it is a rich source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that keeps hair healthy and prevents premature graying.
You can mix Indian Gooseberry with other natural substances to create a natural massage oil or lotion, such as:
Amla Juice: You can drink it as a beverage for better health and slow the production of gray hair.
Amla Oil or Pulp: Just apply it to your hair and massage gently. You can add a tablespoon of lemon juice to a tablespoon of amla oil, as well. Leave it on overnight and shampoo it out of your hair in the morning.
Amla Powder: You can dry a few pieces of Indian gooseberry in the sun or in a low oven temperature, and then grind them into a smooth powder. Amla powder can be added to a variety of hair products to add volume and shine.
Amla and Coconut or Almond Oil: This mixture can add some color to your hair, as well as nourish and moisturize your scalp. Just take Amla powder and mix with your oil of choice. Apply it to your scalp on a regular basis to treat gray hair.
When using amla, be sure to limit your use and pay attention to your body. Side effects to watch out for include:
Hypertension: Amla can lower blood pressure, so if you are already taking medications for it, consult your doctor before trying amla. Stomach Problems: Too much of the vitamin C in amla can cause stomach problems like cramps, diarrhea and acid reflux, so if this occurs after consuming it, cut down or stop using it. Scalp Dryness: Too much amla usage can lead to scalp dryness, dandruff and flaking, so to prevent this, be sure to consume lots of water, as well. Allergies: Skin reactions can occur from amla allergies, so if you notice your skin turns red or is irritated, or you feel dizzy or have a headache, be sure to stop taking it right away and call your doctor.
People have used henna since early times because is it a rich, auburn dye that comes from the lawsonia inermis tree that can turn your hair a dark reddish brown color. You can find henna leaves which you can grind into a powder before using, or you can buy the henna already ground into powder, which makes it easy to blend with other natural ingredients like coconut oil, lemon juice, cloves or vinegar. For a darker shade, try adding indigo.
To get the desired color, you can use henna once a week to once a month. It is a natural hair dye that can also condition your hair and make it stronger, too. Here’s some ways to use henna on your hair:
Henna Leaves and Coconut Oil: Heat coconut oil to the boiling point. Add a generous handful of henna leaves and simmer until it turns brown. Let it cool down before you apply it to your scalp and rinse it off after 35 to 45 minutes. You can also use mustard oil instead of coconut oil.
Henna Paste: Create a paste by grinding a handful of henna leaves. Add one teaspoon of coffee powder, three teaspoons of Indian gooseberry powder and enough plain yogurt to create a paste. Spread it on your hair evenly and let it dry. Rinse thoroughly and then shampoo your hair. You can do this treatment every two to four weeks.
Henna is generally safe to use on your hair, but here are some things to be aware of before trying it:
Henna is Messy: You will need to wear gloves when applying henna to your hair, and it could stain things, so use caution when applying it. You can apply oil or Vaseline as a protective shield to your forehead, neck and ears to prevent staining. About Using Henna: Henna will not even out your hair color or cover dark roots, because it darkens, not hides. If you start with dark roots, they will still be there after using it. Also, you cannot use permanent hair dye after using henna on your hair. You can try a semi-permanent dye, instead.
Curry isn’t just for your favorite recipes. Curry leaves have essential nutrients, like vitamin B, that can help prevent gray hair and restore the health of your hair follicles. Curry leaves also contain beta-carotene, which encourages hair growth and reduces hair loss. Here’s a helpful gray hair remedy you can make in a snap:
Curry Leaves and Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is nature’s conditioner for your hair. It can treat dry hair and smooth hair cuticles, making it look shinier and more manageable, as well. Here’s how to make this massage oil:
Combine a handful of curry leaves with one cup of coconut oil.
Boil for five to eight minutes, or until the curry leaves look black.
Let this concoction cool and then strain it into a container.
Massage into your hair strands and scalp.
Rinse it out after 30 to 45 minutes.
Repeat one or two times weekly.
Curry Leaves, Yogurt and Neem Mask: This mask will add moisture and nutrients to your scalp, leaving your hair shiny and healthy. It can also make your hair strands stronger and protect them from environmental damage. Here’s a simple way to prepare it:
Take a handful of curry and neem leaves and add them to a mixer or bowl.
Add two to three teaspoons of yogurt
Blend all ingredients until you form a fine paste.
Apply this mixture to your scalp and massage it gently.
Let your hair dry for 10 to 15 minutes.
Shampoo it out completely and rinse well.
Your hair may feel tacky after using curry leaves due to the natural elements in them. You don’t need to worry because when your hair becomes dry, you’ll be able to style it with ease. You can also try the following tips:
Shampoo and Rinse Well: To combat the sticky feel, just wash with shampoo and rinse thoroughly after.
Take Your Time: Give your hair plenty of time to dry naturally.
Comb It Out: Comb or brush out any pieces of leaves that may cling to your hair.
Coconut Oil and Lemon Juice: A Winning Combination for Healthy Hair
Of all the things in this world that smell wonderful, coconuts and lemons are on the top of the list. They add a distinctive flavor to recipes, but they can also chase those grays away, as well, Pure coconut oil nourishes and promotes hair growth while protecting your scalp from drying and flaking. It has anti-microbial effects and contains fatty acids like lauric acid, which can strengthen your hair and make it healthier.
Lemon juice comes with a healthy dose of phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium, as well as vitamins B and C, which can target the source of graying hair and treat it effectively. Lemons can make your hair stronger, thicker, shinier and reduce dandruff, too. Lemons can keep hair healthy by restoring its natural pH balance.
You can massage plain coconut oil on your scalp before going to bed at night. Just shampoo in the morning and you’re good to go. If you use it regularly, it could even reverse your gray hair, thanks to the antioxidants it contains. Here’s a hair treatment using coconut oil and lemon juice:
Blend a few teaspoons of lemon juice with a cup of coconut oil. You will want to make more if your hair is long; less if it is short.
Apply this mixture to your hair, paying extra attention to your scalp.
Shampoo it out after at least an hour.
You can do this treatment once a week.
Lemon juice acts as a natural degreasing agent, so it can reduce the oiliness of the coconut oil, too. Remember to use fresh squeezed lemon juice, not the concentrate you find in bottles at the store. The concentrated variety is much stronger, so you may not get the effects you desire. If you must use the concentrated variety, one teaspoon of it is equal to the juice of one whole lemon.
Rosemary and sage are an aromatic addition to many home recipes, but did you know that they can treat a variety of hair and skin problems, too?
Rosemary, also known as rosmarinus officinalis, can reduce hair fall out and improve hair growth due to two main ingredients, caffeic acid and rosmaricinic acid. It also helps the pigmentation process to help hair retain its color. If your scalp is dry, itchy or has dandruff, rosemary is an effective remedy.
Sage, scientifically named salvia officinalis, is another herb that is commonly used for natural hair care. This is because sage is full of nutrients like vitamins A, B and C, as well as minerals like potassium and calcium. Just like rosemary, sage can help prevent premature graying naturally.
Here’s how to create a remedy using them together:
Gather a half cup of rosemary and a half cup of sage.
Add to two cups of water and bring to a boil.
Let this solution sit for at least two hours before straining.
Shampoo your hair and use this mixture as a hair rinse afterward.
Rinse it out after it dries completely or after approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
Repeat this treatment once a week.
Sage, Rosemary and Peppermint Oil Scalp Massage Treatment
The application of herbal oils on a regular basis may help treat scalp infections and stimulate the growth of new hair. Here’s another quick treatment you can try in the comfort of your own home:
Combine three to four drops of sage, rosemary and peppermint oil with a tablespoon of olive oil. Massage it into your scalp gently once or twice a day for the best effects. You can apply it and leave it on overnight, too. Just cover your head with a towel or scarf after applying, and then shampoo it out in the morning. Be sure to rinse and dry your hair well afterwards.
Blackstrap Molasses: Rich in Copper and Key Trace Minerals
Rich in copper, blackstrap molasses can encourage the production of pigment, so it is an effective home treatment for prematurely graying hair. Many people consume one to two tablespoons of blackstrap molasses orally, since it provides about 14 percent of the daily recommended amount of copper. Blackstrap molasses also offers trace minerals, like selenium and iron.
What makes blackstrap molasses different from regular molasses is that regular molasses is created by boiling cane sugar once or twice, while blackstrap molasses are boiled a third time, which raises the iron levels by five percent.
Blackstrap molasses also contain manganese, a powerful antioxidant that can lead to healthier scalp. Manganese fights off the damage caused by oxidative stress and free radicals. Stress affects your hair just like it affects the rest of your body, causing premature graying and even hair loss.
A rich and natural deep conditioner, blackstrap molasses can make your hair smooth and silky. Consuming blackstrap molasses each day can stimulate overall hair health, while using it topically can help make gray hair softer and shinier, too.
Here are two ways to use blackstrap molasses for a gray hair remedy:
Orally: Blackstrap molasses provides approximately 14% of the daily recommended dose of copper. It also contains other trace minerals such as iron, selenium, and magnesium. Take a tablespoon of it every morning for at least a few months, and you may see positive results. Because it has a strong flavor, most people prefer to add it to milk before drinking it.
Topically: Massage blackstrap molasses into your hair and scalp, leaving it in place for at least 15 to 20 minutes before shampooing it out.
You can even use blackstrap molasses as a shampoo, but it can be sticky, so dilute it with water or mix it with other natural ingredients like olive oil or coconut milk. Be sure to let it stay on your scalp for at least 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing it away with plain warm water.
Don’t throw those potato skins away the next time you cook. Instead, save them to make your own organic hair coloring solution. This is because potato skins contain starches, which act as a natural dye to gradually make your gray hairs darker. Here’s how:
Mix one cup of potato skins with two cups of water.
Bring to a full boil and let simmer for approximately 20 to 25 minutes.
Let it cool down completely before straining the liquid from the potato skins.
You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to add a pleasant scent.
After you shampoo your hair, divide it into several small sections.
Pour on your hair, or brush this solution on each section using a hair dye or marinade brush.
For ease of use, make a large batch and store it in an empty shampoo bottle to place on your shower or bathroom shelf.
Rinse well with cool water and repeat until you get the effect you desire.
Sweet potatoes are great for prematurely aging hair, too. Just like regular potatoes, they contain lots of nutrients and antioxidants for repairing damaged hair. They also hydrate and strengthen your hair. Here’s a sweet potato mask you can whip up fast to use daily:
Simmer two sweet potatoes in eight ounces of water for just four to five minutes.
Mash them into a fine paste and add one tablespoon of olive oil.
Add one tablespoon or curd, which is a dairy product produced by coagulating milk, and mix well.
Rinse your hair with lukewarm water first.
Massage the paste gently into your scalp.
Next, apply to your hair, starting at the top and working to the bottom of each strand.
Put your hair up in a bun or towel and leave on for at least 30 to 40 minutes.
Rinse off thoroughly with warm water.
We all go gray, but there are ways to slow the process and even reverse it to some degree, so just pick one of these home remedies for prematurely graying hair to try for yourself. The best part is, they are natural, affordable and easy to prepare, too. You don’t have to spend a lot of money or use synthetic products with risky chemicals. If you are tired of your gray hair, pay attention to living a healthy lifestyle and go for these natural treatments, instead.