I found my first gray hair when I was 25, or rather, my stylist found it. I plucked it right there in the salon and I just remember staring at it the whole time I was sitting there, mesmerized and horrified. I couldn’t believe I had grown the wiry silver thing I was holding, that it had come from my own head.
My hair is very fine, dark brown and on the oilier side, which means that any gray hair will stick out like a sore thumb. Like most young women facing their first grays, I plucked them out.
Does plucking grays out make more gray hairs grow back?
In an interview with The Telegram, Joanna Williamson, Director of Styling and Education at Aer Blowdry Bar said: “I don’t believe that if you pluck a grey hair more hairs will grow back in its place, because surrounding hairs will not turn grey until their own follicles’ pigment cells die.” That is a relief, but still does not justify plucking hair out, especially when you have fine hair to start with.
According to study done by the Department of Dermatology at Seoul’s National University College of Medicine on a group of 522 men and 480 women, the prevalence of gray hair by age was 51.5% in their thirties, 81.1% in their forties, and 95.3% in their fifties. Based on these statistics, it is not surprising that many of us are finding the first few strands in our mid to late twenties.
The good news for us is that we have a lot of options. The first option we should consider when locked in that stare-down with our first silver strand is embracing it!
If going all gray is something that interests you, it could be an investment of both time and money, depending on what you have previously done to your hair. If you have colored your hair dark in the past, it will be a process to remove all the pigment from your hair before the gray color can be applied. You might be looking at three salon visits over a three-month period, each costing anywhere between one and two hundred dollars. With hair that has never been colored or blonde hair, the cost and time commitment will be significantly lower.
After all, you’ve earned those bad boys with memories and experience, no matter your age, and who says they’re not beautiful?
And if you have never colored your hair, why start now? Even at twenty, you can find beauty in those sparkly highlights.
Ronda Smith, a 50-year old from the Midwest, told me, “I have had gray hair for over 30 years and I have had my hair colored for about that many years, too. Even though my gray hair is beautiful, I just don’t feel that old yet.” I love that she knows her natural hair is beautiful and appreciates that she is just not quite ready to embrace that beauty yet. But what if you are ready to embrace it, but have been coloring your hair for years? You don’t have to live with a skunk stripe, there are options out there for you, too!
If you had blonde hair before the gray appeared, you are at a bit of an advantage since the light coloring will blend well with the gray and be less noticeable as it grows out. If this is you, a couple of salon visits for sparse highlights will ease your transition from colored hair to natural without having a noticeable outgrowth line. With darker colored hair, you have the option of asking your stylist to use your regular color as a lowlight, transitioning you into your natural gray easily.
Another option is to ask your stylist about color options.
First, you can consider semi-permanent color. This is hair color that will fade out over time, leaving you with a seamless look until your outgrowth is long enough to finally let go and embrace that long-awaited natural look. The good news is that all of these options will likely be easier on your budget than any full-color trips to the salon.
If hiding your sparkle is more your style, your options are innumerable. Keep in mind to choose styles that grow out well if you think you may want to embrace your natural color eventually, or if you don’t plan on making frequent visits to the salon to cover outgrowth. Again, highlights or lowlights (or both!) are excellent options for low maintenance color.
What’s the root cause of gray hair?
Premature graying is largely dictated by genetics. This means that if your mom or dad found themselves with a head full of salt and pepper by the time they were 30, the chances of you experiencing the same thing are pretty high. However, studies have found that women are getting those first gray hairs at a younger age than their mothers. This may be caused by other factors including stress, vitamin deficiency, smoking, and even an unhealthy scalp. If you find that premature graying is not part of your family history, it might be time to look into other aspects of your lifestyle for a possible cause.
If you had been overloaded with stress when you find that first sparkle in your hair, your body could be trying to tell you that it needs a break from constant anxiety. Try setting aside time each day for yourself to meditate, practice yoga, or drink stress-relieving herbal tea blends. Herbs such as ashwagandha, turmeric, lavender, and chamomile can help reduce stress and promote a restful night’s sleep. A drop of CBD oil can also do wonders to relieve anxiety and help you sleep better. Finding balance in your life will not only promote outward beauty, but it will also help you enjoy your days to the fullest.
Taking a daily multivitamin, quitting unhealthy habits such as smoking, and taking good care of your scalp and hair with high-quality products and a daily scalp massage, are all important for your inner health and outward beauty.
Like so many women today who refuse to conform to the narrow standards of what our society calls beautiful, don’t force yourself to cover your natural beauty to please others. On the other hand, if you know your gray hair is beautiful but aren’t ready to embrace it just yet, then by all means, do what makes you feel happy and beautiful. The most important thing to remember is to stay healthy and take the time to care for yourself.