Life is full of ironies, boy. I don't know about y'all but, back when I was growing up, when it came to my hair, the rule in the house was, "Shellie, when you can pay to get your hair done, you can dye it." Shoot, that didn't happen until I was almost in college, so I used to sneak and do stuff like spray my hair with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and lemon juice in order to make it lighter. Chile, fast forward to now and who knew that my body would end up producing enough peroxide to lighten my hair all on its own? Especially now that jet black is my preferred hair hue.
What? You didn't know? The reason why our hair turns grey is because, as we age, our hair follicles produce less melanin. Not only that, but a build-up of hydrogen peroxide naturally occurs in our hair shaft; this basically means that our hair begins to bleach from the inside out. For many of us, this begins at around 30, with grey hairs increasing approximately 10-20 percent every decade or so.
While grey hair is a part of life (and something that a lot of people pay good money at hair salons to get), I totally understand if you're not yet ready to fully embrace your silver locks yet. At the same time, with all of the news out here about how chemicals are wreaking pure havoc on our health, I would recommend that you consider putting the hair dye down and testing out some natural ways to stop premature greying in its tracks. You might be pleasantly surprised by just how well the following 10 remedies tend to work.
1. Be More Gentle with Your Hair Overall
The weaker your hair is, the more prone it will be to grey prematurely. Some things that can do a real number on your cuticles include sun damage, improperly detangling your locks, applying too much heat, using sulfate shampoos, and not deep conditioning your hair on a consistent basis. Speaking of conditioning your tresses, word on the street is that, by applying coconut oil to your hair and scalp on your wash day and leaving it on for an hour, it will nourish your hair follicles and slow down the greying process. Hey, it's worth a shot.
2. Eat More Copper
A mineral that our body needs that isn't discussed nearly enough is copper. When we don't have enough of it in our system, that can lead to high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, a drop in white blood cells, less collagen and elastin production, and more free radicals moving throughout your system. Another indication of copper deficiency is premature greying due to low serum blood copper concentration.
Because copper supplements can sometimes have an adverse effect on birth control and ibuprofen, it's best to get more copper into your system by eating foods that are high in it. Some of those include whole grains, dark leafy greens, cashews, black pepper, dried fruits, potatoes and dark chocolate.
3. Apply Some Onion Juice
One of the reasons why onions are so good for our skin and hair is because it's high in sulfur. If you apply a mixture of onion juice, milk and nutmeg, it will create a face wash that can lead to even and glowing skin. If you apply onion juice to your hair, it can treat dandruff, reduce hair loss, promote hair growth and yes, slow down the greying process; sometimes, even reverse it. All you need to do is apply onion juice to your freshly washed hair, massage it onto your scalp and let it sit for 1-2 hours and then rinse thoroughly, deep condition and style as usual. If the smell of onions drives you up the wall, feel free to add your favorite essential oil to the juice. After doing this for a couple of months, it's possible that your hair will return back to its original color. (You can get an easy DIY onion juice hair recipe here.)
4. Take a Fo-Ti Supplement Too
If you've never heard of the supplement Fo-Ti, don't feel bad; a lot of people haven't. It's basically another name for "Chinese climbing knotweed" and its benefits are pretty impressive. Some practitioners use it in order to aid in treating headaches, acne, high blood pressure, diabetes, muscle soreness, erectile dysfunction and infertility. But what it's got a really great reputation for is combating premature greying by turning grey hair back to its original hue (if you take 1000 mg two times per day). This supplement can be somewhat potent, so make sure to run it by your doctor before taking it, just so that you can avoid any unpleasant side effects that it might bring.
5. Take a B-Complex Vitamin
If you don't have enough Vitamin B running through your veins, this is another thing that could trigger grey hair strands before their time. By adding B-complex to your daily vitamin intake regimen, you can help to stop greying in its tracks. Vitamin B3 is able to nourish your hair follicles, vitamins B6 and B12 will help to restore your tresses' natural hair color, and pantothenic acid (which is a part of the B vitamin family) can postpone the onset of grey hair growth.
6. Snack on a Few Almonds
Remember how I said that grey hair happens, in part, due to the production of hydrogen peroxide building up in our hair shaft? Well, something in our body known as enzyme catalase catalyzes the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide by turning it into water and oxygen. A food that is really rich in enzyme catalase is almonds. Some others that have a good amount of it too include cabbage, kale, sweet potatoes, garlic and broccoli.
7. Load Up on Antioxidants
Something else that happens when we age is our antioxidant levels begin to drop. Whenever this happens, our white blood cells can experience free radical damage due to the overproduction of hydrogen peroxide; this includes the peroxide that is produced in our hair follicles. One way to counteract this is to consume more antioxidants. You can do this by eating citrus fruit, berries and kale, taking vitamin C and E supplements, and consuming the ashwagandha herb. One study revealed that when a group of middle-aged men took ashwagandha for a year, they noticed an increase of melanin production in their hair. That's pretty impressive, if you ask me.
8. Try Some Blackstrap Molasses
I'm borderline anemic. Something that my mother would give me while growing up was blackstrap molasses. Putting a couple of teaspoons in a cup of hot water serves as a pretty good drink that is loaded with iron. Some other benefits of molasses include they help to relieve menstrual cramps, strengthen bones, they contain anti-inflammatory properties and stabilize your nervous system, plus they also fight against fatigue.
Another perk to consuming blackstrap molasses is, if you take the kind that is made from sugarcane juice, they also have a way of keeping premature greying from setting in. Eating a tablespoon every other day should do the trick.
9. Consume More Protein
Since our hair is mostly made up of the protein known as keratin, it actually makes a lot of sense that a lack of protein in our system could also result in premature greying. When you are protein deficient, your hair follicles are unable to get the nutrients that it needs in order to produce the amount of melanin that gives your tresses its natural color. So yeah, amping up your protein intake can also be a surefire remedy for ridding yourself of premature greying. Foods that contain high amounts of protein include eggs, cottage cheese, pumpkin seeds, oats, almonds, tuna, poultry, asparagus, beans and salmon. If you'd prefer to go the supplement route, whey powder is a great way to go.
10. Calm Down
If a senior in your life has ever said that someone in their world was the cause of their grey hair, believe it or not, there is actually some truth to that. When you're stressed out, not only can that shorten the lifespan of your hair's growth cycle, it can also trigger the kind of body inflammation that turns off pigment-producing cells. Wow. As if you needed one more reason to remove all of the stress from your life, right? Now you know, for sure, that it could bring grey hairs to your head well before your time. The good news is this is just one more motivating reason to de-stress as soon as possible. Make sure you do that, sis. Your hair's health—and hue—depend on it!
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