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Why Does Our Hair Go Grey?

18-03-2018

For many people, grey hair is a fact of life. It’s a sign that we are getting older and that our bodies are going through change.

What creates our natural hair colour?

To understand why hair turns grey, we first need to understand why it has colour in the first place. The answer is a special type of cell known as a melanocyte. These produce melanin, the pigment that gives your skin, hair and eyes their distinctive colours.
Melanin comes in two forms, eumelanin (black or brown) and pheomelanin (reddish-yellow). Combinations of these two create the spectrum of eye, hair and skin colours found among humans.
One way to understand how melanocytes determine hair colour is to think of these cells as tiny printers, applying their ink to paper. The paper in this case is our hair strands, formed of keratin, the same protein that makes up our fingernails.
Just as a printer sprays ink onto a sheet of paper to produce an image, melanocytes produce pigments that are embedded into the growing hair strand, providing them with colour. The melanocytes live within the hair follicle, so each hair strand has its own colour-producing printer.
While some people’s melanocytes print a lighter ink combination, such as blonde or red, others have darker colour palletes and so have black or brown colourations.

Why we go grey

Now that we understand how hair gets its colour, we can understand why it goes grey.
In hair, grey is not a colouration like any other shade: it is the lack of colouring. The keratin of people with grey hair lacks pigment because their melanocytes have died, revealing the natural grey-white colour of the keratin protein.
Because each hair strand has its own melanocytes, some go grey before others. Exactly what decides which strands go grey first is still unknown. However, age, exposure to certain chemicals and even the climate can influence how early the melanocytes die.
The strongest influence, however, is written in our genes. The genetic influence on hair colour is so strong that if your parents have grey hair, yours is likely to grey at around the same time as theirs did.


Beauty Tips for Going Grey

16-03-2017

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Whether you are ageing gracefully and relishing your grey hair, or you’re trying the latest hair colour trend, going grey is more popular than ever. Wherever you land in that spectrum, grey hair does need a little bit more care. Most of these tips here are for naturally grey hair, but even if you have embraced the trend and coloured your hair grey, you’ll also love these beauty tips too.

COOL IT DOWN

Grey is a very cool hair tone. If your previous hair colour was a warm blonde or brunette, you need to rethink your wardrobe and beauty products to best match your new cooler hair tone. Don’t be afraid of embracing brighter colours to go with your grey hair.

TEXTURE CHANGES

Grey hair is usually a different texture to your original hair. Switch to a more moisturising shampoo and conditioner, and add in a weekly hair treatment to make sure that your new grey hair blends well with your natural hair.

HINT OF PINK

Adding in a hint of pink in your blush or lipstick is flattering no matter your age. It picks up on those cooler tones of the grey but adds in a little flush to your skin and gives you a healthy glow.

BAN BRASSINESS

As with blonde hair, grey hair can be more reactive and can pick up unflattering yellow or brassy tones. A blonde salon toner treatment along with a purple shampoo will knock out any yellow tones and keep your grey looking fresh.

PLAY WITH YOUR PART

People often begin to go grey in sections. It’s  common to go grey around the temples first or just around the front of their hair line. If you are letting your hair change naturally, try playing with your part to see where it sits best so you can make the most of your grey hair.

BRIGHT LIPS

Many people whose hair was previously dark notice that they lose the strong contrast between their hair and their skin when going grey. A bright lipstick or lip stain is a great way to recreate that striking contrast.

CURL IT UP

Even if you’ve never had curly hair, your natural grey hair may have more of a curl to it. The trick to encourage this curl is with moisture, and by using a curl cream, you can control the frizz but keep the curl. Apply it to damp hair and twist a few sections to encourage the curl. You can also smooth a little over dry hair if you’ve got any frizz.