A Whiter Shade
I want to share a little bit about having silver hair. I decided a year and a half ago to grow out my hair. I was bleaching and toning it at the time. I started graying at the age 14 and began coloring my hair at 18. As I’ve aged, I’ve lightened my hair color, so this is how it had evolved over time. In recent years I found that bleach and tone was the closest to my natural color. That worked quite well, but then came menopause.
I had been dealing with many symptoms and handling everything pretty well, until my hair started coming out. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to make a bad situation worse, so I decided to stop bleaching and toning. I wanted to give my hair a rest to see if the hair would grow back. I also was curious as to what color I actually was. I decided whatever color it was, I would find a cool style to cut and rock the gray/silver/white. It’s been an interesting journey! I’ve done hair since 1979 and worked with many women with gray hair. Why does it seem so complicated when the rules apply to ourselves?
So here’s what I know about silver/grey hair:
Our hair grows in a follicle, a bulb-like tube on your scalp. Most people have 100,000 to 150,000 follicles. Each hair grows independently from the others. Hair without pigment is white. It gets its color from melanin, a pigment that also determines skin color. Two types of melanin, eumelanin (dark brown or black) and phaeomelanin (reddish yellow), combine to make all the hair colors.
Some think that one of the reasons hair goes gray is that aging slows or stops the hair from accessing the melanin, so it comes out gray, silver, or white instead. There is some new research that shows it may be hydrogen peroxide in the hair cell, which causes the hair to bleach itself on the inside. Our cells have a small amount of hydrogen peroxide in them, which is converted into oxygen and water by an enzyme called catalase. It’s a very small amount of hydrogen peroxide, but as we age, we produce less and less catalase. When this happens, the hydrogen peroxide builds up, blocking the melanin which gives the hair color, and this causes the hair to turn gray. Heredity does play a part as well!
My dad had silver sideburns at 17 years of age and all silver by his mid 30’s. The gauge that is used by most dermatalogists is the 50/50/50 rule - that 50% of the population over 50 years of age will be 50% gray. Studies have also shown stress plays a part as well. An example of this is to look at the majority of the men who have become president when they are sworn in and then when their term is over. Grays everywhere! Ethnicity factors in as well, Caucasians gray in their mid-30s, Asians in their late-30s, and African Americans in their 40s. So what I’ve learned is yes, gray/silver hair is unruly, but it is fragile. If you have or are growing your natural hair out, treat it with tender loving care. When using any heat tools, use products on your hair that protect it. When using too high of heat or hot irons repeatedly, it can and will discolor silver hair. I do have to say I’m thankful silver is a color that happens to be very popular now. Who would have known? For once in my life I’m glad my hair is silver! I can wear it with my head held high.
How do you feel about your silver/gray hair?
Thanks to MSN Lifestyle – “ 10 Head-Scratching Facts About Gray Hair”