If you don’t think it’s possible to reverse grey hair, think again. Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have made a chance discovery that could herald the end of your salt and pepper days.
Led by Dr. Lu Le, the research team accidentally found out the cause for grey hair and hair loss while conducting a study to understand how certain kinds of tumors form.
“With this knowledge, we hope in the future to create a topical compound or to safely deliver the necessary gene to hair follicles to correct these cosmetic problems,” said Lu Le.
This is certainly good news, but if you’re reading this article you’re likely after a more immediate solution to reverse grey hair than the one Dr. Lu Le is promising. Fortunately, there are other potential solutions to alleviating those grey hair woes.
Holistic Trichologist, David Satchell, says that while it’s not easy to reverse grey hair naturally, it isn’t impossible. He claims to have seen results using a natural supplement called resveratrol (an antioxidant commonly associated with wine) with the added enzymes amylase, protease, and lipase. “Clients who continuously took the recommended dose regained a lot of their natural color,” says Satchell.
The secret is clearly in the enzymes. Research has found that catalase is to blame for our grey hair woes. According to the study, production of the enzyme declines as we get older. This, in turn, stops our hair follicles from producing melanin, which is what gives hair its color. Without the catalase, hydrogen peroxide builds up.
While there are oral supplements available for catalase, they’re usually digested in the intestines long before they reach the areas where they’re actually needed. A smarter approach would be to help the body manufacture catalase itself by providing it with the necessary building blocks: manganese, zinc, copper, and selenium.
As for why some of us start looking “distinguished” in our twenties — the answer lies in one of three places: our genes, our lifestyle, or the environment. While the first one may be out of our control, we can certainly take steps to address the other two.
My Grey Hair
My hair is more silver than grey (thanks Mom!), so I have no desire to reverse it or to cover it up. But not everyone is that fortunate. Oftentimes hair will turn a lackluster salt and pepper color instead. It can also lose its vitality, becoming brittle, and unwieldy.
If you fall into that camp, we have some options for you that are both natural and relatively inexpensive. Because let’s face it, a visit to the hairdresser nowadays can be a costly exercise. Not to mention, potentially damaging due to the toxic ingredients found in many hair dyes.
How To Reverse Grey Hair Naturally (Or At Least Slow The Process)
1. Wonders Of Onion Juice
With their high quantities of sulfur, allicin, and other compounds, it’s little wonder onions make short work of infections. But it may surprise you to learn that onion juice is also a centuries-old remedy for treating thin, greying hair and alopecia.
Along with providing the necessary nourishment in the form of enzymes, vitamins, and minerals, this hardy vegetable also helps reduce inflammation and remove hydrogen peroxide, a known factor in the cause of grey hair.
Henna and onion juice are a killer combo in the fight against grey hair. Onions are rich in the enzyme catalase (essential for reducing hydrogen peroxide buildup), while the henna serves as a natural conditioner. It still acts as a dye though, so make sure you choose the right shade.
To extract the juice, simply peel the onion and either blend it into a smooth paste or grate it and strain off the juice through a sieve. Mix the henna according to the directions on the package and combine with the onion juice.
Massage the mixture into your scalp, leave it on for one or two hours and then wash your hair as normal. Applying it on a weekly basis will yield results in about three to four months.
There’s a small caveat though: this method doesn’t work for everyone. Try it out if you’re keen, but if you don’t see an improvement after a few weeks, it’s best to throw in the towel and look elsewhere for a solution.
2. Coconut Oil (It’s Good For More Than Just Smoothies)
Coconut oil can be used to treat a multitude of hair-related issues, including lice, dandruff, balding, and, you guessed it, greying hair. The capric and caprylic acids found in coconut oil act like a mini army of antioxidants and disinfectants, while its low molecular weight allows for easy penetration of the hair shaft.
Coconut oil is perhaps more of a nourishing treatment than it is a way to reverse grey hair, but coconut oil is nonetheless a much easier method to try (not to mention, a lot less smelly). Simply apply a small amount either directly onto your hair or mix it into your shampoo and leave for 15-30 minutes. Alternatively, wrap your hair in a towel and leave it on overnight for a more intense treatment to reverse grey hair naturally.
3. Make Sure You’re Not B12 Deficient
A deficiency in vitamin B12 could well be the reason for your grey hair. A relatively under-the-radar vitamin — at least in comparison to many of its better-known counterparts — B12 is often called the “energy” vitamin. It, therefore, follows that a lack of it manifests symptoms such as extreme tiredness, a lack of energy, mood swings, and irritability. Another side-effect of not having enough B12 is that it can cause your hair to turn grey prematurely.
The upside is that it’s a relatively simple fix: a supplement or injection will soon have you back on track. On the downside, the symptoms often appear to be unrelated or synonymous with other more common health issues, making it trickier to detect right off the bat.
If you suspect you’re B12 deficient, the best thing to do is get a blood test and take it from there. Who knows, you could end up with a remedy to reverse grey hair and get that bounce back in your step.
4. Amla – The Superfood For Hair
In recent years superfoods like hemp seeds, maca powder, and cacao have become the go-to nutritional additive for smoothie lovers, but who knew you could get a superfood for your hair too?
Known in Ayurvedic circles as the best anti-aging herb, amla is also an amazing hair tonic. Taking its name from the Sanskrit word “Amlaki” — meaning fruit of heaven — this wonder berry carries a hefty nutritional punch.
With its not insignificant amounts of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants, amla strengthens hair follicles and ousts the free radicals responsible for greying hair. In ayurveda, an excess of pitta (heat) results in, among other things, premature greying. Because amla is a natural coolant, it serves as the perfect antidote to symptoms of excess heat in the body.
Found in natural hair dyes, this wonder berry does a good job of renewing pigmentation as well as making hair darker and thicker.
5. He Shou Wu (A Case for Chinese Herbs)
Also known as Fo-Ti, this ancient Chinese herb enjoys a rich and mystical history. Legend has it that He Shou Wu was discovered in 812 AD by an old man way past his prime. After taking the herb for a week his virility apparently returned and he soon fathered a child.
With the bar set that high, it’s no stretch then, to imagine that He Shou Wu can potentially help reverse grey hair. He Shou Wu offers a number of other benefits besides, including the promotion of longevity, improved sex drive, and protection from disease. He Shou Wu can be found in Equilibrium’s Energy Formula which contains other energy boosting herbs as well. Read “He Shou Wu Be Amazed: 6 Vital Health Benefits” to learn more about this potent herb.
A Cover-Up Worth Considering
As home remedies for grey hair go, this one might surprise you. Long favored as a drink of choice by the British, it turns out tea is good for more than just pairing with scones and cucumber sandwiches. Along with covering up the grey, tea also helps restore your natural hair color.
Interestingly, different teas produce different results. If your hair is naturally dark, black tea is the one to use. Redheads should opt for rooibos, while chamomile works best on blondes.
This method is as simple as it is cost-effective. All you need to do is steep three to five tea bags in two cups of boiling water, leave it to cool down and then apply it to clean wet hair. You’ll need to leave it in for at least an hour for it to be effective, but the longer it stays in, the darker your hair will go. Rinse your hair in cool water to ensure a longer-lasting result.
Reverse Grey Hair: Some Final Food For Thought (Pun Very Much Intended)
It is important to keep in mind that hair is a by-product of blood, which means its health is determined by how healthy (or unhealthy) our body is. “To treat the hair and scalp, it’s not possible to obtain a good result by using topical lotions alone,” says Satchell. “Diet plays a big role in maintaining good hair and scalp health.”
If keeping your waistline in check isn’t reason enough to ditch the fast food in favor of eating more organic greens and fruit and vegetables, then perhaps the health (and potential recoloring) of your locks will! Perhaps it will serve to nudge you into the fresh produce aisle rather than defaulting to processed, readymade options.
Lastly, if you do decide to give any of these methods a go, keep in mind that natural remedies generally take longer to work. Don’t go into this expecting overnight results. And if your grey proves stubborn, remember that people are paying good money to dye their hair grey and you got yours for free.
As Diana Jewell, author of Going Grey, Looking Great, says, “If you think of it as merely another color choice, you won’t be afraid of grey.” As women, we need to learn to embrace getting older, rather than continually look for ways to mask what is essentially a very natural process.
We need to take care of ourselves, obviously, but we shouldn’t be so quick to cover up life’s journey. We’ve lived the years, so why not embrace them gracefully? If men can do it, the surely so can powerful females.
Angela Horn is a Cape Town-based freelance writer, minimalist lifestyle blogger, and backslidden java junkie. She pens her missives on her blog Mostly Mindful and has been known to give the odd TEDx talk.
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