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Why Does My Hair Turn White Instead of Grey?

3 mins

Ljubica Puskarevic

At some point, your hair will likely lose its natural color. But will it turn grey, or will it go from being what it is to completely white? Read on for info on grey/white hair.

If your hair is turning white, you are probably disappointed that it's skipping turning grey and is instead stark white or silver.

You were probably hoping to sport that dignified greying look that some people go through before your hair turned completely white. But did you know that only 4% of people worldwide have grey hair? Here's everything you wanted to know about greying and your hair turning white.

Table of Contents:

  • The Colors That Make Up Your Hair
  • Understanding the Hair's Aging Process
  • Is There Such a Thing as Grey Hair?
  • Why Do You See Different Shades of Grey
  • How Does Black or Brown Hair Age?
  • How Does Blond Hair Age?
  • How Does Red Hair Age?
  • How to Look After Grey or White Hair

The Colors That Make Up Your Hair

The hair shaft is primarily made up of two pigments – pheomelanin and eumelanin. Your hair can be any color – black, brown, blonde, or even red – depending on your ethnic background. 

The Colors That Make Up Hair, graying hair care

No matter your natural hair color, you can be sure that your hair shafts have a combination of pheomelanin and eumelanin. However, the amount of these pigments will vary depending on the color of your hair. For example, if you have dark hair, your hair shafts naturally have more eumelanin. The redder your hair, the more pheomelanin your hair shafts contain.

Understanding the Hair's Aging Process

Every hair on your body undergoes a cycle. Each hair grows, lives, falls out, and then grows again. Each strand also has a set dose of melanin, the pigment that produces melanocyte cells that make up your hair and skin's natural color. 

While some hair has a lot, others don't have much. The lesser the melanin in hair, the lighter it will look. As your body grows older, it will produce less melanin.

Is There Such a Thing as Grey Hair?

Grey hair has very little melanin, while white hair has no melanin at all. As you go through the aging process, your hair might turn grey before going completely white. For some, this process is so drastic that the hair simply turns silver and then white.

According to some hair color experts, what you see as grey is a product of the mix of your natural and white hair.

Others believe that as hair shafts go through their natural cycle (the process of dying and regenerating), they regenerate colorless. That colorless transparency against your darker hair makes it look grey.

aging hair process, white and gray hair

Greying can be a rapid process for some people, while it could take decades for others. Hereditary, health and nutritional status, race, and age are all critical factors determining when your hair starts to turn grey or white. These factors also determine whether your hair will turn white instead of turning grey. In other words – whether it will be a slow process or a rapid one where you don't see any greys – just whites.

Why Do You See Different Shades of Grey

Aging is a slow process, and it's the same with your hair. It starts with a few colorless or white strands of hair, and you will notice your entire head turning white over time. The term 'grey' refers to many shades. The shade you sport will depend on the color of your pigmented hair and how your white hair is interspersed with the pigmented hair.

  • How Does Black or Brown Hair Age?

If your hair were black or brown, you would likely see it replaced by steel, pewter, or silver hair. That indicates that your hair will most like go from a salt and pepper stage to various shades of silver before finally turning white.

how is my hair going gray, why is my hair becoming grey
  • How Does Blond Hair Age?

If you are blond, your hair might turn white at some point. However, some blonds don't go completely white – their hair simply turns a lighter shade. Others find that as their hair turns white, their blond hair looks darker and duller against the whites.

  • How Does Red Hair Age?

If you are a redhead, you might find your hair turning brown, with a few spots of white. In most cases, the hair gradually changes from a fiery red to a coppery color and then a rosy blonde before it finally turns completely white.

How to Look After Grey or White Hair

Grey and white hair can look dull and limp if neglected – and they shouldn't be overlooked just because they've turned color. You can sport a fantastic head of healthy, shiny, and radiant grey or white hair with a bit of care

How to Look After Grey or White Hair

Switch to natural products that provide ample hydration and antioxidants to keep your hair looking bright and healthy. Clarifying shampoos can leave your hair and scalp squeaky clean and bouncy. 

WOW Skin Science's range of plant-powered shampoos and conditioners are made from natural active ingredients, bursting with antioxidants and the goodness of botanicals. Their range of shampoos includes clarifying, hydrating, and antioxidant shampoos – all of which are entirely free of parabens, sulfates, and artificial colors. Click here for the entire range of WOW Skin Science shampoos. You can also choose from a wide range of conditioners, hair masks, and leave-in treatments.

Your hair seems grey when you still have some dark, naturally colored hair mixed with some white hair. Grey hair lacks melanin, but it still has a bit of pigment, while white hair has absolutely no melanin.

But after all, it doesn’t really matter if your hair is grey or white – all that matters is its health!

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Ljubica Puskarevic

A true believer of constant learning, always looking for a better and more efficient way of doing things with a strong background. Strong operations professional with great communication skills who can create long lasting relationships and connect people together to achieve a common goal.

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Author: Ljubica Puskarevic

Latest posts:

Ljubica Puskarevic

A true believer of constant learning, always looking for a better and more efficient way of doing things with a strong background. Strong operations professional with great communication skills who can create long lasting relationships and connect people together to achieve a common goal.
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