We are all familiar with the concept that as you age, you will get grey or white hairs. While we all accept this as an inevitable part of life, do we know why that is the case? And more importantly, are there ways to naturally prevent or slow down the onset of turning grey?

What causes grey or white hairs?

Like every cell in our body, our hair goes through a natural cycle of death and regeneration. As hair follicles age, they produce less colour. Although our individual genetics will determine the actual start of greying, the ballpark for the onset of grey or white hairs is circa 35 years old.

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with grey or white hairs – indeed some people consider them a mark of maturity and wisdom, others may prefer a more youthful appearance.

Instead of perpetually dyeing your hair with potentially toxic chemicals, let us explore some of the lifestyle changes you can make to slow down the whitening or greying process.

Photo by BBH Singapore on Unsplash
  1. Take your vitamins!

Vitamins that keep your hair healthy include:

2. Don’t forget your minerals!

Minerals that can play a vital role in hair growth and repair include:

3. Cut the cancer sticks!

Among other negatives, smoking can damage and shrink hair follicles.

4. Sun Protection

Just like protecting your skin from exposure to too much sunlight, too much exposure to direct sunlight can damage your hair follicles. Where possible, try to cover up your hair with a hat or scarf.

5. Less chemicals on your hair!

Excessive use of chemicals on your head and hair can prove toxic. Practices such as bleaching, harsh shampoos and soaps can cause long-lasting damage to your hair follicles.

5. Utilise natural remedies

Nature has a remarkable ability to heal. Advocates of natural healing processes suggest a number of natural remedies for grey hair such as:

  • Coconut oil. Every other day, before bed, massage coconut oil onto your hair and scalp. The next morning, wash your hair as usual.
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale). Every day, eat a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger mixed with 1 tablespoon of honey.
  • Blackstrap molasses. Every other day, eat a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses (from sugarcane juice, not from beet sugar); it’s believed to reverse the graying process.
  • Black sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum). Two to three times a week, eat a tablespoon of black sesame seeds to slow down and possibly reverse the graying process.
  • Wheatgrass juice (Thinopyrum intermedium). Drink one to two ounces of fresh wheatgrass juice every day or add 1 tablespoon of wheatgrass powder daily to your soups and smoothies.
  • Fo-ti (Polygonum multiflorum). In traditional Chinese medicine, fo-ti is taken internally as a supplement — 1,000 milligrams two times per day with food — to reverse the graying hair process.
  • Onion (Allium cepa). Blend an onion in a blender and then use a strainer so that you’re left with the juice. Twice a week, rub this juice into your scalp, leaving it in place for 30 minutes and then shampooing as usual.
  • Catalase. Consume foods rich in the enzyme catalase such as garlic, cabbage, sweet potato, kale, broccoli and almonds
  • Curry leaves (Murraya koenigii). Make a paste of ¼ cup of curry leaves and ½ cup of yogurt. Apply it to your hair and scalp and then wash it off after 30 minutes. Repeat two to three times a week.
  • Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), also known as Indian Ginsend. Take a supplement with food.
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Fill ⅓ of an 8-ounce jar with dried rosemary and then fill the jar to the top with extra virgin olive oil. Leave the jar in a sunny place for four to six weeks, shaking it every few days. After six weeks, use it as a hair oil.

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