Gray hair will happen to every one of us sooner or later. But some of you may be asking how come you’re going gray and your in your 20s, while other people only start seeing signs of grey when they turn 50? What should you do about it?
But are you really premature?
Typically, white people start going gray in their mid-30s, Asians in their late 30s, and African-Americans in their mid-40s. Half of all people have a significant amount of gray hair by the time they turn 50.
A white person is considered to be prematurely gray if his or her hair turns gray by age 20; gray before 30 is early for African-Americans.
What are the causes?
Some autoimmune and genetic conditions are associated with premature graying, including vitiligo, Werner syndrome, and alopecia areata – which causes only the colored hairs to fall out and look like the hair turned white overnight, Benabio says.
A vitamin B-12 deficiency or problems with the pituitary or thyroid gland can cause premature graying that’s reversible if the problem is corrected, Benabio says.
Some research has suggested a connection between premature graying and lower bone density later in life. However, a 2007 study of about 1,200 men and women in Rancho Bernardo, Calif., showed this not to be the case.
How to hide the grey?
There are lots of choices for concealing gray, says Ron King, owner of Ron King Salon and bô Salon in Austin, Texas and a national spokesman for L’Oréal Professionnel. They include:
- Semi-permanent or demi-permanent color: Lasts a few weeks and is a good option for people just starting to see gray, King says. “If you have a lot of your natural colors running through, you don’t want to take that away,” King says. “You can just blend it without disrupting what you already have that’s already beautiful and natural.”
- Highlights: Scattered strands are lightened to blend the gray with the rest of your hair.
- Once you have 45% to 50% gray, King suggests using permanent color. Some clients leave some gray around their face to make a statement.
- Hair products: If you don’t want to dye but still want to conceal the gray, King suggests a coloring tool such as spray-on airbrush hair makeup, which washes out with a shampoo.
More young mothers, professionals, and even runway models are opting to “go gray,” says Diana Jewell, a former marketing director at Vogue Magazine and author of the book Going Gray, Looking Great.
“The myth that gray hair makes you old is just that — a myth. If you were young, vibrant, active, healthy pre-gray, you’re still going to be that way. It’s all in the attitude you bring to it,” Jewell says. “If you think of it as merely another color choice, you won’t be afraid of gray.”
These simple tips can help you go gray with style:
- If you’ve been dyeing, consider going “cold turkey” with a chic, short haircut.
- Work with a colorist to weave in highlights and use toners to minimize the transition line between your natural hair color and your former hair dye, Kreamer says.
- Get a modern haircut. King recommends a style with sharper edges, such as “a graduated bob of some type, some really smooth bangs, a really nice fringe.”
- Take care of your hair. Shampoos with a blue base can help prevent gray hair from developing a yellowish cast, says Jewell, who offers a list of products at goinggraylookinggreat.com. Using a conditioning mask once a month keeps hair well-moisturized.
- Use a flat iron to make your hair look sleeker and shinier. Gray hair tends to get frizzy, and “a flat iron on your hair brings back the luster to it,” King says.
- Enjoy your life. “Beauty is not determined by the color of a woman’s hair,” says Cindy Joseph, a silver-haired model for Ford Models Inc. and CEO of Boom! By Cindy Joseph makeup line. “The ability to take joy in her life is what makes a woman truly beautiful.”
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