Grey hair is a sign of wisdom and maturity. But the trouble is if greying happens early in life.
While conventional hair dyes can cover the grey hair, they contain many harmful chemicals — which can cause skin and eye irritation, damage hair follicles and even adversely affect your health.
Fortunately, nature provides us with simple and safe natural remedies that have been used since ancient times.
Looking young and stylish is not a new thing. Even in olden times, people did care about their appearance. So they took help of various plants and cleverly found ways to keep their hair healthy and vibrant looking.
You will be surprised how some common ingredients can work to reduce or even reverse the growth of grey hair. Besides, there are natural hair dyes to tint your grey strands and create beautiful shades of auburn, red, mahogany, black and blonde.
I have written about the causes of grey hair. Research indicates that genetics plays a vital role in greying of hair. But so does stress, poor nutrition and vitamin deficiencies. Even if you can’t change your genes, you can postpone greying by eating the right foods and looking after yourself.
In this article we will look at:
Blackstrap molasses is fantastic to halt the growth of grey hair. I have read on multiple forums, where users have reported that it helped reverse grey hair and brought back their natural colour.
Blackstrap molasses is a thick dark coloured liquid that is obtained during the sugar making process. It is what is left over after the sugar crystals have been taken out.
But this black liquid is abundant in minerals such as iron, manganese, selenium and copper – the first three minerals help to preserve your natural hair colour, while copper helps with the production of hair pigments. It also contains high amounts of calcium and magnesium, which is essential for stronger and healthier hair growth.
Blackstrap molasses has several health benefits too. It helps with arthritis, improves bone health, stabilises blood sugar levels, combat stress and helps you get clear and glowing skin.
How to use: Eat a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses every alternate day for at least a few months to see positive results. When buying blackstrap molasses buy one that comes from sugar cane juice (not beet sugar).
Also called as nectar for hair, amla is a great Indian remedy to reverse grey hair. It is one of the richest sources of vitamin C and contains a range of other powerful antioxidants that help to rejuvenate your hair, and make it darker, thicker and fuller looking. Ayurvedically speaking, amla helps to pacify pitta dosha (or excess body heat), which is a big factor for causing early greying.
How to use:
You may also enjoy: How to Use Amla for Thicker, Fuller Hair (and Darken Greys)
Earlier it was thought that hair turns grey due to the loss of hair colouring pigments. However, new research suggests that greying happens due to the build-up of hydrogen peroxide molecules, which literally bleaches the hair inside out.
Hydrogen peroxide is formed in our bodies as a part of regular metabolism. But it gets quickly broken down into harmless oxygen and water molecules. And what breaks it down — a powerful antioxidant enzyme called catalase.
Catalase is your first line of defence from hydrogen peroxide. But as we age, our bodies produce less catalase. Even factors such as stress and poor diet can cause catalase levels to go down. With catalase levels going down, the hydrogen peroxide levels go up. And our hair gets exposed to harmful molecules, which turn it white.
Foods rich in Catalase:
The good news is that several foods contain high levels of catalase. And eating them regularly can help reverse grey hair. Catalase rich foods include: almond, garlic, onion, leek, cabbage, broccoli, kale, cucumber, collard, turnip greens, carrot, radish, potato, sweet potato, banana and pineapple.
You don’t have to eat raw onions, if you can that’s fine, you can use onion in your cooking. Onions are rich in antioxidant enzyme catalase, which we just saw. So it helps preserve our natural hair colour. Onions are also rich in sulphur compounds, and that is what gives onion its strong, pungent smell and flavour. For your hair, sulphur helps in the creation of glutathione, another important antioxidant enzyme that works to reduce the build-up of hydrogen peroxide — which is responsible for turning hair white.
You can include onion in your diet. But, you can also apply onion juice on your scalp. In fact, onion juice hair mask has been used since ancient time to remedy grey hair. It even helps with hair loss and makes your hair grow faster, healthier and shinier.
How to use:
You may also like: How to Use Onion Juice to Stop Hair Loss
Wheatgrass is regarded as a superfood. And that’s because of its high content of vitamin A, C and E as well as chlorophyll and flavonoids. All of these work as natural antioxidants and keep grey hair away. Besides, the amazing chlorophyll in wheatgrass increases oxygen-carrying cells in the blood, reduce fatigue, boost immune function and promote overall well-being and health.
How to use: You can either grow your own wheatgrass from wheat and juice it or buy ready-made wheatgrass powder and have it with water, or add it to your smoothie or soups.
Coconut oil can do wonders for hair – from conditioning to hair growth to dandruff – it can tackle most of your hair issues. Coconut oil is also quite effective at keeping grey hair at bay.
How does coconut oil work on grey hair? Coconut oil is cooling in nature and helps to pacify pitta dosha, one of the causes of greying in ayurvedic terms. Moreover, coconut is rich micronutrients such as iron, selenium and copper— all of these have a direct or indirect role in maintaining our natural hair colour.
How to use:
Curry leaves is an age-old remedy for grey hair. Anecdotal evidence suggests that people who eat these dark green aromatic leaves daily or apply its oil do not get grey hair early.
How does curry leaves help? Well, by boosting the levels of antioxidant enzymes catalase and glutathione — both help to get rid of hydrogen peroxide that turns hair white. Plus, curry leaves also contain a range of phytochemicals that might play an important role in maintaining our natural hair colour.
How to use:
Bhringraj or Eclipta Alba is another fantastic ayurvedic herb for premature greying of hair. In Indian tradition, it is considered as the “king of herbs” because of its ability to rejuvenate and nourish hair.
Bhringraj contains two flavonoid compounds: apigenin and luteolin. They impart it dyeing property. If you were to crush fresh leaves of bhringraj, your hands will turn blackish. It will not have such a dramatic effect on the hair, but if you were to use bhringraj with henna, it will give a darkish tint to hair. Also, putting bhringraj oil will darken your hair over time.
How to use:
Ashwagandha is a well-known rejuvenating and anti-ageing herb. It has been traditionally used to increase strength, energy and overall health.
For your hair, particularly to reverse or prevent greying, ashwagandha works two ways. As you may know, stress is one of the contributors of early greying. Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb, meaning it works to restore the balance of hormones, calm and strengthen the nerves and help the body handle stress better. So if your greying is stress or exhaustion related, ashwagandha can come to rescue.
Also, ashwagandha helps stimulates the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for hair colour.
How to use:
Note: Do not take ashwagandha if you are pregnant or have hyperthyroidism.
You may also like: 10 Amazing Hair and Health Benefits of Ashwagandha
If you see grey hair number increasing and you also feel tired all the time, along with shortness of breath, confusion and brain fog, a vitamin B12 deficiency may be the culprit.
Vitamin B12 is present in animal sources of food– meat, fish, eggs, milk and other dairy products. So if you are a vegan, you are likely to be deficient. Also, certain medicines or medical condition can affect the absorption of vitamin B12 (read here).
Hair greying due to B12 deficiency can be reversed by including B12 rich foods into your diet. If you are a vegan, you can boost B12 in the body by taking a B12 supplement.
Tip: Buy natural form of B12, also known as methylcobalamin, as it is easier to absorb and is generally better for your body.
Other beneficial Vitamins to Stop Greying:
Black sesame seeds are one of the top foods for hair in Traditional Chinese Medicine. And why not. Black sesame seeds are chock full of micronutrients such as iron, magnesium, zinc, calcium, and B vitamins. They are also a good source of healthy fats and amino acids. Eating sesame seeds is like eating a multivitamin pill and that too nature-derived vs synthetic derived.
Along with nourishing the scalp and stimulating hair growth, black sesame seeds can promote melanocyte activity to produce melanin and bring back your natural hair colour.
They also have great anti-ageing benefits and help to make your skin soft and supple, improve bone health, relieve arthritis pain, boost eye health and promote peaceful sleep.
How to use:
Eat a tablespoon of black sesame seeds 2 to 3 times a week.
You may also like: Black Sesame Seeds: A Natural Remedy for Grey Hair
If you are looking for a natural way to colour your hair, henna is your best bet. It contains lovely red-orange dye molecules. After you apply it on your hair, the colour looks brighter and little brassy at first. Give it 2-3 days for it to get darker and richer.
And the colour will intensify every time you reapply, which you can do every 3 to 4 week. The shade that you can expect is reddish to auburn.
But you can play with henna and get beautiful shades for red, brown, mahogany and black. And you can achieve that by mixing other herbs such as coffee, indigo, clove, hibiscus, beetroot, bhringraj, amla etc.
If you have never used henna, here’s a step by step guide on using henna.
Henna gives hair reddish, auburn colour, but if you want blackish, brownish shade, use it along with a blue dye called indigo. It is obtained from Indigofera tinctoria leaves and was used to colour fabrics such as cotton and silk in olden times.
The thing with indigo is that you need to use it along with henna. It will not work without henna.
How to use:
You can buy indigo powder online or at a health store.
Rosemary not just adds flavour to your dishes; this aromatic herb has been a European favourite to darken grey and also slow the appearance of grey hairs. Plus, if you have greying along with hair loss, then rosemary is a must-try herb for you. The stimulating properties of rosemary encourage new growth, while its high antioxidant content gets rid of free radicals that damage hair pigments.
Rosemary also revitalizes hair, removes product build-up to leave your hair shiny and soft. Plus, it is super-effective against dandruff, scalp irritation and itching.
How to use:
You may also like: Why Use Rosemary Oil for Hair Growth (and Reduce Hair Loss)
Also known as neutral henna, cassia is a lovely colouring option for those with blonde hair. It boosts blonde colours and can slightly tint greys. Cassia also works as a conditioner. It adds strength, shine and definition to your hair.
One disadvantage of using cassia is that it may or may not bring colour change for all grey hair. But with a slight tweak, you can get beautiful strawberry blonde tint.
How to Use Cassia:
Word of Advice: Before taking any supplements internally, please consult your doctor or health practitioner, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication or have a medical condition.
Have you tried any of the above remedies? How did it work? I would love to hear…let me know in the comment box below.