50 shades of grey hair? Check out home-based remedies to reverse premature greying

22 January,2024 08:45 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Ainie Rizvi

Curry leaves contain precious Vitamin B that restores the pigment melanin in the hair follicles. Using curry leaves in many forms is known to reverse and prevent premature greying of hair

Image for representational purposes only. Photo Courtesy: iStock

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Spotting a lone grey hair can be a stark reminder of ageing. While a greater number of Gen Z and young Indians are sporting grey locks as a fashion statement - there lies an undeniable signpost that the hands of time are at work.

To break down the lifecycle of one hair strand - it undergoes a repeated process of renewal and an eventual demise. As the ageing process unfolds, the once-vibrant hair follicles weaken, leading to reduced production of the pigment - melanin. Consequently, the inevitable growth of grey hair becomes apparent - reveals Mridul Munet, CMO, Vasmol (HRIPL).

"Melanin is a crucial pigment residing in the hair follicle which determines the hair colour. Its gradual depletion marks a transformative shift in the colour range of your hair," he adds emphasising that it is one of the primary factors behind the premature greying of hair.

To unravel ways to improve hair health, Midday.com spoke to experts who shed light on home-based remedies to reverse grey hair.

Boosting melanin production
Reversal of greying hair is fairly simple if you can narrow down the factors causing the greyness. For example, you could be developing grey hair due to vitamin deficiency which can be corrected with the consumption of the right nutritients - shares Radhika Iyer Talati, the founder of Anahata Organic.
To counter such deficiencies - a balanced diet, laden with essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, emerges as the primal method to attain optimal hair health. When it comes to promoting melanin production - Vitamins B12, folate and copper stand out as crucial players in melanin synthesis, stresses the hair and skin expert - Mansi Gulati.

"Incorporating these vitamins into your daily meals can foster a natural radiance that extends from within," remarks Gulati. One can consume vitamin B12 with an array of options, including eggs, dairy products and lean meats.

Equally important is the inclusion of folate-rich foods such as leafy greens, legumes and whole grains. By incorporating these nutrient-dense choices, you not only support overall well-being but also provide the building blocks necessary for robust melanin synthesis. Further enrich your diet with copper from sources like nuts, seeds and seafood to nourish hair locks.

One could go by the mantra - grey hair, no care; but that might mean living in denial. The condition of one's hair also serves as an indicator of mental well-being and lifestyle choices. If it's apparent that stress is leading to grey hair, then meditating and including antioxidant-rich foods in your diet can restore your original hair colour faster than you think.

Research also shows that cutting down on smoking and drinking also reduces anxiety and oxidative stress. Avoiding the use of harsh chemicals or blow-drying your hair too often will also help reverse grey hair. Even though grey hair due to genetics cannot be reversed, there are ways to reduce that effect to a large extent.

Home-based beetroot hair mask to reverse grey hair
For ages, pure and natural dyes have been used to reverse the greying of hair. "Today, the market is flooded with diverse varieties of hair colour products. These products contain a host of chemicals and questionable ingredients which the consumer is left to use with incomplete knowledge," reveals Talati.
This leaves the consumer puzzled about what works and what does not. In a quest to find natural and home-based remedies, Gulati shares an easy hair mask recipe that can be whipped up in the comfort of one's home.

1. Brew a strong cup of coffee and let it cool.
2. Combine the coffee with the oil from a vitamin E capsule and a generous amount of beetroot juice to form a smooth paste.
3. Apply this mixture evenly to your hair and let it sit for about 30 minutes.
4. Post 30 minutes, rinse your hair with normal water
The coffee adds depth and darkness, vitamin E nourishes your hair and beetroot juice imparts a beautiful reddish tint. Repeat this process bi-monthly to maintain and enhance the richness of your naturally dyed locks.

Rubbing onion juice onto the scalp
Our grandmothers would always use onion juice on their scalps to maintain hair health, reminisces Talati. Red onions have proven to be a timeless, effective way to control grey hair and boost hair growth. The juice of an onion raises catalase, an enzyme that is responsible for darkening hair. Not only that, onion juice is a great source of hydration for the scalp and is known to add shine and glow to the hair.

Here's how you can make this paste:
1. Mix 3 tablespoons of onion juice, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in a bowl.
2. Massage your scalp with this combination.
3. Wash after 30 minutes with a natural shampoo.
Talati affirms that you will notice visible results within a month.

Using curry leaves for hydration
Curry leaves contain precious Vitamin B that restores the pigment melanin in the hair follicles. Using curry leaves in many forms is known to reverse and prevent further greying. Beta-keratin present in curry leaves prevents hair fall and helps keep the scalp hydrated.

1. Prepare a paste by grinding 20 grams of fresh curry leaves with some water.
2. Mix this with 2 tablespoons of curd and apply this all over your head and hair. Leave it on for 25 minutes or more and wash off with a natural shampoo.
3. Boil 20 grams of curry leaves, 1/2 tablespoon of fenugreek seeds and 1 tablespoon of nigella seeds in about 5 tablespoons of coconut oil until the leaves turn black. Strain and use this oil on your hair.
4. Boil a cupful of curry leaves in a cup of oil till they turn black.
5. Cool, strain and store.
6. Massage into hair 2-3 times a week. Leave overnight and repeat at least 3 times a week.

Identifying the factors behind premature greying of hair
The colour and style of hair play a pivotal role in augmenting an individual's physical appearance, thereby influencing their body image, opines Munet. The greying of hair, often perceived as a tell-tale sign of advancing age, can significantly impact an individual's self-esteem. He lays down the primary causes responsible for grey hair:

1. Various lifestyle choices can lead to early greying, such as prolonged use of digital screens and electronic devices, pollution, stress and inadequate sleep. These elements elevate the generation of free radicals, which can harm melanocytes and hasten the process of hair turning grey.
3. Extended exposure to sunlight's UV radiation can result in oxidative stress within hair follicles, harming melanocytes and leading to premature greying. It's recommended to shield your hair from excessive sun exposure and consider using products with UV protection.
3. Premature greying can be influenced by pollution and exposure to specific chemicals, which elevate oxidative stress on melanocytes. Safeguarding your hair from environmental pollutants and utilising hair care products containing antioxidants can assist in reducing this impact.
4. The impact of hair dyes and chemical treatments on premature greying depends on the ingredients used. Conventional hair dyes may have harsh chemicals like hydrogen peroxide, potentially harming melanocytes.
5. Lack of essential nutrients like vitamin B12, biotin, vitamin D, copper, calcium and ferritin can contribute to premature greying.

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