There are so many outdated and myth based beliefs about gray hair, I felt it was time to do some good ol’ myth busting.
Silver hair has to be short…False!
Your hair can be whatever length you like. Just like with any hairstyle the better your products and upkeep the better it will look. Length and color are two different things.
If you want to see some gorgeous examples of long silver hair, head over to Katie Goes Platinum and check out her post:
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Silver hair makes you look older…False!
In fact, Anne Kreamer did a small study and found that most people just look their age with their natural color. Who are we kidding anyway, if you are over 40, you probably look over 40. If you aren’t 21, you are likely going to be carded for liquor too. Honestly, looking our age, or younger, or older, is about your genetics, your skin, and how well you keep yourself. Through all the transitions I have witnessed, most of the women have brighter eyes and an overall softer look.
Silver hair requires more dye and processing…True!
One common reason many people embrace their silver is that over time the more gray you have the more you have to color it, the stronger the dye must be for it to last, and less time between each coloring. Which quickly becomes exhausting. The theory is that as your hair loses melanin the cuticle responds by getting stronger and tighter to protect the strength of the shaft, and this creates the resistance to dye.
Silver hair is always more coarse…Absolutely False!
I hear this one all the time and see it constantly in articles about caring for gray hair. I’ve even heard hair stylists say it while they have their fingers in my hair. It is a gross generalization to say it is more coarse. Just like your fingerprint, your hair is unique to you. Scientifically speaking, most people have finer and thinner hair as they age.
My hair with no dye is almost baby fine, silky soft, and the curl texture even changed to a wavier texture rather than a curlier texture. Texture is changed by going dye-free, but it doesn’t necessarily get more coarse. As I mentioned before, the cuticle response is to refortify the hair but that doesn’t mean a difference you can feel, it is happening at a microscopic level.
You can only go naturally silver when you are a senior…False!
Believe it or not there is a revolution happening and it is starting with the 20 somethings, not only are they dyeing their hair silver some are refusing to believe what the media has shoved in our faces for the last century.
Lauren Stein of How Bourgeois very publicly shares her journey that started when she was in her early 30’s. She was one of the first bloggers I found when I started my journey.
Advertising doesn’t influence dyeing that much…False!
Ad campaigns for hair dye used to be anything but politically correct, they shamed women into dyeing their hair, even saying they wouldn’t have friends with gray. One would think advertising had come a long way but it hasn’t. We still see ads that make us shudder.
Silver Hair is not stylish…False!
Style is not just about clothes, it has much to do with your confidence and poise. It is about your attitude. After that, any outfit well put together and with intention will be stylish.
Liz does guest posts for me on fashion check out her tips: Silver Hair Fashion: Shop Your Own Closet
Silver hair is prone to sun damage…True!
Just like a very pale person sunburns quickly, your hair is the same way. Because there is no melanin in the hair, there is no pigment to protect it from the sun. Wear a hat in the sun or use sun-protectant hair products. The discoloration of white hair caused by sun damage cannot be removed.
In addition, the most lethal type of melanomas are often found on the scalp, so don’t be afraid of wearing a hat.
If you are out in the sun you’ll want to read my post: Sun Damage on Gray Hair: The Ultimate Guide to Preventing It & Fixing It
You have to change your clothing colors and makeup choices when you have silver hair…True!
This is true, you will find that certain colors will reflect poorly and leave odd casts on your hair color. Just like the hair surrounding the white hair creating reflection, so will your clothing. You will also want to completely reevaluate your make-up choices so that you do not look over-done, washed-out, or pale.
This does not mean you “can’t” wear a color you love. If you love it, wear it in a skirt or pants. Or break the rules. If you love a color it will show in your confidence. Confidence is always beautiful.
Gray hair is not for everyone…False!
Not everyone can pull off gray hair…False!
Gray hair won’t look good on ‘me’…False!
I have NEVER seen someone look worse with their natural hair color than they did with dyed hair. I have witnessed thousands of women transition to gray at this point, so believe me when I tell you, we all notice the shift to brighter eyes, softer looking skin, and something very surprising happens; most women look happier too. You will never know what you will look like with your natural color unless you try it. If you hate it after you grow it out, that’s okay, but at least you know.
I say this all the time, “Mother Nature knows exactly what she is doing when she builds your DNA, she rarely makes a mistake when it comes to your hair, skin and eyes matching.”
White hair has no pigment…True!
White hair is translucent…True!
Gray hair doesn’t actually exist…False!
Your hair can have a range of colors from the color you were born with all the way to the translucency that is the last stage of melanin loss. The color is determined by how many translucent strands you have at 100% translucency you will be completely “white” headed; between now and then it will be reflective of the color of strands around it. Combine that with light streaks and dark streaks, and the areas where you still have your born-with-it color you will have a multi-shaded head of hair. The salt in a salt and pepper head of hair is so obvious because those white strands stand out. The color gray has been identified, where the lighter melanin (pheomelanin) pigment is almost all gone and the darker melanin (eumelanin) pigment is so dark the strand appears a charcoal color.
Genetics is usually the main reason you have gone gray…True!
Peroxide is actually the main culprit…True!
Researchers have found that hydrogen peroxide is naturally occurring in the body and as we age we have less ability to break it down, so it builds up and bleaches the hair from the inside out. For those that go gray young, the genetics they are expressing is a lack of enzymes, which create the ability to break down hydrogen peroxide.
This is where melanin comes in, the buildup of peroxide causes other enzymes to be inhibited, and then melanin doesn’t function properly, losing its ability to transfer to the hair shaft. The white hair strand is the absence of melanin, genetics determines how much and when we gray, and hydrogen peroxide buildup is one of the culprits that causes the process to kick off.
Dr. Gerald Weissmann who published the peroxide study says, “Maybe the best analogy is that we’re like a color photograph fading to black and white.”
Stress and traumatic events cause gray hair…Maybe!
Or rather, no scientific data proves this theory; however, many people, including myself, have experienced significant acceleration of gray at highly traumatic and stressful points in our lives.
The scientists from the same study mentioned above are now exploring the possibility that stress and trauma cause inflammatory responses that could, in fact, increase peroxide in the cells.
Another study has found similar eveidence (in mice) that overactive immune responses in conjunction with genetic propentisy could cause graying. So a severe autoimmune episode, a high fever or even an extreme stressful event that disrupts the immune system could be part of the premature graying process.
However, going grey from getting the “frights in the night” like the Bride of Frankenstein is unlikely.
Silver hair is always more fragile…Absolutely False!
While silver hair can be more fragile if your hair is thin and fine, it would still be fragile dyed. In my opinion, dyed hair is always more fragile and more damaged, it has been assaulted by chemicals and the shaft has been completely disrupted.
Gray Hair isn’t beautiful or sexy…Absolutely False!
Just like style, beautiful and sexy have nothing to do with your hair color. We most often think beauty is something we see, beauty comes from within, just like happiness. Sexy is attitude, it is the way you present yourself to the world.
Your white, white hair is white…Not Necessarily!
In fact, your white, white hair may not be white at all, depending on the color you were born with it may have a slight yellow tinge to it. Natural red heads, for instance, don’t really go “grey” over time their hair becomes blonder looking. Silver hair comes in a range of colors from the traditional dove gray we think of as white and black mixed together, all the way through to what artists refer to as the French Grays which are slightly yellow tinged, on to steel blue and silver.
Yellowing can be removed…50/50
It depends on the cause. Sun damage, heat damage, and certain mineral deposits cannot be removed. If the yellowing is caused by hair products and some minerals it can be removed, it may take some time and diligence.
You Need Purple Shampoo to keep your silvers shiny…False!
This is what I thought until I started wondering why when I dropped the dye the only option I had to “remove yellowing” was a cover-up. That’s the catch; purple shampoo doesn’t remove yellow, it is the opposite of yellow on the color wheel, which means it just covers it up and hides it. This is the very reason that led me to develop QuickSilverHair Clay. The clay adsorbs impurities, while conditioning your hair. It helps remove buildup that causes discolorations; it will take you back to your true and natural silvers.
Purple shampoo and purple toning products DO have their place when you find yourself with yellowing of the permanent kind, i.e. heat or sun damage. The best I have found so far are from Loma Beauty. A line of Organic Based Hair Care. These are the first violet shampoo and conditioner I have tried on my low porosity, fine, and dye resistant hair in six years that actually made a toning difference I could see, and I didn’t have a reaction of some kind to them.
What Myths have you heard…did I miss any?
I hope you found this post educational and helpful.
Thank you for reading. Please feel free to share.
As always it is about so much more than the hair.
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