Although grey locks can be quite lovely, most of us fear the appearance of silver sparklers in our hair and we often negatively view them as signs of aging. But how much of what you know about grey hair is true? Clairol Consulting Colourist Luis Pacheco debunks seven common myths about going grey and reveals how to fix the issue with hair colour.
1. Myth: If you pluck one grey hair, seven more will appear
“Pulling out a grey hair doesn’t mean two, four or nine will appear in its place,” says Pacheco. It does mean, however, that in about a month, you will have an annoying grey hair about an inch long that sticks out and begs to be pulled again. Resist the urge to pluck grey hairs or over time you could damage the follicle and end up losing that hair all together. If you continually pull every grey you ever grow, you could end up bald!
2. Myth: Grey hair is easier to colour than regularly coloured hair
Grey hair does not absorb hair colour better than hair that has yet to go grey. Unlike blonde hair, which is easily coloured, grey hair is quite resistant to dye.
“When hair turns grey, it loses protein which causes it to weaken. In order for the hair follicle to protect itself, it creates an extra cuticle around it causing it to become coarser and less susceptible to hair colour,” says Pacheco.
So if you have more than a few greys here and there, you should look for a product specifically made for grey coverage — otherwise, you’ll end up with greys that are lighter than the rest of your hair or still grey. Try Clairol Expert Age Defy products, which comes with a pre-treatment that helps target resistant greys and preps them for the dye.
3. Myth: Only older people get grey hair
“Greying hair is not age specific. Grey hair can hit at any age,” says Pacheco. You can be 20 with a head full of greys or 40 without any. Of course, while your first grey might not appear until you’re in your 40s, you can only expect more as you age!
4. Myth: Only permanent hair colour covers up greys
“You don’t need to use permanent colour to cover greys if you only have a few,” says Pacheco. “Demi permanent colour (colour that contains no ammonia and deposits colour on to hair follicles that lasts up to 24 washes) also works well to hide greys,” he says. It’s only once hair becomes colour resistant, that it’s better to switch to a permanent product.
5. Myth: Adding highlights is a great way to conceal grey hair
“Using all-over colour, rather than highlights, is the best way to cover up grey hair,” says Pacheco. Highlights may help disguise grey hair but you risk going blonder and blonder over time and not everyone is meant to be a blonde!
6. Myth: The more you colour your hair, the quicker it turns grey
“Colouring your hair does not affect how quickly it turns grey,” says Pacheco. There’s a strange myth — probably one made up by parents of teenagers who wanted blue hair — that colouring your hair will turn it grey. “Once people with grey hair begin colouring their hair, there is a larger contrast between coloured hair and grey hair, which can make it appear as if they are turning grey more quickly,” he says.
7. Myth: It’s better to have grey hair rather than white hair
Finally! “There is no such thing as grey hair!” says Pacheco. “It is actually white hair and the grey colour comes from the reflection of existing pigment from your coloured hair. This is where the old wives’ tale comes from that redheads don’t grey. This is because their white hairs are reflected as a warm apricot colour, rather than grey hair.”