Why Does Gray Hair Turn Yellow?

Posted on August 1, 2013 at 8:00 PM


Gray hair may have a yellow tinge as the result of internal or external causes. Medication, food, and health conditions can turn the hair yellow from inside the hair shaft. Products used on the hair, such as shampoo, conditioners, hair spray, mousse, and gels can leave a yellowish residue on the hair shaft.


Hair turns gray or white due to a loss of melanin. Melanin provides hair and skin with its color or pigmentation. Yellowing from inside the hair shaft or on the surface of the hair is visible as the hair becomes increasingly colorless.


You will want to evaluate the cause of yellowing. Are you taking medication that is known to change hair color? Do you have liver disease or another condition known to make skin and eyes yellowish? Do you eat an abundance of carrots or other foods that are high in carotene, an orange compound that can make skin and hair yellowish? Are you a smoker whose hair has been yellowed by nicotine? Does the water you use to wash your hair have high iron content? Do you swim in a heavily chlorinated pool? After you answer these questions, you'll want to look at the products you are using on your hair.


If possible, you'll want to eliminate the cause of the yellowing. If this is not possible, some of the remedies below may be helpful in eliminating the yellowish tinge in your hair.


Why Blue or Purple?


Commercial products and some home remedies add blue or purple pigment to the outside of the hair shaft. These remedies work on a principle well-known to artists: complementary colors tend to neutralize their opposites. Blue is a complement to yellow and purple is a complement to orange. Use of these complementary pigments on yellowish or orangish (brassy) gray, silver, or white hair neutralizes those unwanted colors. Care must be taken, however, not to overdo the blue or purple.

Categories: Hair color- general info, gray hair, Hair- general info

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