Why does blonde hair get darker with age?


Is the change in your hair colour from blonde to a darker shade worrying you?

Well,  it’s perfectly natural. The vast majority of fair-haired people go through this transition – some during childhood and some at adolescence, while others go through the change slowly.

Having naturally blonde hair is a blessing because only 2% of the world’s population possesses this trait. Not only that, it’s genetically peculiar as well and is most likely to darken over time.

It’s like the “Game of Thrones” – our genes play a very important role in our body that also undergo ageing when we mature. 

However, if you’re in love with your golden locks, there are some natural and synthetic methods that can be employed to postpone this transition for a while.

Blonde colour: simplified!

Blonde hair is the result of the absence of sufficient levels of dark pigment eumelanin in your body. Depending upon various factors, the hair colour can range from very pale blonde with the least amount of eumelanin to “strawberry” or “sandy” with considerably more eumelanin. Naturally, it tends to darken with age, most fair-haired kids are no longer blonde when they reach adulthood.

What causes blonde hair to get darker with age?

1. Genetics

To understand it properly, you’ll have to learn a few interesting things about the genes we possess and how they’re able to control everything. The colour of our hair and eyes are most of the time determined by the genes we possess.

Here’s a simple explanation of how hair colour is determined. The genes which encode colouring pigment in our system are responsible for the change in the shade of our hair and eyes. The colouring pigment is known as “melanin”. There are two versions of melanin pigments, namely eumelanin and pheomelanin.

All of us carry the genes to encode both pigments but the regulation of these genes works differently in different lineages and thus the concentration of gene products vary as well.

The more concentrated eumelanin, the darker the colour. While the pigment pheomelanin is responsible for the reddish shade. Both these pigments are released by special cells known as melanocytes.

2. Other Factors

Why should we blame genetics alone when many other factors can cause the transition of blonde to darker colours? Harmful chemicals such as chlorine and bleach can damage your barnet and change its colour.

Using bleach exposes your beautiful mane to chemical reactions. Bleach contains hydrogen peroxide, which reacts with melanocytes in your body.

Likewise, chlorine is another chemical that has the power to react with copper. Chlorine melts the copper present in pool pipes and when you take a dip in your pool, it can turn your hair green.

Effect of Ageing

The natural course of ageing makes our pigment cells – “melanocytes” less efficient. In later life, we are going to eventually stop producing melanin. That’s the reason why our hair turns grey or completely white when we grow old.

When there is zero production of melanin, the new strands that grows will turn white. Sometimes there maybe a few traces of melanin in our body that will show up as partially gray to white strands of hair.

Another reason is the fact that when we’re young, the dead melanocytes are regularly replaced by new cells.   But when we age, their power to divide vanishes and the production of melanocytes are lessened. That’s why the hair once turned grey, can never turn dark again naturally. It doesn’t matter whether you pluck your grey strands or not, they’re still going to stay grey.

Methods to delay the darkening of blonde hair

1. Blend honey and conditioner

You can either pour some honey in your conditioner and use it after a sulfate-free shampoo for blondes.

Honey has the ability to lighten hair and is also healthy for your scalp. You’ll need to apply the conditioner thoroughly and let it stay still for 3 or 4 hours. During that time, you’ll want to keep it covered with a shower cap or a towel.

2. Blend of cinnamon and conditioner

Take three tablespoons of cinnamon and mix it with three tablespoons of conditioner. Apply the paste to your hair thoroughly and leave it for three to four hours.

Cover with a shower cap or a cloth. Repeat the process for a week until you’ll start seeing the desired results. Cinnamon also can lighten your locks without causing any damage.

3. If nothing works, this will!

If the other two methods don’t seem to do wonders, you’ll prefer this more effective treatment. You’ll be needing to make a chamomile tea mask at home.

To do so, boil a cup full of water and add four chamomile tea bags and let it steep for 15 to 20 minutes. After the tea cools down, add about 2 tablespoons of natural yogurt. Apply this mask on your hair and keep it on for an hour. You can try this method twice a week to see a noticeable change.

To wrap up…

Now that you’re well aware that genes play and other factors are involved in the darkening of your pretty blonde locks, the ball is in your court. If you are blessed with very good genes, you would want to cherish you hair and keep it well-maintained.  

However, if your hair is starting to get darker, you call still follow the methods provided above and many other commercially available methods to keep your blonde hair. Stay away from harmful chemicals and always give preference to natural methods.

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This post was written by Beth Martel. She is a mother of two, a medical professional and a humanitarian. She blogs at Healthy Recharge.
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