Many clients ask about colouring their Locs. Surprisingly most want colour to cover greys, or as I like to call them, "Wisdom Highlights". Grey hair runs in my family with my grandfather having a full white head of hair by the time he was 30, my father was salt and pepper by the same age, and I started going grey at the age of 25. On my Earthstrong. SMH I freaked out a little bit but a few days later it really didn't bother me any more. Given I still have more melanated strands than not, they are there. And I let them be...
Once I noticed my silver sprouts I learned via a quick Google search that there is very little one can do to slow down the greying of one's hair. Going grey is more about loss than gain as it's simply the loss of that follicle's ability to produce enough melanin to pigment the strand. As a result, naturally melanated people such as Blacks and Asians tend to have less grey hair. Highly melanated areas include eyes and pubic hair.
Melanin is produced by the pineal gland also known as the third eye which regulates the pituitary gland which secretes Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormone (MSH). MSH then binds with Melanocyte-Receptors on the surface of pigmented or melanated cells, resulting in darkening the eyes, skin and hair. Hormones such as estrogen and progesterone as well as vitamin D from the sun can trigger and activate melanin production. At the end of each hair growth cycle some of the melanin production of the hair shuts off in the "dying" phase. When the cycle starts over and new hair is growing in, if the production of melanin doesn't turn back on, the strand will be grey.
Naturally occurring anti-oxidant enzymes protect the melanocytes from being damaged however. In theory if the melanocytes remain undamaged, the hair will stay melanated. The top two things which we are rumoured to have control over are stress and smoking. Otherwise, your genes will decide your fate when it comes to how snowy your roof gets. So quit smoking and lighten up if you really want to keep that melanin glowing for years to come!
Recently Erykah Badu a.k.a. "MyGirl" revealed herself and all her wonderfully wise wisps to the world embracing the natural and beautiful aging process that we will all come to experience.
How do you feel about your Wisdom Highlights? Are you inclined to dye them? If so why? If you have embraced your Sexy Silver Strands what gave you the courage and frame of mind to do so? Share in the comments below!