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More women under 40 are going grey. Here's the surprising reason why

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 7/31/2018 Dominique Temple
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Grey hair is something of a beauty phenomenon. Once hated by many as the ultimate, tell-tell sign of ageing, has now become a fashionable hair colour in its own right. Thanks to Instagram stars and bloggers, the trend took off and saw young women opting to dye their own hair into soft white and grey hues. #Greyhair has over 1.5 million hashtags on Instagram and the latest hashtag  that seems to be taking off is #Grombre, a handle dedicated to mature women who want to show off their natural grey roots. 

Salt and pepper, silver, pewter, charcoal; at some point in your life you will go grey but research conducted by colour experts John Frieda states that 32 per cent of British women under the age of 30 have already started to go grey. In the past, your first grey-hair day may have arrived in your forties but nowadays some women are losing their natural colour as early as their twenties. Thankfully women are starting to embrace their grey roots; Mintel data research revealed that 68 percent of 25-64 year olds think 'it is acceptable to have grey hair'.

What causes your hair to go grey?

"Hair goes grey when your colour-producing cells stop making pigment, other wise known as melanin," says hairstylist and owner of Neville Hair & Beauty, Neville Tucker. Going grey can also be caused by a build up of naturally occurring hydrogen peroxide, that when left untreated, can cause a bleaching effect. As a general consensus, Caucasians start going grey by early thirties, Asian hair in their late thirties and African by mid-forties.

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The new reason? Unhealthy hair

Common reasons for going grey are age, a deficiency in vitamin B12 and sometimes a thyroid imbalance. However more recently it has been suggested that it could be caused by women having 'unhealthy hair'. "Due to the over-use of hair tools, styling products and environmental factors like pollution, our hair is less healthy than it used to be," says hairstylist and Hair Rituel Ambassador, Miguel Perez. "Like your skin, your scalp will age as you get older, so it's important to look after it with the right products and care," advises Perez. 

Think about it, if you don't look after your skin the probability of spots, wrinkles and other skincare woes is higher. It's the same with your hair. It has already been debated whether washing your hair with 'styling' shampoos (that deposit product on your scalp), could  result in thinning hair. 

Hair trauma is something highly associated with hair-thinning but also now with colour and specifically, greying. "If you colour your hair from a young age, you are essentially 'traumatising' you hair regularly which causes a shock effect on your hair that forces hair follicles to break," advises Perez. "When follicles break the new hairs that grow back may appear whiter as they haven't been nurtured enough with keratin," says Perez.

"Other hair traumas that may have an affect on the rate at which you go grey are pollution, styling tools, stress and health". Unfortunately hair products are often not made with the same science as skincare, but in the meantime, here are four ways to avoid grey hair and the best at-home tools to enhance your grey hair. 

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4 ways to avoid grey hair 

  1.  Stop smoking. "According to studies, smokers are four times more likely to have grey hair than non-smokers," says Tucker. "Smoking is conclusively linked to oxidative stress caused by the free radicals or reactive oxygen species nicotine releases." 
  2. Take a vitamin B12 supplement. Low B12 levels force melanin pigment to stop producing coloured follicles.
  3. Treat your hair to a mask or serum. Adopting a weekly regime of treating your hair to a mask or serum will help keep lengths in a good, healthy condition. 
  4. Don't wear your hair up. If you keep your hair in a knot everyday you will break it which causes trauma to the scalp and can increase your risk of grey hairs.


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