To pluck or not to pluck, that is the question. Many of my friends and I are entering the stage of life in which renegade gray hairs pop up on our heads from time to time. Though many people blame gray hair on stress, it mostly boils down to genetics and too much hydrogen peroxide in our hair follicles.
What’s funny to me is the wide variety of perspectives on gray hair. Some of my friends choose to dye, some embrace the change wholeheartedly, and some relentlessly pluck, willing the aging process away with every tweeze.
I plan to embrace my gray hairs when they eventually show up, but I wonder about those who choose to pluck. Is what they say true? Will pulling one gray hair cause several more to grow in its place?
No, say experts, because what you do to one hair follicle has no bearing on what happens to its neighbors. A hair follicle, the shaft from which the hair grows, can generally only hold one hair at a time. You have thousands of hair follicles on your head, but they are all separate from one another. That means what you do to one doesn't affect the others.
So yank away, right? Not so fast.
Plucking too much can send a message to the hair follicle to stop producing hair, in which case no hair will grow back at all and you might end up with a bald spot. So while pulling stray grays won’t necessarily cause more of them to grow, it’s probably not the best idea.
Then what are your options? Is there any way to get rid of gray hair other than pouring chemicals onto your scalp? Luckily, there are some natural alternatives. You can try using sage, an herb often used to help with digestion. For hair coloring purposes, boil the sage in hot water, and let it steep for several hours. Then spray it on or wash it into your hair and wait a day, or at least a few hours, before shampooing. If you follow this routine for at least a few weeks, you should start to see your natural color make a comeback.
Another option is to use tag alder bark. You can find the bark chips online or at specialty herb stores. Boil a half cup of chips in about two cups of water and let the mixture simmer for at least 30 minutes. Spray it on your hair or soak the gray hairs in it. If you do this a few times a week for a month, your hair should start to turn back to its natural color. This option is best for light-colored hair.
For jet black hair, try using henna and indigo.
Of course, there's always acceptance. Gray hair might be an (unwelcome) indicator of aging, but it’s also a sign of experience and wisdom, two plusses in my book. So instead of plucking that gray hair, why not own it instead?
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