Your hair goes through a natural cycle of dying and then being regenerated. As your hair follicles age, they produce less color.

Although your genetics will determine the actual start of graying, once you’re 35 years old, your aging hair follicles are likely to produce a white or gray hair to replace the last hair that died.

While some people celebrate gray hair as a sign of maturity and wisdom, many feel that they look older when their hair starts growing gray and would like the gray to go away for a more youthful appearance.

If you’re worried because you’ve spotted a few gray hairs, you can make lifestyle changes that can help you keep your original hair color longer. Following are some of these changes.

Get enough vitamins

Vitamins that keep your hair healthy include:

Get enough minerals

Minerals that can play a vital role in hair growth and repair include:

Stop smoking

Among other negatives, smoking can damage and shrink hair follicles.

Protect your hair from the sun

Cover up with a hat or scarf.

Stop damaging your hair

Certain hair care actions that can damage your hair include:

  • bleaching
  • using a brush instead of a wide-toothed comb, especially with wet hair
  • applying too much heat with a curling iron or hair dryer
  • using harsh soaps/shampoos
  • washing too frequently

Advocates of natural healing suggest a number of natural remedies for gray hair. These include:

  • Coconut oil. Every other day, before bed, massage coconut oil onto your hair and scalp. The next morning, wash your hair as usual.
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale). Every day, eat a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger mixed with 1 tablespoon of honey.
  • Blackstrap molasses. Every other day, eat a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses (from sugarcane juice, not from beet sugar); it’s believed to reverse the graying process.
  • Amla (Phyllanthus emblica). Drink six ounces of fresh amla juice every day or massage your hair with amla oil one time each week. Amla is also known as Indian gooseberry.
  • Black sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum). Two to three times a week, eat a tablespoon of black sesame seeds to slow down and possibly reverse the graying process.
  • Ghee. Twice a week, massage your hair and scalp with pure ghee (clarified butter).
  • Amaranth (Amaranthus). Three times a week, apply fresh amaranth juice to your hair.
  • Wheatgrass juice (Thinopyrum intermedium). Drink one to two ounces of fresh wheatgrass juice every day or add 1 tablespoon of wheatgrass powder daily to your soups and smoothies.
  • Fo-ti (Polygonum multiflorum). In traditional Chinese medicine, fo-ti is taken internally as a supplement — 1,000 milligrams two times per day with food — to reverse the graying hair process.
  • Onion (Allium cepa). Blend an onion in a blender and then use a strainer so that you’re left with the juice. Twice a week, rub this juice into your scalp, leaving it in place for 30 minutes and then shampooing as usual.
  • Carrot juice (Daucus carota subsp. sativus). Drink 8 ounces of carrot juice every day.
  • Catalase. Eat foods rich in the enzyme catalase such as:
  • Curry leaves (Murraya koenigii). Make a paste of ¼ cup of curry leaves and ½ cup of yogurt. Apply it to your hair and scalp and then wash it off after 30 minutes. Repeat two to three times a week.
  • Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). Take an ashwagandha supplement with food. Ashwagandha is also known as Indian ginseng.
  • Almond oil. Mix together equal parts of almond oil, lemon juice, and amla juice. Massage the mixture into your hair and scalp. Follow this routine two times a day for three months.
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Fill ⅓ of an 8-ounce jar with dried rosemary and then fill the jar to the top with extra virgin olive oil. Leave the jar in a sunny place for four to six weeks, shaking it every few days. After six weeks, use it as a hair oil.

Natural hair dye

You can make your own hair dye with various herbs. Since this type of hair dye isn’t as strong as commercially available chemical dyes, the dying process must be repeated a number of times before you see change. Suggested primary ingredients include:

  • blonde hair: chamomile flower tea, lemon peel, saffron, marigold flower
  • red hair: beet juice, carrot juice, rose petals,
  • brown hair: coffee, cinnamon
  • black hair: black walnut, black tea, sage, nettle

Some hair dye recipes suggested by advocates of natural cosmetics include:

  • Torai ridged gourd (Luffa acutangula). Boil torai in coconut oil until it turns black (about four hours). When it cools down, massage a small amount into your scalp and hair. After 45 minutes, wash it out of your hair. Repeat two to three times a week.
  • Bhringraj (Eclipta prostrata). In a small pan over low heat, mix 1 teaspoon of bhringraj and 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Rub the warm mixture into your hair and scalp. Wash it out after one hour. Repeat two to three times a week.
  • Black pepper (Piper nigrum). Mix 1 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper and 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice into ½ cup of plain yogurt. Massage the mixture into your hair, leaving it in place for 1 hour and then rinsing it out. Repeat three times per week.
  • Henna (Lawsonia inermis). Mix enough henna powder into one cup of black tea or coffee to make a paste with the consistency of yogurt. Cover the bowl and let it sit. After six hours mix in 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and then apply the mixture to your hair. Rinse it off after 1 to 3 hours, depending on the depth of color you want.

As you age, your follicles age too. And as your hair follicles age, they produce less color. This results in less melanin and pigmentation in the hair, which then appears to be gray or white.

If you prefer your hair to have color, there are a number of solutions. Many natural home remedies for gray hair are promoted by advocates of natural healing.

These approaches have not been clinically studied to see how well they work. It’s also possible to be allergic to many of these remedies. So, if you decide to try out a home remedy to change your hair color, consider discussing the remedy with your doctor first.

Your doctor may offer insight (based on your current health, the medications you’re taking, and other issues) about the ways that a home remedy might affect you.