Gray Hair Turning Other Colors

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I thought my gray hair turning golden was because I’d been a natural blonde as a child. Well, I was wrong.

Turns out when your hair turns gray, it can turn all kinds of other colors, too. And for lots of different reasons.

Gray hair turning other colors

In this article I’m going to cover when and why your gray hair may be turning:

  • Yellow or orange
  • Green
  • Purple
  • Brown
  • Black 
  • Dark Again

In addition, I’m going to offer you solutions on how to keep your silvery hair its shimmery natural color. That way you won’t walk around with a two-toned hair color like I’ve been sporting lately. Instead, I want you to have beautiful gray hair.

beautiful gray hair

Gray hair turning yellow or orange

Back when I was coloring my hair a dark blonde, I had to be careful about my hair turning orange. Really a brassy color, which happened for two reasons. One, sun exposure. And two, hard water.

Turns out both of those things can turn your gray hair a yellow color. I’m discovering this now as I look at my silver locks.

Well, they’re silver mixed with dark brown (my natural color) on the top of my head where a hat covers it. Then, down below, you can barely see any gray for the brownish hair that’s turned a brassy yellow.

gray hair turning orange

Styling tools can affect your color

Another possible cause for yellowing gray hair are hot styling tools. If you’re using a curling wand or flat iron or even a blow dryer on a hot setting on the regular, you could be damaging your hair.

Well, you probably already knew that. However, this damage can be the root cause (no pun intended) of your gray hair turning yellow.

How to prevent yellowing hair

Previously, I would use a blue shampoo to keep my hair from turning brassy from sunlight or the hard water in my house. However, blue shampoo is not for a silver sister.

Blue shampoo on gray hair will turn your hair blue. And I don’t want to be one of those little old blue hair ladies. It is for brown or dark blonde hair only.

Products to help with gray hair turning yelllow

Instead, I’m looking into something called silver shampoo. That’s supposed to get the yellow or orange out of naturally brown hair that’s turned gray. I’m also going to invest in silver hair mask to counteract the brassy color. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Also, I spoke with Katie Emery, founder of Katie Goes Platinum, a gray hair blog. Like me she has an issue with brassiness. She’ll use Acure Clarifying Shampoo before applying a silver hair mask.

Gray hair turning green

As a blonde child, I can remember how my hair often turned green in the summer. Same with my own daughters, also towheads.

That’s because we all spent a lot of time at the pool during our collective childhoods. And, if you don’t rinse chlorinated water off your hair after a swim, it can turn your blonde locks green. 

Well, guess what? Chlorine can do the same thing to gray hair. I guess it makes sense since the pigment is light with blondes and light or non-existent with silver hair.

Also, other chemicals can build up on gray hair and turn it a greenish tint. Unless that’s the look you’re going for, you probably want solutions on how to make gray hair turning green go back to just gray hair.

gray hair turning green

How to prevent green hair

For starters if you are a big swimmer, try wearing a swim cap when you’re in the pool. If not, rinse your hair off when you get out of the pool, especially if you’re outdoors. You don’t want to get out of the pool, sit in the sun and let the chlorine bake into your gray hair. 

Another option is to wash with a clarifying shampoo made for gray hair. This will strip your hair of any buildup, including a green tint from chlorine or styling products that might attract the chlorine.

Gray hair turning purple

One of the products your hair stylist may have recommended for your gray hair is purple shampoo. Purple shampoo is supposed to do a great job of keeping gray hair, well, gray.

In fact, stylists also recommend purple shampoo for blondes. It helps keep blonde hair from turning brassy or ashy.

However, you shouldn’t use purple shampoo everyday. This is true if you have gray or blonde hair–or both.

gray hair turning purple

How often to use purple shampoo

Those that do shampoo with the purple stuff every time they wash their hair? Well, then their gray hair will start turning purple. 

According to Redken, maker of purple hair care products, at most you should be using purple shampoo three times a week. Now granted this advice from the Redken blog is for blondes, not silver sisters like you and me. However, I would follow this advice.

Actually, what I would do is discuss this whole purple shampoo situation with your hair stylist. They’re in the best position to recommend how frequently (or infrequently) you use them.

Products to Help with Gray Hair Turning Other Colors

Gray hair turning brown or dark again

A former neighbor of mine had white-gray hair for as long as we lived near each other. However, one year he was diagnosed with cancer. Then, he started chemotherapy. And the most interesting thing happened: his white hair turned black. 

Even after his cancer treatment was over and he was in remission, his black hair remained. He had had dark hair before turning gray in his 40s. Now in his 60s, he had dark hair again.

What gives?

Your health could make your gray hair go dark again

Well, it turns out that when gray hair goes back to its natural color, there’s something medical going on. And sometimes it’s a good sign.

For example, this Scientific American article says that when you’re dealing with stress, you really do go gray. However, once a stressful period resolves, it’s possible for your gray hair to go back to brown or black or whatever your natural color is.

On the other hand, suddenly turning gray could signify a medical issue. For instance, if you have a B12 vitamin deficiency, it could affect your hair’s color. So, if gray hair is new to you, you may want to speak with your doctor about getting blood work done.

Overall advice for gray hair turning a different color

In researching this article, I read advice repeatedly that said this: when thinking about gray turning a different color, refer to the color wheel. That is, whatever color your hair has turned (instead of the gray you want it to be), look to the opposite color on the color wheel for your solution.

For example, on the color wheel, purple is opposite yellow, blue is opposite orange and red is opposite green. Thus they explain many of the suggestions I’ve made here, such as colored shampoos or other products to balance out the colors you don’t want on your greying hair.

I’m not saying you should dye your hair the opposite color. On the other hand, I just want you to keep it in mind when purchasing shampoos and other products to bring your gray hair back to its (now) natural color.

Here is my article with advice on how to grow out your gray hair.

7 thoughts on “Gray Hair Turning Other Colors”

  1. I used Hawaiian Silky Relaxer in my gray hair. My hair turned reddish-brown. I used Matrix Dark Envy, now it’s
    greenish. What can I do to get my gray back? Can I use so
    Silver now? Can you help me? Thank you.

    Reply
    • At this point I would head to a hair salon and have a professional deal with the problem. Every time I’ve tried to fix my hair problems at home, out of a box, I ended up paying to have a pro get my color back to where I wanted it.

      Reply
    • I can’t speak from a medical point of view. However, anecdotally, I know plenty of people whose gray hair went back to a darker color after cancer treatment. Go figure!

      Reply
  2. I’ve noticed that my hair started turning grey a few years ago, at first it wasn’t that much. but it becomes more grey as time goes by of course,and today I pulled out a grey hair that was half purple as well. what is the best thing to do in this situation?
    all I want to do is help my hair go back to its natural color without dying it….

    Reply
    • I would try a clarifying shampoo and then invest in a shampoo for gray hair that isn’t purple. If you have more questions, I would ask the person who cuts your hair. They probably know better than I do.

      Reply

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