Since ancient times, we have been obsessed with thick, long, and naturally black hair. Though the ever-changing hair styling trends in the beauty industry make us experiment with our hair color now and then, we still can never get enough of our dark lustrous hair. But no matter how much we try to maintain the natural dark hue of locks, it can fade away over time and sometimes even lead to premature graying. If you are also experiencing the same, rely on natural oils, and your hair will turn darker again. Let us find out why the hair turns lighter and how oil can reverse it. Also, get to know about the best natural oils to darken hair naturally, along with some simple DIY recipes.
How Does The Hair Lose Its Darkness?
Being one of the most common modern lifestyle disorders, premature greying can occur at almost any age. Even people in their 20s may notice those dreaded streaks of silver and white these days. Our body has millions of hair follicles lining the skin, generating hair and a natural pigment called melanin. The natural color of our hair is determined by the melanin levels present in it. As these hair follicles lose pigment cells over time, the levels of melanin in the body change, and so as the pigmentation of the hair. Several factors strip our hair of its melanin, changing its color and texture. These include (1):
It is the most common reason for the loss of hair color. As we age, it is pretty normal for our hair strands to change their natural black color as our body stops producing enough melanin. Hence, they turn lighter and eventually become white or gray.
According to a 2013 study published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology, genetics play a pivotal role in the greying of hair. However, the report also revealed that it is primarily connected to race and ethnicity.
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3. Nutritional Deficiencies
Nutritional deficiencies have substantial adverse effects on the natural pigmentation of our hair. For example, suppose you do not embrace a healthy and balanced daily diet, including fresh fruits, greens, and vegetables. In that case, your body will lack nutrients like vitamin B6, vitamin B7 (biotin), vitamin B12, vitamin D, vitamin E, etc. This will contribute to the greying of your hair.
Low levels of serum ferritin (stores iron in our body) and good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein or HDL) also reduce the production of melanin, thereby making the color of hair lighter over time.
4. Use Of Synthetic Products
Too much use of commercial hair care products can take a toll on our hair. These include hydrogen peroxide-rich synthetic hair dyes, hair bleach powder, and even some shampoos and conditioners. Unfortunately, most of these contain harmful chemicals as active ingredients, which reduce melanin production in our hair follicles. As a result, the hair starts losing its natural dark color.
5. Certain Medical Conditions
Certain medical conditions like autoimmune diseases increase the risk of developing gray hair prematurely. In alopecia areata, people suffer from abnormal hair loss and the growth of white hair on the scalp. Dysfunction of the thyroid gland is also linked to premature greying.
6. Excessive Sun Exposure
Frequent and long-term exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays (UVA and UVB) can give your hair a faded color and texture. Sunlight induces oxidative stress by increasing the number of free radicals in the body, which, in the absence of proper antioxidant defense, causes imbalance and makes the process of greying happen prematurely. Harsh sunlight also bleaches the hair strands by stripping them of their natural pigments.
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7. Regular Heat Treatment
Heat treatments have now become an indispensable part of our hairstyling practices. But the extreme application of heat is severely damaging for hair as it breaks down the hydrogen bonds of the hair shafts. In addition, it has been found that getting regular heat treatment for styling hair accelerates the process of premature greying.
8. High Level Of Stress
Although studies are yet to prove it, stress is believed to play a significant part in the premature greying of hair. According to a survey conducted by New York University and published in Nature Medicine, high-stress levels can trigger certain hormones in our body, which deplete the melanin-producing cells called melanocytes. This lightens our hair color and leads to premature greying.
9. Habit Of Smoking
The habit of smoking is detrimental to our health and damaging to our hair. A study published in the Italian Dermatology Online Journal in 2013 reported that smokers are as much as two and a half times more likely to start graying before reaching their middle ages than their non-smoker counterparts.
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Why Use Oils To Make Hair Darker?
When it comes to making hair darker, you have tons of choices available in the market. Most of them are synthetic hair dyes that promise to instantly turn your lighter hair darker. But all of these products come loaded with harmful chemical compounds, which should not be used regularly. So here comes the importance of oils. Extracted from natural sources, these oils can lend your hair a deep color over time in a far better way. Here is why you should opt for oils to darken your locks:
- Oil is an entirely natural remedy for making hair darker. In addition, it does not contain damaging chemicals like synthetic hair darkening products, which makes it a safe bet.
- The oil penetrates deep into the scalp and fortifies hair roots by binding hair protein when massaged into the scalp. This makes the hair fibers healthier and stronger, which eventually helps in increasing the levels of natural pigment in them.
- As oil improves the overall health of the hair, the process of premature graying is averted. It also prevents the possibility of graying in the near future.
However, you must find a reliable brand selling pure organic oils extracted from natural sources. This way, you can be sure that you are putting no harmful elements in your locks.
Best Oils To Darken Hair Naturally
Not all oils are equally beneficial for making light and dull hair darker. But certain oils can do wonders for your hair color while enhancing its health, texture, and beauty to a great extent. Let’s take a look at a few oils to darken your hair naturally:
1. Castor Oil
Remember your grandma asking you to apply castor oil for longer and thicker hair? It may be smelly and gooey, but it is one of the best oils you can ever use for your hair. It nourishes the hair the right way and protects it from all potential factors that can adversely damage it. And when used consistently, it can also make your hair look darker. Apart from the scalp, castor oil is used on eyelashes to promote their growth. Massaging your hair with castor oil regularly can also reverse sun damage and cause the regrowth of two or three shades of darker hair.
How To Use?
Massage castor oil into your scalp and leave it overnight. Use a shower cap while sleeping. Wash it off the following morning with a mild herbal shampoo. Do this 2-3 times every week and continue for a couple of months to get darker and healthier hair.
Castor oil is a carrier oil and it is extremely thick in consistency. It is better to mix it with coconut oil or almond oil or olive oil in equal amount instead of using directly.
2. Amla Oil
Amla or Indian gooseberry is used extensively for promoting hair growth and darkening hair naturally. Being rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, it keeps the hair follicles healthy and stimulates the growth of hair to a great extent. The ingredient also comes packed with hair-friendly nutrients that help us take good care of our locks while boosting pigment levels in them. Amla oil can be prepared at home quickly and effortlessly to get long, shiny, and intensely dark hair.
How To Use?
Chop up a few fresh amlas and add them to a cup of cold-pressed coconut oil. Heat the mixture in a small saucepan until the amla pieces become black. Let the oil cool down completely before using. You need to massage your scalp and hair with it for a few minutes. Leave it on for at least an hour or the whole night. Then, rinse with a mild shampoo and lukewarm water. Repeated use of this oil 2-3 times a week is said to help hair growth, retard greying, and make the hair darker.
Adding 1 tablespoon of fenugreek powder to the amla oil mixture during preparation can give you even better results.
3. Brahmi Oil
Brahmi oil is very effective in fighting against the premature greying of hair. But, unfortunately, regular use of it darkens the hair color too. But, most preparations available off the shelf have mineral oil in them. So, try to make your own Brahmi oil at home rather than buying a bottled product.
How To Use?
Heat a cup of coconut oil. Add 2 teaspoons of Brahmi powder and 1 teaspoon of methi or fenugreek seeds to it. Allow the entire concoction to boil until the methi seeds pop. Sieve this mixture and use the oil regularly before washing your hair. Over time, you will notice the darkening of your hair and a remarkable reduction in grey hair.
4. Curry Leaf Oil
Just like eating curry leaves is extremely good for our health, applying it topically is excellent for our hair too. This is because they are rich in vitamin B and beta-keratin, which are vital for the growth and pigmentation of hair. In addition, curry leaves can restore melanin in the hair follicles, thereby averting greying altogether. Therefore, regularly using homemade curry leaf oil on your hair will make it longer, more robust, thicker, and relatively darker.
How To Use?
Roughly chop some fresh curry leaves and dry them in the sun. Soak these dried leaves in 3 tablespoons of cold-pressed coconut oil for a couple of days and let the extract get incorporated into the oil thoroughly. Strain and use it in place of your regular hair oil. You can also boil fresh curry leaves in coconut oil until a black residue is formed. Then, all you need to do is massage the oil into your scalp and hair 2-3 times every week. It is even better to leave the oil overnight and wash it off in the morning. Within a few months of use, you can see noticeable changes in both the volume and the pigmentation of your hair.
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5. Almond Oil
Almond oil is an excellent source of antioxidant vitamin E, which nourishes the hair from within and protects it from losing its natural dark color. Hence, applying it consistently to your scalp will enhance the health of your hair and make it look highly pigmented.
How To Use?
Take 2 tablespoons of almond oil and squeeze the juice of one fresh lemon into it. Blend well and massage it into your scalp for a good 5 minutes. Let it sit for an hour, and then rinse with a mild shampoo. Repeat at least twice weekly to get impressive outcomes. This will also add volume to your locks and make them glossy.
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6. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil mixed with henna is considered one of the best ways to nourish the hair while turning it darker naturally. This is because the oil has low molecular weight and a very high affinity for hair proteins, enabling it to penetrate the cuticles and displace the melanin-replacing air (2). This helps in locking the color from henna into the hair shafts, which does not fade out easily.
How To Use?
Boil 3 tablespoons of cold-pressed coconut oil in a small saucepan and add a bunch of fresh henna leaves to it. Once the oil turns brown, switch the flame off and cool it down. You need to apply this oil to your scalp and hair thoroughly. Massage it gently into the scalp for 4-5 minutes and allow it to sit for an hour. Finally, wash off with a mild shampoo and lukewarm water.
7. Mustard Oil
Mustard oil is full of minerals like iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, and selenium, which are essential for the intensive nourishment of our scalp and hair. So, using it regularly helps prevent grays by eradicating nutritional deficiencies. It can also make hair darker while accelerating its growth and protecting it from environmental damage.
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How To Use?
Prepare an oil blend by mixing 1 tablespoon of castor oil with 2 tablespoons of mustard oil and heating it for a few seconds. Apply it to your scalp and hair in warm condition. Massage for 10 minutes and wait for an hour to ensure that it enters the hair cuticles correctly. Now, rinse your hair with herbal shampoo and condition it as usual. Repeat the process 2-3 times every week, and the difference will be easily noticeable in just a couple of months.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I Use Natural Oils On Color-Treated Hair?
If color-treated hair turns grey, natural oils can be the savior. But remember that herbs used in these oils can dry out the hair initially. So the more damaged the hair is, the worse the effects will be. However, the condition of your hair will be better over time, and the grays will also start turning darker.
Does Black Seed Oil Darken Hair?
Black seed oil is an excellent natural solution for hair growth. It softens the scalp, nourishes it, and stimulates the hair follicles to produce healthy hair fibers. As it promotes the overall health of hair, the new strands grow out dark only.
Does Rosemary Oil Darken Hair?
Yes, rosemary essential oil can gently make your lighter hair darker over time. This is because it improves the scalp’s health to ensure that the hair follicles contain enough melanin pigment. As a result, the hair fibers become dark naturally.
- “What You Should Know About White Hair“, MedicalNewsToday.com
- “Premature Greying Of Hair And Role Of Oiling In Indian Perspective“, ijcrims.com