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There are a number of ways to dye gray hair. Gray hair can be difficult to dye, because the lack of melanin gives it a very coarse texture and makes it resistant to dyeing. There are also ways of improving the appearance of gray hair without drastically altering its color.
Generally, if visits to a salon can be afforded, a professional hair colorist will give the best results, especially if a drastic color change is desired. A skilled professional can often create a natural look and may have access to products that are not always available in the average retail outlet. Anyone who chooses the salon route should talk to the stylist about the annual costs of maintaining her new hair color.
Many people choose to dye gray hair with home hair-coloring products. If the hair is less than half gray, many experts recommend a semi-permanent hair color. Semi-permanent hair dye tends to look more natural and is less damaging to the hair. Upkeep is also easier, as the roots are not as visible. Some stylists use hydrogen peroxide on gray hair before applying a colorant—the peroxide pre-treatment allows the color to be better absorbed.
Another option is to use the herb cassia obovata, which is often called neutral henna. Cassia treatments deeply condition hair and will dye gray hair a golden or yellow color. Some people combine cassia with henna or indigo to produce different colors.
Cassia usually comes in the form of a powder. The powder is combined with warm water and sometimes oil to make a paste. This paste is left on the hair for several hours and rinsed off. Cassia treatments are also believed to be healthy for the scalp.
Henna and indigo can also be used to dye gray hair. Although some experts advise against using henna on gray hair because it produces artificial-looking coloration, some people have reported success with using it alone or in combination with indigo. When using henna or any other dye for the first time, it is a good idea to experiment with a lock of hair. Hair differs drastically among individuals, and a treatment that works for one person may not work for all.
One option for people with dark hair that is going gray is to use a rinse made from the herb sage. This rinse can be easily and inexpensively made at home from sage leaves and water. Unlike many commercial dyes, sage rinses do not produce a major color change at once. The rinse is used weekly until the desired color has been achieved. Maintenance is then performed monthly.
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