The Biggest Gray Hair Myths—And Why You Shouldn't Believe Them

What really makes your mane mature...

Healthy Hair
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez

Everyone remembers the first time they spotted a silver hair (and if you haven't yet, let me tell you it's a doozy). The first stage is denial, then comes confusion, and then comes the creeping fear that this measly little gray hair is going to start a trend. Whether you decide to head to the salon asap or embrace the salty strands as the come, there's a lot of misinformation about what causes you to go gray. Check out these big, little lies about silver hair and let Chaz Dean, CEO and founder of WEN By Chaz Dean, explain the real reasons you lose color.

Myth #1: You can go gray overnight

Talk about waking up on the wrong side of the bed. Luckily, this isn't the case—it's impossible for a drastic change to happen as you snooze. "Gray hair is caused by strands slowly losing their pigment," says Dean. "Also, if your parents went gray early, there's a chance you could as well."

Myth #2: Your hair can turn white out of fright

Similar to how a good scare gets rid of hiccups, this is also an urban legend. Your face is the only thing you need to worry about turning pale next horror movie binge or haunted house excursion.

Myth #3: Plucking a stray gray results in three more growing back in its place

Tweezing strands is a favorite pastime of our HGTV girl crush, Joanna Gaines, and for her sake (and ours), this habit does not encourage more grays to sprout. "However, pulling out gray hairs can result in permanent damage to the follicle, which can result in no hair growing back at all," explains Dean. "Avoid plucking at all costs."

Myth #4: Coloring hair leads to a quicker loss of pigment

"It hasn't been proven that coloring strands effects graying," says Dean. "But constant color processing can cause hair to become brittle, dry and lifestyle." Try using a nourishing treatment like WEN's Bamboo Green Tea Restorative Treatment Mist that restores shine and moisture to damaged locks. Also, don't over shampoo hair since it can strip hair of color and lead to fading.

WATCH: What You Can Learn From 8 Women Who Embrace Gray Hair

Myth #5: Stress equals silver strands

Between work, errands and mommy duties, you may have caught yourself telling your hubby and kiddos that they're making you prematurely go gray. Since there's no real merit to that claim, tell everyone they're making you go bald instead: "Stress can certainly cause temporary hair loss, but it won't strip your hair of its pigment," explains Dean. Although, other health stressors, like smoking or a poor diet, can potentially speed up the graying process.

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