Do you remember what color your hair was when you were a child? It was probably different than your natural color is now. Mine is. When I asked a couple of friends some said they were a towhead as a child with hair almost white. Then they turned into a dirty blonde at age 12. This is what happens to most blondes. The hair darkens to a dark blonde or even brunette but doesn’t stay the golden or white color of childhood. Brunettes turn darker or develop interesting highlights.
If you want to have answers to the question “how come blonde hair turns brown”, then simply read on and find out!
What causes the changes in hair color?
The color is due to one or more of the compounds in the melanin group. Melanin is responsible for the color of your hair, your eyes, and your skin. A total lack of melanin causes a condition called albinism.
You’ve probably seen an albino. They have white hair, very pale, translucent skin, and red irises. They have no protection from sunlight and are very prone to developing skin cancers.
The two major types of melanin are eumelanin, which produces a brown or black pigment, and pheomelanin, which produces a red pigment. The more eumelanin in your system, the darker your hair color is. The more pheomelanin you have, the fierier the hair and the more red highlights.
How come blonde hair turns brown?
The melanin pigments are made in the hair follicles at the base of each hair and are responsive to hormonal changes in the body. The increase in hormones at puberty cause an increase especially in eumelanin production and light-colored hair turns darker.
The amount of melanins produced is controlled by your genes. Some babies are born with black hair while others have light brown or red or blonde hair. Hair color is determined by your genetic makeup. There are some people who will have light blonde hair all their lives. They are mostly ethnic Scandanavians since blondes are generally found in northern Europe. But most of us will have to rely on a hairdresser to stay blonde.
Why did my hair go from blonde to brown as a kid?
The brown pigment is controlled by the eumelanin production, which is controlled by the sex hormones, estrogen and testosterone. When adolescents start puberty, the number of sex hormones in the serum skyrockets. So do many other hormones and enzymes which are dependent on the sex hormones. The hair follicles produce more brown pigment as the hair is growing and the new hair grows out brown.
Can this hair color change also happen when you’re older?
As we age, the amount of melanin in our skin and hair decreases, and the color fades away in the hair, leaving the hair white or gray or a combination of the two.
Graying of the hair is determined by genetics. The paler your skin, the earlier you are likely to go gray. Whites especially tend to start graying early, around age 30, about 10 years before African-Americans. But by age 50, about 50% of people are 50% gray.
Certain hair types will continue to darken as the individual ages, usually going from light brown to black. This is not uncommon in Asians.
Black is the commonest hair color in the world. Approximately 75-85% of people have very dark brown or black hair. Red hair is the rarest with only 1-2% of the world’s population having natural red hair. The highest concentration of redheads is in Scotland. About 13% of Scots are redheads. Natural blondes make up 2-3% of people. But blonde is the most popular artificial hair color. Because of its natural rarity, it is valued higher than black or brown.
How is hair color determined?
Generally, there are two important genes for hair color, one from the father and one from the mother. If either one of those genes is for dark hair, the child will have dark hair because dark hair is a dominant trait. There are other genes involved, but they mainly affect the shade.
But both parents can have dark hair and have a blonde child. Genes for red or blonde hair are recessive. So if both parents have one dark gene and one blonde gene, there is a 25% chance that the baby will receive two blonde genes and be a natural blonde. There is a 50% chance that the child will get one blonde gene and one dark gene and be able to pass the blonde gene on to the next generation. There is a 25% chance that the child will have 2 dark genes. If that is the case, then that person’s children will all have dark hair because there is no blonde gene to pass on.
How do you keep blonde hair from turning brown?
Can you prevent your blonde hair from darkening at puberty or later or should you just embrace the change?
There are a number of ways to maintain your blondeness.
- Lemon juice – This is an old remedy that is totally natural. Spray lemon juice or lemon juice diluted 1:1 with water on your hair. Then sit in the sunlight for an hour. The sunlight will activate the citrus acid and tend to destroy the eumelanin in your hair, making it lighter in color. You will need to apply conditioner after the treatment since the lemon juice dries out your hair. This procedure needs to be repeated at least once a week.
- Vinegar – Vinegar works basically the same way as lemon juice, but it is specifically for red hair. Follow the same directions, using vinegar instead of lemon juice to emphasize the red in your hair and keep it a light shade.
- Hydrogen peroxide – This is essentially the same procedure as the lemon juice. However, the hydrogen peroxide is a stronger bleaching agent. You should let your hair dry in the sunlight, but not for an hour. Once dried, apply leave-in conditioner. Repeat weekly.
- Chamomile tea – If you’re looking for a golden appearance for your hair, chamomile tea is the natural answer. Boil 16 oz. of water (2 cups) and steep 5 chamomile teabags in the water. Let stand for 15 to 20 minutes, then remove the teabags. Apply to hair after washing and conditioning. Leave the tea rinse in. Use weekly for golden highlights or shade.
- Adding cinnamon or honey to your conditioner and leaving it in is reputed to help keep hair blonde.
Of course, there are more permanent ways to keep your hair light. Home kits can be found in every drugstore. And your hairdresser will probably use gentler products with better results.
These days you can have the hair color you want, whether it be blonde, red, blue, purple, or pink. You can color your hair red for Valentine’s Day and then green for St. Paddy’s Day, followed by pink for spring. However, each time you apply harsh chemicals to your hair, you do damage to the hair shafts. Your hair is not alive. It consists of dead cells, produced in the hair follicles. These cells cannot repair themselves. Damage to the hair shafts is permanent. And the more damage you do, the worse your hair will look.
Be careful with your hair. Treat it gently, using only products that are not harsh. Talk to your hairdresser. He or she will be able to suggest the best coloring agents for you. Have fun. Keep your hair light or turn it black. Enjoy it and take care of it.
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