How Hair Coloring Works

What Can I Do About Gray Hair?

This woman had dark hair when the day started.

No, it's not your imagination. Some gray hairs -- especially coarse hairs, prematurely gray hairs and gray hairs around the temples and hairlines -- are especially resistant to color or quicker to lose color than other gray hairs. Try the following suggestions:

  • Apply color to gray areas first. (This gives resistant gray hairs more time to absorb color.)
  • Leave color on longer. (Adjust your timing and try it first in the strand test. Grays could take up to 45 minutes to color.)
  • Increase your hair color level. (If your grays still show up even after you've adjusted the timing on your semi- or demi-permanent color, you might consider going up a level.)

Science is also searching for a better solution to gray hair. Cancer researchers learned that liposomes, substances that deliver a drug into the body, can be used to deposit melanin, the pigment that gives hair its color, inside follicles and color hair from the roots up. If further research proves successful, products could be available in the next 10 years, they predict. On another front, after 30 years of research, L'oreal laboratories have developed a precursor molecule for melanin, dihydroxyl-5.6-indole, which enables the natural process of hair pigmentation to take place biologically through a slow oxydization process. With the right proportions, everyone could get back their own natural hair color! Researchers are using this new chemical to come up with a new way to enhance hair color or cover gray.