Why is my hair changing color by itself

Thanks to bleaching and dyeing, getting your desired hair color is easier. 

And chances are, you’ve probably bleached or dyed your hair at least once in your lifetime. 

But wait! 

What if your hair has suddenly gone lighter or darker without you doing anything to it? Maybe your tresses went from black to red, brown to black, or even brown to blonde. 

I know it sounds crazy, but it is possible! 

But is it a bad thing? 

And what causes hair to change color on its own? Is it because of an underlying illness? Or perhaps because of aging or genetics? 

Fret no more because this article will explore the possible reasons why your hair is changing color naturally and what you can do to prevent or counteract these sudden changes. 

So without further ado, let’s get the ball rolling!


Can hair change color naturally? 5 Reasons Why

Can hair change color naturally

Ever noticed that your hair color appears different a few years back? ? Well, one thing’s for sure — you aren’t hallucinating.

Shockingly, your hair naturally changes color because of several factors. 

Here’s why: 

Heat

We all know that heat styling tools like blow dryers and flat irons cause hair damage. It makes the hair brittle and promotes breakage.  

But aside from that, they can also change your hair color. Excessive heat damages the cuticle, causing the color to fade and appear dull. 

Simply put, artificial heat is the best ingredient for color disaster. 

So make sure you turn the heat down, or better yet, air-dry your tresses and use heat-free styling techniques.

Also, the scorching heat from the sun changes your hair color since it bleaches and destroys the melanin in the hair. Hence, use sunscreens or sunblocks to help. 

Genetics

Hair color is mainly determined by genetics. But genes can turn ​​on and off throughout the years. 

What does this mean? 

Okay, first things first. The gene responsible for making pigment plays an important role in determining hair color. 

This pigment is called melanin which is the same pigment responsible for our skin color. 

Melanin is created by special cells called “melanocytes,” located at the bottom of our hair strands. When these melanocytes make many melanins, the tresses become brown or black, and if they don’t, the hair turns blonde.

Melanin has two types — eumelanin and pheomelanin. The amount of eumelanin dictates how dark the hair is, while the amount of pheomelanin dictates how red the hair is. 

So what does this have to do with changes in hair color?

The genes creating melanin may turn on and off over a lifetime due to hormonal changes.

Once this happens in the melanocytes cells, the hair changes its color.

Aging

Your hair also changes color as you grow older. Certain hair pigment proteins are activated, and as a result, your hair lightens or darkens. 

And eventually, your tresses will turn gray. Yep, gray hair happens as we age.

Ever noticed your granny’s gray hair

The reason for this is that follicles produce less melanin over time.  

But changes in the amount of melanin may happen at any time, causing hair to turn gray earlier than usual. 

Additional factors like smoking, viruses, or thyroid disease also cause early graying

Pregnancy 

Pregnancy changes your body. But did you know being pregnant changes your hair color too? 

High levels of estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy promote hair darkening

But don’t worry, your hair color goes back to normal once the pregnancy period is over.  

Chlorine

Chlorine causes hair discoloration. 

Similar to UV rays, chlorine in pools also bleach the tresses. Once melanin is bonded with chlorine, the hair’s keratin protein becomes dull blonde, thereby changing your natural hair color. 


Why is my hair lightening on its own?

Loss of hair integrity results in hair lightening. 

Once hair quality deteriorates, melanin production reduces. And as mentioned earlier, melanin pigment is responsible for our hair color. So once the amount of melanin declines, the hair becomes lighter and more transparent. 

The question now is, why does melanin production deteriorate? 

Well, there are many reasons. 

Sunlight and artificial heat from hair styling tools reduce melanin production.

Chlorine and chemicals in hair products also lighten the tresses since it affects hair keratin. 

Vitamin deficiency can make the hair appear lighter too. 


Why is my hair color changing from black to brown?

Why is my hair color changing from black to brown

There are plenty of reasons why your hair color changes from black to brown. Let’s discuss them one by one:

Sun exposure

Excessive sun exposure damages your black hair. And not just that, it lightens your hair color. Since the hair ​​is made up of dead cells, they become lighter when exposed to sunlight

UV rays bleach your tresses since they oxidize melanin into a colorless compound

Chemicals

Chemicals in your hair products, such as shampoos, conditioners, and hair masks, change black hair into brown.

Hard water 

Minerals found in hard water also change your tresses from black to brown. These minerals settle on your hair surface, and as a result, your hair becomes rough and brown-colored

Poor nutrition

Iron deficiency and poor nutrition also promote color change.

Vitamin A, B, iodine, sodium, zinc, copper, and iron are essential compounds in melanin pigmentation. Hence, the lack of these elements lightens the hair. 

Genetics

And again, genetics. 

If you see a common pattern of hair lightening among your family members, chances are, your black hair may also turn brown in the long run.  


Why is my hair turning red naturally?

If you’re a redhead at heart like Hayley Williams of Paramore, you’d probably love the sight of your hair turning red naturally. But for others, it can be quite worrying. 

So to remedy that, let’s first find out what exactly causes red hair

Sun exposure

This only happens if you have naturally brown or black hair since these colors have a red base. Constant sun exposure makes the red streaks appear more obvious. 

Hence, minimize sun exposure or protect your tresses from the sun by wearing a cap or scarf or using hair sunscreens. 

Genetics

Genetics plays an important role in your hair color. 

So if there’s a red-haired person in your bloodline, your hair may also eventually turn red. 

Unfortunately, you cannot stop this from happening. But you can always dye your hair with a different color. 

Poor diet

Red hair is a major symptom of malnutrition. 

If you lack proteins, your hair may eventually turn red

So make sure you include protein-rich food in your daily diet to prevent or remove the color from your tresses.

Hard water

Hard water contains high contents of iron which oxidizes and changes hair color. 

If you have naturally dark hair, red hues may appear. 

Hence, avoid hard water and use a water softener system if possible. 

Harsh shampoos

Dark hair has underlying orange or red pigments. And these pigments may appear with constant use of shampoos with harsh ingredients. 

Aside from that, it also damages the hair and promotes breakage.

So use only shampoos with a gentle formula to help maintain your natural hair color. 


Can your hair change color from stress?

Can your hair change color from stress

Absolutely! Studies have shown that changes in hair color are linked with the body’s fight or flight response system. 

Remember melanocytes? 

Melanocytes are pigment-producing cells that dictate your hair color. They are created from melanocyte stem cells located in the hair follicle, particularly at the base of your hair strand.  

When you’re stressed out, the nerves in the sympathetic nervous system release a norepinephrine chemical into the hair follicle, where melanocyte stem cells live.

As a result, it affects melanocyte stem cells by removing them from the follicles and turning them into pigment cells prematurely.

And since there are no more stem cells left, the hair eventually turns white or gray. 

That’s why, as much as possible, always get a good rest and maintain a healthy lifestyle. 


Why did my hair color change from blonde to brown?

The main reason why hair changes from blonde to brown is hormonal changes. As mentioned earlier, eumelanin determines how dark your hair is. 

So those with natural blonde hair may darken once puberty hits because the amount of eumelanin in your tresses increases as you mature. 

Another reason is that genes controlling eumelanin production may not turn on until you reach a certain age. 

Weather conditions also affect hair color. During colder months, blonde hair darkens because there is less UV exposure. 

Yep, some blondies look brunette during winter! 

CHECK OUT: How to hydrate hair after bleaching


Final thoughts

It’s true when they say change is the only constant thing in this world — even hair color changes naturally. 

And since you already know why these natural changes occur, it’ll now be easier to prevent and combat their effects. So if you noticed your hair changing color by itself, keep calm and take it easy! 

Last Updated: March 28, 2022

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