Having dark, flowing, luscious hair is everybody’s dream come true. With the changes in our lifestyles during recent times, it has become even more important to take care of our hair using natural methods.
Through this article, you’ll get to know all about melanin and its various types, home remedies to enhance melanin in your hair, dietary modifications for the same and so on.
What is Melanin?
Melanin is a pigment that is naturally available in different regions of your body, like your skin, hair and eyes. There are different types of melanin, namely eumelanin, neuromelanin and pheomelanin. The type of melanin present in your body shall determine the shade of your hair. Eumelanin shall give you darker shades, like black or brown. Pheomelanin shall give you lighter shades, like ginger or blonde.
Why does our hair turn grey?
When the pigments in our hair strands start dying, we observe a loss of colour in our hair. Having grey hair translates to loss of some amount of pigment while having white hair means that there is no pigment in your hair.
As for why your hair turns grey is another matter altogether. Aging is obviously one of the main causes. But premature greying of hair may also be caused by genes, dietary problems, diseases such as diabetes or pernicious anemia etc.
8 Home Remedies To Increase Melanin In Hair
There are various easily administrable remedies available for increasing the melanin content of your hair. Here are some of the most popular ones-
Amla, or Indian gooseberry, is a fruit that’s filled with goodness. It’s rich in antioxidants and vitamin C which help preserve the melanin in hair follicles and thus retain the blackness of hair. It also provides a healthy glow to our hair. It can be applied externally in the form of a paste or consumed as food for us to reap its benefits.
How to use-
- Add 2 tablespoons of amla powder to half a liter of water and mix well.
- Store this mixture in a clean container.
- Use this natural shampoo daily to wash your hair.
Note: You may add a few tablespoons of lemon juice to the shampoo to boost the vitamin C content.
2. Mango Seed
Mango seed is very beneficial for preventing greying of hair. It contains vitamins A, E and C, as well as antioxidants, which prevent premature greying of hair and make your hair strong and lustrous. It can also help get rid of dandruff and promote hair growth.
How to use-
- Mix mango seed powder with a little bit of water to form a paste.
- Blend well and apply in generous amounts all over your scalp.
- Allow it to stay on for around an hour and then rinse off with water and a mild shampoo.
Note: Adding a bit of egg yolk to the paste can prove to be useful because it’s rich in protein. Since hair follicles are mostly made of protein, egg yolk shall enhance hair growth.
Triphala is an ayurvedic composition; a blend of 3 fruits- haritaki, vibhitaki and amla. It helps maintain the pH of your hair and promotes hair growth, treats dandruff and makes your hair smooth and strong. It is a great source of potassium and iron and helps boost melanin production in the hair.
How to use-
- Mix the Triphala powder with some water to form a paste.
- Slather your hair with the paste and allow it to sit for around 30 minutes.
- Rinse off with cold water.
Note: You can add coconut or almond oil to the paste in order to improve its efficiency.
4. Black Sesame Seeds
These seeds possess incredible anti-aging properties which make them a valuable commodity in the business of hair-care. They’re rich in antioxidants, proteins, fatty acids, zinc and iron which allows growth of strong, healthy hair. They also promote melanocyte activity (activities of melanin producing cells) to produce increased amounts of melanin, which makes your hair darker. Aside from external application, consuming one teaspoon of these seeds daily shall also provide results.
How to use-
- Add 2 teaspoons of black sesame seeds to about 1 cup of almond or olive oil and allow them to soak overnight
- Add this mixture to a pan and heat for 2 minutes or so.
- Wait for the mix to cool, then add it to a blender and make a runny paste out of it.
- Add it to the pan again and heat the mixture for about 2 hours.
- Strain the mixture to obtain a nourishing hair oil. Apply this once daily.
Note: You can add amla gratings to the mixture to boost the nutrient content, since it has antioxidants which delay premature aging of hair.
Onion juice or paste has appreciable sulphur content which encourages hair growth. Antioxidants present in it delay greying of hair (especially catalase; low level of this antioxidant hastens the greying of hair). It also regenerates hair follicles and strengthens hair roots.
How to use-
- Mixing 1-2 tablespoons of onion juice with about 1 tablespoon of coconut oil creates a smooth paste that can easily be applied to your hair.
- Leave the hair mask on for 30 minutes, then wash off with a mild shampoo.
- Repeat this process a couple times every week.
Note: You may use olive oil or almond oil in place of coconut oil.
6. Curry Leaves
Curry leaves are one of the most efficient remedies for premature greying of hair. They consist of vitamin B, which helps in the restoration of melanin in our hair and darkens it. Curry leaves also repair any damage to our hair and helps in hair growth. It adds shine to your hair and makes it appear glossy and smooth.
How to use-
- It is best to fuse the curry leaves with coconut oil in order to extract their nutrients easily. Heat up the oil and add a few curry leaves to the pot. Boil it till the concoction turns dark in colour.
- Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool down
- Apply this oil to your hair thrice a week. Make sure to massage thoroughly in order to make your scalp absorb the oil better.
Believe it or not, hibiscus has been traditionally used as a natural remedy for greying hair for centuries. It has high antioxidant and vitamin content which boost melanin production in hair and darkens it. It also aids hair growth from dormant hair follicles. It also hydrates the scalp, combats dandruff and reduces itching.
How to use-
- Add 1-2 hibiscus flowers to a small pot of hair oil (the choice of oil is completely up to you!) and heat it on low flame for about 20 minutes.
- Strain the oil and allow it to cool. Store the oil in a cool place.
- Use this oil to massage your head at least thrice every week.
8. Black Tea
Black tea is full of antioxidants and tannic acid, which helps in darkening your hair over time. It also adds shine to your hair and makes it bouncy.
How to use-
- Add around 5-6 teabags to 5 tablespoons of water and bring it to a boil.
- Allow it to cool, then apply generously over your hair.
- Wash off the tea after 20 minutes or so with cool water.
- Keep repeating this process till you start observing a change in hair colour. It is best not to do it more than four times in a single week.
Note: Since the caffeine present in the tea can damage your hair and make it dry, it is best to apply the tea directly to the scalp using a spray.
Dietary Supplements To Increase Melanin in Hair
Aside from these home remedies, you can also try making a couple of changes to your diet in order to include nutrients that stimulate melanin production-
1. Vitamins B6 and B12 in Food
Vitamin B6 triggers enzymes that produce hair proteins like melanin and keratin while vitamin B12 is needed in order to maintain melanocyte homeostasis i.e. the smooth functioning of melanin-producing cells and consequently promote the production of melanin in the hair.
Food rich in vitamin B6: pork, peanuts, oats, soybeans, bananas.
Food rich in vitamin B12: beef, eggs, trout, yogurt, lentils, spinach.
2. Antioxidants in Food
As is illustrated by most of the given natural remedies, antioxidants are extremely efficient in boosting production of melanin. Aside from external application, you may also consume foods which are rich in antioxidants.
Examples: dark chocolate, strawberries, kale, broccoli, spinach.
3. Copper in Food
Copper is required by enzymes which aid in melanin production. So, this nutrient has an indirect role to play in the darkening of hair.
Some examples of copper rich food are: almonds, crabmeat, oysters, shiitake mushrooms, liver etc.
It’s best to follow these natural remedies and methods for boosting melanin production instead of depending entirely on commercially processed, chemical products. This allows you to make economical choices and at the same time maintain your health and well-being.
Did any of these methods work for you? Which one did you like the best? Share your experience with us in the comments down below!