Why Does Blonde Hair Get Darker With Age? Does It Happen to All Blondes?

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Are you a natural blonde? You are the envy of many! That’s because most people have darker hair and only about 16% of the world’s population are naturally blonde.

You’ve seen your photos as a child and you have this beautiful platinum blonde hair but today, yours looks darker.

Why is that?

Why does blonde hair get darker with age? Blonde hair getting darker as you age is a normal thing and you shouldn’t worry about it. The main reason why your blonde hair could darken in shade is due to the amount of melanin you have as you age. 


Why Is Your Hair Blonde?

The core of your natural hair color is all about genetics. 

The color of your hair is due to melanin, a natural pigment found in the body. There are two types of melanin in the body, called pheomelanin and eumelanin

The amount and ratio of those two types are the deciding factors when it comes to the color of your hair. 

The eumelanin is the darker color and could also come in black and brown. The pheomelanin is for the reddish color. The more eumelanin the person has, the darker the color is. 

Those with naturally blonde hair, have little eumelanin. Without that pigment, the hair doesn’t have a dark color. Voila, beautiful blonde hair! 

Those with naturally blonde hair, have little eumelanin. Without that pigment, the hair doesn’t have a dark color. Voila, beautiful blonde hair! 

Why Does Blonde Hair Get Darker With Age?

The genes in our body control the production of melanin. Sometimes, the genes for making melanin are turned off, that is why those cells or parts don’t have melanin in them and are of lighter color. 

When the genes assigned to instruct the cells to produce melanin on the hair are turned off, you’ll have blonde hair. This is also the reason why some children have platinum blond hair. 

Although the genes that instruct the production of melanin for the hair could be turned off at a very young age, they may still remain turned on. This is what usually happens and is seen as the darkening of the blonde hair when you grow older as compared to your early years in life. 

Although the genes that instruct the production of melanin for the hair could be turned off at a very young age, they may remain turned on.

The ratio of the two types of melanin will fluctuate throughout life. This is why the hair changes in color. Blondes can transition to darker hair as more melanin is produced over time.

Some children who have very light blond hair could have darker brown hair as they age. Some develop it early even before puberty. The reason why the production of melanin changes due to the instructions by the genes isn’t still very clear. 

Some say that as people age the eumelanin naturally increases, which is why a darker shade in the hair is observed. 

Over time, blondes may benefit by using a hair toner to pull out unwanted colors from their hair in order to restore the shades of their youth.

Can Other Hair Colors Change Too?

Just like those with blond hair, other people with other hair colors might also experience a change. Some can have their hair turn to a lighter or a darker shade. 

The reason for this is also because of the genes that instruct how much of the melanin types are produced at a given time. That naturally changes the shade of the hair. 

However, other things can cause your hair to change in color, such as harsh chemicals. Bleach is the most well-known chemical that can change the color of hair (and do a lot of damage!). 

Bleach is used in salons or as a hair product to alter the melanin in the hair. The chemical oxidizes the melanin on the hair strands, which causes the hair to significantly lighten in color. 

The hydrogen peroxide in bleach is the substance that reacts to the melanin pigments. Between the two types of melanin, it reacts faster with the eumelanin, which is why hair after bleaching is less dark but may appear orange or rusty

Another chemical that could change your hair color is chlorine in swimming pools. Chlorine is a chemical that could also react with the copper pipes used in pools. 

When the copper is dissolved due to the chlorine, it can get into your hair. If your hair is of lighter color, the green shade will be more visible.

That is why you could have greenish hair when you expose your hair to chlorine-treated water.

Why Does Hair Turn White As We Age?

White hair as we age is more obvious in people who have naturally darker hair. However, even blondes can have grey and white hair as they age. 

In such a case, instead of the genes controlling the fluctuation in the amount of melanin produced by the melanocytes, it is the melanocytes themselves that are affected when we age. 

The melanocytes are responsible for producing the melanin as instructed by the genes. But as we age, they can also wear out. When that happens, the melanocytes fail to effectively pass the melanin to the cells of the hair. 

That is why only a little pigment is passed on to the hair cells. That makes the hair color white or grayish. If there is only a little amount passed, the hair would still be gray and if there isn’t any pigment at all, the hair would be white. 

Melanocytes don’t just wear out, they could also die. However, during our younger years, the melanocytes could still get replaced by new ones. But as we age, that doesn’t happen anymore. 

So remember that even if you pull out those gray hairs, the hair that grows as a replacement for them would still be gray! So it is best to skip pulling them out and just embrace them or tone them out

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).