Why Am I Going Grey? The Top 4 Causes of Grey Hair

Why Am I Going Grey? The Top 4 Causes of Grey Hair

By Manhattan Grey

Your first grey hair pops up and you think “should I pluck it?” 

Then you decide that you shouldn’t pluck it because you heard somewhere (who knows where) that every time you pluck one grey hair it turns into ten more.  So you don’t pluck it, but a few weeks later not ten but 30-50 more grey hairs pop up and you’re faced with the could be life-changing decision on whether to dye it…or not.

You choose not to because you’re a bad mother (shhh) who isn’t afraid of change. But now you’re faced with other questions. 

Like what to use on your hair, how to style it, and most pressing… 

What’s causing my hair to turn grey?

The answer to “what causes grey hair” is layered and sometimes overlapping. Most think it’s something that comes with old age, maturity, or stress. They’d all be right but that doesn’t mean that is what’s causing YOUR grey hair. If that were the case how do we explain silver fox college students and how do you explain seniors still rocking their original hair color having never gone grey? In short, it’s subjective and the only way to find the culprit to trace back to what’s causing your grey hair is based on you as an individual. 

Here are a few places to start to find out what’s causing your grey hair. 

Genetics: Hair Does Not Go, Grey, It Grows Grey

Hair does not turn grey it grows grey and what causes a person's hair to grow grey depends on several factors based on your individual lifestyle. Once a hair follicle produces hair, the color is already determined. As one ages your hair may produce less melanin which explains the link between old age and grey hair. However, this process is subjective to genetics. Looking to your elders and when they began going grey may give you more insight into when your grey hair began or will begin coming in.

Vitamin Deficiency

You are what you eat and just as the vitamins and minerals in our food affect our bodies they also have an effect on our hair and skin. Nutritional deficiencies affect the pigmentation in our hair causing it to grow thinner, more brittle, and ultimately grey. Vitamins that contribute to the overall health of our hair are B-6, B-12, Biotin, and Vitamin D & E. Not getting enough of these nutrients can cause premature greying. On the contrary, reincorporating these vitamins into your diet can reverse greying. 

Chemicals, Dyes, and Hair Products

We’ve provided a list of the most harmful chemicals for grey hair. Chemicals such as alcohol, parabens, and sulfates harm not just grey hair but all hair. If you were heavily using the products on our “avoid” list there’s a chance that they played a role in your hair going grey and will only further damage it and decrease melanin production. Another major player in stripping hair of melanin is hydrogen peroxide which is found in hair dyes. Anything that is meant to strip hair of its color will do just that and when used in excess can cause grey hair to be irreversible. 


Before our release of “Embracing your grey” in 2020, the verdict was still out on whether life stress caused grey hair. However, a 2021 study from New York University recently concluded that when under stress, the cells responsible for hair color become overworked and depleted. For years there were conflicting reports and the only true “stress” that could be linked to grey hair was oxidative stress that comes from environmental factors like pollution and smoking.

No matter the cause you have decided to embrace your grey. And we’re here to equip you with the facts, tips, tricks, and a full line of hair care from Manhattan Grey.