Why Your Black Hair Appears Brown & What To Do About It

By Winnie Gaturu 

When I was younger, my hair color was an enviable jet black color. As a matter of fact, people often asked my mother whether she had died my hair black and when she said no, many would still not believe her. However, over the years, I've noticed that my hair appears to be brownish in color. In fact, it seemed like I had brown highlights. To get on the same page, I've never colored my hair but it was relaxed at some point. Currently, I've cut it short but it's usually black in the morning and gets a brownish tinge as the day advances. If you've also noticed the same thing with your hair, here are a few possible reasons why this might be happening. 

1. Minerals in Water
Hard water contains minerals and metals such as calcium and sulphur. When you use this kind of water to wash your hair, the minerals stay on top of your hair shaft instead of penetrating inside. This prevents hair from absorbing enough moisture to keep it looking healthy. As a result, the hair might get dull and seem lighter than it actually is. Hard water eventually makes hair brittle which leads to excessive breakage.
If you live in an area with hard water, make sure that you use filtered water to wash your hair. This will allow you to clean your hair and allow it to absorb the moisture it needs.

2. Sunlight
Hair has two melanin pigments; eumlanin (dark) and phaeomelanin (light). These two blend together in different proportions to create each person's hair color. The melanin is produced in specialized cells known as melanocytes. These cells are positioned on each hair follicle and release melanin to the growing hair strands. When hair strands get exposed to sunlight, the melanin in them gets bleached. Since hair is made up of dead cells, the affected part remains lighter. Exposure of hair to sunlight makes it lighter. If you have black hair, it might end up looking dull, lighter or brownish due to sun damage.  
Protect your hair from intense sunlight. You can put on a hat or a head scarf to make sure that the sun's rays aren't directly reaching your hair.

3. Genetics
For some, it's simply genetics. The properties of your hair are genetically coded and that is something you can't change. You might notice a similar hair trend with family members where their hair tends to lighten or change color as they age. This is not a cause for alarm.
You can't change anything about your genes, you just have to live with it. Check your hair from time to time to see whether you can find any changes. You might be surprised to see several brownish strands growing naturally from the root.

If your hair appears to be brownish or lighter from time to time, it might be one or a combination of the reasons stated above. But then again, it might be that your hair is naturally lighter, or brownish and you only tend to notice the real color when you're in proper lighting. However, if you're interested in dying your hair to make it darker, natural products will serve you best.  You can use henna or Cassia to dye your hair especially if you have a couple of grey strands. In addition to adding some color,  both strengthen hair and add a glossy shine to it.

How do you deal with your hair when it changes color? 
Winnie Gaturu is a writer, tech lover, mom, wife and student from Nairobi, Kenya. During her free time, she loves trying out new recipes, diy projects, filling in crossword puzzles and spending time with her family. You can catch up with her on yourhairandbeautywrite.wordpress.com.

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