Can You Stop Gray Hair? Here Are 7 Natural Solutions To Try

Published on May 05, 2023

By Kristen Boye BS, Natural Health

Kristen Boye

Kristen Boye is a natural health expert, writer, copywriter, and editor. Kristen was raised on an organic farm in British Columbia which inspired her life’s work. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Health, is a Certified Natural Foods Chef, co-owner of a medicinal herb farm, and is a natural foods and children’s health advocate. Kristen lives with her husband and two children on their medicinal herb farm in Western North Carolina.

Seeing those first few gray hairs can be a real shock—especially if you’re under forty years old.

Before you panic and reach for tweezers or toxic hair dye, consider these natural ways to stop or slow the graying process.

What Causes Gray Hair?

It’s a well-known fact that (nearly) everyone gets gray hair as they age.

However, there are different causes for graying hair depending on your age, genetics, race/ethnicity, and state of health.

According to a study from the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, the average age for graying in Caucasians is mid-thirties, people of Asian descent late-thirties, and people of African descent mid-forties. REF#1574

Let’s start by examining why our hair turns gray with age.

Hair goes through natural cycles of falling out and regenerating itself. 

As we age, usually between 35-50, the new hairs that grow in are more likely to be gray or white.

This is generally due to three factors:

    1. Reduced production of melanin, a natural substance that pigments your hair. REF#1575
    2. Reduced enzymatic function New research shows going gray results from a buildup of hydrogen peroxide in hair particles, which causes a bleaching effect. Typically, an enzyme called catalase will break down peroxide, but catalase production starts to slow as we age. REF#1576
  • Oxidative stress. Research has shown that oxidative stress from free radical damage can cause various forms of aging, including graying of hair. REF#1577 

Genetics largely determine when you’ll start getting gray hair, but they’re not the only factor.

Early or premature graying of hair can be caused by nutrient deficiencies, stress, or other health issues.

This should come as good news to anyone concerned about early or premature aging.

Although you may not be able to reverse graying hair, you may be able to stop it or slow it down once you identify the root cause.

Working with an integrative doctor or health care professional can be a great way to help pinpoint individual causal factors.

In addition, here are some natural remedies that may help stop gray hair.

1. Get More B-Vitamins, Especially B5, B9 (Folate), Biotin, & B12

B vitamins are found in various whole foods and are essential to overall health and beauty.

Unfortunately, many people may be deficient in specific B vitamins related to hair health, such as: 

  • B5 (Pantothenic Acid) REF#1578
  • B9 (Folate) REF#1579 
  • Biotin: REF#1580 
  • B12 (Cobalamin) REF#1580

A deficiency or insufficiency in these nutrients can result in poor hair quality, including premature or early graying of hair.

What’s causing B-vitamin nutrient deficiencies in well-fed people in the first place?

Research has shown many things can contribute to B-vitamin deficiencies, including: 

    • Genetic mutations: Such as MTHFR and others, are known to interfere with the absorption of B12 and folate. Therefore, health experts typically recommend specific forms of these nutrients such as methylcobalamin and folate vs. folic acid. REF#1581 REF#1582 REF#1583 
    • Gut health issues: Such as dysbiosis, SIBO, and intestinal permeability (also known as leaky gut) can also cause absorption issues. REF#1584 
  • Medications: Including the use of antacids and birth control pills. REF#1585 REF#1586 
  • Autoimmunity: Certain autoimmune conditions, such as IBS or Hashimoto’s, can result in lower levels of nutrients. REF#1587

This may explain why a person can be eating plenty of B-vitamin-rich foods yet still be deficient.

An experienced functional medicine or integrative health doctor or practitioner can help identify potential issues with B-vitamin absorption and correct supplementation.

You also can’t go wrong by eating a nutrient-dense, whole-food, B-vitamin-rich diet of colorful vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins.

2. Get A Handle On Stress

The idea that stress can cause gray hair has been around for centuries, but is it true?

Up until recently, the evidence linking stress with gray hair was largely anecdotal. 

However, new evidence has shown a link between stress and gray hair.

A National Institutes For Health-sponsored 2020 study published in Nature found acute stress increasing graying of hair in mice through the fast depletion of melanocyte stem cells (the cells that produce pigmenting melanin). REF#1588

Another study published in Cell Biology found previously gray hair could return to its colored state when the subject’s stress levels were reduced. REF#1589

For tips and advice on reducing stress, including using adaptogenic herbs like Ashwagandha, check out: 14 Self-Care Ideas To Manage Stress And Maintain Your Well-Being.

3. Consider These Traditional Ayurvedic Herbs 

It pays to think outside the box when attempting to stop gray hair naturally.

This is why many turn to traditional wellness systems, such as Ayurveda, the traditional wellness practice of India.

You can find various articles and video tutorials outlining Ayurvedic herbs, hair masks, oils, and other solutions for hair health and stopping grays.

A few of the most popular herbs for gray hair include:


Also known as Indian Gooseberry; Ayurvedic practitioners recommend Amla to be taken internally and/or used externally to stop or slow the progression of gray hair.*

One popular method is to mix Amla powder with yogurt or coconut oil and apply it as a hair mask several times weekly. 

This is promoted as a way to darken existing gray hairs and practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine believe it may help prevent future grays. 

Although there is no \scientific evidence supporting its efficacy for gray hair, some people believe that Amla contains various nutrients such as antioxidants, vitamin C, minerals, and amino acids, that may help support healthy hair. REF#1590

Amla also contains tannins, which would explain how it works as a hair dye.

You can find Amla in Gaia Herbs Hair, Skin, & Nails Support formula.


Ashwagandha has a long history of use for supporting a healthy stress response, stamina, and hormonal health. REF#1591

It’s also commonly used in Ayurveda hair health, including stopping or preventing gray hair.

There is no scientific evidence that Ashwagandha can stop or prevent gray hair.

Ashwagandha can be taken internally as a supplement, such as Gaia Herbs Ashwagandha Root or Ashwagandha Gummies.

You can also find hair mask recipes that combine Ashwagandha with coconut oil. Proponents claim this combination helps repigment gray hair. There is no evidence to support this anecdotal use.

Curry Leaves 

Curry Leaves, which are not the same as curry powder, are another Ayurvedic remedy for stopping or naturally covering gray hair.

Although there is no current scientific data to support their use, their naturally occurring B vitamins and antioxidants may help stop or slow the graying process.

Topical preparations typically combine crushed and dried Curry Leaves with coconut oil, which is then heated and used as a hair tonic.

Some practitioners also recommend taking Curry Leave internally for best results.

4. Get Checked For Mineral Deficiencies

Research has shown adequate levels of certain minerals are critical to hair health and pigmentation.

Specifically, iron, zinc, and copper have been linked to premature graying. REF#1592 

Unfortunately, many people do not consume enough mineral-rich foods, such as fruits, leafy green vegetables, nuts, and seeds, to meet the minimum requirements.

Certain health conditions, medications, and stress levels can affect how your body absorbs and utilizes minerals. REF#1593 REF#1594

Your doctor or healthcare practitioner can help you determine if you have a mineral deficiency or absorption issue and if supplementation is recommended.

You can also take steps to ensure you’re eating plenty of mineral-rich foods, including:

Iron-rich foods such as: REF#1595

  • Red meats
  • Liver
  • Dark meat poultry
  • Oysters
  • Shrimp
  • Tuna
  • Eggs
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Beans
  • And legumes

Copper-rich foods such as: REF#1596

  • Beef liver
  • Unsweetened chocolate
  • Oysters
  • Potatoes
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Cashews
  • Crab

Zinc-rich foods:

  • Oysters
  • Meat
  • Fish and seafood
  • Poultry
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Whole Grains
  • Eggs

    5. Get Your Thyroid Checked

    As mentioned previously, thyroid hormone issues can cause premature or early hair graying in some people. REF#1597

    Fortunately, a series of lab tests can identify thyroid problems.

    Unfortunately, not every doctor or healthcare practitioner will offer advanced thyroid testing beyond the standard TSH test.

    The potential problem with this is that the TSH test only measures one aspect of thyroid health (thyroid stimulating hormone). 

    TSH is a vital puzzle piece, but many other factors must be considered.

    Learn more about the proper thyroid tests to ask for from a licensed Functional Medicine Physician in: Thyroid Symptoms, Labs, & Supplements To Discuss With Your Doctor.

    6. Try Catalase-Rich Foods

    Catalase is the enzyme that breaks down hydrogen peroxide and prevents hair from going gray. REF#1598

    A lack of catalase due to aging, health issues, or other factors can accelerate hair graying.

    Although there’s been plenty of talk about creating a “miracle catalase” product to prevent and reverse gray hair, that hasn’t become a reality (and the FDA has gone after supplement companies claiming to have created these products).

    In the meantime, people rely on catalase-rich foods, eaten internally or applied topically to the scalp, to try and delay hair graying.

    Does it work? 

    There is anecdotal evidence to suggest it might help, but no studies are validating that.

    However, catalase-rich foods are also rich in other health- and healthy-hair-promoting nutrients, so it can’t hurt to try!

    Some catalase-rich foods include:

    • Onions (which is why you may find tutorials for onion juice hair tonics)
    • Garlic
    • Almonds
    • Beef liver
    • Leeks
    • Cabbage
    • Broccoli
    • Kale
    • Cucumber
    • Pineapple
    • Potato
    • Sweet Potato
    • Bananas

      7. Options For Non-Toxic, Natural Hair Color

      If you’re searching for natural ways to stop gray hair, chances are you want to avoid using chemical-based hair colors.

      You probably also want to avoid using natural dyes that don’t work on gray, require too many applications, or aren’t truly natural.

      Is there such a thing? Yes, there is.

      Although there aren’t as many options as with conventional hair color, you can find an excellent solution comparable to chemical-based color with a little trial and error.

      Here are your basic options for natural, non-toxic hair color:

      1: Henna

      If the idea of Henna makes you think of red hair gone wrong, you must check out modern henna products.

      Various natural hair color experts have dialed in on how to combine henna with other natural substances traditionally used as dyes, such as indigo, coffee, and chamomile, to create great-looking colors in various shades.

      It may require a two-step process, but if you’re looking for an affordable, chemical-free option, this may be worth your time.

      Many henna products will last as long as conventional hair color.

      2: Hair repigmentation systems, like Hairprint

      If you have brown, dark brown, or black hair that’s not more than 50% gray without a lot of white hair, a company called Hairprint's all-natural hair repigmentation system may be a great fit. At the time of publication, they are the only company that offers it, hence why we are calling them out by name.

      This product is not a dye but uses natural food-grade ingredients to re-pigment your hair to its original color. 

      Like regular hair color, it requires re-application every 3-6 weeks. 

      It also won’t work on blonde or red hair, although they claim to be working on a system for those hair colors too.

      There are other caveats for certain hair types, so be sure to research them, but they’ve received a lot of good press as an alternative to conventional hair dye.

      3. Home Hair Color Remedies

      If you have just a few grays, these home remedies for gray hair may be enough to cover your grays while you figure out how to stop them or slow them down.

      • For Blonde Hair: Strongly brewed chamomile tea. Or, apply lemon juice to hair, go out in the sun, or apply heat.
      • For Brown or Black Hair: Try strongly brewed coffee, black tea, or infusions of Nettles, Rosemary, Black Walnut Hulls, and/or Sage.
      • For Red Hair: Hibiscus, Calendula, or Marigold infusions or beet juice.

        Can You Stop Gray Hair Naturally?

        Yes, it is possible to slow down—and sometimes stop, the graying process naturally.

        If you’re getting gray hair younger than the average age and suspect a health issue may be the cause, talk to your doctor or healthcare practitioner.

        You cannot go wrong by eating a more nutrient-dense diet, reducing stress, and trying out topical hair tonics this article outlines.

        Remember, some trial and error and time are typically involved when using a natural approach. So don’t be discouraged if you don’t see a reduction in gray hair overnight.

        If you’re ready to get rid of your gray hair right now, start researching the natural hair color options above. 

        If you’re concerned they may not produce the exact color or shade you want, do a small test on a patch of hair first.

        For more natural beauty tips, check out the following articles:


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