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Hairstyling/changes with my natural hair color


QUESTION: Hey there Dana. How are you?? Just a question, maybe a weird one, but nonetheless a question.  I am 33, have some white hairs, no doubt, and others that are becoming golden brown.  I've always had dark brown hair with some golden and even red hairs mixed in.  But lately my husband has said my hair color (natural) and in general has lightened up a bit.  I don't know if it's because now I have more golden/red ones, or what the deal is.  But my mom did say all her side of the family lightened up as they got older but in their 40's. I get a little paranoid that maybe I'm aging faster because I'm only 33 and my DH has said mine looks a bit lighter.  You, that sees tons of hair, just wondering if hair color changes are normal and if it's always due to old age, or if it always comes with white hair, or what you have observed.  Thanks

ANSWER: Hi Andrea,

You can stop worrying about being "old" at 33. Hair changes, yes. And since you have a family history of hair getting lighter on your mother's side of the family, it's not unusual for you to be noticing it too. I had my first gray hair at the age of 15. That didn't make me old at 15 any more than your hair being lighter and warmer at 33 makes you old. :c)I have many clients who were once color until puberty and then they got lighter or darker. Then, when they started having children, their hair changed again. It's very common. Even if you don't have children, your hormones respond and they are the biggest culprit in all kinds of issues like mood, skin condition, weight, hair, etc. So yes, color change is normal.

There are many factors, in addition to heredity that can affect change. Nutrition, stress levels, life style, heredity, medications, hormonal changes, hair condition etc. The good news is, since you only have "some" white hairs" it's probably not age. When hair color is changing due to turning gray, we tend to lose the naturally occurring warmth in our hair first. So it goes, for example, from warm brown to ash brown. THEN, it begins to turn gray, sometimes followed by white. In your case, you're seeing a bit more warmth, probably because warmth is more noticeable at lighter levels than it is at darker levels. So you're not lighter because you're seeing more gold and red. You're seeing more red and gold because you're lighter. That's important, because aging hair doesn't get warmer. It gets ashier. (cooler - as in you'll lose that gold and red you normally see.

My guess is, and it's only a guess, the reason you are getting a bit lighter is probably hormonally influenced. At 33, you're pretty much at the peak of child bearing so your hormones are probably firing on all pistons right now. It also could be that your hair is dry and needs deep moisturizing treatments. There really are many things that can cause hair to look lighter or change. In your case, unless you are extremely unhealthy, age is not one that I would concern myself with at this point. If you're hair is healthy, shiny and manageable, it's hormonal and/or hereditary. If you're having any other health issues, that would be the next thing to explore. I hope that alleviates your concerns.

Good luck,


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this is with a big light on it
this is with a big lig  
hair without direct light
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QUESTION: thanks you do such a good job of explaining.  Very good knowledge and patience explaining.  Thanks because I've been stressing, also because of lots of hair shedding, which has calmed but I've yet to see regrowth, but I also know that I used to have more of those dark hairs, and my dark hairs tend to be more coarse, where as these brown hairs tend to be medium thickness, which could explain my difference in density too, because of the color/texture change.  Stress. . . . oh goodness do I stress.  But yes he says it's not that he sees more golds, although I see more golds/blondish in my bang area/temple area, I see more of those orangey colored hairs.  But he says now the hairs are just brown, not as dark brown, so I guess you're right, they've lightened.  I don't know if it's an ashy brown. I 'm gonna throw a picture in so you can see and let me know if it looks like a color change due to aging/white.  If you had white hair at 15, did your color also because more ashy???  I feel happy that I know that's how my mother's side goes, but the fact that it's happening to me sooner makes me feel a little concerned, especially since this last year, I've had the white ones accelerate.  I've even had some white ones that turn brown again.  Weird huh??

ANSWER: If you're having gray hair turning back to brown, you may have a slight case of Alopecia. There are two types. Usually, hair falls out in large sections and you'd have bald spots. Then, the hair grows back white, then returns to it's natural color. Since you don't seem to have actual bald spots, it may not be alopecia but hair returning to it's natural color isn't unheard of.

Yes, my hair got cooler (ashy)which just means it's lost it's naturally occurring warmth as it started to gray. I stand by my previous response. At 33, I can't imagine that it's aging. I'd bet the farm that it's hormones. Which would also explain the hair loss that has now slowed down.

As for the hair loss, certain times of the year, you'll lose more hair. Other times, it'll grow faster or slower. Everyone loses 75 to 100 hairs a day no matter what. Then, we'll go through periods where we lose more. It's usually during times of high stress, health issues, poor nutrition, or seasonal changes. As for the nutrition, I had a client that had quarter sized bald spots all over her head that she hadn't really noticed until I pointed them out. After a lengthy discussion we discovered that for about 6 months, she and her husband had been eating steak and baked potatoes almost exclusively. Her vitamins and nutrients were all off and she was having all kinds of issues, like her nails were breaking, her skin was sallow and she was breaking out and her hair was brittle. I explained that she probably needed to vary her diet a bit. Within a couple of months, everything was back to normal and the bald spots were filling in.

If your hair is otherwise healthy, don't fret. It looks normal to me. I have several clients that have a full head of gray hair that are younger than you. I'm sure if your health is otherwise normal, you are not aging rapidly. If you're really concerned, a visit to your doctor can tell you if there's anything amiss, but honestly, I have very few clients who are 30 or older that don't have a couple of gray hairs. I'm sure it's normal.

And, if the lighter brown hairs are red or orange, they cannot be ashy. Ash has NO warmth. What DOES concern me is high levels of stress. If you're stressed enough to be affecting your hair, you are probably stressed enough to be affecting other things as well, such as blood pressure. THAT is a much more serious issue and one I would recommend addressing.

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QUESTION: Thanks Dana, just wanted to make sure you got my thanks.  You've calmed me down a bit.  so you mean ash as referring to all over hair color, not just one blond hair, or one brown hair with no red, but the overall hair color. so if I find one light brown hair with no red/orange, not to freak out.  I hope it is just hormones, probably out of whack.  I'm so thankful I'm not shedding so high like before, it really took a toll on me.  And I wish I had a couple of gray hairs, now they've multiplied, but I'm gonna try and not stress.  I came to you because hair stylists learn so much from their clients, as you have shown like that example of your client you mentioned that ate steak daily.  I'm glad I got a "normal" mark from you.  Maybe if it looks a tad less than normal to me, it will fix itself when I calm down and lower stress.  And my whole body will be happier.  Thanks.  I'm so glad you explained the light/vs dark and ashy versus warm.  IT helps when you understand as you don't freak out so much with changes in your body.  thank and God Bless you!!  So orange, red and even blond/brown hairs are all warm? Right? Am I a good student, did I learn?? I hope so!! Thanks.  I do have some that are just brown, no red/orange/etc, but they are dark brown, so I think that's good to go too!! Thanks so much!  I will rate you in the next one but wanted to give you a personal thanks!

You are most welcome. I'm glad you're feeling better about the situation.  

It is possible to have a naturally ash color, but if you see any gold, orange, or red, it's warm. You cannot have ash if you see red or orange or even tan as these tones are all warm. Blond and brown can be cool or warm but because you have visible warm tones in your hair, you do not have ash toned hair.

Yes, you are a GREAT student. :c)


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Dana Sear


I can answer questions on all types of hairstyling, cutting, designing, coloring, corrective color, perming techniques,product knowledge, and in general, anything that has anything to do with hair. PLEASE NOTE: I am a professional designer and trainer. I do hair and teach advanced classes to licensed designers. I do not, under any circumstances, recommend doing chemical services including but not limited to relaxers, perms, color, highlights, or any other chemical service at home. I will not tell you how to use professional products nor will I tell you how to do your color at home. What I CAN do is arm you with current and accurate information and help you to be able to better communicate with your stylist/designer. I can also help you with what you need to do at home to maintain, protect, and treat your hair.


I have been a designer and educator for 31 years. I have been a salon consultant for Redken, affiliate trainer for ABBA Pure and Natural, Director of Education for my own salon and am currently a member of the design team and advanced trainer for my company. I specialize in corrective color, perming and style support, and image updates (make overs)

I have been actively licensed for 31 years. I actively participate in and teach cutting, perming, coloring, and business building classes. I am a REDKEN Certified Haircolorist, and REDKEN Specialist. I also have extensive training in Structure in Motion Cutting Techniques and Tigi Cutting.

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