Hold up. Do anti-grey hair serums really work?

Haircare is having a serious moment in 2023. Just take a glance at the beauty shelves and you'll notice a slew of new hair products and technologies that have entered the market in the space of the last year — haircare is booming.

From swanky new hair treatments and devices to game-changing ingredients, there's more out there than ever before, with a massive focus on everything from repair to protection, and growth.

One of the trending categroies you might've seen pop up? Anti-grey serums.

Watch: Speaking of hair, here are five ways to lift your hair game. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

In recent years, there's been an explosion of new serums, supplements and powders promise to prevent or reverse grey hair — they're literally everywhere right now, and the buzz has only been ignited further by social media (hey, TikTok). 

But do they actually work?

@heynatalee @VEGAMOUR gro ageless anti gray serum is a 10/10 #greyhair #goodbyegreyhair ♬ original sound - Natalee B

We sat down with trichologist Carolyn Evans-Frost from Absolique Hair Health Clinic and asked her everything we need to know about the science behind anti-grey serums.

So, here's what you need to know before adding them into your routine.


What causes grey hair?

Before we get into it, it's probably worth looking at exactly what causes grey hair in the first place, yeah? 

According to Evans-Frost, it's a mixed bag — the causes are multi-layered and there's no one-size-fits-all deal when it comes to developing grey hair.

She said "genetics, stress, shock, nutritional deficiency, mineral imbalance, and compromised hair structure" all play an instumental role. "Protein, iron and ferritin insufficiency are also common causes," adds Evans-Frost.

Obviously grey hair is totally normal and you should never feel like you need to actually 'prevent' or 'fix' it — it's a natural thing that'll literally happen to all of us! 

However, if it's something that bothers you, chances are you've fallen into the world of anti-grey serums and supplements and wondering if it's really worth your money.

Do anti-grey hair serums work?

To give it to you short, the the science behind whether anti-grey serums actually work is... questionable. 

As Evans-Frost shared, "The products seem to be more camouflaging the new grey hairs from scalp level or working at a cell level to provide the best health for the hair."

Meaning? While most of these brands have done their own independent studies on small groups, there's no solid evidence that these kind of products will actually 'reverse' grey hair or 'prevent' grey hair from occurring.

Looking at the ingredients of some popular anti-grey serums on the market, Evans-Frost said most of these products contain a range of antioxidants, vitamins (like vitamin B and C) and amino acids that work on things like cell and scalp health. And while some of these ingredients may do a lot of good things for the overall health of your hair, they're not a permanent remedy for reducing the appearance of greys or renewing hair colour.


According to our expert, we're just not there yet. "There is a lot of science, but they don’t really know the real cause of grey hair or how to prevent it yet," she explained. 

"Science shows vitamins like A, C and B12 are needed for melanin production. So products will use this to promote healthy melanin, but it does not increase melanin."

"Boosting melanin production from a cellular level requires vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Some herbs are also thought to help."

However, all in all, it's just not possible to reverse the greying process. "There's no permanent natural remedy at this time once the hair is already grey."

Are there any risks with using anti-grey products?

When it comes to using these kinds of products, our expert said "Some of the nutritional supplements promoting grey hair reversal and hair growth can contain high amounts of biotin, which can affect medication and thyroid function when taken at a high dose over long periods of time."

"Read the ingredients list and avoid harmful ingredients," she added. 

"Also, I would suggest seeing a toxic decoder, to ensure products don’t impact the endocrine system and are not causing any cellular damage."

Is there anything you can actually do to prevent grey hair?

We just wanna preface this by saying if you use anti-grey serums and you like them and they work for you, etc. etc. — you do you! Each to their own.


But if you're on the fence about spending a lot of money on products like this, our expert recommends firstly looking at your current lifestyle. "Good health always wins, even if you have genetic factors contributing to grey hair."

"Those who practise good health and get what the cell needs from diet and select supplements, will always win.  The cellular health recipe is — correct pH balance, minerals, essential fatty acids, vitamins for the body to make its own antioxidants. If you're not making them, use them topically and orally."

*Takes notes*.

"Most of the products presented for grey hair and hair growth are full of vitamins and antioxidants, imagine if you had good levels in your body first. Then prevention is in place."

"I am one of four girls, and I have practised nutritional balance from recipe above since age 35, along with topical antioxidants. Now at 51, I do have some grey hairs, but nothing like my genetics shows I should have (both parents grey, mum 100 per cent before 50), and all sisters have much more grey hair than me, including my two younger sisters. Coincidence or health?"

"Shout out to my sisters — I love them so much, but they don’t follow the nutritional regime I do for health and hair and grey hair prevention!"

Have you tried anti-grey hair serums before? What are your thoughts? Share with us in the comment section below.

Feature image: TikTok/@heynatalee@ariba_pervaiz; @maximilista_.

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