Woman plucking her hair
Hair Color | Gray hair

Hair myth: do you get more gray hairs if you pull them out?

You get more gray hairs if you pull them out – true or false? We examine the myth and find out the truth once and for all. Read on to find out how to tackle your first gray hairs without the pincers

There’s no escape: one day, you’re going to look in the mirror and spy your first gray hair. Once you’ve got over the initial shock, you’ll start thinking about what to do about it. And before you know it, there you are back at the mirror, this time holding pincers. You know why? Because we kid ourselves that if we pull that gray hair out before anyone sees it, maybe it wasn’t there in the first place. Bad idea?

Pluck it out

As always, let’s start with the good news. You won’t get more gray hairs if you pull them out. That gray follicle isn’t going to start sprouting two gray hairs instead of just the one: each follicle can only produce one hair. So plucking doesn’t change anything. If you do pluck a hair out, it must be done very carefully so that the root isn’t damaged. If the root is affected, the hair won’t grow again and imagine where that might end.

Why hair goes gray

Gray hair isn’t only a sign of aging. The first silver hairs often appear when we’re in our mid-twenties, sometimes resulting from excessive stress or an unbalanced diet. What gives hair its color are melanocyte cells, which produce the pigment melanin. When the cells stop production, the melanin is replaced with tiny air bubbles, making the hair appear gray or white. So if you pluck out the individual hair, it won’t affect the production of melanin: a gray hair will grow back gray.


When your hair starts losing its natural color over time, it’s not practical to keep plucking out the gray hairs. If you’re not keen on going gray yet, it’s much better to start using color. A few gray hairs can actually look terrific when they’re mixed in with highlights but once the gray hairs are in the majority, it’s probably best to color the whole lot. Note: you’ll need to refresh the color regularly to avoid gray roots.

Discover: Grey hair