12 Effective Ways How To Increase Melanin in Hair (2024 Update)

Medically reviewedby Dr. Amy Revene M.B.B.S.
WrittenbyLuat Duong
Last updated

Are you noticing a change in your hair colour or experiencing premature graying? It could be due to a decrease in melanin, the pigment responsible for hair colour.

Maintaining melanin levels is essential to keep your natural hair colour vibrant and prevent greying

In this article, we will explore 12 effective ways to increase melanin production in your hair, promoting healthier and more vibrant locks.

From dietary changes to natural remedies, these methods will help nourish your hair and keep it looking its best.

What role does melanin play in our hair? 

how to increase melanin in hair, hair colour

Melanin determines the colour of hair

Melanin plays a pivotal role in determining the colour of your hair, with the specific shade being influenced by the types of melanin present and their relative quantities.

Eumelanin, the most common form of melanin, is responsible for black and brown hair colours. 

For instance, if you have black hair, this indicates that your hair contains a high concentration of eumelanin. A moderate amount of eumelanin results in brown hair, while a minimal presence of eumelanin leads to blonde hair.

On the other hand, pheomelanin, another type of melanin, is responsible for reddish hues. Red hair or pinkish blonde shades occur when there is a substantial amount of pheomelanin combined with a small quantity of eumelanin. 

For example, strawberry blonde hair results from a unique blend of both eumelanin and pheomelanin, with the latter being more predominant.

Ultimately, the delicate balance and interaction between these two types of melanin determine the rich spectrum of hair colours observed among individuals.

Melanin protects hair from the sun

Melanin is a natural barrier protecting hair from the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. It does so by absorbing and dispersing the UV radiation, thereby preventing it from causing damage to the hair's internal structure. 

The presence of melanin in the hair shaft acts like a shield, reducing the amount of UV light that penetrates the hair. This phenomenon has also been proved by many researches

Eumelanin, responsible for black and brown hair colours, offers more effective protection against UV radiation than pheomelanin, which is associated with red and yellow hues.

This is because eumelanin has a higher capacity to absorb UV light, limiting the potential for damage to the hair's protein structure and reducing the risk of colour fading or lightening.

Melanin helps maintain strength, elasticity, and overall health by protecting the hair from sun damage.

Melanin affects hair colour as you age

Throughout a person's lifetime, their melanin goes through major pigmentation changes. In other terms, the colour of your hair changes over time.

Because of this, a blond baby may start to resemble a brunette as they age. External variables, including poisons, pollution, and the environment, can also impact colour darkening.

Aging naturally causes melanin production to drop. According to research, most people start getting gray or white hair even before turning 50.

Melanin also affects hair vitality

Melanin plays a crucial role in maintaining hair vitality through various means. One of its primary functions is to provide protection against harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.

By absorbing and dispersing UV rays, melanin preserves the hair's internal structure, maintaining its strength and elasticity.

Additionally, melanin is responsible for hair pigmentation, helping to retain the hair's natural colour and making it more resistant to fading caused by sun exposure or other external factors. 

Melanin's antioxidant properties also neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress in hair, which can cause damage, breakage, and premature graying.

This protective effect promotes the overall health and vitality of the hair. 

Furthermore, melanin aids in moisture retention within the hair shaft, ensuring the hair remains adequately hydrated and preventing dryness, breakage, and brittleness.

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How to increase melanin in hair?

Here are the best ways how to increase melanin in hair

  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Get enough protein.
  • Protect your hair from the sun.
  • Avoid excessive stress.
  • Consider scalp massage.
  • Use natural hair care products.
  • Consider professional treatments.

As we age, melanin production decreases, which can lead to gray hair. There is no guaranteed way to reverse the aging process, but there are some things you can do to help maintain your natural hair color and prevent premature graying.

To elaborate on our previous points:

1. Increase your intake of vitamins

grey hair, greying hair

Vitamin deficiencies are linked to melanin deficiency. You should therefore boost your intake of vitamins through diet or vitamin supplements.

The vitamins you need the most to boost melanin production in your hair include vitamins A, C, B6, and B12

According to research, these vitamins aid in defending the skin against UV sun damage. It has been discovered that the vitamins B6 and B12 encourage the creation of enzymes in hair cells that speed up the metabolism of hair proteins.

Whereas cobalamin, a form of vitamin B12, encourages the creation of healthy red blood cells, which in turn helps the hair grow.

A few changes are needed to ensure that your diet contains enough of these vitamins. Include citrus fruits in your diet, such as grapes, oranges, melon, and pineapple.

Eat additional veggies, such as beans, potatoes, and carrots. Non-vegetarians can experiment with including fish, red meat, chicken liver and eggs.

2. Consume foods rich in antioxidants

To safeguard your cells from damage caused by free radicals and boost melanin production in the hair, add foods high in antioxidants to your regular diet, such as dark chocolate, various berries, and green vegetables.

3. Consume foods high in Iron

Your hair's melanin production is boosted by iron. Dark green vegetables, including beans, spinach, soybeans, bananas, tofu, broccoli, tomatoes, salmon, lentils, nuts and seeds, including peanuts, pumpkin seeds, cashews, and flax seeds, are among the foods high in iron.

4. Take a copper-rich diet 

Insufficient copper can lower the amount of melanin in the hair. As a result, you should regularly eat foods high in copper, including leafy green vegetables, sweet potatoes, nuts and seeds, chickpeas, and avocados.

Copper-rich foods like different types of nuts, mushrooms, and beef liver also encourage the production of follicular melanin.

5. Eat meals high in catalase

Catalase is an antioxidant enzyme which assists your hair in regaining its original colour and stops the growth of gray hair. 

Onions, broccoli, cucumber, radish, zucchini, pears, red cabbage, grapes, apples, peaches, sprouts, lentils, and so on are foods high in catalase.

6. Reduce stress

natural human hair pigmentation

Reduction of pigment and early graying can be caused by various factors, including psychological stress.

Try to unwind if you have recently experienced a stressful event. If you can't handle stress, ask for assistance and speak with specialists.

Engage in activities like touring, listening to music, Pilates, meditation, jogging, or any activities to unwind. Spend time with your loved ones and friends.

Read this: 9 Effective Methods How To Regain Hair Loss From Stress

7. Take melanin supplements 

Melanin supplements, which often contain L-tyrosine or other precursors and nutrients needed to make melanin, may help the body's natural process of making melanin and increase the amount of melanin in hair.

L-tyrosine is an amino acid that plays a critical role in melanin production, as it serves as the primary building block for melanin synthesis.

Taking L-tyrosine as a supplement may give your body the tools it needs to make melanin more efficiently. This can lead to your hair having more melanin.

In addition to L-tyrosine, melanin supplements may also contain vitamins B, C, and E, copper, and zinc, which are important vitamins and minerals that help the body make melanin.

These nutrients are very important to the making and keeping of melanin. They make sure that melanocytes work well and make the right amount of melanin.

It is important to note that the effectiveness of melanin supplements can vary depending on individual factors, such as genetics and overall health.

Always consult a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications. 

8. Avoid exposure to chemicals 

premature grey hair, hair follicle pigmentation system

Avoiding chemical exposure is essential for promoting melanin production in hair and maintaining overall hair health.

Certain chemicals in hair products, such as harsh dyes, bleaches, or relaxers, can weaken the hair structure and strip the hair of its natural melanin, leading to colour changes and premature graying. 

Moreover, chemicals can damage melanocytes, the cells responsible for melanin production, thus impairing their ability to synthesize melanin effectively.

Overexposure to these chemicals may also cause scalp irritation and inflammation, negatively impacting hair follicles and hindering hair growth

By steering clear of chemical exposure, you can protect the integrity of your hair and its melanocytes, fostering a healthy environment for natural melanin production and hair growth.

Opting for gentler, natural alternatives to harsh chemicals can help maintain your hair's vitality and melanin levels while reducing the risk of damage.

9. Avoid sun exposure

Avoiding excessive sun exposure to increase melanin production in hair is important because prolonged and unprotected exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays can lead to a range of negative effects on both hair and overall health.

While sunlight does stimulate melanin production in the body, overexposure can damage hair, leading to dryness, brittleness, and colour fading. 

Additionally, it can weaken the hair shaft, making it more susceptible to breakage.

Utilizing sun protection measures, like wearing a wide-brimmed hat or applying sunscreen to the scalp, can help protect the hair from excessive sun exposure.

10. Scalp massages

Scalp massages can help increase melanin production in the hair by improving blood circulation in the scalp.

Good blood circulation is essential for providing hair follicles with the nutrients and oxygen they need to function effectively. 

When you massage your scalp, you stimulate the blood flow to the hair follicles, which in turn helps deliver essential nutrients and oxygen to the cells responsible for producing melanin, called melanocytes.

Additionally, scalp massages can help reduce stress, which is known to negatively impact hair health and growth.

High-stress levels can lead to hair loss, hair thinning, and premature graying, which is associated with reduced melanin production.

Reducing stress may indirectly support melanin production and overall hair health.

11. Quit smoking 

Numerous research studies have demonstrated that smoking is a significant factor contributing to the graying of hair.

The harmful toxins present in cigarettes can negatively impact hair follicles while also causing constriction of the body's blood vessels.

This constriction results in reduced blood flow to the hair follicles, which interferes with melanin production and eventually leads to the appearance of gray hair.

By quitting smoking, you can improve blood circulation, reduce oxidative stress, and support your hair's overall health, including melanin production.

This can lead to better hair health, colour retention, and a reduced likelihood of premature graying.

12. Natural remedies

melanin pigment

Here are some natural remedies that may help increase melanin production in your hair:

  • Amla (Indian Gooseberry): Amla is rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants, which can help boost melanin production. You can consume amla in the form of juice, powder, or capsules or apply amla oil to your hair. 
  • Black tea: Rinsing your hair with black tea may help darken your hair by promoting melanin production. Steep black tea in boiling water, let it cool and then rinse your hair with it after shampooing
  • Curry leaves: Curry leaves are known for their ability to promote hair growth and darken hair. Boil curry leaves in coconut oil, let it cool, and then massage the oil into your scalp and hair.
  • Onion juice: Onion juice is rich in sulphur, which is known to boost melanin production. Apply onion juice to your scalp, leave it on for 30 minutes, and then rinse it with a mild shampoo.
  • Henna: Henna is a natural hair dye that can help darken your hair and may stimulate melanin production. Mix henna powder with water to form a paste, apply it to your hair, and let it sit for 1-2 hours before rinsing it.
  • Bhringraj (Eclipta Alba): Bhringraj is an Ayurvedic herb known for promoting hair growth and darkening hair colour. Apply bhringraj oil or a paste made from bhringraj powder to your scalp and hair.
  • Rosemary and sage: These herbs are believed to stimulate melanin production and enhance hair colour. Boil equal parts of rosemary and sage in water, let it cool, and use the mixture as a hair rinse. 
  • Fenugreek seeds: Fenugreek seeds are rich in nutrients that promote hair health and may boost melanin production. Soak fenugreek seeds in water overnight, grind them into a paste, and apply it to your scalp and hair.
  • Coconut oil and lemon: Mix equal parts of coconut oil and lemon juice, massage it into your scalp and hair, and let it sit for 30 minutes before rinsing it out. This mixture can help improve hair health and may stimulate melanin production.
  • Avocado: Avocado is rich in nutrients that promote hair health and may enhance melanin production. Mash an avocado and apply it to your hair as a mask, leaving it on for 30 minutes before rinsing it out.

Remember that these remedies may not work for everyone, and their effectiveness can vary depending on individual factors. 

Before putting a new treatment on your hair, you should always do a patch test to make sure you don't have a bad reaction.

What causes the loss of melanin in your hair?

Loss of melanin in hair can be attributed to several factors, including:


As people age, the number of active melanocytes in hair follicles declines, producing less melanin and eventually causing hair to turn gray or white.


Genetic factors play a significant role in determining when and at what rate an individual's hair loses melanin. Some people are predisposed to premature graying due to their genetic makeup.

Nutrient deficiencies

Deficiencies in certain nutrients like vitamins B12, D, and E and minerals like copper and zinc can impact melanin production, leading to the loss of hair pigment.

Autoimmune conditions

Some autoimmune diseases, like vitiligo and alopecia areata, can cause hair to lose its melanin by attacking melanocytes or hair follicles.

Hormonal imbalances

Changes in hormone levels, especially during pregnancy, menopause, or due to thyroid disorders, can influence melanin production in hair.


Chronic stress can negatively affect hair health, including melanin production, and may contribute to premature graying.


Increasing melanin production in hair is an achievable goal that can improve hair health and appearance.

Adopting a balanced diet, getting moderate sun exposure, and ensuring adequate intake of essential vitamins and minerals can support melanin synthesis and maintain your hair's natural colour. 

Additionally, lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, managing stress, and incorporating scalp massages can enhance blood circulation and promote overall hair health. 

It's important to remember that genetics and aging also play a role in melanin production, but by embracing these healthy habits, you can create a supportive environment for your hair to thrive and maintain its vibrancy for as long as possible.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2938584/
  2. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acscentsci.0c00068
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2861201/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6290285/#sec1-3title
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22716034/

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Luat Duong

Luat Duong is a Copenhagen-based writer and content strategist specializing in hair loss and health. His work has been featured in MyHealthGuide, The Right Hairstyles, and Woman's Era. He is a graduate of Vaasa University. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.