Why Is My Black Hair Turning Gold? 4 Causes & 3 Quick Fixes

An attractive young African American woman with dark hair sees her hair turning golden brown.

While going silver is a well-known consequence of aging, some eagle-eyed readers may be shocked to find another precious metal turning up in their strands – gold.

Black hair that turns gold can be concerning, especially if you don’t know what’s causing these gold hairs. Before you panic or pick up the black hair dye, keep reading!

This article will look at a few reasons why your black hair is turning gold and give you the tools to stop it in its tracks.

Why Is My Black Hair Turning Gold?

There are five primary reasons why your black hair is turning gold: (1) you have environmental damage, (2) hard water buildup, (3) medical conditions, (4) certain medications, or (5) sun exposure.

When your black hair turns gold, you may notice the change happening in a couple of ways, including: 

  • Random golden strands with no rhyme or reason. 
  • An entire section of golden hair. 
  • New growth that has wholly switched from black to gold. 

As you can see, there are many reasons why your usually black hair is turning gold. In the next section, we’ll discuss the most common reasons in detail. 

A young woman with dark brown hair due to melanin pigments starting to turn gold from the sun rays.

You Have Environmental Damage

Every time you go outside, you’re subjecting your strands to potentially harsh environmental conditions. Air pollution and dust can build up on your strands and cause them to take on a golden or greenish cast.

Additionally, polluted air causes oxidative stress, which means toxins build up faster than your body can get rid of them. Oxidative stress can result in hair loss, graying strands, or the loss of your natural hair color.

Hard Water Buildup

Another potential reason why your hair is turning gold is hard water buildup. Hard water, which is found in most American homes, is rich in dissolved calcium, magnesium, and other minerals.

When you wash your hair with hard water, these minerals build up and leave a stubborn film on your strands (i.e., mineral deposit). In addition to your hair becoming dry, tangled, and brittle, you might notice it taking on an unnatural green or golden hue. 

Cute young light-skinned female with light brown natural hair turning gold due to brown eumelanin cells.

Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions can cause changes in your body’s pigments that affect the shade of your hair. Some of the leading causes, like aging and hormonal imbalances, are common and can affect anyone.

While hair color loss isn’t usually a cause for concern, it can occasionally be a sign of a serious medical issue. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help from your primary care physician, especially if you experience pain along with the change in color. 

Certain Medications

Did your hair color change shortly after you started a new medication? If so, you’ve likely found your culprit.

Some medicines and drug treatments can dramatically affect the health and appearance of your strands. In addition to causing your hair to turn from black to gold, medications can cause the hair follicle to change. Examples include:

  • Texture
  • Thickness
  • Curl pattern
  • Length 
A lovely young light-skinned woman with golden brown natural curls caused by eumelanin pigment.

Sun Exposure

Overexposure to sunlight destroys the melanin that gives your strands their deep, dark color. As a result, sunlight has a bleaching effect on your hair.

That is especially true for anyone who swims frequently or spends time exercising outdoors, as water and sweat can magnify the sun’s intensity. So, if you spend a lot of time outside, the sun may be sucking the life and natural color from your hair and turning it gold. 

How to Prevent Your Black Hair From Turning Gold

You don’t necessarily have to deal with your hair going gold. There are several methods you can use to prevent unwanted color changes, and we’ll cover them below. 

Unless you identify the exact reason behind the color change, you may have to try a few of them to figure out which one works. Luckily, most of these are just part of a healthy hair care regimen and can benefit anyone who tries them!

Protect Your Hair From the Elements

While air pollution is somewhat unavoidable, there are measures you can take to prevent the environment from damaging your hair.

Golden hair takes time to develop, so make sure you wash your hair regularly if you spend a lot of time in a dusty or polluted environment. That will get rid of the toxins before they have a chance to damage your strands. 

Another thing you can do is to use a hat, scarf, or hair sunblock to prevent pollution and block the sun’s harsh UV rays. Not a fan of headgear?

Simply pull your hair into a protective style like a bun or braids before you head outside. While these styles won’t protect your hair completely, they limit your hair’s exposure to the air and keep damage to a minimum. 

A beautiful girl with melanin pigment in her skin hair's turning golden after using hair products with harsh chemicals.

Eat a Balanced Diet

Hair that turns gold due to dietary reasons can usually be reversed by addressing the deficiency that caused the change. Whether this means supplements or an improved diet is entirely up to you and your doctor.

Getting all of the nutrients your body needs to produce melanin will keep your hair richly colored. To make things easier, here are the vitamins and minerals that help your hair produce melanin, as well as where to find them. 

  • Copper – Nuts, whole grains, chocolate, and shellfish. 
  • Iron – Dark leafy greens, meat, dried fruit, legumes, and fortified bread.
  • Zinc – Fortified cereal, beans, meat, shellfish, and nuts. 
  • Vitamin B12 – Dairy, eggs, tuna, beef, and salmon. 

Get Rid of Hard Water Buildup

If hard water is causing your hair to turn colors, you can either stop it at the source or treat the mineral buildup. To treat the hard water, install a shower head filter that removes the minerals before they create a film on your strands.

Alternatively, you can remove the buildup by adding a monthly clarifying treatment to your hair care regimen. Clarifying treatments are drying, so give your hair plenty of moisture after you use one. 

African American lady with natural curls styled with coconut oil wearing a t-shirt that's a gold color.

3 Quick Ways to Fix Gold Hair

Looking for an immediate fix for your golden strands? In this section, we’ll go over a few ways you can get your black mane back. 

Color Your Hair

Dyeing your hair is the fastest, most effective way to correct your color, and it’s the only way to change the shade of hair that has turned gold due to pigment loss.

Because your hair is dead, pigments don’t return after being destroyed. You’ll have to either dye your hair black or wait for your hair to grow out.

If you aren’t comfortable coloring your own hair, a hairstylist can give you an expert coloring session that leaves your strands richly colored and healthy. They might even be able to help you narrow down the reason why your hair color changed in the first place! 

A beautiful dark-skinned woman with natural curls wearing a gold t-shirt researching blond hair on her iPhone.

Use Specialized Shampoo

Blue and purple shampoos and conditioners provide a gentle alternative to harsh chemical dyes. They contain pigments that settle on your strands and cancel out the yellow undertones in golden hair.

While it won’t result in a dramatic color change, it will tone down the appearance of your golden locks.

Another shampoo that can potentially restore your natural shade is clarifying shampoo. Unlike regular shampoo, clarifying shampoos are tough enough to cut through stubborn minerals and will help you restore your hair to its natural color. 

Reach Out to Your Doctor

The only way to treat hair that turns gold due to medical reasons is to address the underlying condition. If you’ve eliminated all other potential causes, it might be time to get checked out.

Your doctor will be able to help you identify and solve the issue much faster than you would have on your own. 

A black woman with natural curls in a wash-and-go hairstyle is seen wearing a gold-colored t-shirt.

Related Articles

To sum things up, there are various reasons why your natural shade has turned from black to gold. While it can occasionally signify an underlying condition, golden strands are usually nothing to worry about.

They’re even considered good luck in some parts of the globe! We hope this article has helped you narrow down what is behind your color-changing strands and provides you with the information you need to correct it.

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