Why are grey hairs harder to insert into?

Ok so this girl is getting older. I have a chin full of greys, and the odd one sprinkled elsewhere. A couple things I’ve noticed about the greys:

They have larger root sheaths. At first I thought this might just be my imagination, but having done comparisons on greys versus non of the same size hair , the greys almost always are nearly twice the size.

And I’ve noticed, they are infinitely more difficult to insert into. I cant for the life of me figure out why, but take a brown/black I can insert in a second, the grey I almost always have to fool around for a minute or so to get into the folicle. Can anyone explain why this is so? There has to be something fundamentally different about them that makes it this way. In case I thought it was just me, Nightfrost has expressed the exact same thing to me.

What’s happening to these greying hairs? Is it just getting around the sheath? Why do they get the larger root sheath to begin with?


You have already said the answer in your question; the follicle is more full of stuff.

I suppose that’s right James, except I’m looking for something deeper. Why does a change in color make the sheath larger? There’s some physical interaction I’m missing here. And I like to understand how things work dammit!

I suppose I might be asking in the wrong place, and a dermatologist might have a answer. Does the change in blood flow somehow affect the size? It’s one theory but I was hoping someone would know.


Strangely, I never really took the time to find out that whole process. What I do know is that it relates to a change in what nutrients are getting to the follicles. This is why smokers and vegetarians/vegans tend to go grey earlier than others.

Quite interestingly, hairs shot white by laser and hairs turned white naturally have more or less identical root sheaths.

Seana: Your factor of two appears to me a bit more than what i am seeing frequently. Even when the actual difference is small (sometimes they are actually narrower than the colored hairs) they are still harder to insert and nevertheleless demanding for larger settings.

I suppose conjecture and supposition about “white/grey hairs” is understandable since science may have several noteworthy theories about this happenstance, but not — at least yet — the final determination.

As a one-time occurrence, however, here’s a strange result of my attempting to do electrolysis on myself (my accolades to Seana for the attempt!)

I have a full beard (not grown in at the moment), but decided to create a more pleasing “Van Dijk” style. My beard is largely white at the chin. I attempted to remove the beard hairs to form somewhat the image you see in the photo attached. I screwed up “royally” and not one hair was removed.

However, when the hairs came back, they were no longer white but dark brown (my original color). This left me with a pretty odd looking beard for several years (a reverse coloration, really). I’m not sure if these areas are still pigmented … I should let the thing grow out a bit to see.

I suppose somebody could come up with a “new” electrolysis-based treatment to reverse grey hairs? Wow, a whole new field. My supposition is that the inflammation caused a proliferation of melanocytes in the follicle.

YES, you JUST KNEW I would be saying some idiotic thing about “INFLAMMATION!” Indeed, all of have our mantra and, I fear, this one is mine. All of us here on Hairtell are SO “blinking” predictable! Sometimes I feel like tagging us “regulars.” Maybe I’ll do that in another post. Meine Gute!

An idea i must admit i also had: although i do not have treated too many clients, i frequently observe that white hairs will turn dark again after treatment. Again it does not matter if the hairs have become “naturally” white or by partial damage of photoepilaton. Quite interestingly these hairs first start pale and develop (almost switch to) colorization at some point during growth: initially i see white hairs with “black feet”, and the transition zone is usually pretty narrow, worth of roughly one day of growth.

As my beard romoval clients are usually women with a transgendered background, this is actually a nuisance which i would like to avoid.

BTW: it seems to be stable at least over some years.

The plot thickens!

Beate not every hair is double what I see onnon-greys and I questioned whether it was the lack of colr causing me to think this. But a good number are a factor of 2 . I havent taken anything like statistics on it though.

Michael, you may actually be on to something. It’s not the first time I hear of grey hairs turning black even on this forum. I too experience some changes or suspected changes in color but it doesnt seem to be consistent.
On my upper lip I had maybe one grey hair. I’ve discovered many more through my electrolysis. Yet on what regrowth I do get it seems to START, as grey, and then have dark roots which grow out. It’s very disconcerting but I chalked it up to changes in hormones, about the time I stated electrolysis I changed antiandrogens. I wont see what that did to my levels until january sometime.
On my chin though, my hair was almost completely grey and I’ve noted many areas came back as darker hair . Some places when I am 100% certain there were no dark hairs suddenly have some. But it’s not consistent, and I cant explain the scientific process behind it, so for the moment I’m just observing. As an interesting side note, when I did electrolysis at the school I had them target exclusively greys, on the thought that I would have more laser. I eventually decided against laser.But there are definitely some of the grey hairs ( but not all) that upon not quite being killed, grey back in their orginal dark brown/black splendor.

I guess I’m just trying to understand whats going on on both sides. Why do some hairs seemingly come back black when there were none before? Why do the roots get larger and harder to insert into? Is there changes in blood flow? Chemical makeup? What’s the trigger?
Understanding that process could actually mean putting an end to greying possibly. Could you imagine what that would be worth to people?


YES BEATE! You described EXACTLY what I see on my upper lip ( and some other places too) Grey start of the hair with a dark root growing out, with maybe a day or so’s growth between. I often tweeze on the grey area of the hair, even though I can barely see it.
I wonder if this is something unique to us TG. I also dont have anyone I’m working on currently who isnt under the TG umbrella and only a few at that.

Oh and Michael, dont feel bad about having the occasional fail. Without failures there is no experimentation. DIY is one of the toughest things to manage to do.


I do not know - my only “non-TS” client (well, also TG, a transvestite who can well imagine a social transition…)is blonde and has not grey hairs. Well, excuse me - wrong - my very first client started with electrolysis a long time before she started with HRT, and the color change occured before she started with hormones. BTW a pretty radical change - initially 90 % of her beard was white, partly due of age, mostly due to lasering. It turned into almost 100% of deeply black hair.

But Michael’s experience should at least give us a hint that it is not TG specific (in the sense “has HRT” - in that case probably the only difference of relevance toward other genetic males).

DIY is one of the toughest things to manage to do.

I have been great in zig zag folding size 4 probes…


I recently managed to make a probe last an entire week. I have hundreds of dead ones in a pill bottle. It takes practise, but eventually I have learned to manage to not kill as many. Number 2’s dont see a lot of use recently but when they did they didnt last long! Some I mangled on first insertion.

I need to order more. I have about a sheet and a half of my gold #3 ballet’s left. I’m trying desperately to make them last another month, because I dont think I can afford any at the moment. Bills are all due this month.


You should seriously consider larger probes - size 4 or even 5. I’ve been doing all the thicker hairs with size 4 (and would probably use 5 for such hair on a client). Much longer lifetime of the probe and as soon as You get it easier to insert than the thinner stuff. Of course, they will also epilate are a lot better than probes way too thin for a hair.

Using larger probes is much easier when one uses better magnification and lighting. Those using 3 diopter circle lamps are pretty limited to size 3 and lower needles/probes. Size 4 is probably the largest one might be able to use unless one were working on legs. Step up to a stereo scope, and drop a size 6 or 7 into almost anything.

Beate and Michael,

Yep if I was looking though my 5 diopter loop ( or better yet a stereo microscope) I could likely be using a f5 or f6 with no issues. But I’m not! I’m lying on my bed, with my 3x reading glasses, staring into a tiny 3 inch 10X manifying mirror and judging my insertions by that. Add to that, almost all large terminal hair is gone. I come accross the odd one but by and large what I am removing these days is VERY fine and thin. I havent shaved my face in 3 months but there are hairs that I just couldnt see before to remove. These are what I am killing these days and a f4 f5 or f6, well would be a bit like taking a post hole digger to clean out my drain. They just dont fit. Some I actually have a hard time fitting an f3 into, others not so much it sinks in no issues.

Lighting is a bit funny James. Some of my hairs are grey or white. The stronger the light the more they disappear. I can actually see them better in dim lighting that I can in bright because they show up against the shadows.

There is one other factor, and that is finances. In 3 months I havent bought more probes but I’ve gone through hundreds of them. I’m running low and I just cant justify even the $50 to order another box, and still feed my kids. It is what it is so I’mmaking do with what i have. I do still have some f4 and f5, and they do come out occasionally but for what I’m working on at the moment they would be overkill, and extremely difficult to insert.

In all likelihood this coming month I’ll run out and at that point need to shave off whats let and wait till January to order more. I’ve avoided this because when they get the length they are, the fine hairs are visible and easier to remove.


Why are you going through hundreds of probes on yourself? You don’t reuse them? I don’t think you need real autoclaved level of sterilization if you’re working on your body only.

Ok, i did not get that the thick hairs are already mostly gone.

You can only bend and straighten them so much before they are practically useless due to your being unable to make them straight enough for insertion anymore. Anyone who has tried to open a car door with a wire hanger is familiar with the problem.


I actualy do reuse probesas muchas possible. When I started I went through three times as many, now I can sometimes make a probe last a week or more.Other days, well I went through three in two days.

And Beate is right about thicker probes being more durable. There are days when I was using f2’s I would kill 15 or more , f3’s I can get several days out of. I havent bent an f4 beyond usability yet.