Gone are the days when greys were something your dad had. The years have churned on and — accompanying those suddenly-appearing expression lines and crows feet at your eyes — you’re slowly, but surely, turning grey. And it’s terrifying.
Coining it the ‘silver fox’ does make it sound more becoming, but there’s serious work to do before fuddy-duddy turns foxy. Most everyday greying gents are parading sad, sallow hair that lacks life, instead of something naturally cool like salt and pepper flecked. Case in point, Taylor Kinney.
Or, perhaps you’re against going grey at all? There’s still something in here for you too. Making grey hair more black and white, here’s a guide for everything men need to know about grey hair. It’s gonna be ok, Mr Clooney and Mr Gere still have it going on. Grey hair, don’t care.
What Causes Grey Hair?
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, hair colour is due to a pigment called melanin, which hair follicles produce. Follicles are structures in the skin that make and grow hair. With ageing, the follicles make less melanin, and this causes grey hair. And it often begins in the 30s. But, each person will go grey at different life stages. Why?
Genetics is the main reason you’re going grey. It tends to occur earlier in Caucasians. Then Asians. Then African-Americans, with redheads going grey before any of group.
Some scientists believe fifty percent of the population has about 50% grey hair at age 50. But a 2012 worldwide survey found that it’s more likely that only between 6 and 23 percent of the population at 50 can expect to have 50 percent grey hair.
Stress won’t cause you to go grey directly, but anxiety does lead to a lot of hair issues. Hair loss due to stress is known as Telogen effluvium, which causes the hair to fall out and when hairs grow back, they’re often less pigmented than the original, and can even turn grey.
Can Grey Hair Be Reversed?
If you’re a young buck (under 35) and experiencing grey hair, get yourself tested at the doctor. According to research, a vitamin B12 deficiency or problems with your pituitary or thyroid land can cause premature greying. And, that’s reversible if the problem is corrected. If it’s genetic, there’s no cure, although rumour has it, scientists are working on a pill. Just like they did with balding.
How To Prevent (Pre-Maturely) Going Grey?
You can’t fight it if it’s in your genetic, but you can offset it. Overall, stay healthy and limit activities that will bring on the signs of ageing. So, quit smoking and improve diet. While there is no research to prove that smoking causes grey hair directly, smoking can contribute to premature ageing. So, if you’re genetically predisposed to develop grey hair, smoking can contribute to that development because it contributes to premature ageing. Capiche?
Nutritional supplements, vitamins, and other products will not stop or decrease the rate of greying, but they do promote overall health, which again, is important for anti-ageing. Heart foods like Omega 3’s keep your hair strong so eat fish, seeds, and green leafy veg, and avoid refined sugars (a tad bland, but it works, so do it). To replenish vitamin B12 levels eat poultry, eggs, cheese, milk and seafood.
And get some sun. Hair follicles have vitamin D in them, so aim for morning or after sunshine (not a midday bake) on bare skin for 20 mins per day to increase vitamin D.
RELATED: Best Silver Fox Hairstyles For Men
Should You Dye Or Not?
“It doesn’t matter if you’re salt and pepper, platinum or a silver fox, the best way to colour and care for your greys is to make them shiny and healthy, rather than drab and dull,” says Ash-Leigh Croker, a hairstylist at Valonz. “Everyone’s colour is going to be different so check with your hairdresser to see how they can help achieve a look that you’re happy with.” Alternatively, DIY products are now available that ensure you can easily achieve salon acquired colour.
And it’s completely natural to let it go full grey (a lot of celebs are doing it), and it’s much easier as dyeing requires colour maintenance on a regular basis.
“If you don’t want to commit to the upkeep of colouring your hair to hide them, then it’s best to embrace it,” says Croker. “Grey’s have become a trend with the likes of George Clooney and Joe Manganiello showing off their salt and pepper features, and rocking them at the same time.”
The Best Way To Cut Grey Hair
Grey or not, men should pick a hairstyle that reflects their lifestyle (professional and off-duty), personal taste and of course, face structure. According to Aiden Xydis at The Men’s Grooming Room, there are a few key styles that will help show off those greys in the best way:
- Short on sides/long on top is better for men with thick hair – it displays the different tones of grey in the best way and the style is always on-trend.
- For curly hair, leave it a little longer (2-3 inches) — it shows the curls off and the different grey tones look great with the shape and movement of the curls.
- For those with thin hair, short all over it usually best and combed back.
RELATED: How To Pick Your Next Hairstyle
And what about grey beards?
Beards are great but you need to be committed to maintain and groom them, warns Xydis. “There are a variety of styles that you can try to compliment your head of hair, from stubble to a neat and tidy trimmed beard,” he adds. “I find that a contoured and structured style works best rather than the previous ‘Ned-Kelly’ style, which has previously proven popular.”
Styling your grey fox locks should be simple too, letting the grey be the feature here. “The hair will need that little bit of help staying in place,” says Xydis. So look to a textured paste for that. Then add a hair powder for texture and volume. “This is perfect for men that are losing a bit of hair as well as going grey.”
Finally, if you’ve gone down the dye-your-hair-grey path to enhance your greying locks, a toner and at-home treatment is a must, says Croker.
“Make those silver features shine.”
Going Grey FAQ
RELATED: Best Hair Products For Men