Dealing with Greying Hair – What to do About the Color Change

Is your hair going grey?

As a guy in today’s society (a society that worships youth and everything to do with being young, fit, and successful) it is a very difficult thing to wake up one day to discover that amongst your normally coloured hair you notice a little flash of light amongst them that appears like, “No wait, it can’t be…”, “…a grey hair?” “Oh no”, you think, “I am not old enough for this, am I?”

Well be safe in knowing that the colour of your hair, just like many things, is a genetically predisposed event that is beyond your control. And no matter if you are seeing this grey hair for the first time in your twenties or your fifties know that you are by no means alone and also be aware that this is not necessarily a bad thing.

Grey hair for men is often looked upon as a refined look. Many women are actually drawn to this “salt and pepper” look, especially on men in their 30’s and 40’s.

George Clooney could actually be quoted in a recent issue of In Touch magazine in regards to his going grey naturally as “If you dye your hair, you look wrong.”

According to more than 40% of North Americans have some amount of grey hair by the time they hit the big four O (40).

On average Caucasians notice their first grey hair by an average age of 34, give or take 10 more years (so 24-44), for Asians these numbers are 39, give or take 9 years (30-48), and for those of African decent the numbers are 44, give or take 10 years (34-54).

What causes hair to grey?

As with everything else in or on your body, as time passes on things end up changing. This goes for your hair too. Eventually everyone’s hair will turn grey. In fact, after the age of 30 each decade of your life gives you an increased 10 to 20 percent chance that your hair will go grey.

Hair is naturally white and it gets its colour from a pigment known as melanin. The natural colour of your hair (in my case a nice strawberry blonde) depends upon the type, the distribution of, and the amount of melanin that is found in the middle layer of your hair’s shafts. There are two types of melanin; a darker pigment and a lighter one which end up blending together to make up the wide range of hair colours which exist on the heads of everyone in the world.

The key to the colour of your hair is held with the existence of this melanin. As time goes by and the amount of melanin in your body is reduced, your hair colour will follow; going greyer as the melanin levels drop.

One theory as to why hair turns grey has to do with the idea that your hair follicles have a melanogentic clock. This clock slows or stops the melonacyte (cells that produce melanin) activity, therefore, decreasing the amount of pigment our hair receives. With age and the result of genetics your hair turns grey as certain genes regulate the exhaustion of the pigmentary potential of each individual hair follicle. This ends up occurring at different rates in different hair follicles, therefore, having different hairs turning grey sooner or later, than others. Hence, how you can discover a single grey hair. For some people this genetic shut down of the factors that colour your hair can occur very rapidly, while for others the process can take several decades to be complete and to have a head full of grey hair.

There are also other factors which can help to age or grey your hair by working to change the pigmentation of your hair. These include internal factors such as: genetic defects, hormones, body distribution, and age. And external factors such as: climate, pollutants, toxins, and chemical exposure.

What can you do about it?

There are basically two options.

OPTION 1: Embrace it. Accept the fact that your hair is turning grey and embrace it as a new phase in your life. One where you will have a nice “salt and pepper” look to you. People will look at you as being smarter and more mature; and many women will find you sexier.

OPTION 2: Colour it. If you feel your natural hair colour suits you best than there are a thousand different products and/or salons out there that would be more than happy to help you out.

Famous men with grey hair:

To make you feel better and to encourage you if you choose to embrace your new salt and pepper look (no matter how old you are), here is a list of famous men who dawn the grey top:

  • Former President Bill Clinton (who was even grey during his Presidency when he was just 46 years old. The grey added a certain maturity to him.)
  • George Clooney (the coolest forty something bachelor, the ladies love him)
  • Jon Stewart (this hilarious ‘Daily Show’ host, only 44, is quickly becoming the poster boy for going grey.)
  • Richard Gere (he was married to Cindy Crawford)
  • Harrison Ford (you can’t get any cooler than Han Solo or Indiana Jones)
  • Jay Leno (along with David Letterman and Conan O’Brien, he is Late Night T.V.)
  • Jay’s look alike Taylor Hicks (he is an American Idol winner, with grey hair, only 29)
  • Anderson Cooper (if grey is good enough for CNN, it should be good enough for you)
  • And that only leaves maybe the most famous white haired/grey haired celebrity of all time…Mr. Steve Martin (his “white” hair is and was his trademark. He lost all colour in his twenties…making him a “wild and crazy guy.”)

Things to consider if you embrace the grey:

If you are going to age gracefully and to embrace your new “salt and pepper” look there are a few things you might want to be aware of. This is more of a girl thing but be aware that your new hair shade of silver might require you to change up your clothing selection a little. The colours that complimented you best as a red head might not look the same way on you with your now natural grey locks.

Also be aware that some people might take you for a little older or they might even think you are more “mature”. These could be considered advantages or disadvantages depending on your profession and your actual age. For Bill Clinton, who entered the White House at only age 46, his greying hair gave him more of a mature look which helped to mask the fact that he was a very young President.



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