The shades of grey that have many reaching for a bottle

Do you reach for the bottle or go with the flow?

Some men and women go with the flow and embrace this side effect of ageing, while others rail against it and spend the rest of their lives covering the problem. We’re talking grey hair.

I have vivid memories of my mother pulling out her grey hairs, then heading off to the colourist when that strategy failed. And who hasn’t seen an older male sporting the tell-tale shades of Grecian 2000?

Dermatologists refer to the incidence of grey hair as the 50-50-50 rule. “Fifty per cent of the population has about 50 per cent grey hair at age 50,” according to Dr Anthony Oro, professor of dermatology at Stanford University.

But when those first grey hairs appear, how do you react? Can you slow process? Why do some people go grey at a much earlier age than others?

Hair follicles have pigment cells that make melanin, a chemical that gives your hair its colour, WebMD explains. As we age, these cells start to die and new hair strands grow in lighter shades that eventually become grey, silver, and white.

You might blame a stressful job, money worries, the grandchildren, but your genes tend to hold the key to how early and how quickly grey hair happens. So blame your parents.

Race also plays a role. On average, Caucasians start to grey in their mid-30s, Asians in their late 30s and African-Americans in their mid-40s.

Health problems can also play a role, including a lack of vitamin B12 (naturally found in animal products), thyroid disease and vitiligo (a condition that destroys pigment-making cells in the scalp).

Smokers are also likely to go grey earlier than the rest of the population with one study showing that smokers are 2.5 times more likely to grey before the age of 30 than non-smokers. They are also more likely to have yellow grey as opposed to silver grey hair.

So what are the dos and don’ts?

Don’t pluck. That does nothing but possibly damage follicles so that they no longer grow hair. This can make your mane look thin over time.

Do protect your grey hair from the sun, humidity, chemicals and heat styling, or the strands will feel dry, fragile and coarse.

Do use a moisture treatment on your hair and scalp. Grey hair is finer than coloured hair, but it may seem drier because our scalps produce less oil as we age.

Do consider a semi-permanent or permanent colour or highlights if that lifts your self-confidence. Or embrace the grey and maybe consider a different, shorter style to suit the new look.

Are you or will you be happy with grey hair or will you colour your locks for as long as you can?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    6th Feb 2019
    I continue to colour my hair as I have found a shade which looks really natural....I'm not a nice grey, more pepper and salt, which I hate. Although a friend has recently decided to embrace her grey hair, and says she gets so much more help now - in shops, public transport etc. Maybe I will have to try it!!
    6th Feb 2019
    I spent a lot of time and money on colouring my hair until one day my daughter said with complete accuracy: Mum everybody knows that nobody of your age has that colour naturally, why don't you grow the colour out and see what it looks like?
    I did and I am thrilled. My grey hair is lovely and I no longer have the expense or the bother.
    Karl Marx
    6th Feb 2019
    Cheaper in the long run to shave your head ladies just like men do. Women are so vain when it comes to aging
    6th Feb 2019
    Agree but when you look at some of the old blokes. A little focus on grooming and dress wouldn’t do any harm.
    Karl Marx
    7th Feb 2019
    Totally agree even a good manicure, clean finger nails doesn't go astray. My girlfriend personally makes sure I am well groomed lol
    6th Feb 2019
    I am male, on the wrong side of 70 with a full head of hair. To keep mine in its original colour I use a hair colour restorer. It works great.
    6th Feb 2019
    After dying my hair for several years I decided it was time to stop when my children began to get grey hair. I was so pleased when it proved to be a lovely shade of white, not grey. It is much healthier now too.

    6th Feb 2019
    I don’t colour and have only the odd grey hair. Must have inherited the gene from my father.
    7th Feb 2019
    I would be wary of using a chemical to wash, treat or colour your hair which will just speed things up, use natural products and let nature takes its course. Why are young people dying their hair grey though?
    Karl Marx
    7th Feb 2019
    Lol I have noticed that, must be 18 trying to look 28 or 28 trying to look 38 lol
    7th Feb 2019
    I am slowly, ever so slowly (impatient) for all my hair to go white! Back to the colour I had as a child! It is already halfway there and I am happy! To me it is a "Badge of Ageing"!! I look after my nails and wear makeup when going out, but am not at all bothered by my natural hair colour!!
    25th Jun 2020
    I've been told I certainly don't look in my mid-60s. My hair's been dark for most of my life and only since 62 have I been starting to go grey. I'm a non-smoking, meat eating caucasian female. I'm the only one in my family of 7 females in my generation who still has the dark hair. There's one who's mousey blonde, but the rest are grey. I sit in the middle of the pack, so it doesn't matter where you're from, someone's always going to buck the trend.

    I've never coloured my hair. Even my ex, who's 18 months younger than I has had grey hair since his mid-50s.
    26th Jun 2020
    Have you used natural products on your hair too? I think the chemicals that people put on their bodies would age you earlier and toxic dyes on hair ruins your hair follicles.

    Tags: hair, grey, ageing,

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