Panic stations! It’s here! No doubt fuelled by that promotion you were passed over for at work, your hectic home life or the threat of catching coronavirus every morning on your commute, your first grey hair has reared its awful, ageing head.
But, before the colour drains from your face as well, let’s look on the bright side. At least you’ve still got hair. Some of your friends saw it starting to thin and drop out a good decade ago. But yours has stuck around — and is only now starting to turn. And anyway, is grey hair such a bad thing? It’s a fresh start, an opportunity to reinvent yourself and embrace a new look. Don’t be sad gents — welcome to your silver age of style.
So steel yourself — both in spirit and hair colour — and listen up. With a little confidence and some haircare know-how, we’ll have those frosty flecks in your hair looking just as cool as Clooney’s. Allow us to educate you in the art of going grey gracefully, teach you how to put some pep in that salt and pepper and style your way to becoming a silver fox.
First things first, you need to embrace your greys
We’re assuming that the first thought you had when you spotted your solitary grey was: ‘Oh Christ! Where’s the hair dye?’ But, before you do anything rash, let’s push pause on those plans. Dying your hair at any age is something of a grey area — but this late on in life? Can you spell ‘tragic’?
It’s a tricky, slippery slope. What are you going to do about your eyebrows and beard? Dye them too? Are you going to pay to get your hair done professionally and proficiently every time your roots start showing? When are you going to stop dying it — or are you going to be one of those 80-year-olds with inexplicably jet black hair?
Just leave the dye alone. If you’re going grey, then go grey. It’s your natural look, it will never look as terrible as you think it will, and the amount of time stressing over how often to dye, which shade to buy and how to hide your cosmetic cover-up from friends and family will be so exhausting that it’ll be enough to make you go grey all over again. Instead, jettison your Just for Men and learn to love your greys for what they are — little silver indicators of age, wisdom and maturity.
Adapt your grooming routine to care for your new hair
Going grey may be cause for celebration, but there are still changes to be made. When your hair starts losing colour, this is because the individual hair shafts have stopped producing pigment and, as a result, your hair will become drier, more brittle and more susceptible to damage.
You’re going to have to overhaul your bathroom cabinet to cope with these changes, as your existing hair products probably won’t do the jobs they need to. Too much wax or pomade will now make your greys appear wet and greasy. Too much shampoo will wash away the natural oils that are giving your ageing hair moisture and life. And too much conditioner can actually leave grey hair coarser than it was before.
But the biggest change you’ll notice will be the transition stage. As the colour drains from your roots, your hair will likely start looking yellower or dirtier than usual — so try using a colour-balancing blue or purple shampoo to bring yourself down on the right side of silver.
It might be time to go for a serious haircut
Remember those wild, experimental haircuts of your youth? You’re too old for them now. Try as you might to persist with bold looks and extravagant styles, your grey hair will never look better than when trimmed and tamed into a conservative, classic hairstyle.
To begin with, a layered cut will help blend your silver strands with your darker hair — proudly premiering your lighter locks while keeping your existing style untouched. But, as the pendulum swings and the greys take over, you should go for a simpler, shorter-sided look with your hair left longer on top. It’s also commonly accepted that a shorter haircut takes a couple of years off your face — so if you’re worried that the greys make you look old, it’s a win-win.
Dressing age-appropriately will also usher in your new style
Now that you’re rocking grey hair, you’re a real, grown-up man. You’ve finally achieved that air of authority and refinement you spent the best part of your youth chasing. When you talk, people will listen. When you walk into a room, people will turn. You have a new power, a new presence — and your silvering hair is to thank.
But there comes a responsibility with this great power. Grey hair may look distinguished when you dress well, but err on the casual side of your wardrobe and your new aesthetic will look mismatched and confused. A smart silver haircut with sweatpants and a T-shirt? It just doesn’t look right. So your first fashion move should be tailoring your clothes to be as sharp as your hairstyle.
That means slim-fit suits, crisp shirts and well-made leather shoes. Keep things pared back — you’re a monochromatic man now. And anyway, if you pour too much colour into your outfits, it’ll make your hair look duller than it actually is. The aim here is to make your hair the centrepiece of your style — embraced with neatly-cut, smartly-presented pride.
Of course, there are still ways to stall the process
If, even after reading all of these benefits of going grey, you’re still wincing at the sight of your silvery self in the mirror, there are also a couple of ways to slow the greying process down. But be warned: if there are flecks of white in your hair now, those greys are definitely coming — and these tips and techniques will only hold them off for so long.
First up, make sure you’re eating the right things. Walnuts are rich in copper, salmon with give you a good dose of vitamin D, eggs have a lot of protein and dark chocolate is a good source of iron — and all will help your hair in its fight against going grey. A daily exercise regime will also help combat stress and improve the production of melanin, which will buy your hair a little more time.
But, overall, your greying hair should be considered an asset. You’re a silver-topped gent now; a distinguished, debonair man with a lot of life stories to tell. So comb it up proudly, care for it fondly and embrace the greatness of greys.
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