Even the best-dressed man can face a crisis of confidence when the mirror reveals that tell-tale salt-and-pepper around the temples. Some seasoning is hardly a disaster, but left unchecked your unkempt greys can bestow the air of a distressed Doc Brown, not Clooney cool.
So before you go gentle into that good night, or rage against the dyeing of your highlights/brights, take steps to embrace grey gracefully and ensure you’re considered distinguished, not on the downslope.
Why Do Some Men Go Grey Early?
Some men seem to retain a dark head of hair until well into their fifties, but others find their first Mr Grey much earlier. Of course, the answer may be out of a bottle – and we’ll get to that – but what’s the prime mover behind the early-grey mechanism?
“Hair goes grey when the pigment responsible for the hair’s colour stops forming in the hair shaft,” says Deborah Gayle, from expert barbers The Refinery. And it can happen whether your birthday cake is mostly candles or icing.
But despite your body’s quirks, lifestyle also plays a part: although a predilection for early greying can be inherited, it can equally be caused by stress or malnutrition, which prevent your body from producing vital chemicals including the pigment melanin.
Will Eating Right & Working Less Slow The Greying Process?
To a degree – although don’t expect miracles. A better diet, more exercise and early nights will apply the brakes, but if you’ve got the greying gene then a fruit salad and nine o’clock bedtime won’t recreate that graduation picture overnight.
“B-vitamins, selenium and iodine rich foods are said to help slow down the ageing process,” says Lilly Dillon, trichologist at London barbers Ruffians. Adding cranberries to your morning porridge helps, as will supplements, according to the International Journal of Trichology. So feast on both to avoid an overseasoned barnet.
What’s The Best Haircut To Show Off Grey Hair?
If you’ve embraced the inevitable and want your grey at its best, you’ll need a killer cut to show it off properly. “Short haircuts expose the grey,” says Gayle.
For inspiration, look no further than street style icon Nick Wooster (below), whose longer top and coarse-chopped sides provide a welcome edginess to his genteel look. “Many guys are quite happy to take this approach, especially if they have tonal grey, a mixture of light and dark.” Think of it as an advanced take on that deconstructed cut.
Gayle also recommends longer length layers as one of the best haircuts for greying hair. For the man that’s beginning to turn silver but still short of Steve Martin, careful layering can blend grey and dark hair seamlessly, offering a touch of maturity; mixing in the greys and ensuring evenly chopped layers cedes enough of your head to father time father time that you don’t look deluded, while still owning the look.
You’re going for the latter day Pierce Brosnan, so dress to match; a suit does more than a sweatshirt to cultivate a distinguished image. Your hair is only half the battle.
What’s The Best Way To Dye Hair, Or Care For Existing Greys?
If you’re aiming to make the most of your whites and greys, stock up on a good growth-promoting conditioner. White hair needs more attention, says Dillon, as it doesn’t retain moisture as well. American Crew daily conditioner is a good bet, but most will do in a pinch.
If you want to fight, not submit, outflank the Silvio Berlusconi look by blending grey hairs into the rest, instead of turning up one day with a new head of jet-black hair. It’s rather unsubtle.
Gayle uses L’Oreal Homme Grey Blending for camouflaging, although this will need to be topped up every four weeks. Still, it’s better than people whispering “bunga, bunga,” behind your back.