Silver Fox or Over the Hill? How Men Really Feel About Going Grey
Like laugh lines and a dad bod, grey hair happens to (almost) all men. If you’re sporting facial hair then your first greys will likely make their appearance in your beard.
Grey beard hairs grab your attention because they are front and center. There’s no getting away from them.
In my experience – both personally and as a stylist – when it comes to a greying beard and hair, there's a fine line between distinguished and old. If you are like most of my clients, you might embrace some salt and pepper in your beard and temples, but you’d like it to stay at about 20 percent.
I was already seeing silver in my beard when I co-founded Arey with one of my clients, Allison Conrad. Allison was starting to see her first grey hairs. We started Arey because we wanted to find proactive, science-backed grey hair solutions that help delay and even repigment grey hair naturally.
Like many men, you may have a lot of anxiety about being seen as vain or superficial when it comes to worrying about your appearance. I get it. It’s a sensitive subject. That’s why I wanted to share what I have learned on my own greying journey, including how I was able to reduce and reverse the greys in my own beard.
Why Men Worry About Going Grey
I saw my first grey beard hair around age 27 but the average age for men to go grey is between 30 and 40.
Many of my clients worry about going grey because it makes them look older than they feel. My job as product ambassador for Paul Mitchell had me lecturing to a lot of people older than myself so I was actually grateful for a bit of salt and pepper. I felt it made me look more experienced.
That’s not true for all men though. A recent survey found that 40 percent of men who responded felt self-conscious about going grey.1 In my 20 years as a stylist and colorist, I see first-hand the impact that people’s hair has on their confidence. Men are just as impacted as women, but we often find it harder to talk about.
Many men think that grey hair makes us less attractive to employers but that may not be the case. The U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission reported in 2014 that of nearly 90,000 discrimination cases2 filed, only 23 percent were age-related.
Whether you choose to cover your greys or slow and delay them naturally, it’s important to do it for yourself, not because of external pressures. You earned those wisdom hairs from a lifetime of experience.
Aging is a privilege and a natural part of life. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. I tell my clients not to focus on their hair color, but on having their best hair. Grey hair plus a good haircut and beard trim always say experience and confidence.
Since beards are such an important part of how we men present ourselves to the world, I wanted to share what I have discovered.
Why Does Your Beard Go Grey First?
Many of my clients ask me why they have more grey hairs in their beard than their hair. Sometimes it’s just because your beard is front and center on your face so you notice the greys more. Beard hairs tend to be wiry and coarse and so a single white hair shows up easily.
The main reasons for early greys in your beard are:
Growth rate: beard hair grows faster than head hair so new grey hairs show up in quick succession.3
Nutrition: lack of hair-boosting minerals and vitamins can contribute to premature greying.
Lifestyle: stress, smoking, and pollution as well as UV exposure all affect the rate at which your beard and hair go grey.
Sometimes your grey beard comes through in uneven patches. This could be issues with thyroid deficiencies or another possible cause is poliosis – a condition that can cause white patches in your beard, hair, brow, and eyelash hair.4
If your beard is greying in a noticeably uneven way, then consult a medical professional for advice.
Is It Normal to Have Different Beard Colors?
Yes! When you decided to grow a beard you probably imagined it would be all one color and match your hair. Wrong. Most likely it is full of different colors – brown, black, blond, red, grey, and gold. Why?
Beard hair is different from head hair. In fact, it has more in common with your body hair because they are both androgenic hair. This means hair that grows as a result of hormones.
Your body and head hairs are different colors and textures created from a blend of two kinds of pigment – eumelanin, which creates black or brown hair, and pheomelanin, which colors hair red or blonde. Your beard displays the whole range of pigments that are present in your head hair. No two beards are ever the same. It’s a unique part of being you.
Is It a Good Idea to Color Your Beard?
Maybe you’re feeling more like Santa Claus than a Silver Fox? You want to tap into your inner George Clooney but those silver hairs are coming in too fast? You might be considering ways to slow, delay or cover your greys.
According to a recent survey, only 11 percent of men aged 50-64 cover up their grey hair.5 Women are still leading the charge to the colorist with more than two-thirds of over 40’s covering their grey hair.6
You want to be sure you’re turning heads for the right reasons so if you’re considering coloring your grey head or beard hair, here’s a few guidelines:
✅ Stick to semi-permanent color: this blends better and you won’t get obvious roots when it grows out.
✅ Don’t try and cover all your greys: a few silver strands on your temples or beard look more natural.
✅ Don’t go too dark: go for a shade lighter than your natural hair. Ask your stylist for a formula with multiple tones.
✅ Do a patch test: always do a skin test before applying any hair color. If you have rosacea or acne, check with your dermatologist first.
✅ Use a product designed for beards: beard hair is coarser and more dye-resistant than head hair.
Coloring your hair or embracing your greys – it’s a deeply personal decision. Whatever you decide, you want to make the best choices for your hair and your health.7 That means using products that are designed to care for aging hair.
Arey’s science-based system of grey hair solutions and grey hair treatments are designed to address all the signs of aging hair. If you are looking to slow your grey hair naturally, or cover it with color, you need gentle, balanced haircare that keeps your hair healthy.
Our commitment to clean beauty means that our products are free of harmful ingredients that could irritate your scalp or face. All Arey products are cruelty-free and free from parabens, phthalates, gluten, and artificial fragrances. And they work. I noticed significant repigmentation after 8 months of using the Arey System combination of To The Root Serum and the Not Today, Grey supplement.
Can Your Grey Beard Hair Be Slowed or Reversed Naturally?
If you are looking to slow, delay or repigment your grey hair, there are a lot of options. Genetics only account for 30 percent of why you go grey. That means 70 percent is due to other factors like diet, your environment and lifestyle choices.
Here are a few things you can do to slow down grey hair:
✅ Protect Your Hair From the Sun:
UV rays from the sun trigger free radical production (unstable molecules). These damage the cells that give your hair its color. The sun also causes inflammation of the scalp skin which can also impact your pigment production.8 Using a sunscreen for your hair like Live In Mist, can stop hair damage caused by sun exposure.
✅ Boost Your Melanin Production:
Foods and vitamins rich in antioxidants – molecules that prevent damage to your cells – also work to protect the pigment in your hair. Or you can take an antioxidant-rich supplement like Not Today, Grey which is formulated to slow, delay and repigment grey hair.
✅ Treat Your Beard With a Grey-Busting Serum:
To The Root delivers a high concentration of our science-backed Mela-9TM complex directly to your hair follicles where your pigment is produced. Lightweight and easily absorbed, To The Root can slow the growth of new greys and even repigment silver strands that contain active melanocytes (the cells that produce melanin).
✅ Stop Smoking:
Smoking is a major cause of premature greying. Premature greying is defined as greys that appear before age 30. Smokers are two and a half times more likely to go grey prematurely.9
✅ Change Up Your Hair Products:
Your silver strands tend to be dryer and coarser than your pigmented hair, so you need to avoid sulfates and other chemicals that will strip your hair. Look for a gentle, balanced shampoo like Wash, that also contains our science-backed Mela-9TM complex that slows and helps repigment grey hair.
✅ Reduce Your Stress:
Stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline directly attack your hair follicles and impact pigment production. You can delay and even reverse grey hair by taking care of your stress response.10
At Arey, We Believe In Proactive Grey Hair Solutions
We want you to have your healthiest hair at every stage of your greying journey. That’s why all our products are designed as a system that works holistically with your body to slow and re-pigment greying hair.
With consistent use of Arey’s Mela-9TM products, you can expect to:
Arey’s grey hair solutions work best if you have 0-30% grey hair. Your hair follicles must have some active melanocytes (pigment-producing cells) to preserve or restore your natural hair color. White hair has no active melanocytes so these cannot be repigmented.
Your hair and beard growth cycle takes around 1-3 months, so it can be a while before you see results. Your hair health is important so we always offer a 25% discount on all subscriptions. We believe that science + consistency = results.
- Hair dye poisoning and the developing world
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