Premature grey hair--what to do?
May 30, 2007 11:25 AM   Subscribe

How to deal with grey hairs amongst an otherwise brunette headset?

A 'friend' of mine (cough) has naturally brunette hair but has recently started to get annoying singular grey hairs. If genetic history is anything to go by, his head will be fully grey in 10-20 years, but what can he do until then to minimize the effect? He has long hair.
posted by humblepigeon to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (25 answers total)
Enjoy them. Gray hair is cool.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 11:28 AM on May 30, 2007 [5 favorites]

Pull them out one by one til they overwhelm, then give up and enjoy. Dudes who dye look weird. Except crazy Manic Panic stuff, I'm talking Grecian Formula.
posted by tristeza at 11:34 AM on May 30, 2007

You can pluck them out (or get your barber-hair-cutterist-stylist to pluck them). Otherwise, I agree with M.C. 10-20 years is quite a long way away, and I'd imagine that would put you in the 35-60 year old range, which is a perfectly acceptable time to start going or being grey.

Salt and pepper is a good look!
posted by at 11:37 AM on May 30, 2007

I will be a dissenting voice here and say that plucking is a bad idea. If your grays are different in texture, that is. Because if you pluck, the hairs will stick out of your hair as they're growing back. This will be especially noticeable with long hair.
posted by veronica sawyer at 11:37 AM on May 30, 2007

Gray hair is awesome. I'm late 20's with mostly gray hair, and I get compliments on it all the time. It started pretty early in life, when I was in high school. I suggest "ride it out and enjoy it" unless you havea very specific reason to NOT want to be gray.

It has also done wonders for my career, giving me a percieved seniority with a still very young apperance. Perception of age can be a benefit.

Now, what I don't suggest - buying standard over the counter hair dye NOT made for gray hair. I purchased black hair dye in an attempt to reclaim my old jet black hair. Helpful hint: The due not made for gray/white hair will turn the little buggers BLUE.

So, I highly suggesnt not doing that... and if this "friend" does so, then I highly suggest getting a bright blue shirt and celebrating the smurfy occasion.
posted by MysticMCJ at 11:41 AM on May 30, 2007

I keep mine. Hell, I earned 'em.

The exception is when they grow in weird. As veronica sawyer noted, sometimes they stick out at odd angles 'cause they're of a different texture then the hairs surrounding them, and they may do so by their nature, rather than due to a previous plucking. So your "friend" can go ahead and pluck anyways, since that chicken/egg conundrum has already been rendered moot.
posted by lekvar at 12:08 PM on May 30, 2007

Brunette is what the ladies are. If your friend is a dude, he simply has brown hair.

With your friend being a dude, the answer is: sit back and enjoy them. Being a dude means that being salt-and-peppery is, if anything, a mildly good thing. Unless your friend is into jailbait, anyway.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:20 PM on May 30, 2007

Actually, he would be a brunet. And keep the grey hair. There might be some chicks that might think you look incredibly distinguished and totally sexy with them.
posted by mckenney at 12:37 PM on May 30, 2007

I say keep the grey!
posted by Rain Man at 12:37 PM on May 30, 2007

Best answer: I started going grey in my early twenties and I'm prolly 90% grey now in my early 40's - beard included. Just enjoy it.

However, "early" grey hairs can be coarse, as mentioned above, and do sometimes stick out weird. Dont pluck, just live with it. They soften up over time.

Also dont dye it. I have very short hair and I once was cajoled in my mid-thirties to dye my hair purple for a Halloween party and all my grey hairs (of which there were many) not only stuck out like poles, but they became a brilliant purple and lasted way longer than the other hairs.

Very hard to be taken seriously that way.

Unless your friend is into jailbait, anyway.

Yeah, that only spurred on the jailbait I came into contact with.
posted by elendil71 at 12:40 PM on May 30, 2007

Another vote here for keep the grey and enjoy it. Whatever you do to disguise them will probably look worse than just letting them grow.
Get a good moisturising conditioner for dry hair though, long grey hair can look wirey if its not looked after properly.
posted by missmagenta at 12:47 PM on May 30, 2007

Keep 'em. Age as gracefully as possible.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:22 PM on May 30, 2007

Keep the grey, but consider doing away with the long. Salt-and-pepper and shorter hair go together better.
posted by mendel at 1:24 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Signs of aging on a man only make him more attractive. Keep the gray.
posted by iguanapolitico at 1:24 PM on May 30, 2007

I'm 40ish and have an ever-increasing sprinkling of grey (well, silver) hairs. I only yank out the ones that don't do what all the other cool hairkids are doing. It's the only place where I enforce conformity. I had a friend on jr. high/high school who started going grey in 7th grade - it was a family trait and kind of cool.

You earned 'em - keep 'em!

(and look at it this way: Lots of guys will be jealous that you've got hair to go grey!)
posted by rtha at 1:31 PM on May 30, 2007

Response by poster: Actually, he would be a brunet.

Doh! You're right. Got my genders mixed up there. That's what comes with old age and greying hair, you know.
posted by humblepigeon at 1:41 PM on May 30, 2007

Dyeing is something that requires upkeep (as a lady with a fair amount of grey I can attest to that). But I like to play with my hair colour and it's socially acceptable for me to do so. Men can get away with going grey, but not with sporting various shades of brown and auburn. So don't worry about it. If the coarseness bothers you throw a little extra conditioner onto it or use product once you're out of the shower.
posted by Salmonberry at 1:56 PM on May 30, 2007

Enjoy them. Gray hair is cool.

People tell me this, but I can't help having a lingering doubt or twelve.
posted by oaf at 2:25 PM on May 30, 2007

I have the same issue – a small patch of maybe twenty gray hairs in the dead center of my head, about two inches back from my hairline. I've had them since I was sixteen. I'd be thrilled to go completely salt-and-pepper, but these particular hairs don't feel distinguished: they feel like a glitch.

When my hair is on the long side, I pluck them. They blend in fairly well when my hair is short.

No one else ever says anything about them. In fact, right at this moment, a friend is laughing that I even care enough to comment.
posted by roger ackroyd at 2:27 PM on May 30, 2007

Going grey? At least you still have hair and are not going bald. Don't pluck!

I've got Hong Kong Black hair and I've got greys coming out randomly. I get highlights (a medium/light brown) and it does a reasonably good job of hiding the greys.
posted by porpoise at 2:40 PM on May 30, 2007

I am close to 50/50 on the grey hairs these days and I have no problem with that. However, I also got tired of dealing with hair in general and decided several years back to go with the crew cut. I clip at "0" setting (the bare clippers) and it leaves me with a stubble, not quite bald. I cut it every Sunday and it comes back to within about a 1/2 of a centimetre. The point is, my grey hairs are hardly noticeable until it gets a bit longer than a week old. And I never have bed-head.
posted by qwip at 3:01 PM on May 30, 2007

Man, I hate how flat and dead most dye jobs look. Grow old gracefully.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:26 PM on May 30, 2007

My partner started going grey when he was 16, just round the temples and at the back of the head; he's now 38 and pretty close to 70% grey. He frets occasionally about looking older than he is, but honestly, it looks good on him, and I like it. His hair is very short, and looks best that way. I'm getting a few grey hairs of my own now and I very much like them, no matter what my hairdresser tries to cajole me into doing with them. And I must agree on the "don't dye it" issue; at least, don't try to dye it dark on your own. I have a relative who had black hair as a young woman, is now grey all over but dyes her hair black. It looks awful - flat black, completely unnatural, almost as if she's wearing a fake fur cap. Going lighter might be the way to go; it's less noticeable then.
posted by andraste at 3:32 PM on May 30, 2007

I seem to be the minority here, but whenever these questions about going grey pop up in AskMe, I'm always amazed at the number of people who say just to enjoy it. Sure, aging gracefully is a fine thing if you're emotionally ready to enjoy it, or if you happen to look good with the grey. But the title says "premature grey hair" and speaking from experience, some of us look washed out and tired with grey hair peppering our naturally darkish hair, and I think going grey before you're ready can be a pretty depressing thing. Also, I think there are certain hair colors and styles that go well with grey, but dark long hair is not one of them. So if the poster's "friend" wants to maintain his dark long hair, he should go with the highlights (shade lighter than his natural color) that porpoise said, preferably done in a salon and not by himself.

Call me vain, but I'm of the opinion that "natural" is not always the best way to go in terms of hairstyles and hair color, because I happen to look horrible in my naturally jet-black hair (...with streaks of grey. Sigh). It makes me look unhealthy and stern, and with the grey, older than I really am. Since this isn't a question about losing hair, I'm going to suggest, tell your "friend" to try all kinds of things while he's young; if he doesn't like the look, cut it off and try another. It's hair, it'll grow back.
posted by misozaki at 4:27 PM on May 30, 2007

What? A brunette at my office has a few gray hairs and it only makes her cuter. She doesn't seem to care (since she's obviously not doing anything about it), which makes her cool.
posted by umlaut at 7:50 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

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