There are those out there – men and women alike – who dye their hair when it starts to turn gray. It makes them look younger. But among the trendy younger set, a gray, white or salt-and-pepper look is in style, according to Rebecca Weber, CEO of the Association of Mature American Citizens.
Weber cites the publication, Hairstyles Weekly, which notes that, “gray hair has been shunned and touted as ‘old people’ hair color. But in this year (2022), the hair world is shaking things up a bit and making gray the star of the show!” Not only are more older Americans embracing the natural look of aging, but younger women – and men – are adopting the look using new hair dyes such as Clairol’s Professional Pure White Hair Developers for Lightening & Gray Coverage.
Market-researchers have found that more men between the ages of 50 to 64 – 11 percent – are dying their hair more than ever before for a variety of reasons. For one thing, a majority of women say they find men with gray hair more attractive and that it can give a man an “air of authority,” not to mention the fact that “gray hair is generally associated with competence, financial security and coolness,” according to the hair experts at Schwarzkopf International.
A Wikipedia report traces the granny hair trend “to fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier, whose Autumn/Winter 2011 show featured models in grey Beehives. In Spring 2015, his catwalk show at Paris Fashion Week (featured) silver haired models as did the shows of other fashion designers Chanel and Gareth Pugh.”
It is true that health problems can accelerate the graying process and that stress can cause your hair to shed and grow back grayish in color instead of your natural color. However, the experts at WebMD tell us that while “you might blame your stressful job or your unruly teens for your grays … it’s mostly your genes that dictate how early and how quickly it happens. So if either of your parents had a full head of gray hair in their 30s, there’s a good chance you will, too.”
According to MedlinePlus, the color of your hair “is determined by the amount of a pigment called melanin in hair. An abundance of one type of melanin, called eumelanin, gives people black or brown hair. An abundance of another pigment, called pheomelanin, gives people red hair.”
Hydrogen peroxide is an oxygen-based bleach that is sometimes used to bleach hair. And guess what, hair cells actually and naturally produce their own hydrogen peroxide and the older you get the more of it is produced. Researchers believe that the hydrogen peroxide that our bodies produce is what turns our hair gray and then white.
Trendy as the graying of America might be, there are still those who hope and pray that science will come up with a way for them to retain the youthful color of their hair or a way to reverse the graying process. Fear not. The Scientific American reports that research has emerged showing that there may be a way to do just that. The publication quotes Matt Kaeberlein, a biogerontologist at the University of Washington, who says there is convincing evidence that on a hair by hair basis graying is actually reversible. “What we’re learning is that, not just in hair but in a variety of tissues, the biological changes that happen with age are, in many cases, reversible.”
John Grimaldi contributes occasional columns for the Association of Mature American Citizens. The 2 million member AMAC is a senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members. They act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today.