From hats to mascara, the extreme lengths Brits go through to hide grey hairs revealed

Danielle Fowler
Freelance Writer
A quarter of Brits will go to extreme lengths to hide stray grey hairs [Photo: Getty]

It may have been while doing your make-up in the mirror or perhaps a friend tried to be helpful by pointing one out, we’ll all remember the time we spotted our first grey hair.

But according to new research conducted by Pantene, a number of Brits are left distraught by the process and will go to extreme lengths to hide the telltale sign of ageing.

The study of 2,000 Brits discovered that a quarter of us will dye our locks in a bid to hide silver strands. While others will employ more unusual methods from wearing a hat or wig to concealing strays with mascara.

In some more extreme cases, participants have even owned up to only leaving the house in the dark so that nobody sees them.

The average person gets their first grey hair aged 37 though one in five find a rogue strand in their mid twenties.

A recent study published in Nature Communications, emphasised that it’s also not unusual for women to experience the process in their early twenties.

But it’s women who are more likely to feel upset during the experience in comparison to their male counterparts. The study revealed that four in 10 women dye their grey hair compared to just 7% of men.

READ MORE: How you can embrace grey hair

Four in 10 participants said they cover their hairs to feel “more confident” while a third reckon grey locks make them look “frumpy”.

Despite our shock at going grey, more than half of participants said they plan to go grey “gracefully” with men and women across the country letting their natural colour show around the age of 44.

George Clooney has helped to inspire Brits to embrace their natural locks [Photo: Getty]

Though sexism remains rife, as a number of Brits believe it’s only “acceptable” for women to go grey in their mid-fifties while men can embrace their inner silver fox in their mid-forties.

In order to gather the courage to embrace their greys, a fifth also admitted that they look to celebrities for inspiration.

READ MORE: Is it safe to use hair dye during pregnancy?

George Clooney unsurprisingly stole the top spot in the list of grey-haired icons with Philip Schofield and Dame Judie Dench following closely behind.

“It’s completely normal to feel a bit surprised by finding your first grey hair - although it’s something almost everyone will experience at some point in their life,” a spokesperson for Pantene said. “Historically, greys have been seen as a sign of ageing and can be perceived negatively but we believe grey hair should be celebrated.”

“Despite stereotypical attitudes towards grey hair, our study found people are more receptive to going grey than ever before, so it’s important those who make this choice feel confident and empowered to do so.”

How can I prevent premature greying?

Although grey hair is inevitable for us all, there are a few lifestyle changes you can make in order to slow down the process.

Adopt a diet rich in vitamin B

“If you have a vitamin B deficiency, adding foods rich in B vitamins (or a supplement containing them) to your diet may be useful in stopping premature greying,” trichologist, Anabel Kingsley, told Yahoo UK. “However, at present there is no way to delay when you are genetically programmed to turn grey.”

Make sure to cleanse your hair and scalp

In order to prevent grey strays, it’s also crucial to ensure that your hair is kept happy and healthy through regular cleansing.

“Hair is more likely to ‘grey gracefully’ when the hair and scalp are kept healthy and in good condition,” Kingsley explains. “Put the same thought into your hair and scalp care regime as you do your skin routine and use products that address the specific needs of your hair.”

“To optimise the condition of your scalp and to keep your hair shiny, cleanse your hair and scalp at least every other day,” Kingsley continued. “To help support the growth of new hairs, use a scalp toner daily and a stimulating scalp mask once a week.”

“To keep strands elastic, strong and shiny, apply an intensive pre-shampoo moisturising treatment to your hair once to twice a week.”

Ditch the straighteners

One of the most common reasons for premature greying is over-styling.

Hairstylist and Hair Rituel Ambassador, Miguel Perez, told The Telegraph: “Due to the over-use of hair tools, styling products and environmental factors like pollution, our hair is less healthy than it used to be. Like your skin, your scalp will age as you get older, so it’s important to look after it with the right products and care.”

Give up smoking

Not only does smoking have a damaging effect on your skin, it can also lead to premature greying. According to multiple studies, smokers are 2.5 times more likely to start seeing grey hairs before the age of 30 than non-smokers.

How to embrace your grey hair

For those of you who wish to embrace your natural roots, look to A-list muses for inspiration.

“It’s important to embrace what is a natural process. Celebrity icons, like Jaime Lee Curtis and Helen Mirren, have embraced their hair turning grey naturally and look fabulous,” Kingsley tells Yahoo UK.

“This may well have paved the way for other women to do so. Having grey or silver hair has also become quite trendy in the past few years, with celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Kate Moss, and Cara Delevingne opting to dye their hair grey.”

If you’re on the lookout for products, make sure to try out Pantene’s Grey and Glowing which is designed to fight brassy tones and smooth rebellious strands.

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