In a recent study detailed by the Daily Mail, figures state that 32 per cent of British women under the age of 30 have already started to go grey, with two-thirds of them believing it is down to stress. This is a huge jump from 20 years ago, when only 18 per cent of women spotting their first grey hair being aged under 30.
According to haircare brand John Frieda who carried out the research, more than seven million British women opt to colour their hair at home, but whilst the previous assumption was that young people did this as a fashion choice or statement, it has increasingly become about covering grey.
‘We wanted to find out whether women are actually going grey younger, so we commissioned the research.’ Said a John Frieda spokeswomen.
‘In recent years, I’ve definitely noticed an increase in younger clients coming into the salon asking for colour to cover their grey. It’s not unusual for me to see a client aged 25 with grey hair, and frequently they do put it down to stress.’ Said Nicola Clarke, creative colour director for John Frieda.
So is greying hair a result of stress, or is it simply an old wives tale?
Grey hair is a hair strand which has no pigment because the cells that produce the pigment (melanocytes) are damaging or dying. This is a very natural process which will happen to us all as we get older, and many scientists argue the age at which it happens is reliant on your genes and not your lifestyle.
According to Nina Goad of the British Association of Dermatologists, earlier onset of greying is usually genetically determined, with very little environmental relevance.
‘For the majority of people, greying hair is not down to something you’ve done, but to genetic factors beyond your control. Generally, lifestyle does not greatly impact on when your hair loses its colour.’ She said.
As a 24 year old who is already spotting signs of grey peeping through my brown locks I have to say it isn’t ideal, or indeed the best thing thats ever happened to me. However, I’m not going to lose any sleep over my prematurely ageing hair, or beat myself up over the fact that if I’d have been more chilled out I might have less grey hairs. As a relatively easy going and happy go lucky girl, I’m inclined to believe that my somewhat earlier than expected transformation into a silver fox is more down to genetics than stress. In any event, isn’t that what hair dye is for? Here are some great tips for covering the grey with a professional touch:
Eco Colour – Neville Tucker of Neville Hair and Beauty recommends ECOlour for gentle grey coverage. ‘It’s the most gentle colouring treatment on the market and contains flax oil, castor oil and jojoba, as well as flower essences and vitamins E and C.’
The colour is painted all over the hair before a hat is added to warm the product and activate the colouring process (from £95, nevillehairandbeauty.net).
Reverse Highlights – If you have less than 25 per cent grey then John Frieda colourist Jo Reid recommends doing as little as possible. Instead of opting for an all over colour which will require lots of upkeep, try reverse highlights toned in with your natural shade to cover the grey pieces.
Subtle shades – Daniel Hersheson colourist Amy Fish recommends trying different techniques depending on your natural hair colour. On brunettes she often uses L’Oreal Inoa gel based hair colour which fades gradually into the natural hair colour to make regrowth less obvious (from £75 for L’Oreal Inoa, £100 for microlights, danielhersheson.com).