OPINION: ‘Can men over 45 still get away with dying their hair?’
PUBLISHED: 19:30 04 October 2020 | UPDATED: 07:51 05 October 2020
While women freely change their hair colour at a whim, our columnist says there’s a stigma around styling when it comes to men.
I’ve had 50 shades of grey on my mind this week. Not the 2015 erotic thriller that got ladies all hot under the collar, but that big do or dye question that many men over (and under 45) probably think about at some point: Should I dye my hair?
So I’ll admit that I’ve dyed my hair before, but before you wonder if it’s to do with mid-40s vanity I should say it was actually 25 years ago when I was at university. It was bright red and matched the fetching tartan trousers and boots I rocked at the time.
I actually dyed it red twice, the second time was a hastily thought out decision before hitting the clubs of Camden. After a night of sweaty dancing, I emerged in the early hours to catch the night bus home and such was the state of my head with red dye trickling down my ears that two men asked if I’d been in a fight.
But hair dye, hair weaves, growing your hair longer and even wigs are all things men consider as they get out of that 20s and 30s zone. Maybe it’s one last go at preserving their youth or one last statement of rebellion..
I’m thinking of people like goalkeepers David Seaman and Bryan Gunn who suddenly grew their hair long in their 30s and other sportsmen like Wayne Rooney, Shane Warne and Graham Gooch who have all had hair transplants to add some volume to their balding pates.
I wonder what sort of reaction they faced from their team mates when going through their transformations up top, some of which reportedly cost thousands. You’d expect they received plenty of banter in the dressing room and maybe a joke or two about going absent without weave.
Hair transplants and proper wigs aren’t cheap so apart from growing your hair longer, which is of course very inexpensive, the most likely way us men can transform our hair is though hair dye. While for many women the decision to dye their hair probably requires about as much thought as ordering another new pair of shoes, for men it’s a little more sensitive. You can tell this from the fact that supermarkets devote plenty of aisle space to all manner of DIY hair dye kits for ladies but for men there are usually just four or five boxes on the shelves tucked away next to the shampoo and never at eye-level.
It’s like a dirty little secret.
I understand that TV presenters, such as Paddy McGuinness, Martin Lewis, Chris Evans and BBC Breakfast’s Charlie Stayt will use hair dye to improve their appearance on the box and maybe look younger, but does the average man – me or you or your dad, brother, son, uncle – really even consider using hair dye?
I had a look at a couple of packets in my local Sainsbury’s – Just for Men’s Original Formula claims to restore original colour in five minutes and lasts up to eight weeks while their ControlGX grey-reducing shampoo offers subtle, natural-looking results and reduces grey with each shampoo.
I just think you’d get laughed at if you had grey hair and suddenly turned up in the pub with your five pals with a totally different hair colour – despite the claims that if offers natural-looking results, to me those results will produce something totally opposite.
I don’t know why men are so scared of going grey anyway, after all don’t men get more distinguished as they get older? And given that we are mainly staying at home at the moment, does anyone really care what colour your hair is?
I’m lucky that at 45 I’ve still got plenty of hair and only a few grey ones. My dad was totally grey at 35, my brother had hair like Phil Mitchell at 30. Somewhere in my genes I’ve got some powerful pigment powers, but I would never dye it now, I don’t see why you’d want to mess with nature.
An interesting point about being 45 – it was the exact age my mum was when she decided to stop colouring her hair and she looks even more beautiful as a natural grey-haired woman. Talking of my mum, she has the honour of being the person to have cut my hair most in my life. It wasn’t until after those red-headed years of the mid-90s that I started to go to barbers regularly and, before that, mum and her home hairdressing kit in the kitchen was the way to go.
But over the summer, with barbers closed, I knew where to go when I needed a lockdown trim, so out came the clippers, the giggles from her and the funny looks when she thinks it doesn’t look very good (it looked great!)
It did feel a tad surreal to have my mum gliding her fingers through a few grey hairs on my head after all those years.
They’ll probably get lighter and lighter as I go through my second half, but hey, who cares – I’m just happy I’ve lasted this long and can still wake up with a bedhead every morning.
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