It's a grey area

Grey hair? Me too. And there seems to be more of it every day. I’m sure it’s just coincidence that, for me, it came with the children, but I do sometimes feel like those salmon that, once they’ve swum across the wide Pacific, leapt up waterfalls, avoided the bear and the Tlingit and successfully spawned, turn belly up and die, their useful reproductive lives at an end. Is grey hair nature’s way of telling us to quit? Should we listen - or can we fight this somewhat tell-tale sign of ageing?

Where are the blond locks of my boyhood, the chestnut tresses of my youth? Gone for good. Last time I had a haircut the floor was covered in this grey-brown carpet. But I won’t despair. For one thing, I have at least got the hair to go grey. And, for another, grey is all the rage.    

Bored to Death on the ABC is such a cute show. And Ted Danson as George Christopher the Graydon Carter-esque editor of ''Edition'' magazine is magnificent. In Cheers I always thought that Danson looked like death. Actually in one peculiar Bergmanesque dream of mine in 1993 he was Death, but in this show he’s a star. “Did we learn anything,“ asked the young sidekick after a boxing match with GQ’s editorial staff. “No,” George replied, “but that’s OK; it's a good thing to stay in the dark about things - it keeps life interesting.” But the best thing about George is his hair - a quiffy breaker of lustrous cream. He may be trying to grab on to the last dribbles of his youth, what with the drink and the drugs and the dames, but hair wise, he’s accepting time’s march and looks great on it.

And strangely and semi-obscurely I spotted Troy Buswell the other day. The vile, chair-sniffing, once and future WA Treasurer has, it has to be said, great grey hair. So, and slightly less off-beatly, do George Clooney and the actual Graydon Carter. You don't need to think that life's over once that first white appears. Grey hair can be cool and sexy too.

Celebrity hairdresser Daniel Ravech reckons grey looks great. In fact he gets a lot of people - men and women - asking to get their hair tinted grey. It can’t be done, he says. Men, he reckons should revel in their greyness. And he reckons Danson looks marvellous. “Lots of guys look better grey,” Daniel says. “Ted looks great with white hair. Grey only looks old with an old person’s hair cut. A funky cut with grey hair looks fantastic.” And if you opt for the grey look there are shampoos that not only wash out the pollutants (and smoke) but add a slight purple tint so a snowy mane doesn’t turn into a grubby yellowy mop.   

If you are going grey and really can’t stand it - if it really makes you feel old and floppy - there are some products that can help and we’re not talking the type that give you a monotonous jet-black cap. Dyes like that, even now they’ve made them non-carcinogenic, look so obvious you may as well not bother and when the grey grows back it looks as if the black hair is floating a centimetre above the skull.

Daniel, who’s an American Crew All Star Stylist, recommends its Precision Blend colour. You can use it at home (“get a friend to help”) but he suggests getting a professional. They’ll make sure that not all the hair is covered - “always miss a bit, you only want to cover 80 per cent of the grey” - and it should only takes five minutes. The stuff lasts for six weeks, is translucent, and fades gradually, so you don’t get the odd disparities of other colours.

The secret to great grey hair, whether you colour it or let Nature take her course, is the same as with all style tips for men - affect an air of not giving a damn. As Daniel says: “Guys always look best when they look like they don’t care.”

Are you one of the grey men? Do you care? Or are you a guy who loves to dye?

"Grey only looks old with an old person’s hair cut."