To dye or not to dye gray hair; one man’s dilemma

When I was a teenager I had a few gray hairs. My friends sifted through my mop of hair pointing them out and making fun of me. The myth was that if I pulled out the gray hairs two would grow in their place, so I held back.

I’m not sure why it happened, but those hairs kept growing, multiplying, and by the time I was in my thirties I was gray. I’ll never forget the time I was filling out a form for my driver’s license and the woman at the DMV looked at me, then crossed out where I had written “brown” under “hair color” and then wrote down “gray.”

To dye or not to dye gray hair, one man´s dilemma

They say gray or white hair is exacerbated by stress, but an article I read on WebMD said it really is hereditary. Apparently, we all start to turn gray after 40 when our cells produce less melanin, which is what helps give our hair its color. They say that 50 percent of 50 year-olds are about half way to turning gray.

Now, as I fast approach fifty, my hair isn’t gray anymore. It’s white.

Does this mean I’m a geezer?

I have a receding hairline and white hair with just a little black/brown on it. That doesn’t make me feel old, but it does make me wonder whether I should perhaps add a little dye to my hair. I mean, it could actually shave ten years off of my appearance.

I have male family members who dye their hair. One kind of looks acceptable, but the other looks a bit ridiculous with jet-black hair that is obviously a paint job.

Also Read: Shaping Up After Fifty When You´ve Never Exercised

I was thinking of just trying some Grecian Formula or Just For Men or some other product that I can work in to move back to a graying look. Instead of looking 55 or 60, maybe I would look a cool 42.

That might be nice.

Don’t get me wrong. I´m not vain. And I really don’t feel bad about my white hair. But if I don’t gel or mousse it, I can look like crazy Doc in “Back to the Future.”

So – to dye or not to dye?

When I was in my late teens and early 20’s I bleached part of my hair. Just think Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran. It was kind of a fun hip thing to do. In those days young men dyed their hair the way young men tattoo themselves today.

To dye or not to dye gray hair, one man´s dilemma

But isn’t white hair supposed to make me look distinguished? Well, the thing is I live in a Florida city populated with retirees, so no matter where I go most people have gray or white hair. I don´t stand out at all.

I think the problem with dyeing my hair is getting started. Once I do it, I suppose it would be easy to keep up, and then I could gradually scale back to a salt-and-pepper George Clooney look.

Or maybe I should forget all this hair-coloring business and just shave my head.

Phillippe Diederich

Phillippe Diederich is a bilingual author and photographer born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Mexico City and Miami. His photography has appeared in The New York Times, Time magazine, U.S. News and World Report and other national publications. Phillippe's novels Sofrito and Playing for the Devil's Fire are both published by Cinco Puntos Press. He is the recipient of a PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship and the Editor-in-Chief of Viva Fifty!

Comments

  1. Loved it! Funny and true… I actually get the lightest highlights so that when my hair turns white, problem solved! No more work and just go along with white! By the way… White hair in men does look distinguished!