Gray Days: How to Handle Gray Hair

  • Michael Denmon
Gray Days: How to Handle Gray Hair

Many men panic at the progress of gray hair and take that as a sign that they are dying, even if it is slowly from old age.

In reality, gray hair is just the condition that your body’s hair cells are no longer able to produce the pigment to color new follicles in the same color as the hair that they are replacing. One day, you will notice your first gray hair and your philosophical considerations will begin.

That day can be different for everyone. Some men feel extremely attacked by their body’s failure, and they immediately bombard their hue-challenged hair with dyes and sprays and maybe even plants or crushed and soaked coffee beans…no judgment.

Should you treat the arrival of gray hair as the downward slope of aging and delay it all cost? Or should you look at it for what it is, the body’s way of saying you have lived to an age that means you can successfully take care of yourself?


If you work in an industry where you need to look younger, it can be understandable that you would consider dying your hair back to its normal color. A younger audience may look at graying hair as a sign that you are no longer one of them. This situation can be particularly tough for men who may be graying prematurely. A man in his twenties is not supposed to have gray hair, so the urge to color his hair and resemble the norms of his generation.

However, if you truly look as if you are someone’s retired grandpa, and you suddenly have jet-black hair that smells slightly chemically, then you are taking the wrong approach. Some men can pull off a dye job, and some cannot. Know which group you fall into before you embarrass yourself. And if you aren’t sure, assume you are in the latter group.


Another approach to take when you first start to notice gray hairs is to ignore them. Out of sight, out of mind, so if you don’t look at them you don’t think about them. Of course, then you have to worry about a younger someone at work or in your family, pointing at the newly seen gray hair and excitedly ostracizing you for the turning of the hair color.

At that point, you either exclaim that the hair is not gray, and instead is a uniquely light blond color, or explain that it is from an old football injury. Either lie is easily seen through by the people you tell it to. The lie will continue until the growing amount of gray can no longer be ignored, at which point you must concede defeat or continue to lie to yourself and others. Or disappear altogether.


The third option when your hair starts to gray is to embrace it. Not in a phony, celebratory way, but as an acceptance of what is naturally occurring and then a re-framing of what it means for you.

Gray hair is not the end of anything except the potential of being mistaken as inexperienced. You’re no longer the rookie with perfectly-hued hair. You’re the crafty veteran now, full of knowledge and unbelievable tales. You’re distinguished with your gray hair, trustworthy even. You are the man that people trust.

Or maybe you are still you, just with more of an eclectic colored hairstyle.

Gray is not the end of anything unless you make it such. If you consider graying hair as part of just another era of an interesting life well-lived, no one will even notice that your hair has become a mix of different colors.

After all, it isn’t the miles on the man that makes him interesting, it is the type of miles. Be proud of your gray as a marker of the type of miles you have lived, and tell a story or two of how you earned those gray hairs.