Live and Let Dye
It is perhaps a symptom of age when, as a man, you reach the point where at least once a month, someone close to you dyes.
For today it seems that restoring your hair’s youthful hue or simply changing its colour is no longer a subject for whispered conjecture but has become a socially acceptable part of one’s male grooming regime.
Last week I met a friend for a reunion lunch. As I walked into the restaurant I was immediately struck by his transformation. The man known to many of his friends as the Silver Fox had become… well, the Chestnut Stud.
His once richly grey hair had been rather impressively restored to its youthful dark-brown glory. And, at 48, he was happy to talk about it.
“My wife helped me – in fact she bought it for me,” he told me. “The only trouble was that when it was done there was a distinctly purple sheen which she said was just the bathroom light.
“It was still purple when I went to work the next day. Then my kids adapted the Prince song and started singing ‘Purple Hair, Purple Hair’ when I came home, so I was forced to seek professional help.”
His hairdresser has, in fact, done a fabulous job and, it has to be said, he looks great.
I admit to a certain degree of vanity, but, despite being flecked with grey myself, it has never occurred to me to try to restore my hair to its original setting. In fact to me, the idea of turning to dye is in the same league as bald man sporting a toupee or the sort of ridiculous ‘camouflage’ hairstyle of which Donald Trump is so fond.
That is, it’s not natural.
“I work in media – and grey isn’t natural there,” my friend countered. “It’s an unwelcome distraction.”
And yet recent research suggests he may be wrong.
Just last month CNBC reported that Amazon UK had recorded an 83% increase in the sales of grey hair dye to men. Part of this is down to the ‘George Clooney’ effect, but another part is about standing out and projecting a degree of gravitas.
Mintel, the market intelligence agency, reports that spend by men on hair dye in general increased from £1m in 2013 to £3m last year, suggesting the Chestnut Stud is, in fact, leading the media trend.