Why more women than ever are turning grey under 40 and how you can embrace it

An increasing number of women are choosing to embrace their natural hair [Photo: Pexels]

According to John Frieda, 32 percent of British women under the age of 30 have already started to spot grey hairs.

But we’re no longer trying to conceal it, as a recent report by Mintel reveals that 68 percent of 25-64 year olds now believe it is “acceptable to have grey hair”.

So what’s changed?

Social media has undoubtedly encouraged more women to embrace their natural roots with an increasing number of Instagram users flocking to the digital platform to share candid photographs of their greying locks.


Boasting over 26,000 followers, Instagram account ‘Grombre‘ encourages women to send in submissions of their grey hair to inspire others. And the platform has helped hundreds of women open up about their stories with some having found their first grey hair as a teenager.

According to Pinterest, the social media platform has also noted an increase in interest surrounding grey hair inspiration. Users pinning images of ‘growing out grey hair’ has risen by 105% in the past six months while saves for ‘natural grey hair’ have grown by 40% over the past year.

A-listers may also have led to the increase in women embracing their roots as Anabel Kingsley, Trichologist at Philip Kingsley, told Yahoo Style UK: “Celebrity icons, like Jaime Lee Curtis and Helen Mirren, have embraced their hair turning grey naturally and look fabulous.”

She continued, “This may well have paved the way for other women to do so. Having grey or silver hair has become quite trendy in the past few years with celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Kate Moss, and Cara Delevingne opting to dye their hair grey.”

What causes grey hair?

Our hair colour is down to pigments produced by cells known as melanocytes which sit in the follicle’s root. As we age, the melanocytes stop producing the pigments and in turn, our hair loses its natural colour and gradually goes grey.

But according to a recent study published in Nature Communications, it’s not unusual for women to experience the ageing process in their early twenties.

Stress is a leading cause of premature greying [Photo: Pexels]

Findings revealed that the speed in which our hair starts to grey is down to genetics so if your parents went grey at an early age then you’re likely to as well. Further research also indicated that race plays a large role in the ageing process, as African or East-Asian women are less likely to go grey until their late thirties or forties.

“Nutritional and hormonal factors may also affect hair colour, as can illness and stress,” Kingsley adds. “One of the reasons for this is because stress, illness and an improper diet can deplete your body of vitamin B – and various studies have shown that a lack of vitamin B can turn hair white prematurely.”

How can I prevent premature greying?

Although greying is inevitable, there are a few lifestyle changes you can make in order to slow down the ageing process.

Adopt a diet rich in vitamin B

“If you have a vitamin B deficiency, adding foods rich in B vitamins (or a supplement containing them) to your diet may be useful in stopping premature greying,” Kingsley told Yahoo Style UK. “However, at present there is no way to delay when you are genetically programmed to turn grey.”

Ditch the straighteners

One of the most common (and admittedly surprising) reasons for premature greying is over-styling.

Hairstylist and Hair Rituel Ambassador, Miguel Perez, told The Telegraph: “Due to the over-use of hair tools, styling products and environmental factors like pollution, our hair is less healthy than it used to be. Like your skin, your scalp will age as you get older, so it’s important to look after it with the right products and care.”

Give up smoking

Not only does smoking have a damaging effect on your skin, it can also lead to premature greying. According to multiple studies, smokers are 2.5 times more likely to get grey hair before the age of 30 than non-smokers.

How to embrace your grey hair

For those of you who wish to embrace your natural roots, it’s important to continue to look after your hair. But what are the most recommended products on the market?

“Grey hair easily becomes brassy and dull. To counteract yellow tones, it’s best to use a violet coloured shampoo,” Kingsley advises. “Dirt shows up faster on grey hair than any other hair colour. Shampoo and condition at least every other day to keep your strands glossy.”

Philip Kingsley’s Silver range includes an £18 shampoo and £22 conditioner which are a go-to for clients with everything from fine to coarse hair. Designed to banish brassiness and add shine, look no further for the industry secret…


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