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Taking cover

How to hide greying hair

Taking cover
29 August 2011

Q: I started to go grey at the temples a couple of years ago. I didn’t mind the air of gravitas it gave me but it’s starting to spread and I’m worried I’ll end up completely white before my next birthday. Hair dyes just look dodgy – is there anything else I can do?

Jason, Hertfordshire

Our expert Ahmed Zambarakji answers your questions below:

Agreed – there’ s a fine line between distinguished and disheveled. A little bit of grey never hurt anyone but if it’s really starting to get to you, you might want to look at rebalancing treatments that put a bit more pepper in your salt and pepper. This can be achieved with the right product in the right hands. And loads of guys are doing it. 1 in 5 nationwide, apparently.

The problem is the majority of guys who use a ‘treatment’ aren’t using a male specific product and the end result resembles a helmet of colour. This kind of colouring must be avoided at all costs. Forget about the likes of Just for Men (the badly dubbed ads should be enough to put you off) and go for something that blends in with your natural hair colour like Excell 5 (£6.99 for kit by L’Oreal Men Expert;

You’ll have to administer it yourself in the privacy of your own home but it’s a fairly straightforward process and, given that it’s not a ‘shoe polish’ sort of treatment, there’s little room for error. Moreover, it’s a temporary and ammonia-free formula so you’ll get a natural ‘rebalancing’ effect without harming your hair or scalp (high concentrations of ammonia as found in other dyes actually enter the hair cortex and have a tendency to burn skin).

If you’re not comfortable doing the job yourself, try and find a decent hair salon that offers something called L’Oreal Professionnel Homme Cover 5’ (see It’s not a rinse or a dye and you don’t have to sit in the middle of the hairdressers’ with a head full of foils. It’s a discreet five-minute job that the barber adds at the backwash while they’re giving you a shampoo. Again, this treatment is a light refresher rather than an all-over colour and it shouldn’t cost you more than about £15.

If you want to embrace the grey - and more men should – then just make sure it looks healthy and doesn’t have that dull yellow-ish tone. A shampoo called Pure Silver by respected trichologist Philip Kingsley (pictured) (14.30 for 250ml from contains optical brighteners so you can rock a full-on Anderson Cooper barnet with pride.

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