Golden Ager Heads-Up:  Hair Color News

Many a golden ager will be pleased with the news that gray hair could soon be a thing of the past. European researchers may have found the cure. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could pop a pill and prevent going gray? Or would it?

In a new study published online in The FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org), people who are going gray (not necessarily determined by being a golden ager) accumulate hydrogen peroxide in the hair follicle. This causes the hair to bleach itself from the inside out. The accumulation of hydrogen peroxide can be remedied with a topical treatment. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-05/foas-gha050313.php

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The subject of hair is incredibly complicated. It’s all tied up with self-image, with feeling good about ourselves, with our sense of adventure or the avoidance thereof, with our notion of beauty. Since the beginning of time, both men and women have done outrageous things to their hair in an attempt to improve their appearance, preserve youthfulness, disguise themselves, make a statement, conform to or show disdain for community standards.

According to a recent survey, the average British or American woman spends $50,000 on her hair over her lifetime. It doesn’t say how much of that is for coloring, but I’m certain it’s a significant percentage. THE ENCYCLOPÆDIA OF HAIR; A Cultural History says American women spend $1 Billion ($1,000,000,000,000) a year on hair coloring. (And that was in 1995, nearly 20 years ago!)

What if you could get a prescription that would allow you to could keep your normal hair color as you age? Would you do it? How much would you be willing to pay for it? What side effects would you be willing to risk?

Most of us have pangs of anguish when our first gray hairs “rear their ugly little heads”. Oh no! It’s happening. Wait a minute; I’m not old! How come I have gray hairs?! I’m not old enough to be classified as a golden ager! Some get out the tweezers and start plucking, or rush to Walgreen’s to purchase their first box of L’Oreal® – “Because I’m worth it”, or can’t get to the beauty salon fast enough. Others take a wait and see approach. And some dye for a while and then give it up.

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But think about this. Some men and women are much more attractive with silver hair than they ever were with the hair color nature gave them. It often lends panache that may have been lacking earlier. And some, especially those whose hair goes snowy white, are positively gorgeous with a cloud-like halo.

Would George Clooney be as debonair without that touch of silver at the temples? And what about that guy on the XX beer commercials? Stay sexy my friends.

This is one of those things that nature got right, in most cases. As a youthful face morphs into a more mature one, with character lines and angles, the lightening of one’s hair color softens the effect and makes one more attractive, not less.

In my opinion, nothing is more jarring – or pathetic — than an obviously older face topped with unnaturally dark hair. It’s a failed attempt at looking younger, often resulting in exactly the opposite. The bad dye job actually emphasizes and exacerbates the signs of aging. (My opinion.) Of course, there are some older people (I prefer the term ‘golden ager’) whose hair stays dark or whose hair nicely takes to dye in a natural – age appropriate — shade. Good for them!

I have to wonder if it would be a good thing if we could keep from going gray. Maybe this is one area in which we should leave well enough alone. Gorgeous proof is in this article from O Magazine: http://www.oprah.com/style/7-Gorgeous-Gray-Hair-Makeovers. This article demonstrates that gray hair is to be celebrated, not hidden. It shows seven beautiful women (some qualify as a golden ager, some do not) with various shades of gray hair, and offers styling tips.

Do I think we will leave well enough alone? Not a chance! When this potion hits the market, I predict it’ll sell like popcorn and make its manufacturer a ton of money. Do I wish I had stock in the company? You can bet this golden ager does!

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