This is a trend I’m not sure I would have predicted, but we’re starting to see young guys go gray — on purpose. Recently Zayn Malik (formerly of the pop band One Direction) was seen sporting a fresh gray mane, so you can guess other guys will probably follow his lead. Zayn is working the trend well, but one of the best I’ve seen so far on Landon Ray’s Instagram page.

Gray hair trends - mens gray hair
Men’s Hair Trend: Going Gray on Purpose. Photo © Landon Ray. All rights reserved.

Earlier this year, The Telegraph reported that Amazon.com’s sales of gray hair dye have increased by roughly 80%.

What is going on here!? Am I in an alternate universe? Since Clairol introduced the first at-home permanent hair color in 1849, people have been trying to get rid of gray hair. And now young guys are starting to go gray. On purpose. That said, I do kinda like the trend. It’s different and cool.

So, does this make us middle-aged guys with gray hair cool, too? Please?

Before you decide to take the step of going gray, there are several things to consider. First, it is a big change and may (will) potentially damage your hair. The entire process, to have it professionally done, will take several hours and cost several hundred dollars. You’ll also want to avoid this process if your hair is extremely coarse. Also, if you are older than your mid to late twenties, you may end up looking like you are actually gray, rather than looking like someone who is following a trend. If you decide to try going gray at home (not recommended), you may want to prepare yourself for the fact that you may still need to seek a professional service (or shave your head) if you don’t get it right.

So, how do you get the granddad look? MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH A PROFESSIONAL! This double-process color job is a long, difficult process, so let a pro handle the job. To get the gray look, your hair is going to have to go through some bleaching and dying which can lead to damage. The process is similar to that if you went platinum blond, with the gray color at the end.

Before you go gray, it’s important that you haven’t already dyed your hair (if you have, let it grow out first). Make sure to condition your hair daily so it will be able to withstand the damage (bleach will dry your hair out). You’ll also want to not wash your hair a few days before heading to the salon as the natural oils in your hair and scalp will help protect your skin from the process.

If you have decided to go gray, you’ll need to bleach your hair first to remove the existing natural color (unless you are already a natural light blond guy). This is the part that requires the most time and can potentially damage your hair, which is why I recommend heading to the salon to have it done professionally. Your stylist will also likely apply a toner (a purple substance which neutralizes yellow tones in the hair).

Finally, your stylist will apply the gray color, which also looks purple in the bowl, leave it on for thirty minutes or so and rinse it out. Just like that (well, just like several hours and an empty wallet), you are gray.

After you leave the salon, you’ll want to make sure to wash and condition your hair with products that are specifically formulated for gray hair. You’ll also need to go back to your stylist for touch-ups (or to go back to your natural color when you get tired of the look) after a few weeks. Of course, if you don’t want to maintain the gray hair, you also have the option to let it grow out a one or two weeks and give yourself a buzzcut.

Going gray on purpose when you are young is a bold, fashion-forward statement. It can be a fun look, but somewhat tricky to achieve and maintain. But, the cool thing about hair is that whatever you do to it is only temporary — it will always grow back, so I recommend having fun with it.

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