When you're young, it's hard to imagine that you'll ever go grey, but the day will come. You may have noticed it already. A good friend, an observant partner, a jealous colleague, an innocent child, a complete stranger – someone will point out those dreaded grey hairs squirrelling through from absolutely nowhere. It's often your mother, with a mixture of concern, horror and schadenfreude. "Is that a grey hair, dear?"

And before you know it, you're plunging into the world of deception. Because unless you're Meryl Streep or George Clooney or a supermodel taking to the catwalk, you'll be convinced those grey hairs are going to age you and heaven forbid any of us should age!

Naturally (or unnaturally) you turn to hair colour; colouring can work wonders but those grey hairs won't just go away. Oh no. They breed! They don't really breed, of course, but it sure feels like it. And even the most skilled colourists in the world can't stop the greying process. Which brings us to the, excuse the pun, root of the issue - time for a grey hair touch-up!

The Most Common Grey Hair Myths and Facts

Pluck a grey hair and seven will come back

Myth; an old wives' tale. But it does feel like that because when you start micro-managing hair at that level of detail, you begin noticing grey hairs that you didn’t see there before. The fact is, though, grey isn't contagious; plucking a single hair shouldn't affect any hairs nearby. However, plucking can damage the follicle to the extent that new hair won't grow back. Most people have between 90,000 and 150,000 hairs, so the odd missing hair won't go amiss, but if you get the plucking bug you could make inroads; grey is always better than bald.

Your parents are to blame

Fact: Ok, blaming them is a little harsh – they didn't choose their parents any more than you did – but genetics is a major factor in how grey you go and how soon. So, if you're not grey yet, and you can bear to look into the future, check out the family photo albums. If your mum went grey in her early 40s, don't be too surprised if the same happens to you. Your gene pool is not the only factor, though. It's thought that lifestyle habits can influence the rate of greying, so a good diet and clean living may delay the inevitable.

Grey hairs are actually white

Fact: When hair grows it either has pigment or it doesn't; in which case it is white, and the more white hairs you have, the greyer you look. We only think we have grey hairs because of an optical illusion caused by strands of white hair reflecting other colours. Of course, it's one thing to admit you're going 'grey', quite another to embrace the idea of going white – so if you still want to call them grey hairs that's fine with us. We will too; it can be our little secret.

Stress can turn you grey overnight

Myth: Marie Antoinette may have gone grey but it certainly didn't happen as she walked towards that guillotine; nobody goes to sleep brunette and wakes up silver. That's because the visible shaft of every hair consists of dead cells, which can't change colour. Your hair can only change colour gradually as it grows. The only way to go grey overnight is by using dye or, like a French 18th century aristocrat, a wig. However, there may be links between stress and alopecia, a condition whereby large numbers of pigmented hairs can fall out in a short space of time – so, if only the white hairs remain, it may look as if someone has gone grey (or white) overnight (but it’s not true).

Too much sun makes you go grey

Myth: We know UV rays can accelerate skin 'ageing' – those wrinkles and sun spots that beleaguer most of us in later life – but there's no evidence that it makes hair white. Having said that, the sun is not great for hair generally because it dries it out, and grey hair is more susceptible to damage from heat or sun exposure since it has less melanin, so wearing a hat or using SPF hair products is definitely advisable.

Only permanent hair colour covers up greys

Myth: We simply recommend permanent colour for the best and longest lasting grey coverage but semi-permanent grey hair touch-ups will work temporarily, so you could always try it to see how you would look with a different colour.

Highlights are the best way to conceal grey

Myth: Using all-over colour is the best way to cover up grey hair. Adding highlights may help disguise grey hair but you'll have to add more and more as time goes by until the highlights become the main colour, and not everyone wants to be a bleached blonde!

The more you colour hair, the faster it goes grey

Myth: But, it may look like you're greying faster because once you begin disguising grey hairs with colour, there is a larger contrast between the colour and the grey, so those grey roots, when they appear, will be more apparent.

Going grey is the end of the world

Big myth: A lot of people look great with grey hair. But even if you don't look great, or think you don't, there's a whole world of colour out there to cover up what nature intended!

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