It was Samantha who uttered those fateful words: “Pluck one grey hair out, three more will come to its funeral” (Sex and the City episode 12, season six for those playing at home).
But what actually happens when you pluck out a stray grey? As a brunette whose bathroom has unhelpfully strong natural light, this was a question I needed answered – and quickly. Preferably, before I go bald (or three times as grey as I otherwise would be… thanks, Samantha).
To answer my not-remotely-personal-asking-for-professional-purposes-only question, I turned to Renya Xydis, hair stylist to Cate Blanchett (that godly creature who I’m sure has never had this problem) and a long list of other Sydney stars.
Do you want the good news, or the bad?
We’ll start with the good. Xydis assures me that no, more greys don’t grow back in place of the one you plucked. But (and here’s the bad), another grey will simply pop up to replace it. “The hair follicle will replace the one single hair you have pulled out with another single hair,” she says. “If the hair you have pulled out is grey, the hair that will grow back will also be grey.”
Interestingly, Xydis reports that women are beginning to go grey younger – in Sydney at least. “Stressful, fast-paced lifestyles are a common cause for grey hair coming through earlier,” she attests. “There is no need to worry though, as people are more accepting of the ‘silver fox’ look, it’s very trendy.”
What age you go grey will depend on your genetics and your lifestyle, with chronic stress or a major stress event often triggering premature grey hair.
But back to the tweezers. Xydis cautions against plucking – “you’ll end up with short sprouts everywhere!” – and suggests embracing the change or booking in for a simple tint to cover up.
BRB – booking an appointment.
This article originally appeared on Marie Claire.