Monday, 6 June 2011

If you pull out a grey hair do seven new grey hairs really grow back?

This is a beauty myth that I have been wanting to bust for a while as I am surprised how many people actually believe it. I am quite vain so hate having visible grey hairs. Having naturally dark brown hair means that even a single grey hair is very noticeable. From the age of about 22 or 23 I discovered that I had about five grey hairs floating about. As soon as I could see them I'd pull them out. Then, a few months later when they were rearing their ugly heads again - pluck, out they'd come again! Up until I was about 27 or 28 I only had these 5 grey hairs, well that was all I could find anyway. Then from 28 onwards they have been inviting their friends and relatives to move in and I am slowly losing the plucking battle (side note: this increase in grey hairs at 28 was also the year that I got married...I wonder if their is any correlation between getting married and going grey??).

Whenever I was having a conversation with someone about grey hairs and I'd mention that I pull mine out, they'd look at me horrified - 'you can't do that, seven more will grow back in its place' they would all warn me. Even my hairdresser was horrified that I plucked my grey hairs. One day when she was straightening my hair I could see a stray grey sticking up and it was driving me crazy. I asked her to pull it out and she refused saying that I'd end up with more if she pulled it out.

I have never believed this old wives tale, mostly because for five years I kept plucking my greys yet they didn't increase in number. Plus it made no sense to me. Why would plucking greys cause more greys to grow when the same is not true for your coloured hair. Imagine if it were true - that would mean that the cure for baldness would be to pluck out your hair as each hair you pluck causes seven more to grow in its place - doesn't really make sense, does it? Or worse, each time you waxed your legs, seven hairs replaced each pulled one - what state would your legs be in now?

Even though I conducted a scientific study on myself for five years to prove my point, I decided that it is probably not enough evidence to convince you all that this is in fact an old wives tales. In all honesty, studies with a sample size of one are rubbished in the scientific community, and most likely would not be accepted just as much in the blogging community so more research was needed to prove my point!

So, firstly, a little bit about hair - only one hair can grow out of each hair follicle. If you pull out a single hair, no matter the colour, only one hair will ever grow back in its place. The most probable reason this old wives tale came about was that when you pull out a grey hair it takes roughly three months to grow back and then at least another three months until it has grown long enough to become visible. So, in the time since you pulled that grey hair out, you have actually aged six months, and it is a well know fact that the older you get the more grey hairs you get. Therefore, I don't think it is your hair plucking that is causing more greys to grow but in fact just old man time is once again being cruel to your body. So pluck away my friends!

How do you tackle your grey hairs? Do you pluck them like me or dye them? Or are you proud of your grey hairs?