Grey Expectations - Natural hair colour is a cut above for British singles

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Helen Mirren, with her silvery locks, and George Clooney, with his distinguished steel, have acquired a further advantage in the attraction stakes: two thirds of British singles prefer grey hair to the less natural look favoured by so many other stars of the red carpet.

“Although individuals often believe their own natural grey hair is unattractive, the reality, as this survey shows, is that it’s not just acceptable to have grey hair - many people find it positively desirable." said Dr Victoria Lukats

According to new survey published today by, Europe’s largest online dating service for singles seeking a serious relationship, one third (35%) of men and just over a quarter of women (28%) claim to prefer the natural look to dyed hair, while a a further 40% of men and 26% of women say grey hair doesn’t detract from someone’s appeal, but in fact enhances it

Paradoxically, however, two thirds (68%) of women under 50 years of age said they would definitely dye their hair if it contained more than 25% grey, though the comparable figure for men was just 28%.

In the survey of 1,000 singles, only one in ten (14% of men and 7% of women) said grey hair was a turn-off, expressing a preference for the dyed look. A further one in six people (16%) thought a bit of grey was ok on the over 40’s, but not a good look on the under 40’s. One in ten (8% of women and 11% of men) said a smattering of grey could look good, but that any more was a turn-off. Just one third of those surveyed backed the new trend of bleaching hair silver, as recently seen on the Chanel catwalk.

Dr Victoria Lukats, psychiatrist and dating expert, commented: “Although individuals often believe their own natural grey hair is unattractive, the reality, as this survey shows, is that it’s not just acceptable to have grey hair - many people find it positively desirable. More often than not, it’s how we think people will perceive us that drives us to the dye bottle or colourist. It may be that having sleek, shiny, tinted hair makes for a more stylish and striking overall look, but it won’t necessarily increase your chances in the love stakes. Perhaps the allure of grey hair could be explained by the perception that it is associated with maturity and wisdom or even that daring to go au naturel shows a certain amount of self-confidence."

Dr Lukats continues: “Although physical appearance, including hairstyle, is important, what singles most value in a potential partner are qualities like openness, the ability to communicate well, intelligence and a sense of humour: These attributes are all rated more highly than physical attractiveness.”

Women, though, are more likely to date a grey-haired man than a bald one. When asked if they would date someone who was almost totally bald, 11% said it was out of the question and 36% thought it highly unlikely.

PARSHIP recognises that it is personality, not looks, that really counts in any relationship. The first online dating service in Europe to use a unique scientific compatibility test, PARSHIP employs techniques based on 40 years of scientific research to match people who share similar and complementary personality and character traits – the prerequisite for a harmonious relationship.

PARSHIP has successfully matched many thousands of couples and research suggests that people are twice as likely to establish a lasting relationship with PARSHIP's help than with any other method; 38% of its members say they have met someone special through the service.

About the survey
To establish if British singles viewed grey hair as more or less attractive, PARSHIP surveyed a random sample of 1,000 of its members in February 2010. The respondents were aged between 18 and 70, split equally between male and female, and based in the UK & Ireland and mainland Western Europe.

About Dr Victoria Lukats
Dr Victoria Lukats, MBBS MRCPsych MSc is a psychiatrist, agony aunt and dating expert. As well as working as a dating expert Dr Lukats a specialist registrar in psychiatry and writes an agony aunt column on relationships and dating for a national newspaper and a national magazine.


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