Is a Grey Beard Attractive in 2022? (Real Women Respond!)

Most women dread those first grey hairs, but do they feel differently when they see them on men? Statistics say yes!

A grey beard is considered attractive to the majority of women in 2022. A 2020 study found that 72% of women preferred men with grey hair – with the caveat that they don’t then look too old. The popularity of grey hair and beards is also fueled and validated by celebrities like George Clooney. Some grey is considered more attractive than full grey.

Read on to learn more about the current grey movement and some tips for keeping your grey beard looking good.

Does a grey beard look good in 2022?

Turn on the television or pick up a magazine and you are likely to see men proudly displaying some silver in their hair and beards. Many men are ditching the dye and letting nature take its course.

A grey beard is in style and attractive in 2022. Many high-profile Hollywood celebrities have embraced their greys and helped normalize the aging process. Historically, men with grey hair have been accepted and admired.

Pandemic lockdowns and ongoing concerns have also spurred men to go natural instead of hiding their greys. Many men were inspired to grow a beard for the first time, grey or not, and decided they liked it. Quarantine beards were chronicled on social media and drew a huge amount of likes.

Is salt and pepper hair attractive?

Women prefer salt and pepper sprinkled hues more than all over grey looks. 

Studies show that women think salt and pepper hair is attractive on a man. They equate this touch of grey style with experience and being a strong caretaker.

Dr. Christopher Oldstone-Moore, author of Of Beards and Men: The Revealing History of Facial Hair, hypothesizes that women are more attracted to a man’s character than his physique and this explains why they are often drawn to older men and the touch of grey.

Fun Fact: Even though humans and chimpanzees share many similarities, studies show grey chimpanzee hairs are not an indicator of their age. They reach the salt and pepper stage and then stop the greying process.

Does a grey beard make you look older?

Grey hairs are part of the aging process. Melanin pigments in the hair follicles decrease, resulting in white or silver hair strands.

A grey beard does make you look older and more mature. Studies show beards, in general, can age men up to 8 years, and grey beard hair can increase this perception even more. However, looking older is often a positive for men.

A 2013 survey by Manchester’s Crown Center showed a pair of celebrity photos to respondents. In one photo the star was clean-shaven while sporting a beard in the other. The results yielded an average age increase of 5 years when bearded. Some stars even looked older.

Women are apparently drawn to bearded grey men though. Adjectives like “distinguished, mature, rugged, sophisticated, confident” are used on discussion boards to express their attraction to the silver foxes.

Fun Fact: The term “Silver Fox” was first used as a nickname for 1920s major league pitcher, Jesse Petty. He earned this moniker for his prematurely grey hair.

Why does beard hair go grey before head hair?

We are born with over 5 million hair follicles. Hairs grow from these follicles at different rates. Melanocytes contain hair pigments that make our hair a certain color. Over time, these melanocytes age and stop producing pigments.

Beard hairs often go grey before head hair due to genetics. If your dad’s beard turned grey first, chances are yours will too. Hair color is determined by the ratio of hair pigments located in the melanocytes. As we age, these pigments begin to decrease. The hair follicles on your face can start this process earlier than the follicles on your head.

Sometimes we perceive that our facial hair is turning grey quicker because we notice it every time we look in the mirror. Chances are there are some greys on your scalp too, but they aren’t as easy to spot.

Do beards make your face look thinner or fatter?

Beards can transform your appearance. They can hide imperfections and create a visual illusion.

Your face shape and the style of your beard can make you look thinner or fatter. If you have a triangular face, a goatee style can make you look even thinner. If you have a round face, a big, bushy beard can make you appear fatter while a V-shaped beard can make you look thinner.

If you are a bigger guy, a beard can help balance out your look. You can minimize a rounder face by making sure the hair on the cheek area falls straight down instead of pushing out.

If you have a rigid, square face, you can soften up the angles by growing a beard. For some men, growing a beard at an older age can help camouflage the dreaded turkey neck.

Overall, beards offer many ways to alter your look as you age.

Celebrities with grey beards in 2022

The heartthrobs of years past are growing older gracefully. Instead of hiding their greys, whites, and silvers, they are embracing them. 

Hollywood boasts many grey-bearded celebrities today. George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Idris Elba, Pierce Brosnan, and Ben Affleck aren’t afraid to let their grey hairs show. Their acceptance is leading to a culture shift.

  • George Clooney
  • Brad Pitt
  • Idris Elba
  • Pierce Brosnan
  • Ben Affleck

George Clooney

Twenty years ago George Clooney was known for his clean-shaven, dark-haired style. He started getting some greys at 33, and we’ve had a front-row seat for the process. Today, at 60 years old, he is applauded for his sophisticated grey locks and facial hair. 

Brad Pitt

Fifty-eight-year-old Brad Pitt has changed a lot since his Thelma & Louise days. Once a dark-haired actor, he’s traded his signature look for a mostly grey beard. Fans were shocked when he showed off his natural grey in 2015’s movie, The Big Short, but they have come to welcome his aged look.

Idris Elba

Idris Elba, 49, wears salt and pepper hair on his head and mostly grey in his goatee very well. He even sported this look on the cover of People magazine when he was honored as the Sexiest Man Alive in 2018.

Pierce Brosnan

If James Bond rocks a grey beard, you know it’s attractive and stylish. The former 007 decided to uncover his greys in 2015. He’s been seen sporting grey beards and mustaches ranging from full coverage to a goatee and Fu Man Chu.

Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck, 49, decided to go natural and let his salt and pepper beard and hair take center stage a few years ago. In 2020, he dyed it dark for a movie role and faced some criticism. Some claimed he looked younger, but others claimed it looked unnatural. 

Ryan Reynolds

Ryan Reynolds is the newest member of Hollywood’s A-list silver fox club. At just 45, he’s often seen with greying hair and a grey beard when his hair isn’t dyed brown for a role. It may have been more than a decade since he was named People‘s Sexiest Man Alive, but he’s still looking great.

How to make a grey beard look good

Grey hairs require different maintenance to keep them shining.

You can keep your grey beard looking good by

  • Keeping it well-groomed
  • Protecting it from sun exposure
  • Applying minimal product

Groom it regularly

Grey scraggly beards can age you exponentially.

A trimmed beard with sharp lines is stylish.

Grey hairs can dull or become brassy over time. Using a specially formulated shampoo on your beard periodically can keep it looking bright.

Protect it from the sun

Too much sun exposure can dry out your greys and even turn them yellow.

Whenever you will be outdoors for an extended period, apply a sun protectant with SPF.

Go light on the product

Too much product can weigh down your strands and make them dull and discolored.

If using thicker products like butter and balm, apply only a small amount. Make sure to wash it out at the end of the day to avoid product buildup.