Happiness Is...

Gray Matters

Things only your hairdresser should know.

By Heather Page

Conventional thinking says men with gray hair look distinguished, while women with ash-colored locks look, well, old. But recent findings reveal that men may not be so lucky when it comes to people's perceptions of their silver mops, particularly in the entrepreneurial world.

According to a recent study commissioned by hair products company Combe Inc., not only are gray-haired men perceived to possess less vitality than men with other hair colors, but they're also seen as less proficient. When rated by 100 leading image consultants, only 27 percent of the gray-haired participants were deemed "very capable." But when the image consultants were shown the same men with their natural hair color restored, the very capable rating jumped to 49 percent.

These findings may be of significance to male entrepreneurs because, for many, image is king. "Entrepreneurs are a walking image of their company, so if their image is suffering, it could impact their businesses," says John T. Molloy, an image researcher and consultant.

Unfortunately, there is no silver lining to this story. Today's youth-oriented society values a youthful appearance, says Molloy. Looks like it's time to get out that Grecian Formula.

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This article was originally published in the January 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Happiness Is....

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