A Few Good Genes

grey hair seana 2

If we were to sit down for a coffee one day, you might find me whinging about something to do with genes.

Cos we’ve got all sorts in my family and some are a bit of a pain. We’ve got the genes for anxiety, autism, ADHD, short legs and podgy thighs. Oh yes and the gene or genes for addiction too.

On Paul’s side of the family there is one of the BRCA genes, which is deadly serious. Our daughter can be tested when she’s an adult to see if she has it.

But on a lighter note, on my side we have the gene for not going grey.

Now you can say what you like about my dear, deceased Dad, and trust me, we did. But he and his brother, Uncle Andrew, had relatively few grey hairs even in their 60s and 70s.


Dad Adelaide Andrew
My Dad, Aunty Adelaide and Uncle Andrew, three siblings all now passed away and much missed.

This year, scientists from University College London identified the gene for grey hair. It’s name is IRF4 and it regulates melanin, the pigment which gives hair its colour and our eyes too.  Read more here.

I definitely don’t have it.

I have one grey hair on the top of my head. her name is Mabel.  There are a couple of new cheeky ones too above my left ear. But that’s it so far, and I’m 52 years old.

I am saving a fortune in hair dye.

Now my husband has a fine head of grey hair and he looks very handsome indeed. He also had the genetic gifts of long legs and never overeating.

I may be a short-legged dipsomaniac with the attention span of a gnat and the athleticism of a tortoise, but my hair is its real colour and I have my own teeth.


Thanks, Dad. Also for the sense of humour and a dash of your sheer bloodymindedness.


Have you found any family genes that come into their own as you age?

Fancy a coffee and a moan anytime?



No Comments

  1. Lucky you on the grey-front!
    My parents were not very grey for decades, until their ’70’s. I have a few greys but not as many as the husband. I hope I got their genes. (I want your lack of this gene though!)

    • Fingers crossed Jody! I do love the look on women who are very grey and just go with it. But happy to stay as I am for a few more years.

  2. Lucky you on the no grey front! I’m due for another trip to hairdressers soon! I was also told that redheads don’t go grey. Let me tell you they do. I guess we can disguise it a bit better, cross our fingers and hope they look like blonde streaks.

    • Best of luck at the hairdresser! I’ve seen some redheads with grey coming through though, well more white and that can look great too.

  3. My mum’s very grey and went grey early but I have to admit I’m really not ready. She was probably a grandmother at the time, or at least had grown kids. I’m 48 – so far from young – but still single and, well…. I don’t know… I’m not ready to be in that phase of my life!

    • Me neither… I wonder what I will do when I am more grey… part of me thinks it’s daft to care… but we are human… I might go blond whilst I ponder the question.

  4. I’m one of the lucky ones too Seana – 49 and maybe a dozen grey hairs sprinkled through the front of my hair. My two younger sisters are cross because they are both fully grey (underneath the hair dye) haha! But then I’ve always looked young for my age. Hated it as a teenager, fully relishing it now!!!

    • My two sisters have brown hair and brown eyes and have some grey but not too much. My mum went grey very early, I blame the stress of living with Dad… we can joke about it now.

  5. I love this post! Lucky you with the one grey hair – bless Mabel 😉 I don’t have grey hairs yet either thankfully, but my cousin who is much younger than me has a head full of them and has from a young age. She now colours her hair blonde – she’s naturally dark – because it hides the greys better. Love the pic of your dad and uncle.

    • Yes, I love that photo too. My Dad was the youngest of the three of them but died first… he really damaged himself with the booze and it killed him in the end, great shame.

  6. I naturalise my hair blond and pink or I wouldn’t know if my hair was grey – hehehe. Except when I see on of those buggers in my eye brow.

    • I’m thinking of trying pink or green, and maybe blond streaks too… this doesn’t fit in with my plans to not spend too much cash mind you. Might have to wait. Hair’s a great way to be creative with our looks.

  7. My grandmother has snowy white hair. I dye mine platinum and I’m waiting for the day inherit the white blonde.

  8. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with grey hair, especially on men – look at George Clooney! I haven’t spotted any greys, but I have inherited my mother’s jowls and double chin. Lucky me!

    • My mum is much slimmer than me and so are my sisters…. it’s odd, isn’t it? I do eat more than them of course….

  9. Well I definitely have more grey than I could give names to, but I am the eldest after all. Still very few and often asked if I dye my hair which I don’t and have no intention of doing, too many chemicals for me! X

    • Hi Mairi, I always thought you got your hair from Mum but it must have been Dad and the old Smith not-very-grey hair gene has come through. Our teenagers will be adding to them, mind you.

  10. I seem to remember squeezing lemon into my hair with my best friend in Portugal, to make it blonder….but we went in to sea and it just went solid! Also much of the juice stung our eyes….we didn’t end up being as cool as we thought we would!hehe

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