Although a man going grey is heralded as a silver fox, women spend many thousands of pounds a year covering up those rogue grey strands – the British spend over £3million a year on shop-bought hair dyes. Now, recent research has pinpointed the gene that is responsible for hair changing colour and in the future it could mean a way to stop this sign of ageing in its tracks. In a study published in Nature Communications, an international team of scientists explained how they’d collected DNA samples from more than 6,000 volunteers, from as wide a range of genetic make-up as possible. The scale of the study allowed the scientists to identify the gene IRF4 that regulates the pigment melanin that determines the colour of hair, skin and eyes. The gene sits on chromosome six and although it might not be the only gene that shapes the hair colour it is the first positive discovery by a worldwide team led by British researchers at the University College London.