Self-conscious generation: 4 in 5 millennial men insecure about their looks

NEW YORK — Half of men currently have gray hair (49%), and many of them are quite self-conscious about it (44%). That’s the conclusion from a survey of 2,000 adult men across all generations that looked into how they deal with natural changes to their appearance that come with aging.

Results show that most men who have gray hair worry that it makes them look older (70%). Another 42 percent are concerned about others’ opinions, specifically that other will see them as less attractive with gray hair.

While going gray can be something that some start to see as early as their 20s, Gen Xers and baby boomers shared that they weren’t comfortable being gray until they were nearly 50. Perhaps this is why 38 percent opt to cover up their gray hair.

Conducted by OnePoll in partnership with L’Oreal Paris, the survey also found that more than half of American men sometimes feel insecure about their overall looks (56%). Millennials feel the most self-conscious about their physical appearance (78%) versus 62 percent of Gen Zers and 55 percent of Gen Xers.


The data suggests that men, on average, feel insecure about their looks three times a week, worrying about several different things, including their weight (37%) and how their eyes look (22%). While nearly two-thirds of all respondents like their overall natural look (64%), 56 percent feel less confident when they’re not looking their best.

One of the top concerns for millennials (34%) and Gen X men (39%) is going gray, which can contribute to why 45 percent of men admit they sometimes feel pressure to look younger than they are. Millennials (88%) and the silent” generation born between 1928 and 1945 (79%) especially worry about looking as young as other men in their age range.

“The physical, outward signs of aging can be an emotional journey,” says Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, L’Oreal Paris international spokesperson, in a statement. “We are all on our own paths and embracing the process can mean many things – for example, some may feel confident and empowered by going completely gray, whereas others feel the same way about applying hair dye. Ultimately it’s important to be the best you can be, at any age, and only you can define that for yourself.”

Half of all men add they put more effort into maintaining their looks than others may think (51%). More than a third of respondents spend over half an hour a day trying to look their best (36%), with Gen Xers and millennials putting in the most time.

Compliments are the best reward

Looking and feeling their best varies across the generations, with Gen Zers prioritizing showering (48%) and picking out nice clothes (39%). Meanwhile, baby boomers shave (34%) and style their hair (33%) to get that extra boost of confidence.

It’s no surprise, then, that 61 percent of respondents believe receiving compliments helps them feel more confident.

“As a barber and colorist, I see first-hand the impact that appearance can have on one’s confidence,” says barber Rob McMillan. “Men are often overlooked in this aspect, but in reality, they can just as impacted by women. If my clients choose to cover their grays, I always encourage them to make sure it’s coming from within and not because they feel pressured by external factors.”

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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  1. Maybe the Millinials should room with the Silent Generation in a Nursing Home. Geez what a soft and weak generation. Who cares if you have a couple gray hairs, going bald, or have a gut. You will loose a couple things any way. Sex will turn into “too much work” or you need a pill and still results in “too much work.” And unless you take staroids or other enhancements for muscle development (cheating by the way) your F’d either way. You are getting old, old, old!

    1. Is it any wonder why millennial men are so self conscious about their looks? For decades now our society has been feminizing men. Back in the day when society demanded that men GROW UP to be strong sole providers and leaders of a family, there was precious little time for such vain concerns like a few gray hairs. Today too man men happily pass off their responsibilities to women so they can waste away playing Xbox. So sad!

  2. Good lord… please, Millennials, get it together. I’m a Gen-X… almost a Millennial. I was born in 1978. I’m 44 years old now. Even at 44, with a dad-bod, I still think of myself as insanely good looking and think that every woman is looking at me longingly. You guys seriously need to stop being so mamby-pamby. Please… for the success of the human race, start acting like men again.

  3. Well that figures. My generation accepted who we were and what gender we were. Millennials are bullied by F’d up progressives into deciding if they are girls, boys, LBGQT LMNOP QRXTUVW. Geez how do they stand a chance?

  4. Join the club, wusses. Everyone is “insecure” about their looks. Just a part of being human.

  5. Hey Millennials join the U.S.MARINE CORPS, Be a MARINE. That insecure issue will never haunt you again.

    1. Lol why would i join marines? im from europe. Not everyone in here is from the west(which is the worst society). + I already was in the army. Was a total waste of time.

  6. HAH!!! I’m 72 (1/2) have a full head of hair and women tell me if I wuzz totally bald my bumps dents and scars would be sexy … exude confidence young fellas!

  7. Boomers are the meme generation. How did I know exactly what their comments would be? They are back to believing the polls again. How cliche.

  8. Trigger Warnings….
    Safe Spaces….
    Teddy Bears….
    Hot Chocolate….

    4 in 5 Millennial males are just insecure little girls, period!


  9. I modeled in my youth … wouldn’t be caught dead in a non cool vehicle … when my hair started saying “bye bye” at 29 I freaked! Spent countless hours with gel and a hot comb creating the perfect folliclear “picket fence” to delay the inevitable. Alas … all for naught. Problem was, I was too immature … I was seeking “girls” instead of “women”! Once I accepted the inevitable, I realized that self confidence, maturity and a healthy sense of humor was the key. And the best part was I realized that beautiful, mature women have realized that “pretty boys” don’t cut it either … and I don’t miss that “Fabio” mane one bit!

  10. Hm. Im 28. when i was 12, i just looked in the mirror one day, and decided that my face is ugly. And it is 😀 I believe that day was the start of my downward spiral into madness. Over the years, this one thought evolved into a complete lack of motivation to move forward in life, becoming lazy, always in a bad mood, always angry inside, a lot of hatred, depression, mood swings, alcohol abuse for 5 years(i quit 2y ago), sober life was just no longer even worth living, it was too boring, never learned to talk to girls, i have 0 confidence and skills in that department. People told me that i look good. Even some girls rated me an 8. I can tell that those are genuine opinions. Im trying to believe them, i just cant. Its impossible. Compliments piss me off even more. Because of this one little thing long time ago, i’ve wasted my life to nothing. I do have a great physique tho, but this face is really pissing me off. When i have enough money, i might get a surgery to make myself completely different. I have to “photoshop” myself in real life. If i dont like the way i look, i dont care if the whole world loves me, dont care. As long as i hate this face, i’ll never have a normal life. Im in town, or a store, i see females, i get pissed instantly, i give them angry looks, pretend that i dont care, and then my whole day gets ruined with bad mood. Almost everytime.. I have this belief that with such ugly disgusting face, no one would want to go out with me. I could post an image right here, and you would get what im saying.. 😀 Even I wouldn’t go out with me. And im aware that there are people with faces way worse, im not an idiot. I just cant get rid of this.. These thoughts just wont go away. Therapy is totally useless, waste of time. No one can help you if you cant help yourself. The best therapy i could ever have, was discovering Andrew Tate last month. Say what you want, his words helped me. I was always aware of everything, but he really have me a good punch in a face for me to get the hold of myself. Ive changed my ways, felt inspiration like never before, totally forgot about this face and girls, and focused on building my life from sratch, started a business with a friend, now i actually feel motivated to level up in life. All was good, until i closely looked in a mirror 10min ago… 😀 I got f**king triggered again. Its why im writing this instead of working.. It always comes back, even when i feel like im doing great, it always returns to F with me. Im not getting younger, my appearance will keep getting worse, and my hatred will keep growing. God forbid, but i think the only way for me to change might be getting hit in a head real hard, to loose all memory of myself, so i wouldn’t remember this hatred towards this disgusting face. F this face 🙂

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