BEAUTY

Gray Hair Confession

gray haired BarbieI’m going to say something that some of you may not want to hear… I’m not big on gray hair. Sorry, I know it’s vogue to say how wonderful and sexy it is, but I feel it tends to wash them out on many women and make them look older.

Of course, there are some women with gray hair who look stunning. Still, I find that’s usually because the woman is usually so darn attractive, to begin with, that she could wear purple and orange striped hair and still look fabulous! She’s also the same woman the color industry labels as a winter or summer; the woman whose hair, when it turns gray, turns that striking silvery-white color instead of dull yellow-gray.

40+ model with long gray hair
This former model revived her career because she went gray!

One such woman is a gal I met who had modeled professionally and then retired to have a child. Interestingly enough, this over-50 model was able to revive her modeling career simply because of her gorgeous gray locks! She’s one of those stunning silver foxes!

beautiful woman with long gray hair
It wouldn’t matter what color hair this gorgeous woman had; she still looked great!

But that being said, I still feel that gray can be tricky to pull off. I know coloring your hair is a pain; yes, it is! And I know some of you say, who cares if gray makes you look old(er), you are not a young woman anymore. That is a perfect point! Fine, then go gray.

If you want to stay looking youthful (fresh, vibrant –  not ridiculously young), think carefully before going that route.

I know I’m going to get some flack about this one, but that’s o.k. There is no right or wrong in this “gray area.” This is my opinion, and every thought has a right to be heard.

Everyone should do what makes them happy, so follow your heart. If you like gray hair go for it!

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68 thoughts on “Gray Hair Confession

  1. I grew my gray out in 2015. It was a beautiful color. Silvery white. I kept it for five years and went brunette again. I always looked tired and washed out, no matter how I used makeup. It just didn’t work for me. It also became a bore. Color is fun! Do whatever works for you.

  2. This isn’t really as countercultural as you are saying it is. You could also post about how no matter what anyone says, it’s more attractive for women to be thin or have straight white teeth than be overweight or have yellow crooked teeth. You are just restating what American culture (and most international cultures, actually) assert daily. It’s the women who do something else, struggling with the majority judgment and trying to find new ways to exist in the world.

    I would look better with colored hair. I would also look better with breast implants, strategic liposuction, fillers, and a corset. We all have to figure out what we’re willing to do to fit in, find a mate, or have job opportunities. I don’t think there’s any clear answer, but each person should be clear on why they make their choices, what they’re giving up, and what their priorities are.

    I finally realized that I didn’t so much enjoy having my hair colored as I felt it was a requirement for women my age. I started to resent the root cover-ups and constant salon visits. I quit, but I wish it didn’t have to be considered a radical choice.

    So you could title this post, “Covering grey hair is the current beauty standard for women.” I think it’s ok to state that. But let’s not pretend it’s a unique statement and that women who go grey simply aren’t aware of current norms. Of course, the more women do it, the more acceptable it will eventually be. Women did not have many choices about wearing corsets either, but things changed. I’m sure at some point, there were articles about how women look better with corsets, no matter what anyone says. It’s ok to wear a corset if everyone else wears them. It’s ok to dye your hair if everyone else does. Let’s be clear about why we’re doing it.

  3. I’m starting to agree. I went natural gray about three years ago, and I’m washed out and it looks muddy. I look 10 years older. Pale skin, light eyes…I think gray seems to look best on those with darker skin and brown eyes. I’m just all washed out.

    Purple shampoo is not the cure-all that everyone thinks it is. I’m going to dye it to a lighter brown again, and try again going gray in 10 years or so. Hopefully, then it will have more silver to it than I had thought it would.

  4. I agree with Deborah– not all women look good with gray hair. All these pictures of women with gray hair are naturally beautiful models. I’m a 68-yr old single woman who is not stunning. I was a “redhead” for most of my adult life. I finally decided to go naturally gray last year. I was happy to be free from coloring my hair every four weeks and save time and money.
    I’m about 95% gray, except for some ends on the bottom. It’s a silvery-gray color now. It’s not a terrible color, but it’s not for me. My natural gray hair is much thinner, frizzier, and curlier than my dyed hair. I feel I look washed-out. I don’t always want to wear makeup or red lipstick to look less dull. I think that the gray hair ages me. I’m already older. I’m just not happy with my natural gray. I’m considering trying a semi-permanent alcohol-free color. I want to try a light honey blonde or something subtle.
    I think embracing natural gray hair is acceptable for some women, but not all.

  5. Beauty is personal. It is like a pair of shoes. Until we try them on and walk around a bit in each other’s lives, we have no idea what the thoughts behind our looks might be. Going grey or staying natural is a choice for various reasons. Some women have been trophy wives, always looking for a sure way to be loved. I can personally attest that is an exhausting role to have to play. To be able to simply “age” for the beauty of aging can be beautiful in and of itself. Other women choose the “natural route” because of health issues. Those chemicals are harsh on the body. I have Lupus, and though I was “salon” blonde for years, it was not a healthy choice. Other women have looked at the issue from a financial point of view. Perhaps money is tight, and paying a $200 fee to a hairstylist is not feasible. Or there are women like myself, who see the poverty in the world, have done the math, and know that thousands of children can be fed each month simply by choosing to keep their hair grey. That is a beautiful reason to go “natural.”

    Aging is a gift not available to all. I’m not sure why showing one’s age is such a sin. My goodness, the glorious life I have lived from being a relief worker in Cambodian refugee camps in my twenties, raising my children in my thirties, traveling the world in my forty’s, being a writer, philanthropist, illustrator, and now in my sixties a rancher! I love my age even if others don’t.

    So, maybe the absolute truth of this is that we as women need to spend more time encouraging each other to live life to the fullest, to use our gifts and intelligence to their highest good, to keep our hearts filled with wonder and worry less about how we look doing it! Let’s strive to cheer each other on along the way! Lasting beauty comes from within.

    Susan, you are beautiful with your blonde hair. Fashion is important to you! I love it! Bravo. That is what fits you! For 25 years, I liked my hair salon blonde; it was a necessary uniform in the wealthy world I once lived in. Still, I am training to run ultra marathons and oversee a ranch here in Texas so my daughter can “whisper to horses,” My natural hair color suits me in this life. It is freeing, and though it probably does “age” me, it does not change the beauty or worth of my present life. I am at peace! I am living my best life. Isn’t that what we as women want for each other? To life then…dear friends, to life! Live life on your terms. You only get one! If that is with natural hair, wear it like a crown. If you prefer to color it and find satisfaction looking younger, go for it, but let’s do it with a heart of love and encouragement towards ourselves and each other!

  6. My natural color is close to ebony. Your hair is blonde. Gray hair does not blend or disappear into my natural color. It does with yours. To stay dark, I have to color every three weeks and, in the process, damage my hair. I stopped coloring because my husband was honest with me and said my hair would look better as black and silver than damaged. Now I receive compliments on it all the time – from men and women. I never did when it was colored.

    You have lovely hair, and it is colored. I’m sure you receive compliments and do not need to process them as often as someone dark. We all need to work with what we have been given.

  7. To each his own. That being said, gray hair ages you. It has no bearing on whether you choose to go gray; it still makes most look at least ten years older, if not more. Color or don’t. Isn’t it wonderful to have choices?

  8. For better or worse… about a year ago, I decided to embrace my natural hair color. And I was NEVER “pretty” (more the plain Jane type… “CUTE” at best!) So I don’t have unrealistic expectations that I will magically look gorgeous just because I got older… with or without grey hair.

    Before this, I had tried dying the grey (my hair didn’t take dye well, and usually, the grey showed through in a week or so). Then I tried streaking it (the usually recommended kind-of-ash-blond), which always looked fake.

    I’m 69, and most of my hair (about 95%) is an excellent medium brown (which in junior high once got called “mouse-brown,” to my dismay). I get some beautiful silvery streaks just at my part line and as wings along with the temples. I rather like it! I have always looked a lot younger than my age (when I was young… that was a big problem! In my 8th-grade class picture… I look about six years old). I DO pluck out grey/white eyebrow hairs. I wish my pubic hair didn’t go grey, but alas, nobody currently sees it but me!

    The style I’ve worn it in for a time is chin-length and layered. My hair is lovely and wavy. Now with the lockdown and having “corona hair” from not being able to get to the hairdresser, I’m considering growing it long (or, in my case, longer) too, I’m at the awkward stage, but I want to see what it looks like. Maybe do one of those things: grow it out and donate to people with cancer who lose their hair.

  9. Purple shampoo is all you need for correcting the yellow gray that is caused by the sun so that’s not an excuse.

  10. I hear you, but it hardly takes me seriously to dye my hair again. It doesn’t look the actual color – it’s some washed-out fake-looking color. I wouldn’t say I like fake-looking hair color; I see it everywhere. Too dark, too red, it’s so apparent; I don’t understand why women want to look like THAT. I’ve grown out my gray, and it’s ok, but it’s not what I had hoped so that s*cks – but to start dyeing it again and having to touch up that skunk stripe that shows up in 3 weeks is just ridiculous.
    I look at some women who are well past 50 with their dark hair, and I can’t help but think – “you aren’t fooling anyone!”

  11. I now have long hair that’s 50-50 brunette and white in places and the most amazing shining silver on one temple. I found this site because last night, a male friend commented about my hair color, which made me realize that it is probably not attractive to most men. My partner had only made one comment when asked that I used to look younger.
    Well, let’s be honest, I know that, but I had hoped it would have been more acceptable. Women usually consider my hair friendly; it is thick and wavy. I am relieved at not having to dye my hair every three weeks. That was such a pain, with the silver margin sneaking through. My hair went flat, lifeless, and was falling out. That prompted me to do something about it. I cut it short, and it took nearly three years to grow it back and for me to feel feminine again. I certainly can’t pull my hair back in a bun anymore! But it is great to see my natural hair color. I am a Winter. The silver hair color is fantastic, and I’; I’mu can’t get that out of a bottle.
    I need to keep my hair as frizz-free as possible; that’s important. It’s a lot of work. I wear makeup daily and try to add color to my face. I am taking copper supplements, and if there is anything else I can do to reverse the greying, I will try it. It’s tough, knowing that you are deliberately making yourself look possibly older and less attractive. I think the Makeover Guy asks women if they want to look better or younger.
    It was tough, going from dark brown to ‘smoke and ashes’ or whatever it’s called nowadays. I think that blondes have an easier time because of the similarities in tone. Coming to terms with aging; accepting oneself is an ongoing process. And doing what’s right for you. I encourage every woman to embrace the grey but not be afraid to go back to dying if that’s right for them. Better to have tried than never knowing.

    1. Thanks Bernadette for this heartfelt account of going grey. You’re right, it’s a personal choice, and there’s no correct answer. It’s all about how YOU feel on the inside about yourself when you look in the mirror. It sounds like you made the right choice going grey, and if you ever tire of it and want to color it again, that’s fine too. When you feel attractive and confident, it shines through, which counts! Cheers, Deborah

  12. Hi– I Love this post, but you know what—you can always color it again if you don’t like it!!!

    Honestly, when I told people I was growing out my gray, you would have thought I’d said I was getting my face tattooed. “No!! No!! Don’t do it!” I did; I liked it. I got compliments. And then, one day, I colored it again.

    Also, you can go part gray. I am growing out some white streaks currently. We’ll see. If I like them, I’ll keep them. If not, there’s always more dye. It’s hair. Going gray is no more a big deal than trying a new style of clothing.

    Also, I liked my gray because it was so soft and healthy! It was natural hair again, not that processed stuff we have in our heads. When it was growing out, I could feel it swing freely, and I hadn’t felt that in ages—colored it again just because.

  13. I am 36 and have had premature grey since 20. now it is probably 80 percent grey or so. I have been growing it for the last three months now, I got a dramatic pixie cut to do that.. everyone compliments, and it does not look “awful” like when the roots were coming out of toxic chemical hair dyes… I have used the most expensive organic least harmful perm dye in the market, doing only sources most of the time. Still, my beautiful accepted hair was dull, lifeless, was not reflecting light anymore, and frizzy, dehydrated, and I could not get into shape. After the hair dye was gone, my scalp and hair dramatically improved in just two months, and so did my skin/face! I get many compliments on the front and skin that I did not in the last ten years. I am juggling with chemical hair dyes. If your hair is more than 50 percent grey, you must dye it every ten days.

    Otherwise, roots look awful in just a week. Now a brunette with dark eyes and eyebrows, I have natural highlights and feel and look much younger! I feel much healthier; my hair maintenance, money, time, and energy savings are unbelievable. I am still not complete with the transition, but it is exciting and cheerful for me. I don’t care what other people think, but I feel great! There are mixed reactions, but women should care about their thoughts and feelings. I can’t entirely agree that grey hair is the reason for a tired, washed-out look. My unnatural building-up dye was making my face wash away. Despite being a brunette, naturally, the shades look nothing like natural hair color; I believe many women are just cheating themselves on this. Also, unnatural bleached fake blonde dye makes many people, young or old, look tired and washed out, colorless! It is not natural; a sharp look and lack of fake color blondes have.. unlike richness in ‘any tones’ of nature, will bring you like silver. Also another argument here is that grey-keeping women need extra effort in clothes, makeup, and hair conditioning…

    Everyone needs that to look suitable but incredibly unnatural and often dyed, and blonde bleached-haired women need much more high maintenance and care on their hair and look! And as a side note, I am still single, work in traditional corporate environments, and usually am not a type who likes to get attention due to looks, but I am happy to stick to my decision and have new courage and freedom to be MYSELF again after more than a decade! I realized that till now, I forgot how a ‘normal’ scalp would feel and look… despite using the softest hair dye formula on the market. I don’t care if a man does not ask me out because of my grey; it is an excellent way to find a suitable soul mate. By the way, ladies, keep in mind that rapidly increasing horrible brain diseases like ALS have raised eyebrows with the increasing use of chemical hair dyes. My sister has been caught ALS at 40, and she had the same premature grey and applied constant perm hair dye for the last 15 years before the disease; other than that, she was a very healthy person, did not even drink alcohol… even an organic claimed herbal called hair dyes have more than 500 chemicals in it!

  14. Some of us have allergies to hair dye. Articles like this make it that much harder to embrace what we have, chemical free. Are you aware you insult people who can’t tolerate dyes or afford them? You are saying we are washed out and stale. Thanks. I hope you don’t develop an allergy (which can happen anytime, btw…). In the meantime, I will try to have confidence despite living in a judgmental world that people like you help create. Rock on.

    1. Hi Ann,
      As I mentioned, some women look fabulous in gray hair. Maybe you are one of these silver foxes. But I find that gray hair can often wash a woman out.
      So if you choose to or must wear your hair gray because of an allergy, you might want to pay close attention to your make-up and clothing and wear colors that brighten up your face. That’s all. Cheers, Deborah

  15. Do what you have to do. Do it if you have to dye your hair to feel good about yourself. Go for it if you feel good about yourself with grey, silver, and white hair.
    I’m in my mid 30s and have dyed my hair for many years. For the past two years, I’ve been letting it grow out. I enjoy being reacquainted with my natural color and the white/silver highlights growing in. I will never waste another dime on artificial hair color. Not to mention that chemical colors are harsh on your hair and scalp, and many (probably most or all) are carcinogenic.
    (The type of lymphoma that Jackie O had has been linked to hair dye).
    My scalp is much healthier, and I have had more hair since I stopped dyeing. I would rather have a head full of white hair than a thinning, dry, frizzy dye job. But that’s just my opinion on what works best for me.

  16. Newsflash, dyed hair doesn’t always look so hot either. I have thick curly hair that gets dry and frizzy when it ‘s dyed and I am so gray and it grows so fast it just looked awful two weeks after coloring it. So I gave it a shot. I’m 53.

    It took a couple of years for it to grow long enough to look good. I definitely went through a granny stage but I hung in there. Now I can get great cuts that never would have worked on my dyed hair and my hair is healthy, shiny and soft. My husband hated the short cut but now he likes it. Plus I actually look younger. Get compliments at work. And now it’s growing in so healthy I have brown around my temples that wasn ‘t there before and I recently found a hair that was gray but had an inch of brown near the root. I can afford great cuts and grow it put with no worries and it takes my hairdresser less than an hour. The other day it was warm and humid and windy and I saw lots of dyed frizz with roots and I did not envy them!

  17. I think transitioning to gray hair is a very personal thing.
    You have to be ready for it. I was born with black hair and it started getting gray in my 20s, so I began to color it.
    I stopped coloring my hair two years ago because I felt it was no longer healthy for my hair-nor did I feel like touching up my roots every two weeks.
    I’m a youthful 58-year-old artist/Yoga instructor -so this has been an
    interesting journey. I’ve received compliments even during my
    “Cruella DeVille” stage from younger women. My husband loves it, and he’s gray as well.
    You DON’T have to wear your hair like a grandma just because it’s gray.
    My hair is long and healthy looking-not a “hairdo.”
    Again you have to be ready to go through the transformation-but it teaches you a lot!!!

  18. I stopped coloring my hair two years ago. I cut it in a short pixie, and I quickly removed the dyed part. Well, I re-colored it today! I agree that not all gray is created equal. Mine was white around my face, salt and pepper on top, and dark brown mixed with gray in the back. I wanted to love and embrace my gray hair, but the bottom line is that it simply wasn’t beautiful and aged me. I don’t mind looking 62, but I don’t want to look considerably older than this because of my gray hair! There are silver and white-haired beauties out there…I just wasn’t one of them.

  19. I typically don’t respond to these comments, but after seeing some judgmental lectures about dyed, “fake” hair, I have to weigh in. First of all, ladies, you sound very defensive about your choice, even if you didn’t mean to. Secondly, you said as harsh to the women who choose to color as you feel others may be about your choice to be grey. Thirdly, you could disagree without making comments that can be perceived as judgments. (Why can’t women support each other instead of constantly attacking each other?)

    Deborah wasn’t saying you’re bad people; they were providing their perspectives on their observations of women with grey hair. She is also saying, implicitly, that she believes that going grey for her is not an option to be considered yet, but her choice is as okay as your choice to be grey. You’re free to disagree, but you don’t need to judge.

    If a woman has an excellent stylist who understands her hair and lifestyle, why not the color? It does need to be maintained, though; no one should have their roots grow out one inch (as mentioned in one comment) before maintenance. I know some women with beautiful grey hair, but even beautiful grey hair benefits from care by an experienced stylist/colorist.

    As for me, I’m with Deborah and refuse to consider the option of “going grey” yet. Perhaps someday, but now’s not the time. I don’t care what people think about my light brown hair and highlights as I run around with my grandson or my adopted nine and 10-year-olds at the playground in the park. BTW: I’m 56-1/2 years old and would have salt and pepper hair if I grew it out. Based on my observations of others with similar coloring, not for me.

  20. Not everyone looks good with gray hair…and NO one seems good with unnaturally youthful hair over an older face. What these ladies see (young) when they look in the mirror is not what others see (scared). The current trend of youthful color and styles on older women has led to a shocking sight that I call “The world’s oldest cheerleaders” look.

  21. I’m 46 and transitioning between highlights and my natural hair color. I haven’t had non-dyed hair since about 1988. My hair over the years has been so many different colors from black (big mistake … I mean colossal mistake) to peroxide blonde and even red, white, and blue for the Queen’s 25th Anniversary along the way. When I was a child, I was a tow head and then turned into a dull dishwater blonde, but it’s coming in a clear silver white at the temples in streaks, rather than salt and pepper, with my natural color elsewhe I love it. It’s silvery, soft, and silky and shines in the sun. I think there are very, very few women over a certain age who have no grey (not all, I admit), and, as another lady said, you aren’t kidding anyone by dying it. Quite frankly, I don’t want to look like I’m 35 anymore (I’m lucky enough not to have wrinkles due to a lifetime habit of SPF, and I exercise and eat well – although I am partial to a glass or three of Claret!). I understand the desire to look younger, but dyed hair over a certain age looks … what’s the word … tired. What I do have to do is learn how to do my makeup for grey hair and will have to change my clothing choices – worth it to me. Each to their own, and dye away if you choose. A good dye job can look fantastic.

    1. Hi Angela, Your story is so heartfelt… it’s so helpful to hear both sides of this issue. Going grey or not is such an individual decision, and it’s great to hear how others have been able to go grey and cope and even thrived!

  22. I know many women who dye their hair; I can honestly say that all the women I know dye their hair, except for me, and I’m 40 and going gray. I’d say I’m about 30% gray right now, and while I fight with it, I have realized that it is the best route for me. I so hate to see that drab, fake, dull look that dyed hair takes on…the telltale roots showing through every four weeks or so. The way these things look against skin that is no longer 20-something, mocking the artificial hair up top, screams “desperation” to me. Flat out, it just looks fake. It doesn’t look normal; it seems like your hair is dyed.

    It has become customary for women to accept that their hair should be fake and dyed, a social tragedy. Month after month, year after year, going to the salon or the drugstore to get the “stuff” to try to hide the workings of nature…is age so frightening that women have to do this?

    Ultimately it is for every woman to decide on her own. Yes, adding “just the right color” to your hair could look better on you than allowing your natural color to existing. It c.ertainly looks better to have freshly dyed hair than 1″ of roots showing through, but it is a matter of getting past the “oh my god, my roots are showing” stage and allowing nature to take its course allowing your natural self to be what it is. What could be more beautiful than being who you are, 100%, and loving it all just the way it is – wrinkles, sags, gray hair, and all? The Creator likely knew best when you were created about how you should look…why let L’Oreal outmatch Nature’s timeless wisdom?

  23. @Great Southern Land: Hear, hear! No one has said it better! Let me never hear another woman say, “Gray hair ages you.” Uncared-for transitioning-from-color-to-gray hair MAY be stopping a woman from looking her best, but it’s a surer bet that she just hasn’t changed her make-up, hairstyle, and clothing colors to flatter her changing face. If you’re sure that being gray would harm your job situation, I suppose that might be one thing. But if so, then isn’t it time we did something more about that injustice?
    For myself(I’m 60 years young), I know I’d look pretty silly (and pathetic) with my four grandchildren, bouncing around the playground with dyed hair. Who would I think I was fooling? The face and especially hands of a woman will always give away her actual age, even if the presence of grandchildren doesn’t!:) As it is, I receive many compliments from young parents about how youthful and fit I am as I keep up with them on the slide and swings. And I know I’m sending the right message to my precious granddaughters too!

  24. Dyed hair on women over a certain age is old-fashioned. It fools no one. Doesn’t even look good. It’s the same with longer hair on older women – it makes *them* look .. old-fashioned. Out of date. In denial. And sort of pathetic. It says: ‘ Please excuse me for getting older. I don’t know how to cope with age and have no confidence, no mind of my own. I’ve learned nothing on my journey. I’m still reliant on other people’s opinions, and I’m still trying to look ‘sexually desirable’ like my daughters and granddaughters, with whom I’m trying to compete. ‘

    Dyed, dark hair is most women’s greatest ager of all times. Bleached hair is so *ordinary* … a dime a dozen and again, aging and old-fashioned. So what’s left? That strawberry and ‘warm’ blondes have become almost a uniform for women over 40 whose hair is greying and refusing to hold the artificial color for long? A mismatched red or copper shade but looks so great in the bottle or packet?

    Come on, ladies, step outside your old-fashioned beliefs and look online at Before and After photos of women who’ve transitioned from fake to their natural grey/white/charcoal/granite/steel/pearl, etc. Take an honest look. See how *drab* and *muddy* their skin looked while they were still dyeing their hair. Note how their make-up simply sat on those faded complexions – note the deep creases between nose and mouth, all emphasized by their unnatural dyed hair color and ‘wrong’ make-up.

    Then look at the After photos and note how their complexions glow, complemented by their natural greys and whites. Look at the colors they can wear – navy, white, jade, red, pink, etc. – once they allow their natural hair color. The women in the After photos look *alive*. They look younger because their raw whites and greys *minimize* wrinkles and emphasize their eyes and smiles. They look — more attractive! It’s undeniable.

    There’s NO escaping age. Youth is brief, in the same way as childhood. Yet once people reach 21, they imagine they can apply the brakes and simply stay ‘young’ for several decades. No. Life doesn’t work that way. When you’re at the zoo, you can tell at 100 paces if that’s an old elephant over there or a young one. You can easily pick the old lions from the cubs. It’s not the ‘color’ of the animal’s fur, the way the skin and muscles move and sag, etc. And it’s the same with humans. No artificial hair color can disguise your age, nor can cosmetic surgery or 3 hours a day at the gym. A five-year-old is distinguishable from a ten-year-old, and a fifteen-year-old looks older than the ten and five-year-old. And so on throughout life.

    Fake hair color will not match or compliment the skin tones of a woman whose hair is turning grey. Absorb the truth of that. It’s why a hair-dye that may have suited you five or ten years ago is no longer looking good on you. In fact – that expensive fake color is now *fighting* you – is causing your make-up and clothing colors to look ‘wrong.’ It’s because it *IS* wrong. In the same way, a fifteen-year-old would look weird if they tried to look like a five-year-old.

    Paint alone cannot make an older house look ‘modern,’ can it? The ‘bones’ of the older house are what they are. You’ve driven past older homes that have been given a new paint job in the hope of rendering them more saleable. And you’ve known, straight away, that it’s an older house, all tarted up, trying to appeal. Instead, it looks cheap and tragic.

    We all get a turn at being young. Just as trees push out their blooms in Spring. Then the bloom of youth passes to the next generation, and they have their turn. Trying to cling to youth is as doomed to failure as if we stuck false blooms on trees in Autumn.

    Time carries us through the ages and phases of Life. If we try to cling to the past, we miss the joys and beauty of the present. We just have to stop clinging on with greedy determination. We have to take our foot off the brake. Because it doesn’t work. Age is something over which we have NO control. When we try to control, we lose.

    The world is tragically filled with women engaged in a losing battle with age. Their hair is like shards of glass from trying to cover their natural greys, whites, pearls, etc. Their skin and make-up don’t match their dyed hair. They look like the proverbial mutton dressed as lamb. Everyone else can see it. They don’t look ‘young.’ They just look weird/sad/hum-drum/old fashioned/trite/scared.

    So decide to grow up and be a woman while there’s still time. A real woman, instead of a confused mixture of anger, sadness, rage, and desperation hiding beneath ‘strawberry blonde’ and other failed, toxic hair paint. Huh? Come on. You don’t want to go to your graves with mismatching make-up and grey regrowth, do you? LOL. Let your true self shine! Come out to play! Liberate the woman within and enjoy all of Life’s stages instead of hiding from them :)

    1. This as well! Purple shampoo, ladies. I’m a hairstylist. So many women talk about how gray looks good on other women but not themselves. Everybody’s gray yellows from the sun. The right purple shampoo is the fix.

    2. You did write a masterpiece!
      I did write down most of your text on my book note to have it on hand.
      So physically true, and so spiritually true.
      Thank you so much!

  25. I’m afraid I have to disagree with these two women– gray hair does not make you look older. I am 41 and have grown out my gray hair. My husband loves my gray hair. He is blonde, nine years older than me, and has no gray hair except his beard. I have no wrinkles “yet,” and nothing is sagging. I watch my weight and work out every day. Hair color does not make you look good or better it is how you eat and care for yourself. I know eventually, I will get wrinkles, and gravity will take its course. You should not tell women their gray hair makes them look old.
    When you go gray, change your makeup and the colors you wear, and you will not look pale and tired—Good Luck to all the women who are growing gray and already are gray.

    1. Hi Kristi, I am not saying that gray hair is wrong or not to have gray hair. I think gray hair can be stunning on women when she takes good care of it and, like you said, changes up her make-up and wears the right colors. Women that choose to “rock” their gray hair also feel liberated from having to dye it and worry about the roots. It is a choice but one that does take serious consideration.

      1. By saying that it takes ‘serious consideration,’ you’re highlighting this whole problem of society pressuring women to look younger. It stems from the primary biological motivation that men like young women so that we can continue to populate the planet, i.e., young women are fertile. Okay, that’s fair enough. But that in itself is not the issue. The real problem lies in the fact that somewhere the whole thing got very dizzy, and for a very long time now, we seem to be perpetuating this idea/myth that we, as women, need to keep meeting that criteria when we are WAY past that time in our lives. At 53, I’ve not been fertile for several years. But here’s the bit that no one tells you.
        I DON’T CARE. THAT’S the big secret. If I knew that I’d feel this great at this age, I never would have sweated it out so much when I was younger. My mother had a facelift at 50. Like many other women, I grew up with the notion that young = good and old = bad. And that idea is as empty and simplistic as it looks written like that. Okay, so maybe I’m not as desirable to younger men as I used to be. Seriously, I could not care less. I mean, I look okay, thin, with good skin, etc.. but at the end of the day, it’s neither here nor there. My husband, who is 41, thinks I’m wonderful, and I appreciate that, but honest to God, if no other man ever looked at me in ‘that way’ EVER again, I’d be pretty happy. I’ve had my day. I just no longer care about that, and it’s less to do with the fact that I’m happily married than, I believe, the effects of getting older, going thru menopause, etc.. so in my mind, it all kind of works out. My mind matches my looks. THAT’S what no one told me, ever. All I’ve ever heard my whole life, was that aging was something to be fought tooth and nail. I love it, all of it. Now, I may find that when I get older, and my body packs up, and I have physical problems, okay, then maybe getting old is not that great, but at 53, I’m hardly there. I’m very proud to be out with my 26-year-old daughter and be ignored as men look at her. It’s as it should be. She is in her prime childbearing years. The fact that I still get looked at really annoys me now, and I’ve recently started to grow my hair out (a nice shiny white by the looks of it) to give myself more gravitas and hopefully, discourage male attention.
        I no longer need that in my life. I’m also tired of this unspoken pressure for us to constantly act, dress, and look younger. All this hysterical “50 is the new 40!!! Really? I mean, that’s just wrong. Why do I have to be forty again? My forties, were a bit of a hard time for me, and my life has been much better in every way since turning fifty. I have no desire whatsoever to be thirty or forty again. And in truth,, the people who know me with gray hair may or may not react negatively to my gray hair once it comes out, and if they do, they’ll get over it because, they’re more interested in their own lives than my gray hair. And the new people I meet when I’m entirely gray will accept it, not having known anything else. So, the only stress about the whole subject of going gray is the stress we put on ourselves.

        I’m freeing myself of all that unnecessary baggage. I can’t wait for my silver to grow. I know it’s going to look gorgeous. I’m naturally originally brunette, and I think it will look okay. I have a gray wig that I’ve worn for photos on my website, and you can look at http://www.realvoice.net.au and see what it looks like. My natural gray is even whiter than this in the front. I think it looks okay.

        1. Hi Rosanna, It never ceases to amaze me how passionate women feel about this topic. Your grey hair is lovely and the perfect choice for you.

          I don’t think it is a big deal if a woman colors her gray hair, brown hair/ blonde hair/red hair, etc. Millions of women do at all ages, so if it feels good, why not? It’s just decoration.

  26. As I turned grey, friends told me that I looked great and wasn’t lucky to have such a pretty grey color. Then one day a friend asked if I was OK, as I looked weak, weak and tired!
    That’s all it took. I became blonde, and the same friends are now saying…love your color…you look so great….right thing to do.
    So take a chance….it’s only hair!

  27. I’m sad to say I agree about the gray hair. I let my hair go gray, and although it is a beautiful gray and my hair feels fabulous, I’m just not feeling it. Both my husband and son love it. I keep thinking about re-dying or putting a rinse in it and then remember why I let it go gray. My hair grows 3/4″ a month, and my gray is very difficult to dye. My roots were evident at two weeks, which meant I needed to color my roots every week and a half. It was my hairdresser who suggested that maybe it was time to let it go gray. So now my thinning hair is short and gray. LOL…I guess it is what it is, and I need to make the most of it.

    1. Hi Bonnie,
      What a thoughtful and honest post. The bottom line for this topic is not what is right or wrong, but how YOU feel about it. It is nice to hear that your family is supporting your choice but probably comforting to others who might feel the same way you do. One thing we might suggest to help you “make the most of it” is to start buying clothes in colors that work with your new hair color. You will find some colors make you feel better than others… begin to take notice and then stick with those and try new ones. You might start feeling a little better, and all the money you are saving on getting your hair colored can go toward a few colorful new things!

  28. Completely agree with you on this. Gray hair can be a real complexion-downer, especially when it turns a yellow color. It’s just not attractive (unless you’re very fortunate!) without being dyed. I know a lady (61) who tints hers – dark platinum with w/silver highlights – and it’s beautiful, but it’s not going to look good on everyone. We should all do what we prefer, yes, but we should also consider our complexion when talking about hair color. That’s true for us at any age.

  29. I’m one of the lucky ones out here.. almost 55, with virtually no gray hair. But, I have my dilemma; I keep my hair highlighted now because it has gotten so dark over the years that it is not becoming a woman my age. I must agree with the “not every woman looks good with gray hair” statement but not every woman should color theirs either. My mother has the most beautiful white hair. She used to try to cover it up with blonde, but it never took evenly and looked awful. I convinced her to stop having it colored over a decade ago, and she has gotten more compliments on it than you could imagine… she is 77 but doesn’t look anywhere near her age.

  30. I agree – grey ages you! You may be surprised to learn that so does light blonde! I was a Lt Ash Blonde for most of my adult life and recently changed over to a strawberry red with blonde highlights – and it took ten plus years off my appearance! The response from colleagues and friends to the new hair color was astounding – everyone thought I had a facelift! I never realized how aging light blonde hair could be once you hit 50 or so, as it has the same effect as grey hair. Plus, with reddish blonde hair, you don’t need as much makeup color for skin to look alive (blonde hair does wash you out), which is a plus for older skin, enhancing a youthful look even more. Any aging platinum blondes out there …try going reddish or honey blonde – you won’t believe the difference!

  31. Gray hair, silver hair – it depends on a lot of things! The new growth’s texture, color contrast, and style/cut. I have allowed my hair to be what it is, and fortunately, the silver/white frames my face nicely, the texture is no different (sometimes it can be coarser), and I have a great Stylist who knows how to cut my hair. I have asked MANY people if they think it ages me and asked for the absolute truth – and all I’ve ever heard is NO, it’s a great look! To each her own!

    1. Hi Sue,
      Great news sounds like you are getting positive feedback, and get to put yourself in the “Gray looks great on you camp.”
      You are one of the lucky ones!!! Thanks for sharing, because your success might inspire other women to try it. I’m not against it if it feel right for you. Just wanted to express my general feelings.

  32. Bravo — Well said. Again, it’s all about finding our authenticity and celebrating our look. The older I get, the better I look with red hair — the color that looks best on all the freckled, fair-skinned Celtic women in my family. But I genuinely appreciate my mother-in-law’s full head of gray hair. Perfect for her.

  33. I agree with you! I don’t think it works for most women. I always say that it’s not about going grey; it’s about not being a redhead anymore. I can’t imagine myself without red, not prepared to let it go… so I have high-maintenance hair, but I get lots of compliments on it.

    Take a look at my red hair here:
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HeatherSusanHaley

    Best Regards, Heather

  34. I echo the comments of Lucy and Bonnie – same here. I love Nomi’s wisdom – she knows what looks good on her & I bet she looks great. My sister, ten years older than me, has never touched her hair color, so I know just how the graying process would look on me. I can tell that’s not the route I wish to take, as our skin coloring is identical, so I don’t see myself stopping with the root touchups & highlights anytime soon. :) Good article & comments all.

  35. I agree. I’m 46 and look 36, but I’m pretty gray now. I color and would not consider going gray. It’s just not to my advantage. I’m also married to a younger man, and we don’t get stares because I look his age! Gray hair would not help me, and it doesn’t look perfect the way it’s coming in.

  36. As an aside, the model you feature in the lower right also has a great makeup line for more mature skin called Boom! by Cindy Joseph. Her blush works excellent for this 40-something gal.

  37. As with most style issues, this depends totally on the individual. A general anti-gray statement is wrong even about a large percentage of non-model-beautiful women, and in addition carries a heavy weight of depressing ageism and judgement. On the personal side, I have to disagree with you big time.

    I was a natural blonde with extremely pale skin, kind of cute, but not a beauty. I had to be careful in my clothing color choices so as not to look anemic, but mostly I was complimented on my “delicate coloring.” Then when I had children, my hair began to darken, as happens to many childbearing women. Those were the years when I looked dreary and wan. Some of it was surely due to mommy exhaustion and marriage stress, but darker hair did me no favors. When I started to turn gray, I tried coloring it. I tried all kinds of blonde varieties, given my skin tone, but it never looked natural. Plus, the expense and nuisance of maintaining the roots! — I have had mostly short haircuts throughout life, because of hair texture & face shape. Short hair requires more frequent color maintenance. Finally I abandoned the color quest and just let my gray grow. I get more compliments on my hair now than I ever did at any other time of my life. It actually looks blonder than it has for many years, so I feel more like myself again, but up close it’s a really fun intermix of about four different shades. Hairdressers beg me not to touch the color. They say that realistic, beautiful gray highlighting is not achievable from a bottle.

    If a woman feels that her personal coloring doesn’t complement gray hair, that’s a style choice, but fashion mavens & bloggers who pronounce gray aging, unfashionable, or just not comme il faut across the board are likely to lose this reader.

    1. Hi Nomi,
      Your comment is well taken, but my comment about gray hair is just that.. an opinion, and everyone is entitled to their opinion. I think I made it clear that while I have seen women who can pull off gray hair (and it sure sounds like you are a great example), in my opinion, many more women have gray hair that does not flatter.

      I showed good examples of those who look fab in silver hair, then said it does not work on everyone and can make you look older than you need.
      On the flip side, dying your hair too dark can be just as aging; YIKES!

      This entire hair color issue is challengingI enjoyjoying chatting about it and hearing both sides of the case! Thanks for sticking up for yourself and all those that choose to go “au natural!”

  38. I recently decided to check out the grey hair idea and went to a store to try wigs on. No, no no! Even the lady in the wig store told me to try and persevere with the colouring. I just turned 53 and have long, totally grey hair but I have my roots and highlights done by a professional every month so I have what appears to be mid brown hair with honey highlights. Yes it costs a fortune but I don’t go for any other salon treatments I do everything else at home, so there is some balance that way. However I have a friend, known her for 10 years and have never seen her without grey hair, she looks great, so I think it’s all about personal taste. Then there is the opinion of your partner/husband, my husband would hate it although he is completely grey….mmmm double standards I think!!

  39. I have to agree with you and I thank you for your opinion. I’ve seen so many gorgeous women out there with gray hair, I was thinking about giving it a try. Unfortunately, I’d have to endure a number of months with truly hideous hair to even see what’s under the color. Another point is not all gray hair is created equal. I have a feeling my hair is mousy and drab, and not stunning at all. I stay with the color.

    1. Hi Cathy,
      Well, if you are interested in going gray, you can still have that colored too, but then you defeat the purpose unless you just like yourself better in gray! I forgot to mention that going gray can be a lot of work and you might still not be “color” free!!

  40. Hi Deb…..I do agree with everything you just said. I love short crop styles too I see on Sharon Stone but they aren’t right on me. Short cropped hair makes me look older than my age and on Sharon everything looks GREAT! She is just super attractive! Gray is dreary, businesslike, etc and not my favorite color. When your complexion lacks color already from age, gray is a drainer….it steals what is left. I highlight my hair…..am blondish brown . It disguises the gray in there and go to hair dresser to do it right. I do love the white silver color but only on the ones it truely looks great on and you will “know” it if it fits your complexion. I have been color analazed back in the popular era of doing that and was in between seasons as a winter/summer. It just boils down to personal preference and your taste, I guess. Thanks for the article. Bonnie

  41. Very well said. Not everyone looks good with gray hair. I think any color gray hair ages you whether it is the pretty silvery white hair or dull ugly gray like mine. If I didn’t color my hair I would look at least 10 years older.At least!

    1. But would you look older than our actual age? And, if so, are you sure about that? I mean, say you are 50, and you dye your hair. Does that mean that with the dye, you look 50, and without the stain, you look older than 50? Or does it mean that with shade, you look 43, and without the paint, you look 50? And irrespective, how can you possibly prove any of it anyway? I mean, what’s the ‘standard’ for 50? Botoxed collagen-filled celebrities? Do you know? I mean, look at people like Cher.
      What is she? Sixty something? She’s pulled back, stitched up, botoxed and filled, and dyed to the ninth degree. Sure, she looks great. But at some point, it will start not to look great. I’ve seen photos where she’s not looked so good and the effect of being sixty-something and having all that work done combined with the black dye is a bit scary. It’s as if she’s coming apart at the seams. I find it a bit difficult and disturbing. So I guess the whole going gray movement isn’t so much about whether you look good with gray and other women don’t; it’s deeper than that. And it’s all tied to the fact that most men, even if they don’t have gorgeous gray hair and it doesn’t really ‘suit their complexion,’ don’t dye their hair and never have these conversations. And yet quite a few of them are very critical of women’s appearance when they are less and adonis. It’s about a sexist and ageist society obsessed with celebrity and youth culture. By allowing my natural gray hair to show, as a woman of a certain age who takes good care of her body and skin and grooming, I am telling the world that I don’t care. I honor myself by keeping in shape, grooming, and wearing flattering clothes. That’s just a part of being a human being. However, I refuse to feel ashamed that I am getting older. It’s just a part of life and far better than the alternative!

  42. Have to agree Deb. I could never go grey I would look like a washed out rag. Having pale skin with grey hair is a complete disaster for me. These ladies look great but I think they’re the exception rather than the rule. Colouring is a pain but far better than the alternative.

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