To grey or not to grey?

by Sylvia

Should you go grey after 40 or dye it? |

Like many women over 40 I always wonder whether I should let my hair go grey or color it. Obviously my decision so far has been to color it, but it’s certainly a very costly one. My hair occupies the largest chunk in my monthly beauty budget by far and I often wonder if it’s worth the money and hassle.

Add to that that for a big chunk of the month my hair looks less than perfect because of roots starting to grey again, and you could argue that it may be better just to adapt to grey.

Grey has also become increasingly popular with even young starlets like Pixie Geldoff adapting a grey hairstyle.

Let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages.

Factors in favor of coloring your hair

  • Let’s face it grey hair usually does age you.
  • Having a funky color can really add to your style.
  • You can change colors whenever you feel like it. I like to change it up all the time. In fact I feel I should push myself a little bit further in that area.
  • Some grey colors are nice while others not so much. The current trend seems to be the lighter more silverly color grey. Your grey hair may have a completely different color though.
  • Letting your hair go grey may completely change your coloring. Clothes that have always looked good on you may no longer work.

Factors in favor of letting your hair go grey

  • You save a LOT of money every month. That is, if you stick to the color grey that your hair has. Your hair may need additional coloring though.
  • No more hassle of having to keep up with your roots. Save a lot of time AND money.
  • Freeing your hair on monthly chemicals may be beneficial to the actual quality of your hair.
  • You may look more natural. After a certain age people will expect you to have grey hair and will find it more natural that you are sporting a grey hairstyle.
  • Your change of coloring may actually be beneficial to you. Perhaps your new color grey suits your (paling) skin tone better.

It’s not an easy decision. Both the pros and cons are quite convincing. I certainly am starting to get increasingly annoyed with the time and money it takes to keep up with my hair color.

There are lots of inspirational grey hairstyles on my pinterest board, so there is enough evidence that grey can look extremely good. For more tips, you can also check out my tips for the best hairstyles for women over 40.

I’d love to hear your opinion. What do you think? To let the hair go grey or not?


All image sources can be found on my Pinterest Board

{ 75 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christina

My mother’s family had premature grey hair. I started getting a few grey’s in my 30’s, but by 45, had a thick, chunk of white hair above my face, while the rest remained brown. Not pretty! My hairdresser suggested adding dark highlights to the grey, to give a more salt and pepper effect. I did this for two years, but then one day, on the suggestion of a friend, decided to try out a top Montreal salon. The new salon people encouraged me to do a demi permanent, and add a few lighter highlights around my face. I’ve been very excited by the change, and feel it has taken years off my appearance. Is it expensive? A little, but I think it is totally worth it! I would rather cut corners elsewhere, than forego my maintenance cut and colour.
I have a short hairstyle, with no visible part. This really helps a lot as far as colour maintenance goes. However, my friend, who recommended this salon, does have a quite visible side part, and get’s frustrated at how quickly the new root growth shows.
I have seen people look good with grey hair, but I’m not one of them. I just end up looking sallow!
I will say this – I stayed with the same hairstylist for 15 years, and it was only because of an important event that I started experimenting with different salons – stylists, and colour specialists. I am very glad I did. I think it is good to try out new things, and our hair is one of things that makes the most difference in our appearance.


2 Chana Gray

I am a Hair Designer 30 years plus this is an on going situation . I use lowlights and hilights to help with transition and now we have beautiful silver and smoky grey colors to make this easier. A lot of my clients still want some warm tones through a weaving process to not look to cold with the Grey and help with the texture change in the hair


3 Sindy

I want to go grey but every stylist talks me out of it. I am maybe 60%grey up top sides and 40% in back. I am a red now and within 3 weeks the grey is very visible. I am naturally a level 3. Wish I could find someone in my area that knows how to transition this.


4 Alyssa W.

Tis is such a hard question!! Every month I ask is it worth it. I started going grey at 20, so I have been doing this already for 22 years…imagine if I saved all that?? Also, I think the cut is important if you choose to go natural and grey. An updated, modern cut will add the style when color isn’t in play. Personally, I am going to go 10 more years then quit.

Great topic though Sylvia. I can’t wait to see what our friends have to say.



5 shebolt

I’m prematurely grey, and started coloring at 30 because a lot of people were commenting. I’m just over 40 and am still happy with that decision. I think, at this point, going natural will age me. My hair is very grey around my face, but still very much my natural brown at the back. I’ll revisit my decision as I get closer to 50, but I’m sure I’ll wait until my natural grey is more even.

I’ll check out your pinterest board, however.


6 Rita

I’m keeping in natural. I have baby fine hair and have never wanted to put harsh chemicals on it. I even buy the mildest of shampoo and conditioners at a healthy food store. I started noticing white hairs in my medium brown hair in about my mid-30’s, but it was shortly after 40 when it really started whitening up. It’s all mixed in, so I don’t have a cool streak of white hair like I was hoping for. The white mixed with brown makes it look blonde in some light and I actually get compliments on it now and then. Under the glare of flourescent lights at the office or in stores, though, it does look rather gray.

I have no problem with having gray hair for all of the reasons in favor of going gray that you mentioned. Plus, I’ve worked hard over the years and figure I’ve earned them. 🙂


7 Poppy Buxom

At 56, I’m still coloring mine. I switched from demi-perm color to permanent base with highlights and lowlights about a decade ago. It’s crazy expensive (like having a drug habit!) but I kind of can’t bare to stop–mostly because my husband is seven years younger than I am, and my cougar-ishness will be that much more obvious is I’m sporting a head of gray hair!


8 Alice

I started having greys in my hair since my teens so coloring my hair has always been part of what I do. Of course, there’s more now and I have to color every 5 weeks but I don’t really mind it. I like to color my hair (yes to cover those pesky greys) but also to change with the season – a little more highlights in the summer and darker in the fall, which I think is like changing a little bit of your total look.



9 Lorraine

Hair? Where to start? I think the relationship between a woman and her hair is complex at best. My hair is very important to my sense of who I am – ever since I was a child I have had attention due to my blonde hair.
I first noticed grey hairs at about 35 (when I got married LOL!) and it was downhill from there! I am fortunate that being fair the grey didn’t show too much but when it did I started having highlights to blend it in. I have noticed that my hair is growing darker as I have got older so I now have a couple of different colour highlights put in to blend in the roots. I never use colours with bleach and I only have it done every 10-12 weeks. I don’t want to have to dye the whole of my hair because of the root problem but that depends on how much grey starts to show. By the way, the texture of my hair, which is fine but thick, has not changed.
As far as I am concerned the grey makes me feel old but I feel happy and attractive when I have had my hair done. I spent so little on my hair until the age of 35 that I figure I can spend the money now when I don’t have youth to carry me through! I realise that I will have to make a decision about length soon, but I am putting off any decisions about colouring for the time being.
By the way, Helen Mirren looked fab with her pink hair recently.


10 Jane

I’m embracing my silver, I love it.

I started getting significant grey hairs in my late 20’s and coloured it for many years, sometimes doing it myself and sometimes either having highlights or lowlights or a whole colour done at the hairdressers. I hated the fact that within 10 days the roots were showing through and that the beautiful shiny colour turned a horrible chemical gingery colour – it looked so unnatural after the first couple of weeks.

I’ve decided it’s time to embrace who I am and the person I’m becoming, silver hair, wrinkles and all. I’m lucky in that I have very thick hair which used to be dark and grey blue eyes, so going grey seems to suit my colouring. My hair is in much better condition, feels softer and costs a lot less to maintain. The only downside with silver hair is that it is coarser and tends to be a bit unruly and frizzy looking, but as I say, I love it.


11 chicatanyage

I am very happy with my grey hair but I am lucky that it has gone a silvery grey especially at the front. I have peroxide highlights at the top and the back just to blend it in with the darker colour just to give it a bit of a lift. I have it done about every 3 months and don’t really notice much when the roots grow through. I think it is great to have so many grey haired role models.


12 denton

Hi all, I’ve watched my wife struggle with this issue for some years. She has ‘gone gray’ three times and gone back to ‘the dark side’ twice. She’s white haired now and hopefully will stay that way. I’m a serious amateur photographer and so I decided to start a blog on the issue, which Sylvia has kindly used some pins from on her pinterest board.

We are 58, and my wife is in excellent physical condition, she’s a runner and routinely runs the NYC Marathon. She also has beautiful skin. One of the most difficult things for her is being mistaken for a much older woman, and I got to see this for myself last night in person. There are a few photos of her also on the silverhairedbeauties also.

We were on the subway, coming home, both of us standing and chatting while a nice twentysomething young woman got up and offered her seat to my wife, who of course declined. Then she told me that this happens all the time and she’s decided to just go with the flow and take the seat. lol.

Not only will you get more seats on the subway, you will often get confused as a mother when you are a sister, a grandmother when you are a mother, etc.

The good thing is that the more women, especially younger women, that refuse to color their hair, the more it will cause people to question their initial assumption, that gray=old. It seems to me at least in NYC that the number of women with natural hair seems to be growing by leaps and bounds.

There are some facebook support groups that deal with the issue including this active and helpful one.


13 Marie S

I started noticing grey hairs when I was 19. I did dye it for a long time but stopped in my thirties after a colour consultant suggested that the silver hair would complement my colouring. It did and I have never dyed it again since. I have had short hair since my thirties too (I am 51 now) and try and get the best cut I can afford and keep it contemporary. I have a spikey pixie style and get loads of compliments. I have even been stoppped by strangers on the street and asked who cuts it It is still darker at the back but becausethe style is layered it looks fine. I do sometimes worry that people will think I am older but I try to look after myself and dress well.


14 Sylvia

Wonderful feedback ladies! I agree with you all, those of you in favor of grey hair and those of you that dye. As I highlighted in my article, I can see the benefits of both!


15 Lorraine

Thanks Sylvia. You always get us thinking!
I have to say that those women featured are beautiful women; grey or otherwise they will always look amazing.


16 Greetje

I cannot remember from which age I started colouring my hair. It chose a very natural shade of light brown which gets a lot of compliments. I know it costs money, but for me not to the extend that I would say it is too much. I only colour my roots so the chemicals do not reach my hair time after time, just the new “outgrow” (is that an English word too?).
After three weeks my neighbour of a couple of doors down, colours my roots (for free) with colouring material I bought at my hairdresser. And three weeks later I am at my hairdresser again for colouring and a cut. Three weeks later my next door neighbour and so on. So there is no grey hair showing. Ever.
I know one person who looks fabulous with short grey (silver) hair and that is Marianne. I have seen it and she looked very artistic.


17 Buckle Button Zip

I’m sticking with coloring mine for awhile, at least until my kiddo is much older. I not ready to be mistaken for her grandmother (not yet, at least). As on older mom, this can be tricky business. Thanks for a timely topic.
x Laura


18 Trina Grandinetti

I have to laugh because when this first popped up on my iphone I was at the hair salon. Definitely gave me something to talk about for the few hours I was there. In fact, it gave EVERYONE something to talk about, quite a fun conversation. As for myself, I will be sticking with my hair dresser, my natural color is not that beautiful silvery grey. Although I do love that color on women and I have many friends who have chosen to go the natural route. I think if we’re happy with the choice we make, then just old your head high! Thank you Sylvia for the fun conversation we had yesterday at the salon.


19 Jill

I don’t know about the gray thing right now, I’m only seeing a few grays at this point. If I can look as chic as Linda Rodin or Linda Fargo with their silver hair then I will go for it. Otherwise I may be hitting the bottle like Anna Wintour. Thank you for joining us for the “How I Wear My: Everyday Bag” post. I loved your bag, your outfit, and especially those black and white ballet flats. Gorgeous! XO, Jill


20 33

Found my first grey at 30 and after 35 it was all down hill. I cover them with permanant dye twice a year and roots with 1-month dye. My hair looks like it has very skillful highlights because my grey is all over and intermingle with black hair.

Being Asian, going all grey is not good. It doesn’t compliment our skin undertone. That and our facial structure guarantee that we’ll never look “sophisticated” or “distinguished” with all grey hair.

The grey hair is also wiry and stubborn. I have to blow dry after each wash otherwise the hair would look unkempt and frizzy.

Also, like some mentioned above, having no obvious parting helps with concealment, like Vika Gazinskaya’s bang.

Greying is not the biggest enemy. Thinning is. Grey hair you can dye or not dye but thinning is worse. Hair piece, wig, chemical, pills… is so much more troublesome and headachy to correct. Thinning hair can really neutralize femininity.


21 Susan H.

33 I have a question for you. The process you describe sounds very interesting and I may want to try it myself. I have had my stylist color my brown hair for a long time with Permanent brown color and a few gold highlights. I am so tired of each 4 weeks having to pay for touch ups. I think I would like to try your method. Do I color 2 times a year the entire head of hair with permanent and then for 6 months just use the 1 month dye? ( Or do you just do the roots with permanent dye 2 times a year?)
I’d also love to see a photo of how your hair looks.
Thank you!


22 Susan H.

33 I have a question for you. The process you describe sounds very interesting and I may want to try it myself. I have had my stylist color my brown hair for a long time with Permanent brown color and a few gold highlights. I am so tired of each 4 weeks having to pay for touch ups. I think I would like to try your method. Do I color 2 times a year the entire head of hair with permanent and then for 6 months just use the 1 month dye? ( Or do you just do the roots with permanent dye 2 times a year?)
I’d also love to see a photo of how your hair looks.
Thank you!


23 Marianne

Like Greetje mentioned I went for the grey hair when I was in my fifties and everybody liked it. Even my son thought it was cool. I stopped coloring my hair because I was going to live in Spain and there is a lot of chlorine in swimmingpoolwater, and I was planning to be in the water all the time. That is good for my mobility. But colored hair gets green or orange because of the chlorine. My living in Spain didn’t work out so I returned to Holland , still feeling good about my grey hair. It is very silvery. Till someone told me it made me look ten years older, so there went my confidence and back to coloring every 4 weeks, just the roots. My plan was to stop when I would become 65 and now that I am I say 70. I wish I had the guts to go grey again, but I am a coward.


24 Greetje Kamminga

I don’t think it aged you at all. But when you are not sure about something, one bad remark can weigh more than 20 compliments.


25 Marianne

Yes isn’t that stupid.


26 Kama

I decided to go grey after a reaction to hair dye that was causing liver failure. Although I was nervous at first, I soon adjusted and now I feel like it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I feel more confident than ever before. I feel free. There is nothing more to hide behind, this is me. I videoed my journey if anyone is interested


27 dan

Hair has always been a big issue for me: it has always been too much and too dark. Now that I am 48, I cover the gray, but I am not sure I will in the future. I am just waiting for my hair to become a nice uniform gray!


28 Heidi/Frantic But Fabulous

I colored my hair all through my 20s, not to cover gray, but to go from brunette to redhead. Then I got pregnant at 31 and stopped since there were some concerns about using chemicals while pregnant. After that, I had neither the time nor the money.

Even if I could, I don’t think I’d go back to the time and expense of regular color. I had a grandmother who colored her hair dark brown all her life and it looked so unnatural I always said I would never do that. Plus, once you start, when do you stop? If you wait until you’re older with a lot more grey, then rather than a gradual transition, it’s a sudden one.

Instead I’ve experimented with blonde highlights (mixed success) and red lowlights (too subtle, but I might try again).

And then there are the days I have a secret urge to cut it all off into a peroxided pixie! 🙂


29 Lissa

I love my gray, bit- longer- than- shoulder- length, lightly layered (especially at the crown) hair….and so does my husband and many other women (men have commented too). I’m 58 and have never felt prettier and definately don’t feel like I look older, mainly because I dress keeping fashion trends in mind and have stayed fairly thin. My style in dress is artsy combined with classic elements and this now extends to “dressing” my hair – I invent and wear headbands often, sport a flower or hat when the mood strikes, or just blow it straight back for a dramatic sweep off my forehead.
Having said all of that – it was a rough transition giving up hair color and growing out a funky very short style (FYI harder to grow out the hair style then the color). Over time my make-up has changed: I swear by Clinique charcoal gray eyebrow power, as well as a very sheer foundation so my age shows through and matches my gray hair. As for clothing – strong colors, often mixed with black, are my essentials. Good-bye to pastels and khaki, especially around the face. I’ve found that the fun chunky jewelry and accessories I’ve always favored look particularly nice on the more mature me. I like the feeling of looking mature juxtaposed with a zesty fashion sense :>) It seems to delight others as well and older women, in particular, feel like they can be a bit more daring with their “look” because I’ve shown them it’s OK to “push some fashion envelopes”.
My vote is go gray – it’s fun (once you get there) and unique and you’ll have pretty highlights and lowlights without paying for them. Honestly, God does an incredible job of mixing colors :>)


30 denton

Lissa that was a great post and the photog in me wants to see photos 🙂

My wife is the same way and we’re the same age and she is also doing the chunky jewelry and the blacks and grey clothing with the splashes of colors.


31 Becki C

I am 49. I’ve always had short hair that grows very fast. I colored it for years (mostly to make it red instead of brown!). A couple of years ago, frustrated with the time and money I was spending keeping the roots under control, I asked my stylist to try some highlights instead. When they faded, we discovered silvery salt and pepper color that both of us loved!! I went even shorter with the cut and a little messier, lost a couple sizes, and bought a new wardrobe (so much for saving money!) As Lissa said–there are some colors that don’t look good against my face (pastels, browns and tans) but I’ve always loved bright and dark colors better anyway. And I have a new love affair with navy now. Loving my hair has given me the confidence to step out and wear more fashionable, fun clothes, especially when I get more compliments on my hair. I really don’t care how “old” people think I am–my style is sporty with funky accessories (polka dot scarves and bright colored oxfords) but not too “young” and it’s kind of fun to keep people guessing. My husband was a little unsure of having a grey-haired wife, but I said, “hey, better grey than gone!” I feel better and more put-together now than ever and going grey started it all!


32 Sylvia

Great feedback Becki. How wonderful this has worked out for you. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us and your first comment at 40+Style!


33 Tav W.

Becki, that is awesome! Maybe I should try highlights out, since it might be a bit easier than all over color to maintain. And it’s a different situation when you have to spend a little money to re-invent yourself and become who you now ARE rather than when you are constantly sinking money into attempting to hold on to who you were. I just loved your comment and your happiness shows! 🙂


34 Becki C

Thanks, Ladies–I AM happy and having fun with it all. Like Lissa, when people ask me who colors my hair, I say God’s my color guy! 🙂


35 Spashionista (Alicia)

No grey for me, just a big blonde streak in front and two smaller purple ones on either side. My grey is very dull and unattractive so I won’t be surrendering to it anytime soon.

Spashionista (Alicia)


36 Highland Fashionista

I’m completely natural….salt and pepper, and will never go back. Well cut and maintained gray hair can make more of a statement than anything in a bottle if you want it to.


37 Anita

I went natural/gray 15 years ago when I moved to a small southern town to care for aging parents. I didn’t want the hassle of driving 75+ miles to find a hairdresser. Luckily my gray is silvery, soft and beautiful. Now at 70 it’s still natural and I am regularly asked for the name of my hairdresser so they can get the same color. It has changed the colors I can wear. A former autumn I’m now closer to spring and am still adjusting to not going straight to my old favorites and thinking instead of softer shades in all colors. The only real downside I’ve found is that without coloring my hair is very fine, no longer naturally curly and will no longer hold a curl. But I’m glad hours and dollars with a hairdresser is no longer part of my life.


38 evienne

At 47 I am lucky to only have a few greys but I already know that I will be colouring my hair my natural shade of brown or similar for as long as it continues to look good – I suppose it does depend on the shade of grey one goes but it seems that grey can look quite flat and lost its shine and that is part of what can make it seem ageing.

Sometimes I see a lady with grey hair which looks fab and it’s so liberating to know that grey can look flattering…..but I have to say, I don’t see that many ladies with grey hair that make me think I’ll ever stop colouring!


39 Claire

Whenever i think of grey hair i think of Sarah Harris from Vogue – she looks amazing and so stylish – I am lucky in that my grandmother died at 83 with 4/5 grey hairs in her pitch black hair, my mum – started slightly greying in her 60’s – she has mid brown hair, i have dark blonde and at 47 still have none but i am allergic to chemicals so i know when it goes i will have to go with it naturally so when i see Sarah Harris, Carmen del O i feel it really wont be a bad thing??

Fab blog btw x


40 Vicki

I often think whether I should go grey or not as I am colouring my hair every few weeks to keep the grey away.
I have just discovered your blog and I look forward to reading often.


41 Tav W.

I am fortunate to have only stray grays here and there at the age of 54. However, it also makes it harder in some aspects because if I color my hair, in several weeks, when the roots begin showing (as they are NOW, in fact), here come the grays again. Not enough gray hairs to look cool or “make a statement”, but too many to pluck out. I don’t like having to color so often and I’ve contemplated just letting nature take its course. As you pointed out though, going all gray would most likely depend on what shade of gray I wind up with once it’s growing in more abundantly. I love the right shade of gray and adore the color and styles of the gorgeous women at the top of this page. There is something about them that is so empowering. 🙂


42 Marla

The women featured in this post have beautiful faces and would look good with no hair. Most of the women I see with grey hair don’t look like this. I think a lot depends on how the grey is distributed and the color of the grey. If it looks like an Elvira streak style, I would hate it. If it has a yellowish tinge, no way. Nevertheless, I’ve tried to let my grey grow in but always feel younger when my grey is covered.


43 Gina

As for me, I am 47, and I do color my hair. I plan to continue to color it, probably because I don’t like the grey, but mostly because I have a daughter that is only 3 1/2! I’m not ready to look like her grandmother, although I am old enough to be! I change it up a bit, sometimes highlighting, sometimes adding another color of highlights, and sometimes adding lowlights. I am a natural brunette, with dark brown hair, so the grey roots really show if I stay with one color. Anyway, I think we should all do what makes us feel best. 🙂


44 Tav W.

I agree. It’s wonderful that women have more options now than in our mothers’ and grandmothers’ days and we should all do what feels right to us as individuals. One thing I will add: when I see a woman with gray hair who looks amazing (whether or not she’s as classically beautiful as the ladies in the pics above), the style is what makes the difference. A cutting edge style makes gray hair and the woman wearing it appear more youthful. Matronly cuts don’t do women any favors, no matter what the age or hair color.


45 Jeannee

This is the 2d time recently I have seen this discussion on a blog! – however, I must say, I like how you have yours kitted-out, w/ pro’s and con’s … to answer ur question: when “salt & pepper” started showing up, I decided to let it come in all the way grey, for several reasons: cost, yes; wanting to see what it looked like; if it goes all-grey, it will be a much lighter color and thus easier to make it blonde! It’s also partially being disabled & honest to God not knowing if I can tolerate the fumes & what I used to see my mother go through! as well as issues with my shoulders … well, there’s something I DIDN’T figure on: that going grey would make it become coarse and very dry – aaakkk! So now I’m – hesitating – on my decision ….


46 Niki

Like my mom, I started going gray at 22. I’m 41 now. I have naturally dark brown hair. In my 30s, i started going blonde with highlights and lightening my base color to a level 7 (light brown). But the gray was showing after 2 weeks. So 7 weeks ago I made a drastic change and went platinum. What an amazing thing! The gray blends beautifully! I still have to keep up with the roots but now it’s just one process. No more highlights. I have pink undertones so the whiter blonde works great with my skin tone. Take a look over the last couple of months in my blog:



47 Sylvia

It looks great!


48 Gina

Love your hair! both you and your hair are beautiful. 🙂


49 Niki

Oh that is so sweet. Thank you so much!


50 Tav W.

Oh my lord, Niki! You are adorable! I love your hair; the color and style are phenomenal. I would consider a color like that but I’m not sure if I have the skin tone for it.
And good luck on your new job! 🙂


51 Niki

Thanks Tav! I really love it! Took a little getting used to at the beginning but now I can’t imagine not being this blonde. In fact I’m at the salon in Tampa right now getting the roots touched up! 🙂 i go about every 4 weeks. I’m excited about my new job! Thanks for your sweet compliments.


52 Tav W.

Tampa? You’re a Florida girl, too? I’m in South Florida—Fort Lauderdale, actually. I will let you know if I work up the courage to go that blonde (I’m a dark brunette by nature), but if I do, I will also go short, like you did. I think it would be easier that way. Especially once the famous Florida summer heat and humidity are upon us once again.
I’ll follow your blog to see how things are working out for you! Have a great weekend!


53 Niki

Yep. Native Floridian. Moved back to st pete last August from living 4 years in Connecticut. I’m actually going to grow it out a little as I feel it takes more effort and time to style this short. Plus I want to be able to pull it back in Aug and Sept (my least fav FL months).


54 Tav W.

I’m a native, too, Niki. Born in Miami. 🙂 I hope the readers here realize how rare it is to be in the company of not one, but TWO Florida Natives at the same time. Some think we don’t even exist. Like the Skunk Ape! Haha!
Hope you’ll post pics of your new style over the summer. I have mine (grays making their presence known—sigh) pulled up, twisted and butterfly clipped (I know—NOT a BUTTERFLY CLIP! What next? A SCRUNCHIE? Actually, scrunchies are great for around the house because they don’t leave indentations in your hair.) 😀


55 Petra

I love this topic Sylvia – please do more on it!! I think if one is blonde, going grey is more beautiful than on a brunette. At 46 I luckily have hardly any greys but they are definitely coming and I wonder what I should do with my weird brunette hair (sort of an ash/ginger/brown colour – natural but annoying on my medium/pink toned skin). I love the hair on the pictures above but they all have good makeup on and I think that is what you need to do to replace the ‘lost’ colour of your hair. Love this topic as hair is so important to women of our age – it can almost make or break us I think!


56 Tav W.

Oh no! Once again, those bl0ndes are having more fun? 🙂 I agree, Petra, this is a topic that should continue to be discussed because so many women have issues with the gray situation. I think women are judged more in society with anything pertaining to looks, especially as they age. Have we really “come a long way, baby”? Or is that just an illusion?


57 Christina

One of my biggest style inspirations is IMF chief Christine Legarde. For me, she epitomizes French chic and style. She understands spot on what works for her. Her grey signals complete effortlessness and confidence in herself. But for me ( even with a great haircut – grey hair would make me tired and washed out. It is SO important to figure out what works for each of us.


58 Paula

Hello, I just read all of your responses to going gray. I am 47 and have been dyeing my hair since my early 20’s. Only recently I have an allergic reaction to hair dyes and believe me I have tried everything. I am playing around with the idea of going gray and not really sure how to do it. I have a bobbed hairstyle and not willing to cut it any shorter. I love the color now( natural brown) but I am in agony when I color it.
I would love to know what it would look like if I went gray before I actually do it. I am nervous and know one day I will . My husband said I will look awesome. Can anyone help me in telling me what the process is. Any help would be fantastic.


59 Sylvia

I think it can be quite tough to do this without any coloring. This is what Ann told in a recent interview ( “My hair stylist foils my hair with three colors–the lightest is bleach, a medium blond and one darker tone. Since the base of my hair isn’t colored, some of the grey shows through. We have been talking at some point I will go gray, but for now this process is working. I cut and color my hair every seven to eight weeks.” Perhaps your hair can cope with highlights if you don’t dye the base?


60 Tav W.

Paula, another method of “testing” the gray color would simply be finding a place that sells wigs and trying some gray ones on. That could actually give you an even better idea than photoshop, since you will be able to move in different positions and see what you look like in natural light. You can test different shades and get a better idea of how it will work with your skin tone, since skin tones can be “off” in photographs.


61 denton

Paula, if you’d like to see yourself with gray/silver hair, you can try it out in photoshop. If you’re not sure how to do it I could do it for you if you’d like to get me a photo. Meanwhile, there are two very friendly and active facebook support groups devoted to the issue. It’s certainly not easy but as they will tell you it is worth the journey. I believe they are by application, but just ask the mods and you will be added.


62 cathy

I am 48 and going grey. I am thinking of dying my hair. There is another alternative, ladies. Supplements that reverse your grey hair. They will cost you about $15 plus a month. I would like to do this but it will cost me more than a bottle of store bought dye. Have any of you used Revlon?

If anyone wants info on the supplements, let me know.



63 kay kerns

I’m 56 and letting my hair grow out grey…it is light brown streaked with a pretty silvery color! I think now it actually suits my complexion better than the brown color i was using. It’s definitely cheaper and less hassle.


64 Dawn

I find it interesting that so many of us (including me) went “prematurely” grey and colored our hair — which makes me think that society may not be accurately reflecting when people really DO go grey. Maybe “normal” isn’t, say, 50 for most people — maybe it’s more like mid-to-late 30s for a lot more people than we think. Just another example of how we put expectations on ourselves based on possibly misleading societal norms.

In any event, I am 47 and still coloring although I started doing it myself about a year ago because I hated going to the salon and sitting there for so long. I do feel like I would look older if I didn’t color my hair and, unfortunately, I really suspect people might treat me differently at work.


65 Jane Mott

Interesting article.
As a hairdresser in my 40’s I do colour my hair its a great way for me to demonstrate the colouring services I offer. That colour can look natural, healthy, shiny and compliment skin tone and fashion style.
For ladies who want to use home colour for the first time my advice is avoid colours with ash tones as your grey hair is natural rich in ash. Instead go to the complimentary opposite on the colour wheel and choose a warm golden tone. Also as we get older our skin tone changes so its a good idea to go for a shade lighter than what was your natural hair colour before grey. And for anyone colouring their hair I would advise that if you
want to go more than one shade either side of your natural colour then go to a salon and let a professional do it. Colour can be unpredictable so leave anything more than subtle change to those who have training in the hair structure and science involved in the chemical process.
Will share this article with my hair clients via my FB page and Twitter @charismacutz
Thank you


66 Catfight

Here’s the truth about gray hair (and it’s going to hurt): People lie to themselves about how much younger they look without gray hair. It’s so much more than hair–skin tone, body fat percentage, condition of teeth etc. Seriously, nothing screams “old” more than a mature face with super shiney, reddish-brown hair with blond highlights. Really, that is the female equivalent of a male comb-over.


67 Sherri

How true.


68 rmchiramel

Very true. However, I have the opposite problem. I’m 41 but look like I’m 25. Thinking about letting my grey show so ppl will address me w the authority my years have gained me! I’m not a girl. I’m a woman!


69 Pamela

I am 49 years old and my hair is 90% bright silver white. I have never dyed it. The only time I came close was right after my divorce. But while I waiting at the salon (a high end celebrity boutique in LA) I caught the owner staring at me. He then told me how much he wished he had my color himself, and it was gorgeous. I confessed that I had been planning to discuss color with my stylist in just a few minutes. He emphatically told me not to do it, that I had the skin of an 18 year old, and that he had clients who would do anything for this color–some by dying it, others by growing out color. And so I took that to heart.

That said, I recognize that this is a risky look that needs support to truly “shine.”

1. PURPLE SHAMPOO– there are many brands but I use Clairol Shimmer Lights 2-3 times a week. This eliminates dingy yellowing. People who compliment my hair often mention the tone. Purple shampoo is the key to that.

2. Frequent heavy conditioning, for the coarseness. My stylist recommends it (just for me) with every shampoo.

3. Shine serum. Make it gleam in the sunlight.

4. Colors! It’s no coincidence that random strangers compliment my hair when I wear dark blue! No more earth tones.

5. Makeup–I’ve rarely worn makeup in the past, but I think I need at least a little now to ensure that my features don’t wash out.

6. Wardrobe style– I’ve decided I need more polish to support this hair color. My former more flowing Bohemian look is risky (a fringed shawl is almost fatal!). There is less margin of error on the frumpy-unkempt scale. My journey to work on my style is what brought me here!

Whenever I second guess my decision to stay natural, I consider this: random strangers never stopped me in the street to compliment my hair color when it was brown. This happens now.


70 Sylvia

Great tips Pamela. Thanks!


71 Lisa

At 43 and with a good 50% of my hair being grey, I consciously chose to change my colour from constantly dyed brown to full grey. I stripped the colour off, and then toned the result with a silver dye. I actually look younger – it looks like I made a fashion choice. The silver colour I picked is much softer against my skin, and I absolutely love it.

If it’s good enough for Jamie Lee Curtis (gorgeous), it’s good enough for me! And it requires considerably less upkeep than the brown dye did.


72 Roxanne

What did you use to strip the colour – or did you have it done professionally? Did it damage your hair? I am wrestling with going grey but the growing out part is holding me back


73 Karen

I absolutely love your spirit! I too have embarked on this journey. Long hair now with a gray. Love it!! Wish I could figure out how to post a before and now. Can’t figure it out but love the freedom!!!


74 Megan Smith

Hello!! I am at the ripe age of 28 and I am 50% gray at the crown and a little less on the sides. I am so over coloring since I have been coloring every 3-4 weeks for about 11 years now to hide these strands. My whole family is prematurely gray and my 25 year old brother is nearly all white. I want to cut all the color out and start fresh with my salt n pepper look. Am I too young? Should I just go for it?


75 Sylvia

Only you can decide Megan. Some women will never want to go gray while others never want to color. So long as what wear what you decide with confidence, either option is great!


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