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Why I’m Not Going Gray

Why I’m Not Going Gray

I’m not neurotic about it or anything, but I do think about my hair often. Not because I love it but because it’s always a struggle. Baby fine, poker straight, and thinning is not an easy combo. Toss in the “to gray or not to gray” question and there’s more to consider.

What I Know to be True About Gray Hair

Our natural coloring softens as we age. Eye color lightens, natural lip color fades, and our skin loses its vibrancy. As a result, we have less contrast between our features and our hair. The stark contrast of very dark hair can make wrinkles appear deeper, which makes you look older.

Going gray or silver is a choice many women struggle with. It’s all the rage to go natural these days. Of course, hair color companies aren’t suffering because there’s just as many of us who choose to cover our gray than not.

Salt and pepper hair has always been one of my favorite looks. There’s something about the contrast of colors that I find beautiful. Sadly, that’s not a look I will ever get because my hair is too light. I always wanted to be a brunette…go figure.

I’ve written about my hair here, here, and here, pondering the gray question more times than not. When I make a plus and minus list for going gray, in my case silver, the minuses far outweigh the plusses.

Why I’m Not Going Gray

  • My blonde is ashy and taupe. Coloring my hair adds body which is why when I started with highlights at 15, I never looked back.
  • Adding lowlights gives my hair dimension and helps it look thicker.
  • The truth is, I don’t have enough silver coming in so it looks mottled, patchy and drab.
  • I don’t need to lighten my hair to flatter my softening features because it’s already pale.
  • I really do look older with silver hair. I am old seasoned but I don’t want to look older than I need to.

Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life in sunshine to show how her hair is not going gray

Dishwater blonde hair worked on my younger face but it’s not flattering now. I’ve toyed with the idea of going platinum but I’d need to wear it very short because of the damage the bleach would cause. I don’t look good in short hair. Been there done that in my 30’s and it was not my finest moment.

I love the look of gray and silver hair, just not on me, yet.

Did you decide to go gray?

Thanks for reading and have a great day.

 

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86 Comments

  1. Susan
    August 9, 2019 / 4:28 am

    Some women suit grey hair, but I think it is very ageing and not flattering. I am 62 and get my hair professionally coloured every 6 to 8 weeks and it looks glossy (brunette) , shiny and thick and will continue this until I can no longer stagger down to the hairdressers, no doubt by that time, from the nursing home (aged care facility).

    • Lori
      August 9, 2019 / 4:49 am

      I agree completely! Maybe we can go to the same nursing home and hire someone to come in and color both of us! lol

    • Mary Ann Doerzbacher
      August 9, 2019 / 11:38 am

      Yes, Susan! I feel exactly the same.

    • Jennifer
      Author
      August 9, 2019 / 10:00 pm

      Lol! Glossy, shiny and thick is a dream for me. Lucky you

  2. Jane McLaughlin
    August 9, 2019 / 4:29 am

    I am not ready for gray either nor is my hair since I don’t have much gray yet. I’m 63 and I’ve been coloring my dark brown hair with red by my hairdresser for years. I’ve began the process of letting some of my natural hair color come through and hope that will help my transition be a little easier. I’ll probably continue with some red because I love it so much (and so does my husband). My SIL starting letting her hair go gray several years ago and always makes comments about my continuing to dye my hair – so glad she lives on the West coast and I’m in TN. All this to say is do what feels right for you. Hair is such a personal choice and takes thoughtful decisions that reflect you, not someone else. Love your blog!

    • Jennifer
      Author
      August 9, 2019 / 9:59 pm

      You are lucky she lives far away;) I wish
      more women would accept other women’s choices. We need to do what makes us happy.

  3. Sondra
    August 9, 2019 / 4:35 am

    I have had gray hair (hairs) since I was 17. I’m now 77. I’ve never colored my hair so have transitioned over time. There is still some dark hairs so I’m not totally gray….yet. Both of my parents had beautiful silvery gray hair. I always get compliments on my hair and I wear it short. Would love to let it grow out to your length but dread the growing out process. I have thinner hair now and it’s always been very fine. I find the gray hair gives me lots more body and I was also blessed with natural curly hair. Keeping it short allows to me still it much easier, I think. But, we ALL have to decide what looks best on us! I think your hair is beautiful and love the color of it.

    • Eileen
      August 9, 2019 / 8:32 am

      Jennifer,

      I totally agree with you. While I was recovering from surgery, I was unable to get to my hair colorist. One day I looked in the mirror and saw Casper the Friendly Ghost looking back at me. As soon as I was able I booked an appointment and voila 10 years younger.
      Thank you for outlining the reasons why gray just doesn’t work for some people.

    • Jennifer
      Author
      August 9, 2019 / 9:57 pm

      Yours sounds very pretty Sondra.

  4. Jules
    August 9, 2019 / 4:36 am

    Having coloured my hair in various ways since I was a teenager, and embraced keratin straightening for a while, I finally decided to go natural, when I was tired of going to the hairdresser every three weeks to hide the silver wings. Fortunately, very short hair suits me, and my salt and pepper gets many compliments. Gosh, it’s liberating, economical and time saving. At the same time, I’m very aware that it’s not for everyone. Jennifer, your hair suits you very well, vive la différance!

  5. Janet Williams
    August 9, 2019 / 4:37 am

    I have straight, fine hair that is starting to thin at 60. I am a brunette with little gray, mostly at the temples and hairline. I get by with blonde highlights for now. I don’t think gray will suit me, making me look faded. I do have short hair because I don’t have the time, interest or talent to fuss with it. To offset all that, I wear enough makeup to give me the brightness and polish I need.

    • Jennifer
      Author
      August 9, 2019 / 9:55 pm

      I need to add a brighter makeup too these days. It’s a good thing I like makeup.

  6. Kathy
    August 9, 2019 / 4:38 am

    It’s so fabulous that we live in a time when we can choose to color, go “natural”, or even somewhere in between with high and low lights. I think it’s good to have your own understanding of your choice of whether to color or not. I have short dark wavy hair that I’m letting go grey. My hair grows fast and because my hair is dark, I would need to color my hair every 3-4 weeks. I also understand that because my hair is dark, going back to grey would be awkward, to say the least. Now, that I’ve got my natural “silver highlights” it’s part of my style. and your beautiful blonde hair is part of your style too.

  7. August 9, 2019 / 4:46 am

    I love today’s article! I am 56 and I will color my hair as long as I can without looking crazy. My hair started going gray very young. I thought of embracing it in my 40’s but hated the look and transition. I finally started adding blond highlights to my red hair (that now is from a bottle as well) then when the white starts showing it blends until my next appointment.

    • Jennifer
      Author
      August 9, 2019 / 9:48 pm

      I always wanted to try out red hair. It’s so unique and pretty

  8. Holly
    August 9, 2019 / 4:47 am

    The last photo of you in the blog is just Beautiful and I agree adding color or highlights will give you more body and appear and feel fuller. For me I do not have that problem……I will be 60 in December and for most of my adult life have worn my hair short. I do color and highlight my own hair, it’s thick and has a lot of body. I think keeping it short helps to keep it somewhat tame and not look “too big” for my small frame face. I do think as we age we need to go a bit lighter and shorter……helps to keep us looking younger. Love the name of your lipstick “wink”🐾.

    • Jennifer
      Author
      August 9, 2019 / 9:47 pm

      You’re very clever to do it yourself. That’s one thing I have never tried.

  9. Judy Casingal
    August 9, 2019 / 4:47 am

    I am 76 and stopped coloring my hair 12/18. I had dark brown hair and when it started to turn white a skunk line was showing up earlier and earlier , to the point I needed to have it colored every 2 to 3 weeks. Hard on the care …and the pocketbook. I through in the towel and went cold turkey. BTW, my hair has always been short. I am particular about wearing makeup and my best colors, and I do receive complements on my hair.

    • Corrie
      August 9, 2019 / 5:39 am

      Ditto here (same age too). I was tired of worrying if my roots showed every time the wind blew! I transitioned, though – kept going lighter and lighter blonde (and found a hair color that fades; not what everyone wants, but it suited my purpose), until everything just blended together. I have more money and less anxiety 🙂

      • Jennifer
        Author
        August 9, 2019 / 9:28 pm

        More money and less anxiety sounds good to me;)

    • Shirley (GA)
      August 9, 2019 / 5:44 am

      I agree, Judy! I stopped coloring my hair 5 years ago (I’m 60) – my husband would look at the top of my head and say “The skunk came back”! I was a dark brunette and the contrast was stark – I was going every 4 weeks for touch ups but really should have gone sooner – but salon coloring is expensive, even if it does look great! With the help of my stylist, I “transitioned” my white hair as it grew it – getting it cut shorter and adding highlights to “blend” new growth. It took about 2 years to get through it – but the salon visits were less and less frequent – which was saving lots of money. Now at 60 I am a white/silver and love it! My stylist now adds “low lights” to keep it from being totally white and I am so glad I did it! I changed make up colors gradually to go with my new hair and really had to change my clothing color choices, too. I get more compliments on my white/silver hair than I ever did when I was younger with dark hair!

    • Patti Shannon
      August 9, 2019 / 9:16 am

      I quit coloring my hair during the last year of my mother’s life. My auburn brown hair had begun graying years earlier although I had been coloring it even before that time. My hair was very resistant to color and I was spending a full hour with color on my head every 3 weeks! My husband had long been concerned about the chemical exposure since my breast cancer diagnosis @ age 42. My mother’s health issues were taking up increasing amounts of time, in addition to my more than full-time job, parenting a special needs teenager, being active at church and trying to have a little left for my patient and supportive husband. I asked my stylist to give me a heavy white blonde frost….the next time I thought about it was 4 years later. I’ll be 65 in 2 months and have beautiful, shiny white hair. I have no idea whether it makes me look older or not but most people don’t believe my age. Everyone should do what they feel comfortable with and can support, both in terms of time and money.

      • Cimmie S
        August 9, 2019 / 12:01 pm

        Agree absolutely Patti. Although older, er, more ‘seasoned’ (love Jennifer’s word) I lived through the going grey process due to cancer & it’s possible issues with hair colouring. I’m content. Always at very least wear bright lipstick to lift face colour. My sister, 15 months younger has her hair coloured & she looks lovely. She’s also content. Think it’s personal choice.

    • Susan Gowan
      August 10, 2019 / 7:35 am

      I am another Susan but decided to go gray about 4 years ago when I broke my foot. All my cousins on my Mom’s side have gone gray except one who still lives in Italy and is the oldest of our tribe, 75. I will be 69 in November and have accepted my age gracefully and realize that age is just a number. When playing with my grands, I feel muchyounger. I still love my hair as it is very like my aunt’s. I now love being told I look exactly like her! Age transforms a person. Given the consequences, I’ll take it!

  10. Barbara
    August 9, 2019 / 4:58 am

    I’m 57 and stopped coloring my hair when I was 54. I had been highlighting my dark ash blonde hair for years but decided that the time, money and chemicals required just weren’t worth it. I have naturally curly hair that tends to be dry anyway, and we have hard water where I live, so my hair always took on a bit of a brassy tone and all of the bleach in the highlights dried my hair out way more than I could tolerate. Then I was diagnosed with cancer and decided to take control of what I could and chose to “clean” up my diet, my environment and my personal care products. One day, while sitting at the hairdresser, watching them mix up the mixtures for the foils, it occurred to me that there were lots of chemicals in that mix. I cancelled that coloring session and instead asked for a chin length bob, grew out those high/low lights and now am in remission and have soft, healthy shoulder length silver waves. One advantage to starting off with lighter hair is that if/when you decide to go natural, the grow out is relatively painless.

    • Jennifer
      Author
      August 9, 2019 / 9:45 pm

      I’m so happy to hear you’re in remission Barbara. There’s no question that we are exposed to lots of toxic chemicals on a daily basis. Cancer is terrifying.

  11. August 9, 2019 / 5:19 am

    I am 70 and still color my hair. I swore I would never color it until my 40s when I started to gray. Ha Ha. Then the coloring started! I had bob length hair then and could not stand the new strands of gray hair sticking out all over my head. My natural color is very dark brunette, but now I have brown with red shades. Subtle red shades. I just love it. I will never stop coloring my hair. I feel younger not having gray hair. I think you look great without the gray. For you it would be easier to go gray since your hair is so light. but for me, it would be such a drastic change. You look great!!!

    • Jennifer
      Author
      August 9, 2019 / 9:30 pm

      Yours sounds so fun Linda

  12. Monica
    August 9, 2019 / 5:27 am

    I will never go gray. My original hair color is dark brown. I now have it colored every 5 weeks to a soft brown with hilights. Just recently I was in the company of my Mom (93) and her sister (85). My mom colors her her hair and her sister does not. My 93 year old mother looked like the younger sister. That was enough evidence for me. Everyone has to do what makes them feel best and it is maintenance to color your hair but at 65 it is one thing I give to myself to feel good.

  13. Janet
    August 9, 2019 / 5:50 am

    You look great with the color you have chosen! 🙂 I am fortunate that, at nearly 66, my hair does not have a majority of grey in it. I was always strawberry blonde, which has darkened more to a dishwater blonde, now with what look like highlights but is actually my grey coming in. I receive many compliments on my hair, and don’t want to spend money coloring it, so I let it be natural. But if I felt that the grey was unflattering, I would color it. Life is too short to walk around not feeling good about yourself!

  14. Tina
    August 9, 2019 / 5:52 am

    I lighten my hair, but at 61 I still only have a few gray hair. Growing up I was a very light auburn and in the summer would go strawberry blond. Over the years my hair has turned more brown, so I color to get the blond highlights that I had in my youth. Will have to see what I do when I really start going gray.

  15. Deborah Broughton
    August 9, 2019 / 6:06 am

    I have always colored my own hair after having several bad experiences with salon coloring. Like when one hairdresser turned my roots green and told me I just had to live with it that way! At the suggestion of my wonderful hairdresser I have now ,I have gone lighter and lighter so my roots blend in. It helps that my hair is very thick. It is also unruly but I do get a keratin treatment at the salon twice a year. That makes blow drying much faster and keeps the wild frizz from taking over my hair any time I walk out side!

  16. janice bedo
    August 9, 2019 / 6:09 am

    I went gray and LOVE it! The money I save at the salon is now going for a new wardrobe, though. I wear brighter colors and get compliments galore, even from the younger gals. My hubs has been gray for years and we now “go” together. Not always, but sometimes coloring the hair doesn’t always make you look younger. It took me about 4 months to transition, but I’ve always had short hair. On my 65th birthday, I had ALL the color cut out. Super short and I loved it.

  17. Mary
    August 9, 2019 / 6:13 am

    We have similar hair, texture, cuts and color although mine is a tad darker. My mother went from dark, dark brown to gorgeous silver….not me. I am going from dishwater to dirty dishwater 😂 I agree that by adding high and lowlights, I get body. I also have a clever stylist (at last) who gives me a great cut so even in humid weather I don’t look like a drowned rat.
    As a side note, I think women should go for the look that makes them look and feel great and not necessarily what people “think” someone in our age group should look like or wear….just my two cents worth.

  18. August 9, 2019 / 6:15 am

    I stopped highlighting my ash brown hair about 6 years ago now…it’s been a while. I’m about 50/50 gray and ash brown now.

    Ladies often will comment on how pretty it is. My hairdresser says it’s wonderful, but one guy said to me fairly recently, ” Your face looks great for your age, but why do you keep you gray?” He wasn’t a fan, but pffft, who cares! 😁
    My Mom who is 80 now still has some dark brown on her head so I may gray the way she did which won’t bother me at all. I don’t miss the hours I spent in the salon getting my hair highlighted at all! Not to mention the money I’m saving.

    Your last photo is gorgeous! Your hair looks lovely, no need to change it or let it grow out if you’re happy, and you look so gorgeous.

  19. Julie
    August 9, 2019 / 6:30 am

    I stopped coloring my hair about two years ago when a problem with my thyroid caused my hair to start falling out! I was so afraid that coloring would exacerbate the problem that I just quit. It’s been rough, but I love it now. I had forgotten what my real color was! I was coloring it a warm brown, when in reality I’m naturally very dark ash brown. I also discovered that I have lots of very cool silver streaks–they almost look like I went to the salon and had them added. I’ve been getting rid of most of my warm-toned clothes because they look awful on me now. I feel pretty lucky. Losing my hair was a horrible experience, but it’s back now and I really like it–I feel like me again.

  20. Jan
    August 9, 2019 / 6:37 am

    I tried going natural in my mid 60’s and felt all washed out. So I went back to color. I’m a natural dark brunette and have had various color combinations since I saw the first gray hair in my early 30’s….mostly highlights over a light brown base color. My last color was an auburn for a change. My length has never been below chin length and in later years it got shorter and shorter. After a surgery that meant I couldn’t get out for my regular appointments for about 3 months, I had over an inch or two of my natural color showing. I realized my hair was a lovely shade of almost white gray. So I had a big chop on my already short hair and in 3 more months the color was gone. Then ensued about 6 months of growing out, which was the hardest part, and I finally was ready for a real style. I LOVE my color and have had more compliments on my hair in it’s natural state than ever before. Yes, it doesn’t have as much body and yes my hair has thinned with age but we work around that with the style. If you’re iffy and wondering, stop the color and find out how you look. You can always color again and, quite frankly, that’s what I thought I’d do. Now I use all that money I spent on my hair for lots of Broadway shows and I’m not putting chemicals on my scalp. Try it you might like it but whatever you decide, move ahead with a confidence and joy.

  21. Jan
    August 9, 2019 / 6:39 am

    I tried going natural in my mid 60’s and felt all washed out. So I went back to color. I’m a natural dark brunette and have had various color combinations since I saw the first gray hair in my early 30’s….mostly highlights over a light brown base color. My last color was an auburn for a change. My length has never been below chin length and in later years it got shorter and shorter. After a surgery in early 2018, that meant I couldn’t get out for my regular appointments for about 3 months, I had over an inch or two of my natural color showing. By then I was almost 78. I realized my hair was a lovely shade of almost white gray. So I had a big chop on my already short hair and in 3 more months the color was gone. Then ensued about 6 months of growing out, which was the hardest part, and I finally was ready for a real style. I LOVE my color and have had more compliments on my hair in it’s natural state than ever before. Yes, it doesn’t have as much body and yes my hair has thinned with age but we work around that with the style. If you’re iffy and wondering, stop the color and find out how you look. You can always color again and, quite frankly, that’s what I thought I’d do. Now I use all that money I spent on my hair for lots of Broadway shows and I’m not putting chemicals on my scalp. Try it you might like it but whatever you decide, move ahead with a confidence and joy.

  22. August 9, 2019 / 6:49 am

    I always wanted to be tall and blond, neither happened😣, but a couple years ago my hairdresser talked me into trying gray – I sorta like it. It took a whole year to finally grow out all the color. I didn’t know what to expect since my mom had beautiful white hair, I was surprised at the color, since it came in kind of steel ash gray. I found a cut that looks chic and seems to fit me. I’ve gotten lots of compliments on it even from my former students. Now that many young women are coloring to silver, I fit right in, lol. I think it’s all in what your comfortable with. I’m glad I did it!

  23. Maura
    August 9, 2019 / 7:04 am

    My hair is fine and thinner in some spots. And it’s short. I used to look at my subtle spots of gray as highlights, but I felt I looked blah. So I decided to color my hair. But again I saw so many bad “dye jobs.” Well I already get my hair cut at a beauty school, so I decided to let them color my hair, and I’m glad I did. I only do it about 3 times per year. The color is so subtle that as it grows out, the roots subtly blend in.

  24. Rose
    August 9, 2019 / 7:10 am

    I never expected to go short and gray but after losing my hair from chemo it came in salt and pepper. They say not to color it for six months and by then I decided I liked it. I wore my hair more like yours and I think it looks beautiful on you. I’m just happy to have hair at this point! If I get any more gray I might put in some low lights.

  25. Diane
    August 9, 2019 / 7:20 am

    I’m in the “I will color forever camp.” Two years ago at the age of 68 I stopped coloring my hair my usual color of ash brown. I did this for one year, but kept it short which is my usual style. At the end of the year, after a family gathering, I saw myself in a group picture and, honestly, I just faded into the background! My new gray/white/brown hair came in very patchy which is not flattering. Besides that, my hair had no body and frizzed terribly. I couldn’t style it in any sort of a becoming style. So I went back to coloring it my usual ash brown, and everyone in my family, and my friends said they were glad I went back to my coloring my hair because I looked younger, healthier, and happier. I do have to have this done every 4 weeks. The money spent is well worth it because I feel so much more self-confident with my ash brown hair. I do still admire women that have been able to transition to a natural gray/silver hair color. I think they look great!

  26. Patricia Watters
    August 9, 2019 / 7:29 am

    I’m a brunette, with strong red undertones. One half of my head is going grey; if I part my hair on the right, it’s less noticeable, to the left–look out! It’s not enough grey to be attractive for being grey, too much grey to be attractively brunette. In some lights, the strong red mixed with silver creates a weird pink effect (visible only to me, my DH assures me). I’ve settled on high lights to camouflage for the time being. Argh.

  27. August 9, 2019 / 7:31 am

    I stopped going to the salon when I got sick with endo and adenomyosis and now it’s been over a year since I’ve done highlights. I have naturally dark blonde hair with silver streaks that look like platinum highlights. Who knew? I lost all of my hair when I was younger and, when it grew back, I vowed to always keep it long. So now it’s ombre with the old blonde on the ends. It will take years to grow out but that’s OK. It’s not for everyone, but I actually quite like it. You look fabulous. Your color is very natural. I’d keep it for sure since it works for you so well. I think it’s a very individual choice.

  28. Jane
    August 9, 2019 / 7:57 am

    I am lazy about my hair and stopped colouring it over 10 years ago. However I applaud those who are supporting beauty salons, those hard working men and women who strive to make us look and feel our best with every visit, some with foils and dye, others with scissors and razors. They are the heroes of the hair world!

  29. Eileen
    August 9, 2019 / 8:01 am

    I have ash brown hair, and have been highlighting with blonde for years. At age 67 I tried to let the grey grow out, but It came in patchy as well, so to me it looked off balance, and the color was dishwater grey, not the beautiful grey I hoped for. So I asked around at different salons for recommendations, and I ended up medium brown, yes, darker than my normal ash hair, but it looks way healthier, and the process of bleaching my fine hair stopped. What did I learn? That dye thickened my hair, and I now know what a skunk line is! Bottom line, we all have to decide what works for us, my friend at 94 still colors her hair red!

  30. Donnella
    August 9, 2019 / 8:13 am

    I remember when doctors told us that those expensive creams would not work because they couldn’t penetrate our skin. Suddenly, we had hormone patches, heart patches, etc. If those meds can penetrate, then the hair colors can as well and that’s right next to our brain. A wig is a much easier solution.

  31. Joanna
    August 9, 2019 / 8:44 am

    I know the field is divided on going grey. I find grey/white/silver can be aging on some, while others look amazing. What is the secret?
    I chose not to for the exact same reasons as yourself. I was born with platinum hair which darkened to blonde. I have very little white, so I have subtle highlights & lowlights added every second cut. At 66, I think I am aging graciously.

  32. August 9, 2019 / 8:48 am

    I am 64 and stopped coloring my hair over 8 years ago. My hair began looking like a frizzled mess from coloring it since my hair was completely silver. There is no salt and pepper on my head. My mother had more pepper than I at 87 when she died. It has been a no brainer for me personally. I have never looked back. However, I do not think it is for everyone and one should follow their own instincts. FYI you still have to spend money on your hair in order to keep it healthy and keep the brassies at bay. Great article!

  33. Leslie Anne Lord
    August 9, 2019 / 8:52 am

    I am embracing the grey…growing my hair out after a pixie cut that I needed to get because of two frozen shoulders. I wear a deeper shade of lip colour. I am 64 and feel that this is the “new me!”

  34. Lily
    August 9, 2019 / 9:23 am

    I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I think we have similar coloring. I am very light blonde and very ash-y. I think I will turn a dingy, dishwater color so I get highlights when I feel drab. Going natural doesn’t necessarily mean going a beautiful gray or silver. Gray hair needs work to look beautiful!

  35. Ann
    August 9, 2019 / 9:38 am

    I’m 74 and will not color my hair because I have many allergies that manifest themselves on my tender skin. So I choose to be extra careful and not try something that would cause me more grief. However, I am also blessed with holding my own light brown color quite well. I do have gray “sideburns” and around my temples but the rest of my hair is lightly highlighted with gray which makes my fine (but lots of it) hair shimmer in the sun. Probably just what I would want if I did color it.

  36. Gloria Pigue Miller
    August 9, 2019 / 9:41 am

    I’m a natural blonde (well, more or less) so I thought it would be simple to let my greying, almost white, hair grow out I’ve tried to let my hair go naturally grey but when it did, I just wasn’t comfortable! It just wasn’t me. Well, at least not yet. And as Billy Crystal said, “It is better to look good” and in doing so you feel good!

  37. Colleen
    August 9, 2019 / 9:48 am

    After a few years of henna rinses, I decided to take advantage of a cherished inheritance from grandma – early onset silver gray hair. Happy to report that the world did not stop spinning on its axis. It’s definitely a personal choice and can be challenging in this world where men are called distinguished, silver foxes and women are called old. Blue malva shampoo once a week to combat any yellowish tinges and we’re good to go. So, if you decide to live with your silver gray tresses, know that you are among a growing number of silver, foxy women!

  38. Ellen
    August 9, 2019 / 9:49 am

    Grew out the dye about 2 years ago when my hairdresser said while looking at roots that I was completely white *white* not grey anymore. Actually turned out more white and blond and some grey. It is naturally curly so I have it about collar bone length and wear it up mostly. I look horrific without makeup, and go out so seldom that I rarely have to put it on, so I’m way out of practice with makeup, much less with makeup for my hair color which can get brassy on the ends unless I use a purple *purple* shampoo which supposedly tones it down.
    Any advice for jazzing up my makeup to go with my sallow skin tone and sallow hair tone?. I understand enough not wear the color yallow* yallow * Should I live and dye another day? Or just up and dye? Though I don’t go out much, my dog and husband are beginning to mistake me for a large yallow cushion about the house. Plus we have a New England fall vacation coming up. I can’t hope to rival your pics from fabulous getaways, Mrs AWSL, but my husband is as handsome is Mr AWSL, and deserves to carry a better lookin’ woman’s predictably overpacked suitcase.

    • Colleen
      August 10, 2019 / 8:21 am

      Ellen, my hair is silver and I’ve used Blue Malva shampoo from Aveda for years. Just replaces one regular shampooing each week and no yellow hair here. I have no affiliation with that company, but, having tried other brands I find this one works best for me.

  39. DEBBIE KERWIN
    August 9, 2019 / 10:13 am

    I am in total agreement. I do have nice thick hair (thank you Lord or whoever gave it to me). It is straight also and I’m told by my hairdresser it’s mostly salt and drab in front and mostly just drab medium brown in back. That being said I will not go grey. I do think some women look fabulous with beautiful silver hair but that is not what I have, so sticking to high and low highlighting. I believe/hope by our age we know what looks good on us.

  40. mrsben
    August 9, 2019 / 10:18 am

    Fair complexioned like yourself and for the most part of my life a blonde until around the age of sixteen when it began to darken to more of a honey blonde . Fast forward at age twenty went to a salon and decided to go platinum blonde. BIG mistake (and sheer panic) as due to the bleach, experienced breakage and went from long hair to a very short bob. Fortunately the short boyish haircut that model Twiggy made popular back in the 60’s had made a revival … lol … however I did decide to let it grow out and went auburn. Oddly, those who new me before hand didn’t care for the new darker look and those who didn’t could not picture me ever being otherwise. Go figure and long story short; after two years I did go back to being a blonde and have been using the same off-the-shelf product/colour for many, many years (which I apply myself) and over which time due to the gray coming in has transitioned to an overall silver blonde with a few highlights of platinum. (Hip hip hooray and with no breakage this time … ☺.) To conclude; I often get compliments and inquiries as to what colour I use or where I get it done and even have my hairdresser who cuts my hair baffled as the colour is described as just a ‘very light blonde’.
    As for your hair Jennifer, I certainly feel it suits you and IMHO as long as you are happy with it, that is what truly counts.
    -Brenda-

  41. Kathy
    August 9, 2019 / 10:22 am

    I stopped coloring my hair 3 years ago after my daughter’s wedding. My hair was brown and I colored and highlighted for 25 years. I have thick, slightly wavy hair cut in long layers. I use a curling wand or curling iron. My hair is so healthy now since I stopped coloring. I routinely get compliments on my hair from both young and old. A lot of women my age tell me how “brave” I am to be grey. I love my hair — no worrying about roots showing anymore. I do think grey hair can be aging but with an up-to-date haircut, fashionable clothing, and positive attitude, it works for this 67 year old.

  42. Charlotte Lewter
    August 9, 2019 / 11:00 am

    I love your hair. I too have the same type of hair as you. Yours is cut into more layers. How do you get it to be so whispy and have body? I’ve cut mine off into layers and all it does is make me look fatter because it just sticks to my head. Never found any product I could use that didn’t itch my scalp.

  43. Vikki Kelly
    August 9, 2019 / 11:02 am

    I was born with red hair that wet blonde during my public school years. When I had my first child at age 21 my hair went red again! It took me a while to adjust! When I turned 61(nine years ago) my “straight as Captain Kangaroo” hair got really curly! Go figure! I now wear it short and curly, and have it colored bright red with highlights every 10 weeks. I get lots of compliments and it is easy to style! I will go to my grave with bright red curly hair and Revlon Red nail polish on my toes! You are beautiful in all your photos, Jennifer! I love your hair. Vikki – Red Headed Manja

  44. August 9, 2019 / 12:30 pm

    I think going “grey” or not is a very personal decision. I decided one day about 4+ years ago to stop coloring my hair. I was tired of the smell, and how often I had to go. Sometimes grey would still show through on the sides. I will admit I was retired when I started the transitioning process, and not sure I would have done it while still working. As far as looking younger or not, it depends on the hair style and other factors, such as makeup, clothing colors etc. I see plenty of very stylish women sporting grey hair of all lengths. There is no right or wrong; just whatever feels good to someone is what they should do.

  45. August 9, 2019 / 1:00 pm

    I’m with you Jennifer! I won’t go gray. Yes, I have hair like yours as well. Coloring it definitely gives us more body.

    I find color to be a far more youthful look than drab gray. I love it, it’s vibrant, like us 😉

    I won’t be popular for this, but many women give up on the way they look, simply don’t care, and they go gray.

    Not this girl.

  46. Cathy justice
    August 9, 2019 / 1:54 pm

    I understand perfectly, I have fine hair and hair color gives it more body and texture. A couple of years ago I went back to my natural color mainly to see how it looked. I’m salt and pepper but there isn’t enough contrast. I felt like I needed to lighten it. I went back to my blond from years ago. I’m so happy. I don’t look washed out. I wear my hair short because I like and I always come back to it being short.

  47. Lily Ann
    August 9, 2019 / 3:32 pm

    Jenn, you look and are fabulous! I’m not going gray. My mom is 84 and still colors her hair. As long as I’m able, I’m coloring. Thank you for your wonderful blog!

  48. Roberta
    August 9, 2019 / 4:02 pm

    I’ve had my hair dyed various shades of blonde the past 20+ years until last January. I asked my stylist to give me a feminine buzz cut, thinking it would mostly grow out by April. And I was right. Honestly, one of the smartest decisions I’ve made. My hair is actually salt and pepper and the texture is so much better. I’ve one from fine straight to fine wavy and it looks so much more healthy. I’ve gone from spending nearly $200 dollars every five weeks to $50.00 every 3-4 months maintaining a pixie cut. I really love my hair and actually have strangers complimenting my hair often. And I wear colors now I never would have with the bleached blonde.

  49. Bab
    August 9, 2019 / 5:21 pm

    At my doctors recommendation I stopped coloring my hair. I developed scalp issues accompanied by a lovely autoimmune disease so my hair is fine and thinning now. My new natural color is more white but some gray. What colors do you recommend to wear with this color of hair?

  50. Lori
    August 9, 2019 / 5:56 pm

    I guess I am just a rebel, but I got fed up with coloring my hair when I was only 35. I cut it into a super short pixie and never dyed it again. Now, 22 years later, my hair is completely white and still in a really short pixie and I love it! I think each woman should just decide for herself what she wants (not her husband or the cultural norms) and go with it whether it’s your hair or your clothing. You just have to feel like yourself, and if you feel fabulous,that’s great.

  51. Karen
    August 10, 2019 / 5:43 am

    Love the tone of this whole thread of comments. Been a hairdresser for 30 years. Grey hair is like short or long hair. What looks good on one person may look dreadful on another. Much depends on skin coloring, hair texture and face shape. I love that the women on here are saying, ” You do what suits you.”

    • Jennifer
      Author
      August 10, 2019 / 10:48 pm

      Thanks Karen! I totally agree. We are all
      Individual so there is no right or wrong choice.

  52. Karen
    August 10, 2019 / 5:45 am

    “Looks like I already said that”???? First comment ever.

  53. Anon
    August 10, 2019 / 11:04 am

    Men get to do whatever they want with their hair. Why is this even a point of discussion in 2019? Do what you want to do. Grow it long, cut it short, dye it. Bleach it. Go pink or purple. Weave it into a birdcage. It’s the 21st century. Women need to stop passing judgment on other women. There are things the world needs us to do. Live!

    • Jennifer
      Author
      August 10, 2019 / 10:51 pm

      I agree. Women need to allow others to do what they want with their hair color and not feel entitled to pass judgement

  54. Karen
    August 10, 2019 / 11:08 am

    Of course it is an individual choice. For me, it totally worked to stop coloring my hair. I get more compliments and second looks than I ever did before. I think it depends on what color “gray” you have and whether your skin is cool or warm. My light silver looks good against my pink toned skin…I have seen some
    people who would be in the “autumn” category with stone gray hair. Personally, I don’t think it’s a great look.

  55. Terry
    August 10, 2019 / 12:41 pm

    I stopped coloring my hair on a whim 2 years ago. I was at my hairdresser’s for color and suddenly said, you know what? I think I’m done. My hairdresser hugged me and said let’s cut it shorter and load you up with highlights. For the first time in my life, I was blond—I loved it. The highlights blended with my natural color so well that I didn’t notice any line of demarcation as my hair grew out. It took about a year and I was left with a lovely silvery hair color. My face is pink and my eyebrows are still darkish. The lighter color suits me.

    My hair is like yours, Jennifer, stick straight and baby fine. However, for the first time in my life people compliment my hair because they like the color. Amazing! I wear it in a modern cut—short inverted bob. While I miss the texture that I had when coloring my hair, I just make up for it with a little more styling product. I also pay more attention to my wardrobe (your blog really helps with that) and work on my posture so that I don’t read as old. For the record, I’m 66. Going natural really worked for me, I feel lucky about that.

    All that said, each of us should do what makes us feel best! Luvin this conversation!

    • Jennifer
      Author
      August 10, 2019 / 10:55 pm

      You are lucky Terry. Way to
      Go. I’ve been thinking about an inverted bob. It’s been many years since I wore one so I think it would feel fun.

  56. RoseAG
    August 11, 2019 / 5:55 am

    I’m growing out my colored hair.

    I began to notice that when I get on a bus or subway car that young men were always offering me their seats. I began to think, “who am I fooling with this hair?” Truthfully, I always wear a hat when I commute so nobody could see my hair anyway. My face, my body, my expensive/comfortable shoes — they all give my years away.
    So I quit dying. When I’m finally done growing out it’s going to look nice. I have salt/pepper with some attractive streaks of white.

    I think the story is different if you have thin or blond hair, which I don’t. Highlighting can do wonders for thin hair, giving it a volume boost. If your hair is light to start with the grow out isn’t as skunky and you aren’t back to the hairdresser or color box in 3 weeks.

    It’s not a matter of being brave because how you look to other people is the sum of many factors. Now, if I could only stop saying, “well we used to do it this way…”

  57. Julie
    August 11, 2019 / 9:28 am

    Turning 60 in 3 months, I have been coloring, highlight & low lighting my hair for about since Sep 1997 22 years. Originally a very dark brunette my thick long hair has been one of my signature features. My stylist and I have been together for about 15 years and she’s always done a fine job, Each visit has been about 8-9 weeks apart, 3 hours long and $150 each time totaling $32,445! I have a successful professional career in both corporate America and in non-profits. I thought I’d continue coloring until I retired at 65.
    I have always considered this a worthwhile investment and have no regrets as I started getting white/silver/gray in my 30’s as did my sister who chose to let her natural color come in almost immediately. My maternal grandmother was pure white by 30 – her hair was amazing!
    As I got progressively more white over the years, I started going a shade light each year so the “skunk” line would be less and less visible. This has been about 10 years’ time or so, and I recommend this strategy.
    All this to say, I completely changed my mind after my last full session hair color visit on Nov 21, 2018. My hair stylist left the highlighting on for too long while we were talking. I started losing a lot of hair in the shower. I mean a lot. Scalp started showing through. By Christmas I looked like I was balding. By new Year’s I knew I had to make a monumental New Year’s resolution.
    I decided I would rather have natural thick white/silver/gray hair than sparse colored hair with my scalp showing through. I promised my husband I would not cut my hair short and have maintained at shoulder length during this transition. I talked with my sister, aunt and mom to learn more about their experience and ask for their support. I told my four closest colleagues at work and asked for their support as well.
    On January 2, 2019 I took the day off to see my hairstylist and explained my decision. She thought we’d have about a year’s worth of transition time with strategic highlighting to blend in the natural color. I did two of those min-sessions and am dropping it. I want my hair texture to be healthier.
    It was a real treat to go get a good trim about a month ago at stylist closer to my house. It was $35 and I was in and out, including a blow dry, in under a half hour!!!
    The transition is going pretty well, I get a lot of compliments with people saying they like how the silver goes with my complexion. I work in a public university setting for the last five years and feel it is a better setting for natural color. My eyebrows are still dark (although) thinning so I make sure to wear mascara and lip stick every day. I recently got a compliment from a student biking along the street who called out and said “love your hair” and kept on going!

    Love your column, Jennifer – keep up the good work and great dialogue. Thanks for helping all of us.

  58. Julie
    August 11, 2019 / 9:33 am

    I also meant to add, I touched up twice at three week intervals before the 8-9 week full session. I used Clairol root touch up which I recommend. They should have invented it years ago!

  59. DMykala
    August 11, 2019 / 9:58 am

    I’m 60 with natural platinum blonde hair. I do not color my hair and have not in several years, but that was only after discovering that I was no longer a Chestnut brunette after many years of coloring. I “allowed” myself to transition to lighter and lighter highlights as my natural hair grew out until such a time I didn’t have to even do that. Now, my hair is simply shiney, flowey, healthy, and who’d of thought…platinum! Not an ounce of color added. I wore more makeup before with my dark hair than I do now. Today, it’s moisturizer, mascara and blush and I’m out the door. My hair is shoulder length and slightly wavy. I’m still in shock!

  60. Dee
    August 11, 2019 / 12:16 pm

    I am 62 and get my hair done every 5 weeks. My hair grows quickly so I try and stretch appointments apart by doing a root touch up at week 4.
    I know I would look older and washed out if I didn’t get my hair coloured. It is a great but also helps me feel better about myself.

    I would love to know what people pay for a cut and colour? I am lucky that my wonderful hairdresser is very reasonable. I pay 85.00 and add a 15.00 tip.

  61. Nancy
    August 13, 2019 / 6:14 am

    Does anyone use those temporary gray cover products? I don’t color my hair. I’m 66. Love my natural color and have very little gray. What I have is all at my temples and use Style Edit, it really works. My daughter has a white streak at her forehead and uses a crayon that is miraculous.
    My mom went gray very gradually in her 70s and had very attractive white hair in her 80s. But, she looked pretty dreary in those going gray years. I plan to get high/low lights I guess. I detest roots so much I might be that person that goes every 3 weeks.

    My problem is as I get older my hair cuts get so much less attention, a young stylist will cut a helmet and say bye! I have to dress to the 9s , do my nails, and bring photos and be very specific. Still no guarantee. It’s a pain to not have a regular stylist.

    • Jennifer
      Author
      August 13, 2019 / 7:53 am

      I hate stylists like that! Do dress to the nines and be demanding of something chic. Stylists in larger cities are often more up on what’s current. Sometimes a younger male stylist is a better option too.

      • Nancy
        August 16, 2019 / 7:34 pm

        My 12 years in Seattle about wore me out, but I think you’re right about younger men stylists. But they move on!! I have also had good luck with some women in their 40s when I think about it.
        I think cut *and* color would be at least $150 or so. Certainly not $85! To the above question. My daughter actually has a special savings account for her hair. She got her father’s very curly flat black, no shine, supposed to be Irish hair. Wow, it’s beautiful but with a lot of assistance.

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