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To Go Gray or to Dye

Updated on January 21, 2013
If only we were all blessed with such marvelous angel hair.
If only we were all blessed with such marvelous angel hair. | Source
A youthful spirit shines through regardless of her gray.
A youthful spirit shines through regardless of her gray. | Source

I am a fan of going gray but I find myself in the minority. In fact, it's so common to hide this sign of aging that I suspect I appear older than some people, as much as ten years older than I am, simply because that person colors her hair and I don't.

When my grays first started coming in during my late thirties, I was glad to have them because I had been having problems with potential employers judging my age at much lower than was true. I wanted credit for my experience in life! And now whenever a student is trying to guess my age, I point to my head and tell them to take note of my gray hairs. Their guesses are getting more accurate, due in part to the burgeoning grays and other signs of age that are gathering speed in my features.

I confess I am lucky with my graying. My hair is coming in white, like my mother, rather than a shade or shades of gray, like my father. I am silvering. And it's age-appropriate. I thoroughly understand people who decide to dye their hair when the grays are pre-mature. A friend of mine had grays in her early twenties. She looked much more natural without them. Another friend now in her mid-sixties got impatient with her salt and pepper. Instead of dying it dark, she went for platinum and a very modern cut. The result was fabulous and very expressive of her energetic personality.

I'm certainly not saying that I will never dye my hair. Once I've gone deep into retirement and flouting convention won't impact my income, I may go for purple. I've always loved purple, so why not? But in the meantime, I enjoy the silver streaks adding new patterns to my dark brown hair.


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    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 5 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      Great hub. I happened to write a short poem on this very subject this morning as I hurried out the door to the hair salon. I salute you for choosing to be yourself.

    • aslaught profile image

      aslaught 5 years ago from Alabama

      Very good hub, Jen!

    • Jen Pearson profile image

      Jen Pearson 6 years ago from Alabama

      I appreciate your point of view, Rehana. I usually don't even make note of whether someone is dying her hair unless it's very obvious. Some people naturally don't gray much until very late in life. However, I do lean toward pro-gray as a way of addressing what I feel is more stigma attached to aging in women than in men. I don't think we should have to hide our aging in an attempt to continue to be visually appealing (to/for whom?).

      That said, I also understand the desire to look "normal" or not stand out. These days it seems to me that dying has become "normal." So a woman is less likely to stand out if she dyes her hair. If women were acting only on their own without social pressure to prolong looking youthful as long as possible, maybe more women would not dye their hair. ? I don't know.

      And maybe I would be dying my hair purple now if there were no social pressure on me. But as things stand, I think my job would be at risk if I did and finding another would be challenging if I went to an interview as a 48 year old woman with purple hair.

    • Rehana Stormme profile image

      Rehana Stormme 6 years ago

      I say, whether you choose to go gray or whether you decide to dye, it doesn't matter as long as it's your choice. You shouldn't be compelled to something by someone else or society in general. Making your own decision no matter what people may say is what will make you happy. Personally, I never judge people who decide to dye over their gray hair. And as far as streaks of gray and a head full of soft white hair is concerned, I think it's natural and beautiful in every way.

    • Jen Pearson profile image

      Jen Pearson 6 years ago from Alabama

      Thanks, Arlene. I've seen women with luxurious gray hair as well. I doubt I'll be that lucky since I seem to be taking after my mother. Her hair is a wonderful silver but it has also thinned with age.

      As you mention, there's sometimes a less than appealing transition period, especially for those of us with longer hair. More gray on top of our heads than in the younger locks.

      The maintenance of dying is definitely one of the cons for going that route.

    • profile image

      Arlene V. Poma 6 years ago

      You can't fight aging, no matter what the media says. Enjoyed your Hub, Jen. My long, black hair is down to my waist. The grays are at the roots and near my temples. I've seen women with thick, gorgeous gray hair, but at least everything is gray. Since I really don't go anywhere except for a few outings and volunteer work, I'll only dye my hair if I get a free box of hair coloring or can't stand looking at my hair. Maybe every other month or more? It's so messy to do the dye job at home. If you let someone else do it, then it gets to be expensive thing every six weeks. Permanent? No such thing when it comes to hair dye.