To Gray or Not to Gray? That is the Question?

I have been invited to share this post over at The MidLife Guru! Caryn Payzant combines the wisdom she has gained from her “first 50 years with new, relevant, and exciting information to get through the next 50 “. Join us over there…

The MidLife Guru


To gray or not to gray? I am convinced that this has been a mid-life question ever since that first gray hair revealed itself to Eve in a reflection at the well…and was subsequently yanked at the root!

Perhaps I am being a bit over emotional in my assessment. And I know this is not a question reserved purely for the middle-aged woman. The history of hair color goes back centuries.

to gray or not to gray

Did you know:

 At one point, yellow or blonde hair was worn (decreed by law) by “women of the night” and respectable women would use plant extracts and minerals to darken their hair. 

Who knew???

I have known plenty of women who have “gone gray” young. However, they all make that visit to the hair color aisle every 6-8 weeks, so they have not let the gray just take over and be out there for all the world to see.

The other day, making that trip to the hair color aisle myself, I contemplated as I placed a few boxes of color in my cart to “compare”.

Since beginning my hair color journey a few years ago, I have yet to find a color I am in LOVE with, so it seems I use a shade for a few times, then try another. I *could* just find my own natural color of light brown {or as my mother insists dark blonde Laughing} and stick what the good Lord gave me, but I also believe the good Lord gave me my hair as an accessory and  I am free to play around and see what works…and what is fun!

Originally, I just colored my hair to change things up. It was in the midst of a rather daunting mid-life crisis of sorts. I went down the blond road only to end up with brass instead. Then I went VERY dark. My least favorite color that happened to get me the most compliments.

These days, it is RED! The redder the better and my current purchase definitely shows this preference.

For some reason this week, I was wondering if I could ever be the person that just let’s the gray grow in and be done with the hassle. Can you guess WHY I had this question rattling through my brain?

Yep. It has been more like 10 weeks since my last coloring. My once all dark roots are not so “all dark” anymore. Hit with Brick

There are PLENTY of Hollywood examples of women carrying gray off quite nicely.

I mean look at these GORGEOUS women that have embraced the gray:

Hmm? Seems these examples are a tad past my age of 48.

I did find a few younger, famous women that embraced the gray…well, I am not sure if they “embraced it” or just took it on as a trend setting thing.

OK, Kelly Osbourne is really, kind of purple, right?

There are not many “under 50” women that don’t at least cover the gray.

What about you: Do you embrace your gray? Just cover *some*? Change the color completely?

If you are not “there” yet, what do you expect to do if {when Innocent} the time comes? 

In the BIG picture, this is another aesthetic thing and not truly “important”?  Although this can affect the way you *feel* when you look in the mirror.

I admit it, am curious to know what you think!

If I let my hair “go”, it would be  a lovely salt and pepper look with VERY gray temples! Great for that guy on the “Touch of Gray” commercial, but on me? Not so much! I am not sure HOW I will deal with this over the next few years.

Here’s another question I know has been asked many times:

Why is it that when men go gray they are dapper? But when women go gray they are dowdy? <tweet this…please! I would LOVE to hear the opinions out there!

Until next week I leave you with these 2 verses I found referring to gray hair. It seems God had a few things to say about the subject…well, not on the hair dye subject, but you know what I mean.

Enjoy the day!!

gray hair verses

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Author: donnao

Brooklyn, NY gal transplanted to the beautiful woods of northeastern PA trying to figure it all out. Squirrels I get...but BEARS???

20 thoughts on “To Gray or Not to Gray? That is the Question?”

  1. Ah! As I ponder how much to stash away before my birthday to go and have my hair highlighted, this is a timely post indeed! 😉 If I was a beautiful white like the fabulous Helen Mirrin, I’d stay that way for sure! Mine is sort of salt and pepper but my color faded to almost a steel (or, as the car guys call it, gunmetal) Flattering on a 1982 Camaro, not my head! I’ll keep saving those pennies and get my foil highlights come the end of March.
    Barbara also had this to say…Beauty In FridaysMy Profile

    1. I want Helen Mirrens body at 60+…and her hair. BUT, that just sounds to self critical, right??? Highlights are on my wish list for 50. But I said in another response…a lot to maintain even IF I have a friend that will do it for cost ;). Post pics when you get it done!!

  2. When the first gray started showing up, I reached for the color- I was in my mid 40s. I kept up the color until I left the workplace- it was somewhat of a necessity while I was working. Now I like the gray, but it’s mostly in the front and the brown is still there in the back and probably is not the most flattering, but I don’t see it. If I could change one thing it would be to darken the brown and truly be salt and pepper. I don’t see it as a sign of being old. I think hairstyle carries much more weight as to whether we look “old”. But, after all most of us will look old eventually. It’s our attitude and behavior that make us truly old. And, yes gray hair is a badge of honor signifying where we’ve been and where we are now!
    Nancy also had this to say…Three Words on ThursdayMy Profile

    1. I guess that’s why I am half way to gray…only half way to maturity. HAHAHAHAHA! LOVE that pic of you with the new baby, BTW!!!

  3. I colored and had fun with it until my mid thirties. Then I had to cover every 2-3 weeks and I got so tired of it. It became a chore. I still sometimes wonder about coloring again, but I see it as hassle and trouble, so I wont go back there. My gray is not as gray as I thought it would be, but I do like it when the lights show it white rather than blonde at this point. :)
    stacey also had this to say…Where do they find their worth?My Profile

    1. OH! There you are Stacey…I did not scroll down far enough on my dashboard. Waving hello! 2-3 weeks would clinch it for me. I can go up to 12 weeks IF I have a color that is a bit darker. I toyed with that platinum on top and black on the bottom for a bit…but too much maintenance!

  4. So glad Stacey commented because I was going to mention her unbelievably gorgeous hair. There is also a gal that does lots of commercials, I’m sure you’ve seen her. It’s hilarious that You wrote this today. In one hour I will be sitting in the chair for a test run of purple!!! I have dark brown hair with “sparkles”. We’re testing to see if the purple will stay without lifting the color first. Erika Morrison, the Life Artist, made a statement that really stuck with me. She shaved her hair to support a friend with cancer, when it grew back she decided to celebrate it by doing any wild crazy thing she wanted. After all, it’s only hair and she was blessed to have it. That’s my new experimental feeling as well- right now, anyway. I’m trying to do it out of fun and not vanity or insecurity (which are probably the same thing).
    Amy Tilson also had this to say…Five Minute Friday – EncouragementMy Profile

    1. Anyone brave enough to jump into purple is definitely NOT as insecure as they think! PLEASE post pictures! I don’t “see” Stacey comment :(. Her hair is not just gray but it looks luxuriously thick and playful!

  5. Ah, gray. I think if I could go or when I go completely grey I’ll embrace it. Having come into the hair color adventure very late in the game (48), I was rebelling against the wheaty look the gray gave my hair and opted for the drama of near-black. I don’t think white or gray looks old but it’s like makeup and clothes – we choose what we’re comfortable with and what compliments the style and look we already have. I’m loving the dark hair right now and we’ll just see where the years take me. I’m up for a beautiful silver mane or pure white someday. Someday. Right now I’m enjoying midlife this way. 😉
    Carol Moore also had this to say…Art vs. Creative AnxietyMy Profile

    1. It’s like a cool new accessory. Once I never even thought of when I was raising kids and trying to stay afloat with all the *other* life that was going on. I like your hair dark :). Mine came out a very deep auburn this time with great highlights. I think I like this best although I am surprised as I did not really like ti so dark before. I just make sure I keep the box tops to keep track!!

  6. Well, I am embracing my gray. I started out with a streak of silver, and never looked back. I think I started going gray at the age of 48 or so.

    Once, I went out to the hairdresser to get it colored, and my husband almost gave birth to a cow. Who knows what that was all about?? But I’m glad I canceled and wouldn’t change now. I hope I go completely shiny white, but we’ll see.

    Good luck with your decision! And nice to connect this way, and on twitter!

    1. Well, I have seen some more unusual sides of graying over the years. Stacey London has that fantastic gray section on the front of her hair that she says in natural…but I wonder if she colors the rest? My hubby hardly notices…except when the brassy/blond thing happened. he was NOT a fan! THANKS for stopping by!!

  7. great middle age topic:) for years, i frosted my hair to cover most of the gray and keep folks guessing about some of the rest! (is that gray or frosting?)

    at some point, there was too much and i had to decide. however, the hairdresser told me that my hair was only gray in the back! and mostly part way down my head…like a skull cap! that was going to look weird!

    I kept coloring it but it isn’t really gray all over yet.

    in TX, where we lived most of the past 25 yrs., many women gray early and it looks like salt and pepper frosted. the natural color is gorgeous! if mine were like that, i’d go natural too. however, mne isn’t like that…so for now, i’m not going natural but am staying with my “warm brown” (which includes a lot of red)…and a little frost for fun:)

    there will be plenty of time to do gray! plenty!
    Martha Brady also had this to say…TRIM THE FAT! PAUSE…My Profile

    1. One day I will splurge and have foil highlights. But is is costly around here plus to maintain it is a HUGE cost. Kind of like the nail tips I do LOVE to have. Maintenance is just getting more costly as I approach the big 5-0 :0)!

  8. Donna,
    Great post. I had someone influence me to color my gray streaks when I was in my late thirties. I had it done in a salon the first time and had a bad reaction-it felt like my brains were on fire. Not a good feeling! So I thought the chemicals were too harsh and went to the store and bought color there and tried it at home- I had the same reaction. So the next time I tried it without the ammonia and still had the same reaction. So….. I decided to not color my hair! At the age of 57, almost 58, I have received many compliments on my gray hair and many people have said I look cute like Jamie Lee Curtis . I do still have some dark brown hair mixed with the gray on the back of my head. I have learned to embrace it! You are only as old as you feel, not what you look like. And I like that verse Proverbs 16:31. I believe when your joy is in The Lord, it doesn’t matter about hair color. Most important is whom your mind and heart are stayed upon. Btw I loved the snow picture you posted earlier.:-)

    1. YES! Sherrie…you have a look like Jaime there in the post. My face is so round a shorter, cropped cut would not suit me as nicely as it does you…and Jaime!

    1. I here ya! My hair takes on this odd color and so I think the more gray I have the LESS likely I will be to let it go. Until maybe I am an advanced in age Gramma…then a long braid of gray hair might be cool :).
      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  9. I was a white blonde baby and by high school was streaking my long hair. Somewhere in my early 40s I stopped highlighting due to the hassle factor and $. So when the gray started to come in I did nothing. It started with 2 predominant streaks around my face— a guy actually asked me if I dyed the gray “in”. Silly man!
    I am just fine with it; dyeing might hide that sign of aging but I still have age spots on my hands and suddenly my neck has started to sag so why not just accept all of it? Admittedly the gray looks pretty good so far so that helps! I will be 60 this year and don’t mind saying that out loud.
    Walker Thornton also had this to say…Is There Such a Thing as a Normal Orgasm?My Profile

    1. Dyed the gray in….well take a look at those young-uns in my post. Maybe he thought you were being a trend setter :0). Your gray looks even and does NOT make you look dowdy in any way, shape, or form. We shall see how my head responds to the big 50 in a year or so. Maybe I will go all over gray and it will look awesome. If not…I might buy stock in L’Oreal!

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