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Grey Hair -- To Leave or To Color? (Men's input especially wanted!)


tiredofvampires

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This is something I've been wondering about for some time...but it's really been more on my mind the last year or so, since it's gotten more pronounced and is bugging me.

 

I started to notice my first "grey hairs" (actually, they're silvery) at least 7 years ago. I haven't really dated since then, as a couple of crisis-like situations have befallen me, especially in the last 3-4 years, consuming all my energy and time, and then some. While I'm sure I would have continued to gradually see more grey hairs naturally, since time is passing...just in the last couple of years I feel like my hair has aged at some kind of time-warp speed. I have no question in my mind that it has been due to the several SEVERE ordeals I've undergone. Last I went to the hairdresser for a cut was about a year ago, and I asked him if I was technically "salt and pepper" yet -- dreading his answer. And he kind of laughed and said yes, but then as he tossled my hair around and asked the other ladies in the salon, they concluded it was more like about 30% grey.

 

So from a distance, you can still tell I'm mostly a brunette. But most of the change is around the temples (which is typically where grey hair starts -- I wonder why?), and I like to pull my hair back in ponytails or buns a lot, because it's so easy. So that exposes the areas of grey that are most obvious. And this is where I've seen the most dramatic, rapid change recently.

 

I never thought that I'd be someone to see a need to color my hair, but now I find myself torn on the issue. I'm not exactly ready to start dating...I feel that I have some recovery to do, as the situations I've dealt with have been quite traumatic. But I find myself daydreaming about dating, and finding someone...something that I haven't allowed myself to do for a long time, as I've been in pure survival mode.

 

And so, I find myself really wondering how men feel about grey hair. I have often been told in the past that I look more youthful than my age, but I am very conscious nowadays that the grey adds years to my appearance. This is starting to take up more of my thinking than I'd like -- especially given that after what I've undergone, it almost feels silly to be vain.

 

I'm thinking about coloring my hair (something I've done once in my life), but am really ambivalent, and here's the dilemma:

 

On one hand, it goes against a kind of core philosophy I have, which is that clinging on to things to try to deny change is to embrace denial, which doesn't align with the rest of the way I live my life. I see old women who dye their hair and think it's a little silly to try to fool everyone into thinking you have the hair of a 20-year-old, when it's SUPPOSED TO BE GREY AT YOUR AGE. To me, it kind of shrieks of fear -- fear about death and change, and I'd like not to shrink from those things. Also, on some very practical notes -- which are significant considerations for me -- once you start dying, it's high-maintenance. It won't be 6 weeks before the grey is showing again, especially where it's most visible at the hairline, and I'm not sure if touch-ups can be done on a continuing basis, but it would mean a costly, time-consuming addition to my life (and my budget is rock-bottom low). I mean, this whole hair-dying thing is A COMMITMENT, and an indefinitely long one. On top of that, most hair coloring products are toxic, and I try to stay away from use of toxic chemicals on my body or in my lifestyle, especially if it's going to be a regular thing. There is one natural hair studio here that does henna, and I could also do henna at home -- but to get good results, it's laborious, messy, and the one professional treatment I had took hours. Finally, SOMETIMES, the shocks of silver seem to play off the silver jewelry and black/silver clothing I often wear, and it can almost look cool to have "hair accents" to match the grey/silver/black accessories and clothes. So aesthetically, if I'm wearing the right thing, it sometimes has its own appeal to me. (But on average days wearing other clothing, it doesn't have that effect at all and looks more drab.)

 

On the other hand, I can fully admit that I've absorbed the message that a woman with greying hair is not "distinguished", as men are when they grey, and that self-consciousness/vanity is running neck-and-neck with my "core philosophy" on change/time. Society in general is really ageist/sexist when it comes to HAIR, and not only that, I've always been a bit hair-obsessed. But in addition to that, when I look in the mirror, what I see is the pain I've gone through in the last couple of years, as my hair serves as a constant reminder. I almost feel like the grey hair is a scar of sorts. I could "embrace" that and say, "I earned all those extra greys," but that's not how I feel. I just feel aged and warped by time before my time. So in a way, coloring my hair might temporarily feel therapeutic. And why not do this to "pamper" myself and feel good, I say. Albeit temporary.

 

When I think about these pros and cons, though, I keep coming back to this question: what is my biggest motivation in considering coloring my hair? And it really comes down to: will men find me less attractive with greying hair? How big of a difference does it make on whole, if you are otherwise wearing clothes that flatter you, have an expression of being friendly and cheerful, have a youthful "vibe", have a decent figure, and carry yourself well? (I'd have to work on a couple of those, mainly the clothing and carriage, but they're not out of reach.) How much would the grey be outweighed by such other factors?

 

And it keeps coming down to, if I knew this actually mattered very little to a lot of men (kind of like women are more obsessed with makeup than men really need them to be), I might just save the money, energy and time. It's true, I'd color my hair "for me" if I did it because I'm the one it'd be boosting, ha, but in the end, it's about how men are perceiving me. So I can't separate out those two.

 

I think if my hair got to the point that it was almost all white or white, I'd be down with that. That looks nice, to me. It's just this in-between stage that seems to scream, "YOU'RE LOSING IT!" I have to say, I'm in great admiration of women who aren't coloring their hair and looking quite stylish anyway. But many of them are married, so it's a little different. They're not competing against anyone (and younger women!) anymore.

 

I really don't have a clue how -- other than the implicit social pressures women live with to doll up -- real men feel about this. So I'd love to get some feedback from you guys. (Women you can feel free to chime in!)

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My family grays prematurely....I started coloring my hair my natural color in my 30's.

I am 53....and look early 40's.

 

My sister "cannot be bothered"... she is 4 years younger and looks like my older sister. And has for a decade. She also cannot be bothered with sun glasses and has many more lines in her dace from squinting.

 

I say go for it. I easily go 5 weeks in between coloring.

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I'm about 6 weeks out from birthday no. 50.

 

The grays have started coming in fast & furious in the last year. I'm waiting to see if it does something interesting pattern or distribution-wise. If I get something interesting, I may just leave it be.

 

Given the way my hair has been fine, thin and basically stupid my entire life, I'm not realistically expecting it to change now, but one can hope.....

 

I did a lot playing around with hair color back in my late teens/early 20s. Then I found better things to do with my time. Like, oh, work and stuff like that.

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I think gray hair washes out a lot of people's complexions depending on your coloring. And society has this image of men with gray at the temples as being sophisticated and handsome, but women with gray hair are seen as someone's old Granny.

 

I color my own hair because I've discovered I look much better that way than with gray... i tried to grow it out a bit once to see how it looked, and it really wasn't as flattering.

 

My suggestion is to use semi-permanent color (the kind that only gradually washes out). It is much easier on your hair and covers gray but leaves it really shiny and 'normal' looking. Permanent haircolor can sometimes be too harsh and make your hair look dull or artificial.

 

One other piece of advice is start lighter and don't go too dark, because it is always easier to go darker if you don't like the color, but too dark is harsh and you can't get rid of it without strong bleach.

 

People who are natural blondes also seem to go gray better becasue of their coloring and because it blends in rather than getting that unflattering iron gray or dirty brown look to it.

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Your gray hair is silvery? That's the color I want whenever I get gray hair. I'd like it to be silvery, I think it looks rather awesome, either regal or free-spirited to have that look.

 

I'm young to not have that but I do dye my hair, however I'd hate the whole re-dying my hair over and over and over. It gets tedious after a while. But if you have the time and patience to do that or the money (for the salons to do that, instead of you), then go for it. But I think the best answer would be... What would you feel more comfortable in? Would you be constantly worrying about the color? Then go dye until you're used to it and then go natural.

 

I have an older friend. Around your age. She told me her natural hair is like... Blond? I forget. She dyes her hair black all the time (it suits her extremely well). She has gray hair now though, I could see some before. But for her, it's just a matter of what hair color she likes, not the gray hair issue. So... Yeah. Just go with what you want, what you feel comfortable in.

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i do my own now... the better quailty semi-permanents you do at home you only have to leave in 10 minutes these days so very easy to use. I've gotten it down to a science where it only takes me about 5 minutes to slap it on my head and cover everything, then 10-15 minutes while it cures. So less than half an hour every month to 6 weeks.

 

Most people who are silvery are natural blondes, or they've finally gotten to the stage where they have all or almost all white hair rather than the gray that is caused by a mix of dark and light hair. You may not hit the 'silvery' stage til you're somewhere in your 60s if you're naturally dark haired.

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Most people who are silvery are natural blondes, or they've finally gotten to the stage where they have all or almost all white hair rather than the gray that is caused by a mix of dark and light hair. You may not hit the 'silvery' stage til you're somewhere in your 60s if you're naturally dark haired.

 

If that's the case... Then awesome, I will be silvery. : D (natural blonde here)

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My sister "cannot be bothered"... she is 4 years younger and looks like my older sister. And has for a decade. She also cannot be bothered with sun glasses and has many more lines in her dace from squinting.

 

Yikes, that's a pretty substantial difference. And I'm the "cannot be bothered" type, myself.

 

Except that now it's bothering me, haha.

 

Would you say that your face also looks early 40's? Or is the effect mostly just due to the hair color? Like, if you didn't color your hair, would you look your age?

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I am of Irish decent...very fair. And naturally a light brunette. I would be white/ silver by now and looked washed out. I was blessed with beautiful skin and although a sailor have worn sunscreen since a teenager...and sunglasses all my life.

 

When I was 38....was carded buying cigarettes!

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i do my own now... the better quailty semi-permanents you do at home you only have to leave in 10 minutes these days so very easy to use. I've gotten it down to a science where it only takes me about 5 minutes to slap it on my head and cover everything, then 10-15 minutes while it cures. So less than half an hour every month to 6 weeks.

 

That sounds pretty low-maintenance, for the outcome! The problem is -- one of my concerns is that toxicity issue. Especially for dark colors, they almost ubiquitously use carcinogenic ingredients, and other dubious additives. So that's what concerns me there -- it seems there's no home-coloring kit that doesn't have these chemicals. (other than henna, which is labor-intense.)

 

Doesn't that concern you?

 

Also, when you say you just look better with colored hair, do you mean because "better" = YOUNGER, or just in terms of the way your complexion is?

 

I'm trying to separate what's me thinking I'd look better because I look younger, vs. what just looks better for its own aesthetic sake.

 

And yeah, blondes go through this transition a lot more gracefully, I think. It blends in a lot better!

 

 

Your gray hair is silvery? That's the color I want whenever I get gray hair. I'd like it to be silvery, I think it looks rather awesome, either regal or free-spirited to have that look.

 

Yes, even though I'm dark-haired, it actually has a metallic-like sheen to it! Each strand looks like silver in the right light, and where there's more of them at the temples, it looks like a shock of silver, but it also kind of needs the right light for it. I once wore silver ornaments in my hair in a dimly lit club, and in the bathroom lights, it looked like I'd scattered silver flecks through my hair. It was really cool...but on average days, it looks more pewter-ish.

 

I miss my auburn highlights!

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At a salon....you can get your highlights back!

I started with auburn but sun/salt/chlorine made them go reddish so switched to ash blond highlights.

 

My cleaning lady who I have had for 15 years just started going to my salon. She NEVER knew I colored my hair until she walked in on us last month!

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My (naturally chestnut brown) hair started going silver at the front about ten years ago, and there's a sprinkling of grey in the rest of it. I use henna and indigo to dye it, so no problems with toxicity, just a lot of mess. I carefully keep the silver streaks OUT of the dye mixture, so they stay silver while the rest of it's dark.

 

People ask me if the silver's natural!

 

P.S. I'm 54, still keep my hair long, and get hit on by guys A LOT, including by guys who are considerably younger than I am.

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I'm female, but I strongly believe in coloring your hair until your mid 60's. Then you're face matches the grey and the colors start to really look fake. Dark is too harsh, and blonde is well just stupid. My mom is finally growing out her gray now that it's more gray then brown and her face has more wrinkles so grey matches. But otherwise it just makes you look older than your age, why would you want that?

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I'm loving all the tips everyone is giving me! Thank you, ladies! You can keep it coming...

 

I do REALLY WANT TO KNOW WHAT GUYS THINK OF GREY/GREYING HAIR ON WOMEN, though, with the question in the last part of my OP as I posed it. How much/little it affects attractiveness in a woman's overall look, if she's looking good and fairly youthful otherwise.

So, hopefully I'll get some input from the MENFOLK!

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Once IN a relationship... they will say they don't care.

My sisters' hubby don't give a hoot....but they have been together since she was deep, dark brunette.

 

My bf is year younger with graying brown hair. Would he look younger if he colored it a bit?

Most definitely. Would I like it? Assuredly!

 

Would I ever say something about it unsolicited?

Never.

Has nothing to do with how I "see" him.

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Hmm, this lady's on my wavelength -- looks like she beat me to a few ideas! Data, data, data, data! What a great read...very interesting, indeed!

 

link removed

 

She hits on something here that has been part of my feelings about this...a kind of "truth in advertising" consciousness, as it were..

 

"I was beginning to think that gray hair might actually be an advantage in a dating situation, a signal that says I’m not hiding anything from the get-go."

 

Again, I'm wondering how guys feel about that, if it matters, if it increases attraction, etc.

 

May have to get the book...

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Haha, Cap! I guess that's the consensus from the gals (and it seems to be unanimous)! (I don't think I've ever used that emoticon.)

 

 

 

 

I'd like to think that the dudefolk have registered their "I couldn't care less" vote by no-comment, but I have the feeling it's more like OP length + the title should have been, "MEN: Does Grey Hair Turn You Off?" YES OR NO. lol Blast it.

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I dye my hair and have done since I was 17. I started going gray at 19. I am now probably more than 80% white. And I don't mean grey I mean stark stark white. Everyone in my father's family starts going stark white in their teens. Personally I would rather not look ancient before I am ancient. I have to dye my hair every four weeks or I have an inch of stark white. In fact it is so stark white dye doesn't even take properly anymore. Whether it is at home dye or professional.

 

About men well…. My husband prefers women to grow old naturally the way they're supposed to no dyes and no fixer uppers of anything. Even prefers no make up whatsoever. Mind you that is the exact way his mother is. She just went gray and accepted it and she never wore make up anyway. Actually he would prefer me to be more like her in that regard. ( ain't EVER HAPPENING) lol

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Tired,

 

I have to side with keeping it the way it is. It is equally, or more importantly, how you style it and the way it frames your face. Of course I am only going on how my mother has decided, as I honestly haven't given it much thought, otherwise. She is late forties and her hair looks wonderful grey. She gets a lot of complements, and has been told by some that they wish they had the courage to let theirs go grey, as she still looks good and is able to pull it off well.

 

I'm sure you're a nice looking woman regardless of what you do with your hair in terms of its color. But I am only presenting my bias, and it's really what makes you feel confident and beautiful. And you don't have to necessarily strive to look as youthful as you can; you probably look youthful as it is. As a guy, a nice hair style, a pleasant, radiate smile, and a great sense of fashion in general are what I personally look for.

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TOV I recall seeing a pic of you a few years back and you do look quite young for your age. A little salt in your pepper isn't going to hurt. Hell I still do a double take if I see you walking around. As long as you take good care of it and it smells good I'll still be chasing you. LOL

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