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Lady Florida.

When should a woman stop coloring her gray hair?

How old is too old to color your gray?  

258 members have voted

  1. 1. When should a woman stop coloring her gray hair?

    • Anytime after 40
      1
    • Between 40 and 50
      4
    • Between 50 and 60
      2
    • No later than 60
      8
    • Whenever she feels ready
      226
    • Obligatory other (please explain)
      17


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This is not about whether or not one should cover the gray hair, but if one does when it should stop.

 

I had my roots touched up Saturday. It was only $104 because it was just a touch up and my highlights are still good. When I need the full treatment with highlights it costs more. This is a splurge we can afford so it doesn't hurt our budget, but I'm starting to wonder if I even should continue this vanity splurge.

 

So, if you aren't against coloring gray hair, when do you think a woman should stop?

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Well, of course everyone is going to say "whenever she feels ready" because we aren't about bossing people around. ;) But in my secret thoughts, I don't think twice about a woman in her 50's coloring her hair. I think it starts looking a bit odd in her 60's-70's. 

 

I had no idea how much it cost -- $104 for a touch-up seems insane! But I'm out of the loop on this because I haven't greyed yet (I'm in my 40's and I'm lucky, I know). Even if we could afford that, I am not sure I could spend it in good conscience. But obviously it's a very personal matter and there is no judgement from me on it. 

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This is not about whether or not one should cover the gray hair, but if one does when it should stop.

 

I had my roots touched up Saturday. It was only $104 because it was just a touch up and my highlights are still good. When I need the full treatment with highlights it costs more. This is a splurge we can afford so it doesn't hurt our budget, but I'm starting to wonder if I even should continue this vanity splurge.

 

So, if you aren't against coloring gray hair, when do you think a woman should stop?

 

I don't have gray to cover, I am a bit young for that yet. 

 

But I couldn't imagine being willing to spend that amount of money on it. I would be thinking, "For that amount I could X, Y, or Z". 

 

So I think I'll go gray. But I suppose time will tell. 

 

I do have long hair, but only because the only person I know who is willing to cut it for me for free is my son - and I doubt he would be very skilled at it. he guessed that it would take him about 1 minute and anything sharp to cut it with, knife, scissors, ... whatever. 

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Well, of course everyone is going to say "whenever she feels ready" because we aren't about bossing people around. ;) But in my secret thoughts, I don't think twice about a woman in her 50's coloring her hair. I think it starts looking a bit odd in her 60's-70's.

Thank you. I really do want honest opinions so I'm not looking for people to say "whenever she feels ready" unless that's what they truly believe. I figured if there's one place I can get honest opinions, it's The Hive. :D

 

I had no idea how much it cost -- $104 for a touch-up seems insane! But I'm out of the loop on this because I haven't greyed yet (I'm in my 40's and I'm lucky, I know). Even if we could afford that, I am not sure I could spend it in good conscience. But obviously it's a very personal matter and there is no judgement from me on it.

Well, that did include a wash, cut, and style but it's still a big chunk of change.

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I go back and forth. I have to say that in my experience, I've found that in some business situations it's beneficial to appear younger by virtue of not being waaay gray, while a bit helps. Such a fine line - and it can be an expensive fine line, as noted above!

 

I don't think there's a magic age for this. I do think that by the time I hit 70 someone better slap me if I'm still worried about the gray. But who knows, I keep hearing 70 is the new 40...

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It's not really about the money, so maybe I shouldn't have told you all what it costs. It's about age and when (if) it starts to look "wrong" for a woman not to have gray hair.

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Whenever she wants to.

Exactly!

 

And I don't think it matters if it costs $104. There are so many things in this country that people have and don't "need." Mine only costs $3 because I use a box of color by Revlon, but I still don't think it matters if someone wants to have it professionally done. Really, women can't win on this one. I've heard people comment on the fact that someone has "let herself go" because she doesn't color her grey hair and I've heard people say that a woman isn't "acting her age" because she does color her grey hair. Who cares!?!

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It's not really about the money, so maybe I shouldn't have told you all what it costs. It's about age and when it starts to look "wrong" for a woman not to have gray hair.

I think it starts to be wrong when it appears grossly unnatural, regardless of age. Women with a younger countenance can fully cover gray more successfully, kwim? Whereas others have a wise face, which may appear strikingly unnatural with solid non-gray hair. I personally prefer a color weave that naturally covers much of the gray without completely eliminating it (but that's expensive, and I think it's unrealistic to not have that as a factor in decision making).

 

I think the time to stop coloring is when the overall effect - hair, countenance, fashion choices - becomes widely out of sync. Again, that's not necessarily a concrete age.

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Okay, I voted "other" because I'm part of the group that doesn't think coloring grays is necessary. It's not that I'm "against" it really, I just don't imagine I ever WILL. I really don't care if others color their grays...I guess if I had to pick an age, I'd say that "whenever YOU are ready to stop coloring your hair, stop."  ;)

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It's not really about the money, so maybe I shouldn't have told you all what it costs. It's about age and when it starts to look "wrong" for a woman not to have gray hair.

I think it depends a lot on the woman and her overall style and approach to life. Some people are "younger" at 70 than others are at 50, you know?

 

I will say that I think some women make the mistake of chosing colors that are too vibrant or too rich, and therefore end up looking unnatural. I have to be aware of this tendency myself: my hair is really dark and I dye it to keep it that way (started going gray in my 30's!), but I know that as I age I'll need to transition to a lighter shade of brown, or it will end up looking very fake. I asked my hairdresser about it recently, and she said the same thing: this shade is fine for now, but she said I'll eventually want to go a shade or two lighter.

 

Maybe that's just me, but I don't think I have *ever* looked at a woman of any age and thought "oh, she shouldn't still be dying her hair!" but I have sometimes thought, "that shade looks fake".

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I voted "other." So much depends on you and your hair. Does your gray flatter your complexion? What "look" do you prefer?

 

Many women, as they age, find that a lighter hair color or highlights are more flattering than their original color. I do think that very dark colors start to look silly after a certain age. Just because you color your gray doesn't mean you have to keep a dark color. I also see darker hair color calling attention to very thin hair.

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I'm coming up on 40 and I am constantly surprised that I can only think of one woman I know (besides me and my mom) that doesn't colour her hair. Now, I know I'm very lucky, because I have exactly 4 grey hairs. But since the first one appeared five years ago... At one a year... Oh, that's not how it works?

 

Of the people I know, my MIL is over 65 and still "frosts" her hair. It seems she's letting it go more natural around the face area. My dad's girlfriend is 60ish and she still full out colours, but I don't notice until she doesn't, kwim? So maybe 70 is the new 40?

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Whenever she wants!

I started greying in my early 30's & after a few years of coloring decided to quit. Many females I knew were horrified at my decision & that shocked me. I never knew there was such a strong opinion about my hair color!

 

It turns out, I like the way it looks now. If I didn't, I'd color again. No big deal. Oh, and age doesn't matter. I see women in their 70's who color their hair & it looks great, although having a good hairdresser makes a huge difference.

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It's not really about the money, so maybe I shouldn't have told you all what it costs. It's about age and when (if) it starts to look "wrong" for a woman not to have gray hair.

I don't think it ever looks "wrong".

 

My mom colored her hair until she died at 78. Her hair was a dark strawberry blond, so probably more subtle than if it were black.

 

My dad died at 75 and his hair was still mostly black with just a sprinkling of gray.

 

I plan to never go gray.

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I think that is up to the woman. I agree that it has more to do with the shade than the actual use of dye itself. 

 

I do my own hair so it is very economical. I buy professional products and it looks fine.  Most people don't even know that I dye it.

 

I have seen bad dye jobs, those that are too harsh for an older complexion, but that is about it. If a woman or a man is aware of that, if they want to continue to cover their grey but maintaining a more flattering lighter shade, then that is up to them.

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I don't have gray to cover, I am a bit young for that yet. 

 

 

I started going gray at 23 years old, when I was pregnant with my daughter. (I asked my midwife if that would go away once I wasn't pregnant anymore and she laughed and laughed. :) ) 

 

I color my hair once in a while, with  semi-permanent. So yeah, obviously my answer is whenever you want. 

 

Personally, I can't wait to be a BIT more gray.Crazy manic panic colors show up AWESOME over gray hairs.  :thumbup:

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My MIL will be 80 in a few weeks and she still has her hair highlighted or colored regularly.  She looks fabulous.  But she's pretty much what Greta describes -- "younger" at 80 than many people are at 50.

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I think it is a totally personal choice, but it is a pain in the butt to grow out!

 

I've been having my hair colored since I was 25 (brown to blonde).  Over the last 6 years, I transitioned from expensive salon coloring to DIY mainly because I was no longer comfortable with the chemicals (I found a safer DIY brand that is compliant with much stricter European standards).  Finally, this summer at age 55, I just decided that I was done.  My hair is shoulder-length, so it is going to be a long winter with two-tone hair, but at least it is silver to light blonde.  My dd calls it my reverse hombre look!  It's been about 3 months and if I was willing to chop it all off to a short layered cut, I think all of the blonde would be gone.  There are also some salon processes that can smooth out the process with highlights.  There are some great inspirational looks on pinterest!

 

Good luck!

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I'm not a big 'beauty myth' person, so I thought I would never color my hair.

Two things changed my mind.  Well, maybe three.

 

1.  I saw a TV show while on vacation in which someone had a career appearance makeover.  The difference in vibrancy and attractiveness, as well as credibility, was about 80% covering the gray and only 20% fixing the clothing.  It was extremely dramatic.

2.  I have a relative who colors her hair in her 70s and looks younger than her grown, grayed daughter because of it.  Neither of them wear make up or try to look young, but the grayed daughter looks old and tired, and the dyed mother looks welcoming and pleasant, even though they both have the same smiles and hugs.  This is a first impression kind of thing, but it's really noticable.

3.  Someone told me how to do it.  She said, I go to the hair place and tell them that I want to look natural.  So I tried that, and now I do it regularly.  I tell them, I don't want a hair cut.  I don't want to look like I dye my hair.  I want to look like me, only better.  And that is exactly what they do.  

 

So I probably won't quit unless my hair gets so thin that it really looks ridiculous.  

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I think it is a totally personal choice, but it is a pain in the butt to grow out!

 

I've been having my hair colored since I was 25 (brown to blonde). Over the last 6 years, I transitioned from expensive salon coloring to DIY mainly because I was no longer comfortable with the chemicals (I found a safer DIY brand that is compliant with much stricter European standards). Finally, this summer at age 55, I just decided that I was done. My hair is shoulder-length, so it is going to be a long winter with two-tone hair, but at least it is silver to light blonde. My dd calls it my reverse hombre look! It's been about 3 months and if I was willing to chop it all off to a short layered cut, I think all of the blonde would be gone. There are also some salon processes that can smooth out the process with highlights. There are some great inspirational looks on pinterest!

 

Good luck!

I was thinking just the other day that it's a great time in fashion history for living through grow-outs and color fails!

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 I personally prefer a color weave that naturally covers much of the gray without completely eliminating it

 

My mom did that until she is in her late sixties. She married late and her hair turned white unevenly in her early 40s while my younger brother was still a preschooler. Her older sister didn't bother but her hair was more evenly gray. Her younger sister like highlighting her hair so she would have highlighted her hair even when it turn gray anyway.

 

My paternal side of the family is like my dad and generally don't have any gray hair until in their late fifties. My dad's hair was jet black until in his sixties. My paternal aunts dye their gray hair until the late sixties.  My paternal cousins (including the guys) like highlighting their hair so it would be black, gray and whatever the highlight color they pick.

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I voted whenever she's ready because I really do feel that way. If a woman in her 80s wants to color her hair blond, red, brown, green and purple stripes, I couldn't care less. Though I may be more inclined to strike up a conversation with the green and purple haired woman, she seems interesting. ;)

 

I've got a few strands of grey and I haven't decided what I'm going to do about it. For now I just pull them out. My hair is long and dark brown so they'll be noticeable after a while. I will probably color my hair but how do you phase out the coloring whenever you do decide you're ready to go grey? Seems like it might be sudden and shocking. Which is why, I imagine, some women choose to just keep coloring it indefinitely.

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I really believe it is a personal choice, but I feel that way about a lot of women's fashion/appearances.  How you feel about your appearance is more important than what someone else thinks (in my opinion.)  I find many shades of grey, silver, and white very pretty(even on younger people.) 

 

I know women well into their 70's that dye and my MIL, who is just shy of 80, still dyes her hair.

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I voted "whenever she wants to" but I actually have a strategy for myself.

 

I started graying in my 20's and enjoyed my gray streak for a while.  But in my  early 30's my mother (who had never colored her hair) started encouraging me to color. "You have a lot of years to be gray" she said.  So I started and received so many compliments from people at work that I never stopped.  I do my own, though, so the expense is minimal.

 

Anyway, at the time I started I was single with no kids, and then I got married and had two kids when I over 40.  I didn't color during my pregnancies and I hated my hair. It is not a pretty, soft gray but a hard metallic gray.  It curls weirdly.  So I've been coloring again ever since.  I figure I will go until my youngest kid is at least 25 and/or married with kids and I am a grandma, not just someone who looks like one.  (I am old enough to be my kids' grandma, of course.) 

 

I do keep it up so I don't have white roots shining out, and try to keep the color realistic. 

 

One of my aunts is 90 years old still colors her hair bright orange.  Yeah, it's obviously fake, but - it's her.   That's her look, for life.  :-)

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I would say between 60 and 70.  I still haven't decided if I'm going to colour my own hair.  I'm 38 and I have always really liked my natural colour, plus I've been committed to donating my hair for a number of years, so I've never coloured it.  I don't know if I want to start or not.  

 

But, while I appreciate anyone's right to colour or not colour, I think it looks pretty fake for older ladies to have obviously coloured hair.  

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I just want to point out that not everyone goes grey. My mom is in her 90's and until a couple of weeks ago still had hair that was more brown than grey naturally.....she has had chemo treatments and has lost her hair. No idea what color the new hair will be.

 

That being said I think it's fine to dye your hair if you want to but it definitely looks better if the colour becomes less intense as you age. My mother's definately did naturally but you would have classed her as having brown hair until recently.

 

An older friend who I always admired for her style turned white in her 30's but continued dying it her natural dark brown until she was in her 50's then did a 10year plus transition through the browns to white.

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I don't know if there's really any "should" about it. It depends on the lady and what's important to her. 

 

My mom and grandma are both, at age 60 something and 90 something, lifelong hair dyers so far. At my grandma's age it's a bit hard for me to understand... I mean, she's over 90 and looks it. Maybe she thinks people aren't sure if brown is her natural color???

 

But for me I'm going to try to go gray gracefully. There are women with lovely gray/ silver/ white hair. No poodle perm, and I don't care what they say, I'm going to have long hair in old age. 

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I have very dark hair, so I know I will have to get touchups every 2 weeks if I keep it this color.  I already do every 6 weeks, but I only have one streak of gray and patch in the front, so it's not too hard.  

 

I think I will go "grayish" eventually.  I will have it colored, and highlighted, but more blended toward my natural gray so that upkeep is much simpler.

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I voted other.  If you are going out an getting it done, where it has highlights and lowlights and a more natural look to it, whenever you want, or whenever you can transition to something more natural with your grey.  But yes in your 70's it may start to look odd.  

 

However if you are doing it yourself, out of a box, my answer changes.  Hair texture changes as you age.  You have more, something when you are younger that even if it is dyed from a box, some of the strands take on a lighter or darker hue and it looks natural.  But you seem to lose the natural ability in your forties to fifties, and that is when at home box dye starts really looking odd.  Every hair on your head is one solid color, even in the sun and it just looks very fake.  To me that is the time to go gray gracefully or else pay to have it done. 

 

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I don't believe that the decision should be made according to any arbitrary age, just like I don't believe that a woman should cut her hair short at a certain age, or wear certain skirts at a certain length for her age.  It's going to depend on so much more than age.  

 

For me, it would depend on how much of a pain it was to maintain.  If I had to be in the beauty shop every few weeks touching up obvious roots, I would find a way to gradually make the color more like my gray, then stop altogether, UNLESS I needed it to look a certain way for my profession or something along those lines.  Looking youthful is necessary for some women to be taken seriously in their occupations, unfortunately.  

 

So, I guess I would look for the point of diminishing returns, and I would stop before I got there.

 

 

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I have a fair amount of gray in my hair. At the moment, I'm still mostly a dark brunette with gray sprinkles... And I'm happy with that. What I'm not looking forward to is the time when it becomes more 50/50 - that looks really drab, I think. Mostly gray would be better than 50/50. I'm in my late 50's. So, I guess it's the transition point that will bother me most.

 

Anne

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It's not really about the money, so maybe I shouldn't have told you all what it costs. It's about age and when it starts to look "wrong" for a woman not to have gray hair.

Wow, $104 for a touch-up? Good thing I'm greying late - I'm too cheap to pay that for my hair!

 

But to attempt to answer your question, it's hard to draw a line. Still dyeing your hair jet-black when you're 91 (as MIL does) is over the line, methinks, but if you really don't like how your hair is greying, there are other ways to do it... my mom's still dyeing hers at almost 80, but it's a way lighter color than her natural color was, and it blends somewhat with the grey, so she can go a while between dye jobs without worrying about a root-line.

 

If you're one of those lucky people that get that snow-white hair, then go with that. :) And some people get the kind of grey that looks great with a funky modern short cut...

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When the neck starts to sag and look wrinkled, it's time to stop coloring. Ya ain't fooling anyone anymore by that point.

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I first started coloring my gray because I was an older mom. I didn't want ds to feel weird if people mistook me for his grandmother (nothing wrong with grandmas taking their grandkids to hs activities, but I'm not his grandma). That concern ended long ago, but I've not been able to let go. And I'm not sure if I should let go, or even if I should care one way or the other. First world problem for sure.

 

 

I voted "other." So much depends on you and your hair. Does your gray flatter your complexion? What "look" do you prefer?

Many women, as they age, find that a lighter hair color or highlights are more flattering than their original color. I do think that very dark colors start to look silly after a certain age. Just because you color your gray doesn't mean you have to keep a dark color. I also see darker hair color calling attention to very thin hair.

 

The bolded might be where I'm having issues. My maternal grandmother had beautiful silver-white hair that complemented her complexion. At some point my mother decided that if her mother looked good after going gray maybe she should stop coloring her own gray. That plan failed. While it came in as a nice shade of gray, it just didn't look good on her complexion. It instantly aged her, making her look older than she actually was. The problem is that gray hair doesn't hold color well, so when she tried to color it again (even when going to professionals) it never really looked natural. For the rest of her life it looked forced, and shortly before she died she talked about just letting it go gray again. I feel that once I make the decision to go gray I need to stick with it no matter what. I don't want to end up with a horribly fake looking color if I don't like my gray.

 

I do have it colored lighter than my natural color, and the blonde highlights help hide what gray didn't take the color.

 

BTW, grey hair is actually super trendy right now. ;) https://www.pinterest.com/haircuts2016/gray-hair-trend-2015/

 

It looks lovely on those young women. It looks entirely different on women "of a certain age". 

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Well, of course everyone is going to say "whenever she feels ready" because we aren't about bossing people around. ;) But in my secret thoughts, I don't think twice about a woman in her 50's coloring her hair. I think it starts looking a bit odd in her 60's-70's. 

 

I had no idea how much it cost -- $104 for a touch-up seems insane! But I'm out of the loop on this because I haven't greyed yet (I'm in my 40's and I'm lucky, I know). Even if we could afford that, I am not sure I could spend it in good conscience. But obviously it's a very personal matter and there is no judgement from me on it. 

Yeah, that seems like a lot.  I live in a fairly affluent area and the salons around here (including some upscale spa salons) charge anywhere from $40 for a simple color process to $170 at a super pricey spa for some very complicated sounding process. 

 

As far as when to stop, I say whenever she feels ready.  I do think that some people who color their own hair would benefit with some professional advice and coloring treatments because the wrong color can be more aging than the grays (and the hair texture changes as we age.)  However, there are some adorable old ladies at church who have their signature brassy reds.  I'm in my early 50s and I have light brown hair in the more ash family of color.  The greys are blending in nicely (except that they don't play so nice with others and often have the tendency to stick out at odd angles.)  I ask my stylist (who sports a different color every time I see her) and she says that she doesn't think I need to color mine yet as she doesn't think it ages me.  I'm sure she'd let me know when she felt my "sparkles" were detracting from my appearance because that would mean more $$ for her. 

 

I have a friend who colored her hair when I met her.  When she stopped coloring, we found out that she was fully gray.  We all thought her long gray hair was beautiful.  However, after her kids were more grown and she was working, she started coloring it again to look younger and more professional.  She says that it has really helped her with business contacts.  I do agree with her.  If she had remained in her granola crunchy mom/grandmother sphere, she would have kept it gray.

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UNLESS I needed it to look a certain way for my profession or something along those lines.  Looking youthful is necessary for some women to be taken seriously in their occupations, unfortunately.  

 

 

 

That is ridiculously sad, isn't it? It would be sad if both men and women were taken more seriously without gray hair, but the fact that this is only an issue for women should enrage even the staunchest non-feminist.

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That is ridiculously sad, isn't it? It would be sad if both men and women were taken more seriously without gray hair, but the fact that this is only an issue for women should enrage even the staunchest non-feminist.

 

In some industries, men color their hair as well to look younger.  And it works.  Some men are even getting some plastic surgery to help look younger.

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I voted other.  If you are going out an getting it done, where it has highlights and lowlights and a more natural look to it, whenever you want, or whenever you can transition to something more natural with your grey.  But yes in your 70's it may start to look odd.  

 

However if you are doing it yourself, out of a box, my answer changes.  Hair texture changes as you age.  You have more, something when you are younger that even if it is dyed from a box, some of the strands take on a lighter or darker hue and it looks natural.  But you seem to lose the natural ability in your forties to fifties, and that is when at home box dye starts really looking odd.  Every hair on your head is one solid color, even in the sun and it just looks very fake.  To me that is the time to go gray gracefully or else pay to have it done. 

 

Or you buy a neutral protein filler for 5$ that is enough to last for several months.  That is what they use in the salons and is available at Sally's.

 

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I stopped at 37, when I was probably 20%  or more gray (my dad was totally white-headed by 40). I found my first gray hair at 17 (my hair was naturally very dark brown) and colored it starting in my mid-20s. I stopped coloring it when I got pregnant with my daughter. When she was born, I quit work and no longer had the money to have it done (it was still in the $60-70 range, then) and hated doing it myself, so I quit coloring it. I will admit that I did color it a couple of times after that, after some 18 yo cashier complimented me on my "granddaughter," but finally decided I was a grown woman capable of making decisions on my own and not be influenced by the random comment of a teenager I didn't know. I am now at 53 more like 70%+ gray and still wear it long (mid-back).

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I do highlights, and they cover or hide most of the grey. If we couldn't afford it, I'd probably go in for one last adjustment (trying to make the transition less noticeable) and then stop.

 

I don't have any hard and fast rules or thoughts about hair, but then I've always played with cuts and color, and am pretty sure I've been every color possible in the last thirty years. Same for cuts. Hair is something that grows, so changing it is fun and easy. It's like a toy. :)

 

If you don't mind sitting through a color, and paying for it isn't a hardship - go for it. But the minute it stops being fun, or isn't affordable, I'll stop. For me, for now - it's fun. :) ...in fact, my hairstylist is coming this week, and I'll do more highlights plus I think some dark blue streaks a la the blonde on Sensate.

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When the neck starts to sag and look wrinkled, it's time to stop coloring. Ya ain't fooling anyone anymore by that point.

 

At that point, I wouldn't assume they're trying to fool anyone. :) They probably just like how they look better with the dyed hair. And I can't find anything wrong with that. At any age.

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Or you buy a neutral protein filler for 5$ that is enough to last for several months. That is what they use in the salons and is available at Sally's.

 

You really should be my neighbor. I need to know people who know how to do stuff like this at home!

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Personal choice. As long as one is happy who cares what anyone else thinks. I stopped coloring my hair last year and I am 48. I don't have the patience to deal with root maintenance and I figure I have gray hair and I am going to own it. I have a rather nifty Cruella d'vil streak.

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At that point, I wouldn't assume they're trying to fool anyone. :) They probably just like how they look better with the dyed hair. And I can't find anything wrong with that. At any age.

 

Right!  I am quite open about my age.  All my friends know I was over 40 when my kids were born.  They can do the math and figure out I'm not 40 now, lol.   And as for strangers, I don't care if they look at me and think I'm trying to fool people.  It's not about fooling anyone, just not liking the way I look with gray hair.  

 

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