48 answers

Hair Coloring and the 40+ Year Old Woman - Unscientific Poll

I'm noticing more and more little gray hairs. I never thought I would want to color my hair but now I'm giving it serious thought. My hair stylist recommends coloring when one is 25% gray. She says I'm not there yet, but by the looks of things, I'm closing in.

I don't feel comfortable asking my friends - "Hey, do you color your hair?" Seems a bit personal. My two older sisters have funky colored hair gone bad so I don't feel confident in their advice. Mom has passed away so no help there either.

So my question to all of you 40+ year old women, how many of you color your hair? What age did you start? What do I need to know? Tell me your stories! The things we women do for vanity!

***Now I understand why Oprah said that hair color was the single greatest invention for women.***

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Featured Answers

I'm 54 and haven't colored my hair yet... I don't know when I first started going gray, but it doesn't bother me.... I just say that I've earned EVERY one of those gray hairs!

2 moms found this helpful

I can count the number of gray hairs I have so no where near 25% of my hair is gray. I have it professionally colored every couple of weeks because I do not want to see any gray hair. I am 42 and just started a few months ago.

2 moms found this helpful

I'm 65 with fading red hair and just now getting white in the sides by my ears. When I get my hair cut they say it's still okay but 'soon' I might want to consider coloring it. I don't think I will unless it fades to a nothing color that is not good but I don't really mind the white. I've 'earned' it. :-)

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Hi J.-

I guess I am the 'odd' one in the post (& not the first time...lol)

I 'got' (believe it or not) a grey streak when one of my twins was in serious medical difficulty...believe what you will.

I was in philly (daughter was at chop) and a good friend I was staying with offered to dye my hair! It ended up a color...NOT known in nature...LOL

I pledged then...that ANY grey hair on my head would be welcome...

I still await more grey...I LIKE it actually...am hoping it will come in evenly...and look like a nice highlighting as I move forward...

I am 52...I have a slew of children...and BY god...I deserve...NO...have EARNED every grey hair and wrinkle I have...

**I did say I was the 'odd' one...yes?

Best Luck!
michele/cat

3 moms found this helpful

Im 40 and I've colored my hair for years not because it's gray but because my hair is so silky soft if i don't have color on it, it won't hold any kind of style to it... it just lays flat. Color gives my hair some texture & i love it.

2 moms found this helpful

I'm 54 and haven't colored my hair yet... I don't know when I first started going gray, but it doesn't bother me.... I just say that I've earned EVERY one of those gray hairs!

2 moms found this helpful

Absolutely color that hair!!! If your asking, it's probably because you want to :) I don't think I know 1 person over the age of 20, that DOESN'T color their hair lol..

2 moms found this helpful

61 yo and been coloring it for 20 years. I am white!!!!! Yes it is an expense
and some people say do it yourself, but I will not. My hair never turns colors
and people do not realize it is colored. So my adice when you do it get it
done professionally if you can afford it. This is my treat to myself. My
springer spaniel and I would get our hair done the same time LOL. She
needed to be groomed often because of her long hair.

2 moms found this helpful

I can count the number of gray hairs I have so no where near 25% of my hair is gray. I have it professionally colored every couple of weeks because I do not want to see any gray hair. I am 42 and just started a few months ago.

2 moms found this helpful

I'm 65 with fading red hair and just now getting white in the sides by my ears. When I get my hair cut they say it's still okay but 'soon' I might want to consider coloring it. I don't think I will unless it fades to a nothing color that is not good but I don't really mind the white. I've 'earned' it. :-)

1 mom found this helpful

I'm 55 and have less than 10% grey. My stylist gives me highlights so the greys blend in. I do have a white stripe starting to happen on one side and color it to match my highlights.

1 mom found this helpful

I don't know. I am 43 1/2 and have less than 25% myself. I responded to a question on this same subject (gray hair/coloring) earlier today. When I mentioned to my husband coloring my hair had been crossing my mind lately (not a new color, just something to cover the gray)... he said "why?"
So, no... not colored here.

1 mom found this helpful

I started coloring my hair at 35 but I was no where near 25% gray. I can't help but wonder if you are close to 25% gray so she felt it was a good number to pull out of the air.

Within my group I was one of the last to color regularly.

I don't consider it vanity, just a little thing that makes me happy.

I do color my own hair, it is just too easy not to. That and really I love the color and don't feel like training a stylist.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm 37, and yes, I color my hair. But not because it's grey -- I'm probably only about 5% grey. I get highlights because it gives my hair more body.

Once you start dying your hair, you can't go back. So make sure you're ready to keep it up. I say wait as long as you can...

1 mom found this helpful

Hair color is a necessity for this premature gray lady. I have thick wavy hair and do everything I can to tame the fro and hide the gray. I started doing sun-in spray my freshman year in high school. Then 2 years after that the hair coloring started and hasn't stopped since. I saw my first gray hair when I was 26 and I'm 42. My highlights increase more and more every year, because I have so much gray.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm 44 and have colored my hair for about 20 years. I always use a professional, never use a home coloring kit. If you go to a colorist, she will know how to mix colors to cover gray and give you a very natural look. Go for it! I'm very low maintenance, clothing, nails, make up...none of that really matters a whole lot to me. However, I will spend whatever it takes to get my hair colored and cut the way I like it!

1 mom found this helpful

I'm lucky, red hair just "fades". Couple of grey hairs pop up every few months, but, whatever. I don't even get my hair cut regularly.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm 43 and have been using Natural Instincts for a few years. I don't have 25% gray, but my hair looks faded if I don't color it. I just feel better and look fresher when I color it. I go for a color that matches mine closely, but it's fun to go a different shade :)

1 mom found this helpful

I am 48 and unfortunately, have been coloring my hair for about 20 years. I started getting grey prematurely at about 23. I started with highlights just to hide the grey. At about 30 or certainly by my early 30s I had to switch to full color. I always have it done by my hairdresser and it looks very natural. I would have snow white hair by now and I feel too young for that yet. I think salon color looks more natural than home color, but I know the products have improved in recent years. I just don't want to damage my hair, deal with the mess or end up with orange hair or something. (-: I would say you're lucky you just need to start thinking about this now.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm 41, and have been coloring my hair for as long as I can remember. ;)

I have always loved change, so I started coloring my hair when I was about 18. I found my first gray hair when I was about 26, and many more followed soon after. Now my hairstylist says I'm about 30% gray.

I usually choose to have my hair colored a base color that is a shade of red varying from auburn to a dark, but fairly bright red, and then add highlights in copper, bronze, or blonde. Sometimes I get tired of the red and go some shade of brown, but keep the highlights in one color or another. I've been red for quite awhile, so I'm going brown next week. I rarely keep the exact color combination two colorings in a row. I do love change! :)

1 mom found this helpful

I'm 47 and don't color my hair yet. I've only got a few streaks here and there so really don't feel the need just yet. Hopefully, I've got the slow to grey gene. My grandmother is 97 and still isn't completely grey.

I might let mine go gray/white when I retire from work. I will be 65 this year and working on a university campus, I kind of like to fit in a little better than many of my co-workers who have not colored their hair or had a trim in quite a while. If the grays were in the back of my head away from my face I wouldn't do it but they are rimming my face. The hair is the silver not yellow white type and it is hard to get it to cover and use a packet to help the color take and the red to go away.

I recently found a color that covers and looks natural from Sallys and I have been doing using it.

Go for it. If you don't like it, try another color in a few months. What's that old Claroil commerical? "I'm worth it!"

The other S.

Color didn't cover my white hairs so I only tried it once. The professional claimed I needed to do blond highlights, but the white hairs were still white.

I pulled them for years, but now there are too many. I am ignoring it for now, but I will color my hair when it gets to really be gray.

I started coloring my hair my senior year in high school, and just quit this summer. I had mousie dark brown hair originally, and colored my hair various shades of red for the last 20 some years, nothing drastic, just not brown. I colored it myself, I had it done a few times, but it never looked better or lasted long than when I did it myself...so I saved the money and did it myself. I always got lots of compliments, and my hair always looked good. This summer I got sick of the monthly grind and just let it go. I cut my hair short and let it grow out...I have gotten so many compliments and comments on how it looks. Now people could just be being nice, but some have gone out of their way to make nice comments about it. Now it's very peppery with some salt, and I love it!!! My hair stylist said that it's the trend to let it go gray. Good luck with your choice!

I know you post is serious but it has me cracking up. I'm, oh heck I forget how old I am but I know I'm over 40 and not quite 50.

I have gray hairs and I just live with them. I don't like how when you dye the hair it becomes something totally different than what you intended. Gray hair seems to be very stubborn and wants to stand out so I don't fight with it.

I am slowly but surely making the transition to a silver fox. Perhaps one day I may choose to dye it but I tend to be more natural in how I look. I don't wear makeup, don't chemically process my hair, and just keep things simple. I still refer to myself as a cute girl because that is what I am.

I'm wishing you the best in making the decision that is best for you and your hair.

I've colored my hair since I was 14...sometimes blond, sometimes black, once fire-engine red. I've had a lot of fun with hair color over the years. For the last few years, I've done nothing to my hair and I'm happy to say that I'm a brunette with natural blond highlights in the summertime - I really *love* my hair color. So I don't dye it anymore. I noticed my first grey hair at 36 and now at 40, I can easily see 3 or 4 when I look closely in the mirror. But it's not nearly enough to stand out. So I'm hoping I won't need to color my hair again for a few years yet. But trust me, once those little grey suckers start overtaking my head, I'll be the first to make an appointment with a colorist. Maybe I'll try the fire-engine red again...

I am 46 and have been coloring my hair for about 10 years (I am very gray around my face). For a few years, before I needed to color to hide the gray, I had highlights. I am a dark brunette so I color every 4 weeks. The best product for gray coverage is Schwarzkopf, and find a Stylist who is a Ceritfied Color Specialist. When my Stylist went on maternity leave, I started going to a friend who is a licensed barber to get my hair colored, and have stayed with my friend since it is cheaper. The Schwarzkopf seems pretty foolproof when you find the right color for your skintone. Schwarzkopf recently came out with a green line that has an olive oil base instead of chemical base.

I didn't start dying my hair til I was 32. I dye it now cause I'm almost all gray (Im 42).

I go twice a year to a salon and box color the rest of the time (every couple of months or so).

I didn't wait til I was ANY percent gray. Some gray is too much gray. :)

Good luck to you!

I'm 41 and just started coloring last year. I have red hair, which had hid grays pretty well for years, but it finally just got to a point where the grays were making my hair look dull. I tried coloring myself, which didn't go well, so now I pay my hairdresser to do it.

If you find someone really good, they can match your hair color exactly. I don't end up with any line from the color; just more grays pop out when it's about time for my next touch up.

I am 46 - I don't color. I have maybe 1-2% gray and had none at 40. My dad is 77 and has maybe 15% gray. My mom does not color - she is a fantastic silver. She did color in her 40s.

I'm a hairstylist. Many clients color their hair way before they go gray.

But for the purists who wait, you can ease into it by doing a blending color, that isn't so obvious it's colored. It covers the gray, but more naturally. I can tell if a women colors her hair or not, it changes the hair texture and I can always see signs of it, but then again I have a "trained eye".

Also, many women will just color a tiny bit in the greying area. Greying usually starts in the front hairline (sucks I know)... so putting a few natural low-lights or high-lights there can help blend the gray without having to do an all-over hair color.

Also, darker hair will show gray much more easily than blonds. One reason many women get highlights, the grey blends with the blonde easier.

As for myself, I'm 30 and I don't usually color my hair, no grays yet. I've done crazy colors, but now I like to mostly balyoge or focal highlight the ends and let them grow out in that trendy ombre effect.

I'm 46 and haven't had to color yet. I'm noticing a few stray grays on the sides, but not too much yet. I'd like to put off coloring as long as possible.

My sister was blonde but suddenly went white about 3 years ago when she turned 47, so I imagine mine will do the same. Hers is a very nice shade of white and she has a young face so she can get away with it.

I'm not sure yet what I will do. My hair used to be a very nice shade of red, so I wouldn't mind recapturing that color if possible (it's more brown with auburn highlights now). However, I have always heard it's hard to replicate that color in a bottle.

I have just had my hair colored for the second time ever and I am 53. Even though there was a little grey, it wasn't so bad. I colored it 6 months ago and then last week. I am a brunette and she colored it brown with gold highlights...they are very subtle. I hope this helps you in some way.

I colored my hair through most of my 30s and got SO tired of it. I cut it short and let the color grow out. Now, I'm 50 and have just a few silver hairs that came in at about 45. I hope to never feel like I "have to" color my hair. If the grey stays this sparkly silver color, I won't be covering it!

I am 47. I have been putting some form of coloring in my hair since I was 16! When I turned 30, I cut it short and let it all go natural. Big mistake. I had no idea I was as gray as I was!!! Hell to the NO!

I'm a hot red head and plan to be that way until my last breath!

I started in my 40s...don't remember exactly when. Coloring is no big deal...frankly, I think most women do it to some extent, including highlights. I began by trying out temporary color, the ones that wash out after so many shampoos. I was wanting to find a color that matched my own so it wasn't obvious I was coloring. Once I found my "number", I started doing permanent color so it would last longer.

I am now 55, and the mother of an almost 5 yr old. You can be sure that whenever I am going to be around the other YOUNG mamas, that I color before any event or vacation. I am genetically blessed with a young face, so the color takes a good ten years off. Now if I could just find a solution to wearing reading glasses!!

I have dyed my hair for over 20 years since high school. The only time I took off when during my 2 pregnancies and then only during the first trimester. Go for it! I might not start at home, but you can certainly do the root touch up at home. Good luck! PS: hair coloring (IMO) is not personal…women love talking about it especially if you are telling me my hair looks good!!!!

I'm 45. I don't have any gray hairs yet, but I do color my hair. I'm naturally blonde, and I just add highlights to keep it fresh and a bit lighter than normal. I started coloring in my very early 20s, and can't imagine stopping at any point. My mother is in her 70s, and I don't think she has any grays either, so I am not expecting any anytime soon.

However, about your hair, if you want it done, go for it! Who cares what anyone else thinks or says. Enjoy what you want for your hair. I am really shocked that your hair stylist isn't encouraging you that way since it makes her money. LOL Make your decisions based on what you want for you. Enjoy!!

I'm 41 with only one or two gray hairs. Pretty much none. I have colored my hair black from natural dark brown off and on for over 20 years (since goth years :) Right now I do a "darkest brown" color because black is getting a little harsh at my age imo. I still do the non permanent which just fades out, which doesn't cover the grays, but again, I have very few grays. I just think well done color is prettier than my dull natural hair, gray or not. But I do wear my hair natural at times too (during all pregnancies). I've been thinking about when to "make the switch" to permanent, gray covering color. I don't think I have the maintenance capabilities to keep up color on pure white hair. At least now my roots don't really show as color fades, and hair is very dark anyway. If I had lighter hair, I'd do the graceful transition into well done white hair from highlighted shades of my natural color for the years I "go gray" gradually doing less and less color. For my dark hair....haven't figured it out yet. Luckily I'm late going gray...knock on wood. I do have dark brunette girlfriends who have colored their hair for years and I never knew it. They look like real, complete, brunettes. They do maintain their roots well. That's key. More commitment.

I am 46 - have a few wild silver hairs amidst my dark brown. I will not color my hair. My stylist, for one, refuses to do so LOL and I don't mind the gray - I rather look forward to it all being gray as my grandmother had beautiful gray hair. Once she stopped coloring it when she was in her 80s :)

I really don't want the upkeep of coloring gray hair. My office is mostly comprised of women in their 40s and 90% of them color their hair, and all of them wind up with gray roots in 4 - 6 week intervals. It is really not attractive.

Gray comes in gradually, and naturally, and I have earned every single gray hair on my head.

I'm 51 and have probably 5 - 10% gray hair. I had it highlighted by my daughter's hair stylist for my daughter's wedding in 2010 but it was really expensive. I just couldn't justify spending that kind of money regularly and it took hours! It gradually faded and the grays showed up again. My husband started to comment on getting it colored again so I did it grudgingly just before Thanksgiving with a coupon. Huge mistake. The color has a red tint in the brown but I would have preferred a gold tint. Who knew? It wasn't until it was done and I realized that I didn't look closely enough to what the gal suggested. I wonder if people look at my hair now and wonder why I chose this color. I try not to think about it or look at it. Plus, this gal talked and talked. I wouldn't have minded but she would stop working, come around to see me face-to-face and finish a story. I wanted to tell her to get back to work but didn't know how to do it tactfully.

Now the grays are growing back. I guess I should be glad that I have hair still growing but they really seem to stand out now against the all one-color reddish-brown. Before I had natural highlights and it seemed like the grays were not as obvious.

Like others have said, I don't want the eternal upkeep but I will just see what my hubby wants. He's the one who sees it. I definitely have to find someone else. I wish Jo W. lived near me and could teach me to color my own hair so at least I could save on the cost. Maybe that is another post ... how to color your own hair and what brands are best.

I've been doing something to my hair since I was 16. Frosting was the thing in the 60s, and that was my first. Through the years, I've kept my hair blond. I'm now 66 and still keep it a light blond. I don't look 66, from what people tell me. I asked my husband if he thought I should let it go and just be lt brown and grey--my natural by now. He emphatically said NO! So I may go to my funeral with blond hair! I say whatever makes you feel better and look better, do it! There's no sin or shame in that!

I am 40 and I color my grey hairs...I do it the same color as my natural color (or as close as I can get). I have had a LOT of grey hairs since my 20s and have been coloring since I was 26 or 27 yrs old. I have no stories really...boring. It dries out your hair :( But I guess I prefer that to having grey hair.

I am 45 and only have one or two hairs that are gray. There are probably more I can't see. I don't plan to color.

At 49 i am not 25% grey. I have mine highlighted so it's very subtle, and I dont get that Oh no my roots are really obvious! I used to do it only twice a year but now it's three times a year. My mom does it herself and it's a different shade every six weeks! I try to tell her I'm spending less money than her getting it done professionally since I only do it three times a year!

I started coloring my hair at 14. When I got pregnant with my daughter 5 years ago, i stopped. I will be 40 soon, and I have some gray hairs.

I don't' plan on coloring my gray. I hope to grow into one of those breathtaking gray-haired beauties you see from time to time.

I've dyed my hair since high school and I'm 44 now. I dye it every 4-6 weeks as I need it. I'm not going down without a FIGHT. Love dying my hair. It feels so good after it's done.

I am 41. I have never in my life colored my hair. I am a natural pale blonde. I have not seen any greys at this point. I don't know if they hide or they are not there. Who knows. My hair is past my waist, it's always been very long.
Don't know if I'll ever color it. Seems like a lot of work and it's so damaging to your hair.

I will color my hair whenever a big event is coming or if I am seeing old frienids and want to look like the old me. I have only about a small small small patch but I cover it!

Well, Im not 40 yet and I don't color my hair ( I just keep plucking out the two that keep growing right in the front center of my hair!)

But I have been coloring my mom's hair since she starting noticing that there was alot of grey on the center part of her hair. I was in high school the first time I colored it.

She has very dark brown almost black hair so as long as I didn't get the colors with "ash" in them ( that was a lesson learned!) her's always turned out looking natural. With her's its always a 2 box treatment since her hair is down to her butt. She likes the box dyes better than going to a salon, she has had it done professionally twice and both times her coloring came out worse than my "ash" mess up.

I'm 44 and I don't color my hair. I colored it in my teens and early 20's, for fun. I do have some greys but they are not terribly obvious, I don't have very dark hair and they just don't bother me.

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