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Graying Gracefully

Bonny Osterhage

Written by Bonny Osterhage

Bonny Osterhage

Written by Bonny Osterhage

There are certain milestones in every woman’s life: the day she gets her first bra, the day she gets her first period, and the day she finds her first gray hair. The first two are usually experienced somewhere in the “tween” years and are eagerly anticipated because they symbolize “growing up.” It isn’t until much later that women realize just what an inconvenience both bras and tampons can be!

Gray hairs are another story. Very few women look forward to that first glimpse of silver because it is viewed as a sign of aging and, let’s face it, society tells us that aging is simply not okay. Terms like, “Silver Fox,” are used to describe graying, aging men, but women? No such terms exist! As a result, women pluck that stray gray, (regardless of the warning that two will grow back), add highlights to blend it in, or cover it up altogether by coloring over it. Eventually, this can become a pretty hefty commitment in terms of time and money. So how do you know when it’s time to just give up and let Mother Nature have her way with your hair? There is no right answer, but we asked Master Stylist Erin McReynolds of the Koi Salon in San Antonio, Texas and she says there are three key things to consider:

  • Budget: As we mentioned above, committing to coloring can get pretty pricey, depending on how fast your hair grows, and how much gray you have to begin with. The darker the hair, the more obvious the gray, so some women choose to lighten their base color, or add highlights to blend the gray and make it less obvious. This allows them to go a little longer between salon visits. Other women choose to keep their original color and cover over the grays. Either way, you are looking at a couple of hours in the salon every 4-6 weeks (or more frequently), and prices that can range anywhere from $50—$250+ depending on your specific needs. That can add up quickly so make sure you can budget both the time and the money into your life.
  • DIY: So many bad dye jobs start with the words, “How hard can it be?” Well, it’s harder than you might think! Over the counter hair color has come a long way, but it still isn’t foolproof. If you don’t know what you are doing, the budget-friendly box could cost you more in the long run in terms of damage and color correction. “Depending on the type and brand of color used, over-the-counter dyes can leave the hair dry, brittle, and dull,” cautions McReynolds.
  • Confidence: So much of a woman’s identity is tied up in her hair, which is why a good hair day can put a spring in your step. But whether you are sporting a platinum Mohawk, beachy brunette waves, red ringlets, or a sleek, silver bob, you should feel confident owning your style. Embracing your gray has a lot to do with embracing yourself. “I tell women of all ages that going gray depends largely on their level of comfort with the concept along with confidence,” says McReynolds, who mentions Jamie Lee Curtis as an example of a woman who wears her gray with style.  Women can absolutely rock gray hair, because it’s all about embracing yourself for who you are at every stage of life. And remember, beauty doesn’t come from what’s on your head, it comes from what’s in your heart.

Erin McReynolds: Master stylist and bridal specialist at Koi Salon, San Antonio, Texas, Erin McReynolds is a Bumble and Bumble trained stylist who has more than 11 years in the industry. With continuing education from Oribe, as well as many private educators, Erin is a firm believer that education in all aspects of her field is key to staying knowledgeable and relevant.


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Shades of gray from gunmetal to silver are beautiful tones why cover them up? I am letting my hair change naturally.

Ann F. Smitt on

I used semi permanent home hair color for years then I got lazy. My hairstylist complimented me on my greys and explained how pulling that hair color through to the ends was layering it on so that I had brittle dry ends. I was done with hair color. I get so many compliments on my natural color. And not even my new hairstylist is interested in selling me on covering it all up. I use a violet shampoo weekly and treat myself to better quality shampoos and styling products.

Lorinda Hayes on

An actual DIY permanent hair color solution that is safe, effective, and inexpensive (after many years of looking for a satisfactory natural color solution) is from NaturColor (I used to get from WholeFoods until discontinued, now I am on auto-ship from VitaminShoppe). It doesn’t smell, can’t damage your hair no matter how long you leave it in or color over previously colored hair. It cannot lighten your hair as it doesn’t have harsh chemicals, but does a lovely job of covering grey while actually improving condition of my hair, and looks very natural. (The “N” colors are best its coloring over Grey). You can mix colors to get custom shades. Highly recommend.

Peggy L on

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