To Color or Not to Color, Is That The Question?

"I'm as free as my hair" ~ Lady Gaga

Sep 10, 2011 by

I recently read an interesting article in the Huffington Post about hair color for women over 50.  Barbara Hannah Grufferman’s article had some very interesting points to make. 

I especially like the reference to actress Helen Mirren.  Is there a double standard being applied?  Why is grey hair in men considered distinguished and sexy, like George Clooney when you can look like Ms. Mirren?

I’ve been playing with hair color since high school.  In the ’80’s I embraced the wild cuts and colors of punk rock, in the 90’s I went for the streak/highlights thing in my dark hair and hated that.  I’ve had blue hair (that’s royal blue), green hair, tri-colored hair (base color and red & white highlights) and everything in between.  Now that I’m of a certain age, I color my hair every 6 weeks and feel like it’s back to its natural state.

But Ms. Grufferman’s article made me start to rethink the color process.  I’m liking the idea of letting the grey gracefully grow in.  It’s a badge of honor, wisdom, and courage.  I think I’ll try the grey with high/lowlights suggestion and see what happens.  I have an appointment on Friday next and can’t wait to try it.

I see this as just the first step in a transformation I am making for myself. What do you do about your hair color?  Has showing your age and wisdom had a positive or negative effect in/on your work?

About the Author

Debra Pearlman Has Written 23 Articles For Us!

I own my production company, Peal Productions LLC. I now make my living as a documentary filmmaker who specializes in natural history and wildlife. I get to travel and experience amazing things, but I also know how hard it is to be a woman of a certain age, trying to make a living. I expanded my production company to include work in digital media, social media, and website design. This combines my photography/graphic arts/environmental science degrees and keeps me employed.
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  1. I really like looking through an article that can make men and women think. Also, many thanks for permitting me to comment!

  2. Rebecca Crichton

    Some of my friends have gorgeous bright white hair. I am officially in the salt & pepper category, and with my hair so short I don’t want the expense of regular coloring and I like the silvery glints in the right light but I certainly hold the the possibility of trying some color. My daughter has colored her hair since she was in her teens and looks great and lots of my friends also color theirs. I think mine works for now I have a number of freinds in my age range who used to dye their hair darker colors and are now going lighter with the hope of letting it grow out to whatever it is naturally.

  3. Debra A Pearlman

    Trish I could not agree with you more – Bruce Jenner looks ridiculous! Maybe it’s all that Kardashian estrogen he’s living around.

    I like the idea of having that great salt and pepper color, but my hair goes gray for about 1.5 inches at the roots and then is dark brown. It just looks a bit like a monk’s crown to me so I color. But I’m going to try the highlights/lowlights combination and see if I can get a more natural feel. In the end, whatever makes you feel good is what is important,don’t you think?

  4. You know ladies it’s tough. Coming from an Irish and Italian background, unfortunately, I garnered more of the Irish heritage and began going grey at the tender age of 26. 26!!! I had to do something (so I felt). I began using henna. But after a while (and a lot of mess) and getting snotty stuff from hairdressers about how they could not deal with me using henna I went down the salon colouring route. I’ve been there ever since without looking back. I don’t change my colour that often – I keep it in the auburn family cause that’s what I was born with but again I am at the point now where I think it’s time to start letting my ‘true colours shine through’. And mind you, if I could have just gone silver (like my aunt did at the age of 19 making her look like a magical faerie instead of an old ‘hag’) I would have – but my gray right now is that ‘dirty’, yucky type of grey….so I am going to start to pick a section that let’s the silver shine through and, a la Bonnie Raitt, make it sexy. I gotta admit as well – Helen Mirren looks hot and good for her. I also greatly admire Jamie Curtis for not giving in…our daughters need to be braver and we as a society need to embrace beauty in all it’s shapes, sizes, and hues.

  5. You’re right about the double standard, Debra. But if you want to know how silly men look when they color their hair, just look at Bruce Jenner, who’s had both hair dye and plastic surgery, and looks kinda like a woman these days….

    Aside from that, I’m going to keep coloring mine until I’m either in my late 60’s or 70’s. Our world is too youth-oriented, and I know that gray hair might lead to job discrimination for me. Besides, my consession to getting older is my weight. I refuse to diet for vanity the way some women refuse to dye for vanity. In our world, I think there are compromises we make to our screwed up culture, and we have decide which ones are the least worrisome to us.

  6. I’ve thought about letting my hair go to its current natural state of salt & pepper. Some women look beautiful with gray streaks. I’m having too much fun coloring mine, though. It was too dark to color when I was young. These days the henna I use turns the gray into red highlights. Those highlights would cost a fortune if I went to the salon to get them!

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