Should I let my hair go gray? We all face that tough decision sooner or later. We can let nature take control all along, or when gray first appears, we can punt and color our hair “for the time being.”
By age 60, it’s no longer the time being. I find that women our age talk a lot about whether it’s time to stop coloring and find out what we really look like.
We might find out that our hair is a soft and beautiful white. Or it could be a shiny silver. Maybe it’s not even completely gray yet. But it’s likely to just be either dull or white.
Thinking of going grey? This article explains what to really expect.
Since I write for the hair industry, I asked for guidance from a couple of hairdressers who love their clientele in this age range.
Frank Shortino, a Wella artist and owner of Shortino Salon and Spa in York, Pennsylvania, says his “gray reduction” is a popular color service for women who want to cover up the years without exactly covering the gray. This is much less time-consuming and costly than keeping up with full gray coverage.
“I just put a little gold into the hair,” Frank tells me. He says the warm tones light up not only the hair but also the face. “It’s like putting a pinch of salt into your food,” he explains. “This is just a pinch of color in the hair.”
Despite any vision of plucking out gray one strand at a time, going gray typically begins as a gradual loss of vibrance. If you’re a brunette, for example, one day you might look in the mirror and realize that the brown is more taupe.
Youth’s vivid color fades, which you notice if you have long hair because you can contrast the top with the ends that grew out of your head perhaps years earlier. With short hair, you may not pick up on this evolution.
Often, highlights are the first solution for women who just want their hair to look the same as it used to look. Highlights add brightness and disguise what’s going on up there.
But highlights do not restore brilliance. As the fading deepens, the next step tends to be single-process color. You choose a shade that’s as close as you can get to the color your hair was before it began losing its luster. Photos from your earlier adulthood can help with this.
Once you get used to a maintenance schedule for single-process color, your stylist may circle back to highlights – not instead of the color but on top of it to give your hair dimension and get closer to natural-looking hair color, which is never exactly the same color.
In the photos of Frank Shortino’s client shown below, the difference from “before” to “after” is the vibrance. The shade is similar but bolder and more youthful, aided by golden highlights. The cut further helps by bringing out the wave, which builds additional dimension and movement.
Similar to Frank’s client is the chestnut look below designed by Maria Mello, owner of Hair Ninja Salon in Brandenton, Florida. Caramel strokes like these are a popular addition to many shades, acting as lowlights for blondes and highlights for brunettes and reds.
For Maria’s client with longer blonde hair, a soft rose color defines the accents. Highlights in rose, violet or blue are opening up more choices for women of all ages.
Some of Maria’s clients really want to stand out, so she fills that request by going full-speed with fashion color. Maria says she’s become known in her area for these dramatic cherry, purple, magenta, and rainbow looks.
“I always joke that it’s a great transformation and cheaper than a sports car or plastic surgery,” Maria says. “I admire these women so much. One told me that she’s done everything to please other people her whole life, and now it was time to do something that makes her happy.”
Hair makeovers have Maria smiling, too.
“I love my job and especially this clientele, because I get to see a woman’s face light up when we’re finished,” Maria says. “She finally sees what I saw when she walked in the door – that she’s beautiful.”
Want some hairstyle inspirations? Read our article that covers over 60 hairstyles for older women.
What color did your hair turn with age? What are you doing about it? What hair color do you enjoy most? Please share with our community!
Photo credits: Images courtesy of Shortino Salon and Spa and Hair Ninja Salon.
I have naturally silver hair.Since I am a winter, I cannot do golden colors. It makes me look like I have jaundice.
I choose to use artist chalks for very temporary colors or color conditioners for longer but wash out color. Right now, I have blue hair. The man in my life just sent me a picture of Helen Mirren at the Cannes Film Festival and said “Seems you’re ahead of the (fashion) game.”
At 66, I have my gray roots covered with my natural dark blonde color, and have my eyebrows tinted every four weeks. Every 3rd or 4th appointment, I get lighter blonde highlights. I am not a fan of pink, blue, purple, etc., and also do not plan to go gray anytime soon. My mom told me years ago that gray hair makes men look distinguished and makes women look old😊. She passed away at 86 with blonde highlights and probably looked 10 years younger. At this point I plan to do the same.
Personally I do not like unnatural hair color on anyone of any age. It doesn’t look classy. It looks cheap. My natural color is white, but I do dye it a light blonde. White washes me out but the blonde makes my complexion look brighter. My observation is that as we age, we need to bring out the best of our natural features with hair, make-up and clothing. Look “put together” with nails and accessories.
What really gets me are the rainbow colors on 60-year old plus women. It almost looks like they’ve regressed mentally back to childhood, or screaming for attention.
Highlights are one thing… but when I see an elderly woman with solid purple or pink hair I cringe for them.
I have the basically same hair color and would love to go blonde but my hair dresser says my hair has no pigment and would not take the color. Wha do you use?
My hair is the same as it always was but I have a strip of gray in front and on the temples. I get very loose body waves and offset it with champagne foils
At the age of 67 I still have alot of brown in it. The rest of my hair is turning sliver. My granddaughter recently colored my hair pink and I might do it again got alot of compliments.