Women left and right ask me about gray matters, well, because it does matter. Ever wonder why the hair color turns gray as we age? I bet it has crossed your mind a time or two. We’ve been plucking and dyeing gray hairs for as long as I can remember. Miss Clairol is a household name for a reason, folks.
To fully understand why our hair turns gray, we must get to the root of it, literally, first with a bit of science. The hair turns gray and then white because the production of melanin slows. You can thank genetics (love you, Grandma), though some medical conditions are also responsible.
Think of it as the 50-50-50 rule; if you are 50, there’s a 50 percent chance that 50 percent of your hair is gray. After age 30, some researchers have discovered that the likelihood rises 10 to 20 percent each decade. We all know somebody who turned gray in her 20s and perhaps, though rare, somebody who never goes gray.
I tell all the guests in my chair, “Hair color is a reflection of who we are, and it tells the world our story.” I love a woman who embraces her silver lining, and I also love helping women “wash that gray right outta’ their hair.” It’s a choice as individual as you are.
I will never forget standing in a sea of stylists in New York City, the audience hypnotized by a guy on stage who declared it is all of our responsibility to help women “become chemically dependent.” The crowd roared, and, of course, he meant dependent on salon hair color, not on drugs. If you are owning and celebrating your gray, however, the cut must be marvelous. Purple-colored shampoos such as Shimmer Lights, my personal favorite, eliminate unwanted yellow tones caused by pollutants, so ask for such a shampoo and also about a monthly glaze to add a glass-like shine.
One of many double standards in the world is that men are often considered more distinguished with gray hair, while women are sometimes just considered old. Think of Anderson Cooper, for example. Well, I have never been much for double standards, and come to think of it, some of my favorite famous ladies are naturally gray and loving it such as Jamie Lee Curtis, Helen Mirren, Judy Dench and even my darling, and not so famous, Sophia Shih Tzu.
To gray or not to gray, that is the question, and there’s no right or wrong answer. It’s all up to you.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.
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