To Grey or Not To Gray

Is it time to stop coloring your hair?

As we age, the graying of your hair is bound to happen. It’s different for everyone. Some start as soon as their 20s, while others start as late as their 70s, but just about everyone will end up with gray hair at some point. When is the time to stop coloring your hair and move into a “mature” hair color?

 Why does it turn gray in the first place?

Genetics! Without getting into too much science and detail, let’s give you the basics. There is more information here.

Cells called melanocytes manufacture and deposit pigment into the hair as it grows (anagen phase). At the end of this phase, the hair stops growing for a few months (telogen phase) before it is ejected from the follicle and the follicle goes dormant. (There is a phase in-between those two, but we don’t need to get in to that here.) Some of those melanocytes die every hair cycle. When the stem cells making the melanocytes run out, so does color production.

Stress IS NOT A FACTOR! Please stop blaming your children or your in-laws for your gray hair. It’s just not their fault. You can blame them for your hair falling out though, as stress can increase hair loss.

Is it time to stop coloring?

Well, that depends. Here are some pros and cons for you to help in the decision making process.


  • The financial benefit is obvious here. Money is saved by not coloring your hair.

  • Chemical damage is minimized. The hair color service you get will determine the amount of damage. With gray hair already dull and coarse, you may find styling your hair easier without the additional damage of hair coloring.

  • The two pros mentioned above also create a time savings. Less time spent in the salon or, gasp, coloring your own hair, and less time is spent styling.

  • All of the great compliments. “I love your natural gray!” “Wow, how brave of you!” “This look totally suits you!” You’ll love hearing these.


  • Ugh, that grow out/in period. Waiting for it the color to grow out and the gray to grow in can be a long process and it may be easier just to cut it short at some point.

  • You may feel like it ages you. Nobody wants to feel old. That’s the whole reason for covering your gray in the first place, isn’t it?

  • There may be some additional costs. You may want to start your hair color’s transition by “blending” the colored and gray hair. This can be expensive. And some of the options may cost more than just coloring your roots.

  • All of the great compliments. “I love your natural gray!” “Wow, how brave of you!” “This look totally suits you!” These kinda stink to hear sometimes.

WAIT! Those lists didn’t help! How do I know when?!?

This one is really easy to answer because you already know. Take a good, long look at your hair, and your soul, and the answer will come to you.

Making this decision isn’t easy, so it needs to feel right and be the right time for you. Prom night anyone? You’ll know before anyone else. You will have had it with coloring. Or your personal aesthetic taste will change. Whether you do it or not, the decision comes from within. By all means ask questions, get opinions, start to do it, then stop. However you go about it, it will be in your eyes and mind and heart that it is the right time.

When you feel confident enough to do it, you will.