Skip to content

Premature Graying: Reasons, Options

Experts explain why some of us are destined to sport the 'distinguished' look at an early age.

Embracing the Gray

More young mothers, professionals, and even runway models are opting to "go gray," says Diana Jewell, author of Going Gray, Looking Great.

"The myth that gray hair makes you old is just that --  a myth. If you were young, vibrant, active, healthy pre-gray, you're still going to be that way. It's all in the attitude you bring to it," Jewell says. "If you think of it as merely another color choice, you won't be afraid of gray."

Journalist Anne Kreamer went gray at 25 and spent an estimated $65,000 on salon color treatments over the next 20 years. She chronicled her journey back to gray at age 49 in the book Going Gray: What I Learned about Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity, and Everything Else That Matters.

"Look at an Anderson Cooper or a Steve Martin or men who have historically gone gray early," Kreamer says. "I think they look terrific and it becomes almost an iconic differentiation for them". The same can be true for women. But, she says, women have been brainwashed into believing gray is unattractive and undesirable.

These simple tips can help you go gray with style:

  • If you’ve been dyeing, consider going "cold turkey" with a chic, short haircut.
  • Work with a colorist to weave in highlights and use toners to minimize the transition line between your natural hair color and your former hair dye, Kreamer says.
  • Get a modern haircut. King recommends a style with sharper edges, such as "a graduated bob of some type, some really smooth bangs, a really nice fringe."
  • Take care of your hair. Shampoos with a blue base can help prevent gray hair from developing a yellowish cast, says Jewell, who offers a list of products at goinggraylookinggreat.com. Using a conditioning mask once a month keeps hair well-moisturized.
  • Use a flat iron to make your hair look sleeker and shinier. Gray hair tends to get frizzy, and "a flat iron on your hair brings back the luster to it," King says.
  • Enjoy your life. "Beauty is not determined by the color of a woman’s hair," says Cindy Joseph, a silver-haired model for Ford Models Inc. and CEO of Boom! By Cindy Joseph makeup line. "The ability to take joy in her life is what makes a woman truly beautiful."

Brush Up on Beauty

halle berry at film festival
Turn Back Time

Celeb hairstyles that make you look years younger.

woman with dyed blonde hair
20 Best Kept Hair Secrets

What you need to know for a beautiful mane.

woman using nail file
Soft, Weak, Brittle, Bendy

Think you know how to solve your nail problems?

toenail file
Your Guide to a Perfect Pedi

Dos and don'ts to keep your tootsies in tip-top shape.

hairstylist sectioning hair
The Truth About Your Tresses

Think you know the right way to care for your hair?

woman with long straight hair
Hair Straightening Savvy

Do you know the safest way to uncoil your curls?

URAC: Accredited Health Web Site TRUSTe online privacy certification HONcode Seal AdChoices