Will gray hair make you look older?

Sadly, once again, I find myself horrified at anti-aging fear mongering tactics used to sell beauty products. In my article In Support of Gray Hair, I spoke out against an article which suggested that women with gray hair look unpolished and unprofessional. This post addresses an article which categorically states

The truth is, natural gray hair makes people look older.

The truth is?

That is a rather sweeping statement. The truth based on what?

Here are some truths ….

  1. I am forty-nine years old. When I tell people my age, they are shocked. Not because they think I am older; rather, they think I am younger.
  2. I belong to a wonderful group called Gray & Proud. It is full of gorgeous women who continue to surprise me when they state their ages. I always think they are younger than they actually are.

Admittedly, these truths are my personal experiences and could be biased. So, how about some empirical evidence?

In researching her book Going Gray, Anne Kreamer conducted an extensive survey in which people were asked to judge the ages of women with coloured hair and women with gray hair. The survey had the following surprising result.

It turns out that gray hair does not make us look older than our real age. It just makes it easier for people to judge our true age. 

Now, if the article I read had said ‘the truth is natural gray hair makes you look your age’, I would not take exception to this. I still wouldn’t like the anti-aging slant to it, but I would not be outraged.

I can list dozens of stunningly gorgeous women who colour their hair and look their age or younger. I can list dozens of stunningly gorgeous women who are naturally gray and look their age or younger.  However, my judgement of their age is not based on hair colour … and by the way, gray and silver are colours.

All these women look their age or younger because they are fit, healthy, vibrant, sassy and full of confidence. The lack of all those things is what makes a woman look older than her actual age. Not her hair colour.

Gracefully yours,

~ Eliza


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