Dyeing your hair is a topic of interest, but not many people may have discussed it. In June 2022, Keiro conducted an anonymous survey of 129 participants of all ages to learn more from individuals regarding their hair dyeing preferences.

The Need to Cover Up

Though people have a variety of reasons for dyeing their hair, the survey found that the most prominent reason was to cover up their gray/white hairs, with wanting to look younger a close second.

For many people, embracing that they are getting older may be a difficult obstacle to overcome. One survey participant commented, “Although not dyeing [my hair] saves so much time and money, embracing the stigma that comes with gray hair might be just as hard to maintain as covering it up.”

There are many societal pressures, from family, friends, or work, to continue to cover up any signs that you may be getting older, including gray or white hair. However, aging is inevitable and can be embraced positively in many ways.

hair color transformation
Photo courtesy of @JackMartinColorist

Hearing from the Expert

Keiro interviewed Jack Martin, a celebrity hair colorist who has been in the business for 34 years and counting. Jack is best known for starting the trend of “Silver Transformations” in which he transforms people’s different hair types and colors to a fashionable silver or gray look. Many people that come to Jack had regularly dyed their hair but then made the decision to embrace their natural look and transform to the silver hair-do.

Jack has helped clients from various age groups go through the Silver Transformation. He explained that the most common reasons people decide to make the change to gray hair are:

  • Maintenance – It is may be too cumbersome to cover up your roots every two to three weeks.
  • Work – People have retired or do not work anymore so they do not need to cover up.
  • Pandemic – People were either unable to color their hair during the pandemic, or they began to work from home and did not care too much about covering up.
  • Medical Reasons – Some people are allergic to hair dyes or may develop allergies in the future.
  • Hair Damage – Though Jack shared that hair coloring does not necessarily damage your hair and can even increase your hair volume, regularly bleaching your hair may cause significant damage.
  • Trend – The increased use of social media has helped make gray hair become a trend! Once people see others with their gray hair, they may be encouraged to follow in their steps.

Embracing the Gray

Of the survey participants who used to regularly dye their hair but do not anymore, 86% said they enjoy not having to dye their hair anymore, 14% said they were not particularly tied to their hair being dyed or not, and no one said they wish they could continue to dye their hair. Many of these participants agreed that they genuinely love and embrace their gray or white hair.

In his experience, Jack has found that most of, if not all, his clients truly enjoy the beauty of their natural color once their gray hair has grown out. Jack shared, “When I do the switch [to gray hair] and they look at themselves, they really thank me with tears. They tell me that they wish they did this a long time ago.”

Considering Making the Transformation

While those who embraced gray hair had a positive transformation, 62% of those who dye their hair plan to continue to do so. Jack recommends three methods for those who may be considering, but are hesitant to make the change:

  1. Photoshopping – Having someone or even a phone application digitally alter a picture of yourself to have gray hair may be one method to visualizing yourself with a different style.
  2. Wigs – If simply seeing a picture of yourself is not enough, trying out a gray hair wig is another option.
  3. Encouragement – Jack enjoys showing people pictures of his work and telling success stories of the positive feelings they experience once they go through the transformation.

When clients approach him with the concern of looking older, Jack will typically present them with all the options and answer any questions they may have, but he would never push people to make the transformation. If someone feels comfortable dyeing their hair, then they should continue doing whatever makes them feel good with regard to their own personal appearance.

The Power of Choice

Feeling comfortable in your own skin and having the autonomy of making decisions about your appearance are critical to having a good quality of life. Of the survey participants who regularly dye their hair, many commented that dyeing their hair makes them feel more confident and younger.

woman pulling back hair

Making the shift to not dyeing your hair may be a difficult decision especially if it is something that has become a part of your routine. When asked when it is the right time to make the decision to go gray, Jack replied, “Honestly, there is no best time; it is up to the person.”

There is power to making that choice yourself. Going gray should not be the only option when you’re out of choices, but it may be a decision you proactively make on your own. The most important aspect is that you feel completely ready on your own terms and that you have the ability to choose.

Ultimately, Jack’s goal in his work is to break the stereotype around gray hair being a sign of aging. “I wish women could start to look at gray hair as just a color and not a symbol of old age,” he said. “It is like any other color. They should not be scared of silver hair because it is beautiful and very elegant.”