Does gray hair make women look old, frumpy and not-sexy?

I am asking this because I’ve recently had a short-short cut and decided to let my color grow out and the gray come in.

I am 53 and have been coloring my hair (starting with henna) since I was 14 years old. Two months ago I decided to go au naturel - I’m at least 90 percent gray now - so I cut my hair punky-short. For the first month, it looked really dreadful with the roots one color and the rest another. I got a trim and now I am almost all gray.

Two months ago, I had shoulder-length auburn hair (my original color was red/auburn)…now I have short, almost all-gray hair. It is weird, let me tall you. Part of my persona has always been “sexy redhead with big boobs” so it is a huge paradigm shift for me to go gray. Shallow though it sounds, I feel like I am losing some of my persona. On the other hand, if feels cool because I am gaining another one - that of an older, wiser woman (still with a great bod and hopefully sexy - LOL) and somehow more authentic.

The really odd and unexpected thing: This never really happened before, but I am now, suddenly, getting unsolicited compliments on both my short hair and the silvery color. In abundance, sometimes from complete strangers. But only from women.

I polled both male and female friends before lopping off the red and going gray…reactions were mixed; from “oh no!” to “go for it!”

I figured if I hated it I could simply start coloring again but honestly I love not having to worry about my roots showing, I love the feeling of not “pretending” to still have youthful, auburn hair via chemical enhancements, and when I look in the mirror I don’t feel that I look older or frumpy or dowdy. Or maybe I do, but I don’t care that much. :slight_smile:

Personally, I don’t find gray hair to be a turn-off at all. My wife and I have plenty of it, so that’s probably a good thing.

Now I am not saying this was the case with you, since I would not know you if we passed in the street, but many many people keep up a hair color while the rest of them washes out - it’s not just hair that fades, but skin as well - so a color that looked great on a 25-year-old looks pretty weird on a 45- or 55-year-old. The most striking example of this I have seen is older Hispanic ladies whose cafe-con-leche skin has faded while the hair remains jet black. Only her hairdresser knows, sure.

A person who knows they are gray and carries it well and confidently is immensely sexier than one who is afraid of it, IMO.


Men and women who “maintain” themselves are attractive. In my opinion, this is more strongly reflected by a healthy lifestyle including diet, exercise, and emotional maturity while keeping an open worldview; far more than artificial & superficial means such as hair dyeing, tanning, and other trendy affectations. (admittedly, what I include in with “trendy” as affectations is just my own taste: tattoos, pubic depilation, elaborate nail polish, and other things that perfectly nice people adopt to feel attractive).

But still (and this is hardly an original comparison) women dyeing their hair should be the same level of stupid as male combovers. That silver is you. You earned it, so own it. And get laid with it.

Depends entirely on the person, the hair, and the look.

I’ve seen silver haired woman who have seriously got it going on (e.g:Blythe Danner) I’ve also seen some who look like washed-out dishrags.

In general I prefer gray to dyed.

To me, it very much depends on the person and the hairstyle. Grey can look great or terrible.


Oh, I think if you aim close to this you’re doing just fine. :slight_smile:

No. A person’s body size and shape, manner of dress, way they carry themselves, and their hairstyle, may make them look old, frumpy, and not-sexy. If you’ve got it going on in these areas, then gray hair will either accentuate your look or not do anything at all.

I can’t wait till I go all salt-and-peppery.

Oh, come now. It’s not an absolute that grey is always good–or even okay. I’m twenty-eight. I’ve been getting grey hairs since I was sixteen. They now sprout liberally around my part in the front. Not in solid streaks, mind, but rather mixed in with the dark brown.

Grey hair is great when it’s mostly grey. But when it’s just off-colored hair mixed in with dark hair, it looks like crap (unless you’ve got black enough hair and a short enough cut to pull off salt-and-pepper). And, believe me, I know. Four weeks after I dye, and I’ve got obvious roots. My sister comments–in all of her renowned tactfulness–that I’m going grey. Gee, thanks, sis. I missed that one.

People in these threads always make it about choosing between a head of colored hair, or a glorious silver mane. Or they assume that everyone dying is in their fifties, and look fake with it. Honey, I’m twenty-eight, and I’ve needed to dye for a good three-four years now. No way was I going for silver mixed with brown at the age of twenty-four! You’d notice, you’d think I looked careless and sloppy (it makes that area look oily!), and you’d certainly not think I’d “earned” any of my depigmentation, seeing as, aside from my hair, I actually look young for my age.

That being said, my grandma was white-haired by the age of thirty, and looked awesome doing it. A nice head of consistently grey hair–a sort of lustrous silver–can look awesome, too. It depends.

Since you’re looking for opinions, I’ll move this to IMHO.

twickster, MPSIMS moderator, who does not color her silvery “natural highlights”

as is with most appearance questions, it’s case-by-case. if you feel bold enough (i don’t expect you to. i personally wouldn’t) link a picture and i’m sure the board will be more than happy to both dote you with compliments and pepper you with “suggestions”

Gray hair doesn’t make you look old, but it does make you look a certain age. Fortunately, you’re that age, so it doesn’t look inappropriate or aging. Gray hair ages the shit out of me; it makes me look nearly your age, when in fact I’m 35. When looking 50 becomes age-appropriate, I’ll most likely quit coloring my hair.

And asking if gray hair makes you look frumpy is kind of like asking if these pants make your ass look big. No, it’s the frumpy-ass hair cut or big fat ass that’s the culprit.

I’m grey, and I’m comfortable with it. It’s your choice - do whatever makes you happy! :slight_smile:

I have seen many attractive women with grey hair and their hair color did not take away from their sexiness quotient.

Being perceived as sexy is not soley a physical appearance thing - I think it is mostly who you are and how you carry yourself.

I know that Britney Spears, for example, is supposed to be “attractive” by general physical standards, I find her to be horribly unsexy and would feel the same way no matter what color she dyes her hair.

Perhaps all you need is a role model.

I think streaks of grey are sexy and I really like the greys hairs that are coming in on my noggin.

It’s a “distinguished sexy” about them. It’s the difference between George Clooney sexy, and one of those idjots from Twilight “I hear that kid is supposed to be sexy” sexy. I’d go for the distinguished sexy every time.

Look, I’m sorry to be brutally honest, but grey hair makes you look older .

I’m a little slow. Just recently, being 60 years old, I was wondering why the women my age look so much younger and attractive than the 60 year old women of my youth. And most women look so much younger than their husbands. Take Hillary Clinton for example. She’s still sexy looking in my book. Then my wife explained to me that she herself dyes her hair to cover the grey and most women our age do as well.

Do you think Hillary would look better au naturel ?

I don’t mean to hate on Hillary, but I don’t anything would make you her look better. She is what she is.

Gray hair works on lots of women, though. I can’t imagine Jamie Lee Curtis without her gray hair now.

Like everything, it’s a case-by-case situation. Like short hair cuts. Some women can get away with it, while others can’t, for whatever reason. There isn’t a general rule.

Sometimes dyeing can make an older woman look weird, IMHO. If you have the face and the wrinkles of a 69-year-old and your hair is just as dark as it was in your youth, you just look strange. (I’m thinking about a particular individual in real life…I hope she’s not reading this thread!)

I saw a woman at an outdoor event last summer with long silver grey hair. It was so striking and looked great on her, I couldn’t stop staring.

I’m 48, and my gray hair is just coming in, and damned if it doesn’t look cool! I have hair that’s just on the borderline between blonde and brunette, and silvery threads here and there really sets it off nice. I’m hoping for a salt ‘n’ pepper type of mix like my dad had until he was 60.