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October 1, 2007

Kicking the Dye Habit: Going Gray

Anne Kreamer started turning gray at 25 and spent the next 25 years (and $65,000) covering it up. Then one day she decided to kick the habit.

Hair Color: going gray

Photo Credit: Dot Shock

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Q: What made you suddenly embrace your roots?
A: I saw a picture of myself standing next to my teenage daughter and realized I wasn't fooling anyone. My hair color, touched up every few weeks, was a really dark brown, but it didn't make me look younger or better.

Q: Why is going gray such a no-no in the U.S.?
A: Here, it's all about looking 25 until you're 95. There's also this idea that if you do go gray, you're giving up and simply not interested in your appearance.

Q: How do colleagues tend to react to someone who suddenly stops coloring her hair?
A: In corporate environments, where youth is such a valuable commodity, there's huge pressure to color your hair. I know a woman who let her hair go white, and her coworkers staged an intervention and made her dye it back again.

Q: How did men react when you let yourself go gray?
A: Not only was it not an issue, it seemed to be an advantage. Since I'm married, I decided the only way I could test it on men was to pretend I was single on Match.com. I made two profiles. Both listed my actual age — which is 50 — but one pictured me gray, the other with my hair dyed brown. Three times as many men in New York, Chicago, and L.A. "winked" me with my gray hair! And the guys who winked me in L.A. were in their 30s. As far as I could tell, they were all normal, healthy-looking men. I'm guessing they figured that if I'm being honest about my hair, maybe there won't be a lot of other bullshit, either.

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