Q: I am a 58-year-old woman with dark brown hair. I have only just begun to get the odd grey hair. Because I have been fortunate
enough not to have to dye my hair I am very unknowledgeable about how to deal with these stragglers. My hairdresser who says she sees
very little grey says to get highlights. I do not want lighter hair. What do you suggest? What is the average age for going grey? Both
my parents were in their 50's also before turning grey. Am I just lucky?
A: There is no set age at which you can expect to begin going gray. One of my closest friends had salt’n’pepper hair by the age of 20,
while I myself will soon be forty with only three grays in my hair. Gray hair development is largely a matter of genetics, but can be
caused by other factors that cause stress to the body. The friend who was salt’n’pepper at 20 had a mother who was forty with no gray
until she developed cancer and underwent chemotherapy. She experienced no loss of hair from the therapy, but her hair turned gray in
short order. The chemo also caused her skin to take on a dark bronzed tone and she ended up with a very striking look.
The average age for going gray – if such can be claimed to exist – should be figured based on your
own family history since that is where the likelihood of developing gray at any given point in your life would be determined.
As for what you should do about covering the gray you have, if that is indeed what you want to
do, I recommend using a deposit-only hair color that is at least 3 shades lighter than your natural color. This will give your grays
some additional pigmentation without changing the natural color of your hair. For more information on covering gray with haircolor,
take a look at our articles on hair coloring.