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Review: Going Gray

January 28, 2014

Going Gray

Anne Kreamer was a successful businesswoman working for companies like Nickelodeon and Spy Magazine.   Because of the industry she was in, she thought it was important to keep a youthful appearance and that required coloring her gray hair.  In her 50s, she found herself self-employed and tired of the time and money required to keep her hair color up.  She was going for touch-ups every two and a half weeks and calculated that, through the years, she had spent $65,000 on hair color.

Kreamer writes of letting her hair go natural in her book, Going Gray: How to Embrace Your Authentic Self with Grace and Style.  When she first told her family and friends of her decision to stop coloring her hair, most people were supportive but a few were shocked, so Kreamer decided to do a little research on how people feel about gray hair.  She interviewed men and women, put her profile on dating sites, met with image consultants, and asked people to fill out questionnaires as part of her research.   The support of her friends and family and the results of her research helped her make peace with her decision.  She said,

The ways in which my hair changes color and my face wrinkles are unique to me.  Why would I want to trade that away to look like some generic version of womanhood?  You can’t erase what’s happened to you in the past or avoid what’s really going on now — so why not look it in the eye and accept it?

Kreamer believes woman can and do look attractive with gray hair and encourages them to find a sense of style that suits them. She works out and invests in quality haircuts.  I personally think she looks better with gray hair then she did when it was colored.

Anne Kreamer

I am probably not the target audience for Going Gray since I’ve never colored my hair, and don’t plan to start at this point, but I did find this book interesting, for the most part.   I guess it validated my feelings toward dyeing my own hair.   I’ve looked around on more than one occasion and realized I was the only woman in the room with natural hair color.  I have nothing against people dying their hair, it’s just not something I’ve ever cared to do.   I will say that I found the first half of the book much more interesting than the second half.  After a while, it seemed repetitive and I was ready for Kreamer to wrap things up.  So, for me, the book turned out to be just okay.

I am an Indiebound Affliate.
34 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2014 6:32 am

    My hair color was more salt than pepper when I was in my twenties so I’ve been coloring my hair for a while. I’ll be willing to let it go one of these days 🙂 Sounds like an interesting book.

  2. January 28, 2014 6:43 am

    I of course can’t even relate to this book, being only 20. ( ….in dog years maybe….)

  3. January 28, 2014 7:03 am

    I went grey early and I’ve spent a fortune coloring it. Not for my personal vanity, but to convey a put-together impression at office. I don’t want to give a fuddy duddy impression. I would let it go if I was retired.

  4. January 28, 2014 7:38 am

    I’ve spotted my first few grey hairs recently so I’ve started contemplating this. Like you I’ve never dyed my hair and I’m not sure I want to even when it does go grey. I guess I’ll have to wait and see what I decide. Not sure this book is necessarily for me but your review has made me think about it all!

  5. January 28, 2014 8:08 am

    I’ve been wondering when I should stop coloring my hair! LOL It’s expensive, so I let it go too long. I have dark hair, so you can tell when my ‘dye’ job needs a touch up (sigh) And the funny thing is—I’m really not a ‘girly-girl’. I can leave my house without make-up and be totally comfortable with that–I do it a lot–so, why do I keep dying my hair?
    Food for thought!

  6. January 28, 2014 10:13 am

    I’m probably not the target market for this either although I do dye my hair. Not because it went gray – I’ve been coloring since my 20s – but because I didn’t like the color and I still don’t. Don’t tell anyone but I think there’s some gray in there now.

  7. January 28, 2014 10:32 am

    The thing with hair color is that once you do it, you have to keep doing it or it looks really weird. I regret doing it. I know how to color and then highlight in order for the grow-out to look normal and it’s expensive to have done every six weeks. I loved Diane Keaton’s gray when she was at the Golden Globes but that looked almost enhanced and not natural either.

  8. Patty permalink
    January 28, 2014 11:09 am

    Oh my…one of these days I want a long whitish braid…but just not yet!

  9. January 28, 2014 12:05 pm

    I’ve been coloring my hair since high school, basically because it’s naturally bland. Yes I do have some grays in there, I refer to them as sparkles, but I’d be dyeing my hair anyway.

  10. January 28, 2014 12:22 pm

    She does look better with grey hair! I’ve played with hair color since my teens, because the dirty blonde is bland on me. Kudos on keeping yours natural!

  11. January 28, 2014 12:34 pm

    I remember when my Grandmother decided to go natural again after dying her hair for so long. It was quite a shock to everyone. I imagine it will be much the same for me. I do color my hair and don’t see stopping anytime soon. Like Leslie, I didn’t start dying my hair because of the gray–that came later. Although, I don’t have that much gray hair yet . . .

  12. January 28, 2014 2:03 pm

    I started having a small gray stripe (from my grandma) in my early 20s and have been coloring since then. Now, if I let it go it would probably be more gray than brown! I had Gage at 39 so I can’t give anyone more of a chance to mistake me for his grandma! The color stays 🙂

  13. talesofwhimsy permalink
    January 28, 2014 2:35 pm

    Some people can really rock gray. She sure can. I’m not sure what I will do when I get to that point. I have some already and it doesn’t look too bad. I’m hoping I can rock it. I hate the idea of all those chemicals. My sister in law says she can’t wait to go gray.

  14. January 28, 2014 3:27 pm

    I think gray hair looks gorgeous but I know that I will be upset when the first strand of gray hair shows up in my head. I haven’t dyed my hair either and probably will never.

  15. January 28, 2014 3:31 pm

    What’s funny is that I think my generation really wanted to dye hair for fun, but I wouldn’t even bother doing it now…though I haven’t gotten any gray yet, I doubt I would start if I did….it’s too costly and time consuming.

  16. thewrredhead permalink
    January 28, 2014 3:37 pm

    Great review! I’d love to read this one…I have never colored my hair, but just started getting a few grays in the last year (yay for turning 30!). I’ve been debating whether color is worth it. Sounds like this book would help me resist the urge! 🙂

  17. January 28, 2014 3:57 pm

    I haven’t really thought what I will do when the greys get higher in number.

  18. January 28, 2014 4:33 pm

    I wish you had liked the book more! I like the idea of a survey on attitude and how people feel/felt about it. I embraced the gray about seven years ago. I colored it half-heartedly for 8 or 10 years while I was job hunting a lot but I always hated the smell and expense and the way it looked growing in. You can see how it works for me in my avatar. 🙂

  19. January 28, 2014 5:06 pm

    The idea of coloring my hair for any reason makes me feel tired! I’ve never dyed mine, but I have found a few gray hairs over the years and we tend to go gray very early in my family. My mom is just letting hers go gray naturally, no dye, and I love it. That’s probably what I will do too. I’m fascinated that there was a whole book written about this? It’s definitely interesting, but I imagine, like you, I would have found it repetitive.

  20. January 28, 2014 5:40 pm

    Kathy, thanks for sharing your honest thoughts about this book. Women are under too much pressure to look young, as if appearance is the only important thing (it ain’t). Going Gray sounds like a candid and interesting sort of memoir.

  21. January 28, 2014 7:19 pm

    I like her looks better with gray hair too, although her bolder makeup might also have something to do with it.

  22. January 28, 2014 8:33 pm

    I think she looks better with gray hair, too! I’ve been coloring my hair since my early 30’s and suspect it would be quite gray if I stopped now, but it’s still something to consider. This may be one to borrow from the library…

  23. January 28, 2014 8:40 pm

    I’m starting to go grey already, but feel like I can’t do anything about it. I tried to color my hair once and had allergic reaction- been afraid to do it again since, and can’t afford a professional salon job. So I’m stuck with grey. Sounds like an interesting book!

  24. January 28, 2014 9:50 pm

    I love the look of gray or silver hair and have wanted hair that color since I was a teen. (Honest.) I might read this. I think the author looks better with gray hair too.

  25. sandynawrot permalink
    January 29, 2014 12:23 pm

    Hey I would support a friend of they made this decision. I don’t think it looks bad at all. But I will proudly stand up and say that I’ve highlighted my hair since the beginning of time. I don’t even know what my real hair color is, but I imagine it is pretty crappy looking. I tried to do it myself – bad idea. I have a date with my hairdresser, who has become a very good friend over the years, every 6 weeks, and the highlight happens every other appointment. You will never see me grey.

  26. January 29, 2014 12:55 pm

    Um, I just colored my hair this morning. And, as always, wished that I could give up the farce 🙂 I actually like her hair better with gray – and the cut is way better. I’m going to mull this over. So glad you posted it!

  27. January 29, 2014 2:42 pm

    Very interesting book review Kathy. I also found the range of comments interesting. I was astounded at the $65,000 the author spent on coloring her hair. Imagine the world-wide trip or all the books that money could have purchases. I’m with you – people are beautiful no matter what. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  28. January 29, 2014 5:24 pm

    Yeah coloring one’s hair is a pain, not to mention expensive. But I’m not ready for the gray look just yet. Cheers.

  29. January 30, 2014 10:02 am

    I enjoyed your review and reading all of the comments. The author looks great with gray. Some women do. I grayed early and have colored my hair since I’ve been in my twenties. I’ve considered stopping coloring my hair, but haven’ t been brave enough yet.

  30. January 30, 2014 4:23 pm

    $65,000 on hair color? Wow!
    I love all the research she did about gray hair! I myself don’t color my hair even though I do have a bit of gray. I also never had my hair cut until a few years ago, and my hair was always thick until I hit menopause, now it’s a lot thinner. So my thing now is to keep it cut with a slight body…and I’m past due!

    • January 30, 2014 4:24 pm

      should be “a slight body perm”, but I’d like a slight(er) body too LOL!

  31. January 30, 2014 4:24 pm

    I’m probably the target audience for this book. I’ve colored my hair twice–once a year for the past two years. I don’t mind some strands of gray, but when they get too long, I feel like they start making me look tired and run-down. That said, though, I’m usually not very focused on appearance, so why I go to the trouble and spend the money on hair color is still kind of puzzling to me.

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