Quick Query: Hair Color- Yea or Nay?

Just last week, my mother-in-law and I were talking about different women and their choices about whether or not to dye hair once gray hair started creeping in. I thought that was the end of that conversation, until this morning, I read this:

"Gray hair is a crown of glory;
it is gained in a righteous life."

Proverbs 16:31

I want to continue this conversation with you ladies, asking what you think you'll do, when gray (or white) hair starts growing in large amounts on your own head. I ask out of curiousity- certainly not out of legalism, or trying to guilt the woman who colors her hair. I don't at all want or intend to make this a conversation about righteousness based on externals. I'm just honestly curious what you all think.


1) What do you think when you see gray hair?
2) Do you already have gray or white hairs cropping up? In large or small amounts?
3) If you have gray/white hair, do you use hair color? And if you don't have gray/white hair, do you think you will have your hair colored?
4) Whatever your answer in the previous question, why?
5) What do you think of this proverb? Is it applicable today? If so, how so?

I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts on this... I'll share mine after a handful of you have answered.


Andrea said...

I would ask my husband if he would want me to have gray hair or dye it--
In fact, I did this and he said, "Whatever you want, honey." :)
so, that is what I would do!

the blackwells said...

1. I think it is just a sign of aging...not much more than that.

2. I haven't spotted any in my hair...though I've plucked a few white eyebrow hairs.

3. I don't think I will have it colored.

4. Neither my mom or maternal grandmother have "hid" their grey...so to me grey hair is just a normal part of aging not something to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. Also, I'm not really the type that does all that stuff like dye hair, get manicures, etc. I never have been, so I'm not sure why I would suddenly start.

5. I'm not sure that if we as a society held this proverb to be true that there would be concern or vanity issues about going grey. Also, it seems that if someone prematurely greys we automatically think they've had a really hard or difficult life...we don't think of a righteous one.

Interesting questions!

Tracy said...

I am thirty-six years old, and the mother of 4, ages 15,14,12,8. I recieved my first gray hair around the age of twenty-six. I have VERY dark hair, so the gray shows alot.

At first, I did nothing to cover my gray. Then, when I was about thirty two or so, I started coloring. At first, it lasted about 6 weeks before needing to be redone. In the past two years, I felt like I was fighting a losing battle. I'd color, only to see more gray later the same day. So I asked myself, "What am I doing this for?"

The last time I colored my hair was last July. I'm nowhere near being all gray, but I honestly do not mind the gray anymore. My husband has told me alot lately, that he actually thinks it is very pretty.

What changed? I think my heart. Our culture is so full of women wanting to attract the wrong kind of attention from men. I stopped and asked myself, or maybe God asked me, "Who are you trying to please?"
I feel the Lord working in my life very powerfully over the past several months. He's stripping away the old, and I feel more at home in who I am, because now I KNOW who I am trying to please. BTW, I am not a new Christian.

I don't think there is anything sinful about coloring our hair, but
I see that it is pretty much for our own glory, not the glory of God. I love this proverb! It seems the closer I grow to God, the more gray I become. :0)

Bobbie said...

Hi Jess
1)When I see gray hair, I see OLD. I know I should see, matronly, full of wisdom, snow on the rooftop, etc.

2) Yes, I have a small amount of white hairs cropping up.

3) Last year I had my hair highlighted blond, with light brown lowlights. Together with my medium brown hair, it looked great. And the blond highlights covered those pesky little gray hairs.

4)I felt pretty, and younger. Not a small feat for a gal of 45.

5)My Bible says:The silver-haired head is a crown of glory (IF) it is found in the way of righteousness.
Is this applicable today? Should be.


Anonymous said...

1) I don't really think anything. (Well now, that's not true...I think a full head of silver hair on a man is very attractive. When I saw Mark's dad's full head of silver hair when we first met, I knew Mark was the one. *grin* ) However,I don't tend to notice gray hair in general unless it's a particularly nice style, much as I would any other color.

2)Yes, a few! I turned 33 last week...I've had a few grays since I was 30. It's actually quite noticeable when I pull my hair back. (To me anyway.)

3)It's not colored now. I have colored it in the past for other reasons, to my own original color as it gets really ugly when I'm ill. I will likely color it on an ongoing basis when the gray really sets in, unless I have particularly beautiful gray, which is rather unlikely given my family history of soot-n-ashes gray. Yick.

4)Just because I would want to...same reason I cut it the way I do or where blue more than brown...it's just what I like and honestly haven't thought about it much beyond that!

5)I think the basic premise is that a gray head means the person has lived a long while and has probably attained a certain amount of personal wisdom and spiritual grounding in those years. (Obviously, one can't assume from observance of gray hair that that person is crowned in glory or they have led a righteous life.) It is in a way a converse of Paul's words to Timothy where he says, Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young. This verse is about the other end of the spectrum: Age (gray hair being the sign of it) is a desirable thing...it means we have accomplished much, gained experiences that only time can afford us, and lived to tell about it. I'm not sure the verse is so much about hair as it is about what gray hair signifies.

I really didn't come here for this...I was going to keep reading some of the links from your posts on birth control. But since I'm here, those are my thoughts on the hair coloring issue. ;-)


Melissa said...

I must admit that I'm quite curious as to the other answers to these questions!

1) I love seeing older women with gray/white hair...it always seems so natural.
2) I am 31 years old, and have recently had more and more white hairs coming in. Not gray...white!
3 & 4) I do not use hair color, have only had highlights done in the past, have not wanted to be like my mom and color my hair...BUT...now that I am having little white hairs come in...it's a small consideration. I think, though, that my husband would prefer that I go the natural way and let it go...(gulp)...white.
5) I love this verse in Scripture and have always wondered why more women wouldn't want to go gray because of it. I find that we are too focused on ourselves and our outward appearance. What about our inward appearance? That is what matters the most. (I am preaching to the choir as I write this and think about what I wrote in my answers to questions 1-4!!!).

EmmyJMommy said...

2) small amounts
3) I will not have my hair totally colored when I begin to go totally gray. My dh is just about totally gray, and I LOVE IT!
4) From what I have seen, older women who had red hair and went gray, actually went a beautiful white...and I hope it will be the same with me
5) Oh my yes, I believe when we look around at our brothers and sisters in Christ, most of our older generation should be how we attempt to model ourselves...they have been through and survived so much and they have leaned on God Almighty through it all...shouldn't we be striving to do the same?!


Jennifer said...

Jess-I would love to have hair that silver gray color once I am older. I have seen some women who look so beautiful with that color.

For now I have mousy brown hair. I have been tempted to color it but I feel that God has personally convicted me not to do that. You see my 4 year old is cross-eyed and I am forever telling her that God loves her exactly how she is and that she is beautiful. Once day I went to color my hair and my older daughter screamed. She was so upset that I would change the beautiful color that God gave me. I feel like I was halted in my tracks so that I could continue to be an example for my girls, particularly my younger own who already feels self-conscious about her image.


Anonymous said...

1. When I see gray hair I think - wow that woman has lived so much life! I think it's a beautiful hair color. My mom started turning gray at 20 and by the time I was in junior high she was stark white-headed.

2. If I have gray hairs I don't notice them as I have blonde hair.

3. I have never colored my hair and never plan to.

4. I think what God gave us all is so beautiful already!

5. I love the proverb and I think it's still relevant today. After all, the women I look to for life wisdom and righteousness are typically those who have lived long lives full of righteousness building experiences and typically they have gray hair!

Jess said...

1) I used to think it looked old. Now, after having lived overseas, where gray hair (on the head and in beards, for men) means respect, I see it in a much different light. I think it speaks of wisdom and oftentimes demands respect.

2)I have one white hair right on my part on the top of my head, and right now, I just keep plucking it out. When it becomes a patch, I suppose I will have a white section of my head.

3) I don't have gray/white hair yet, but I think I'm going to just let my hair go. Even if it's a year or two from now (I'm only 27).

4) First, because I think it's different, and I'm not a fru-fru girl (not that those who color ARE, but I do think it takes a level of commitment to keep up your color/highlights, etc.). Second, because I think it does imply wisdom and experience. To me, it looks distinguished when a godly woman has white or gray hair and a youthful, joyful countenance. I am always amazed to run into women overseas who look so young even with their gray hair, because they have lived wholeheartedly for Jesus.

5) I do think that gray hair helps distinguish between the righteous and unrighteous. Not all the time, but it is an indicator... just as I mentioned before, when you see an older, gray-haired woman from the back, you don't know what kind of life she's lived. But often, when she turns around, you can see it in her eyes, in her countenance, and in her face. That's the kind of woman I want to be.

I think gray hair can indeed be a crown of glory.

heather said...

When I see gray hair, I think a variety of things. I think that it looks beautiful on some people, on other people, maybe not as attractive-just like a person's nose-some have physically beautifully ones, others, not so much so. That is my honest thought process, that said, once I know someone-who they are inside a bit, I don't notice the externals so much. The person just is who they are and Godly women are beautiful because of the Spirit in them.
I wish my instant thought was that of honor and wisdom, but sadly, in our culture, we don't esteem age and often those who are aging, are complaining about it and doing all they can to fight it. It is hard to see external signs as honorable when those displaying those signs(ie gray hairs, wrinkles...) detest them.

My hair is strawberry blonde, so I haven't noticed any grays and I don't think they will be as noticable for some time.

First, I think I would ask my husband what he would prefer, but, knowing him, I am guessing, he won't have a preference. In that case, now, I am not sure. I don't color my hair now. I have just assumed that I would color my hair when I start to get gray that shows up. But, for me personally, I don't like the idea of all the money and time spent to maintain that. That is not to judge women who do get their hair done, it really is just a matter of stewardship and personal choice. So, who knows. I am guessing that I might just go the route of highlights so that it looks nice if it starts to look drab-more to enhance the gray rather than to just cover it up.

I suppose my reasoning is that I want to look nice. I cover my undereye circles with concealor because I don't like them. Maybe I was up at night with my baby, joyfully even, but I don't see that I need to look worn out. I pluck hairs that are growing where I prefer that they not grow. I suppose I see it as a matter of honoring my husband, if he has a preference and personal choice where he does not have a preference.

I see that proverb as admonishing me to value the things God values rather than the things the world values. Our world is so focused on youth and external beauty. We are physically in this world and in this culture, but our hearts should not be in this world and culture. I also feel challenged by that proverb to grow in wisdom so that as I age, and my external beauty alters, I am beautified by the Godly qualities within.

CappuccinoLife said...

I think gray hair is lovely and a sign of age and hopefully wisdom gained through the years.

I won't color my hair. I know my dh would never approve and would quote that very verse. :) (and for the same reasons I don't use makeup or nail polish or things like that) And I don't really fear gray hairs, though I still have a long way to go before I get them, if I've got my dad's genes. :p

Christina said...

1. I guess it depends on other things too. I have seen some beautiful women with gray hair. I have also seen some women who looked like they did not take very good care of themselves.

2. I have had gray hairs since college. I now have a considerable "crop" as you call it! (I'm turning 35 next month)

3 & 4. I started highlighting my hair about 6 years ago. I love the look and so does my husband, but it costs so much. I would only go 2x per year. Recently, as my husband and I were discussing finances I realized the stress that he was under right now. I felt convicted that spending so much money on fru-fru things was not being a helpmate to my husband. So I bought a glaze for inbetween colorings (much less money) to tone down the gray for now. I'm not sure what I'll do next. Wait and see what God directs through my husband. I do struggle with how I look. I mostly want to look kept up and not slovenly. (Does that make sense?) I have to really question myself and ask God to convict me about my priorities in this area. It is easy for me to become vain.

5. I think ALL scripture needs to be taken seriously. This is someting to think about. What an interesting discussion! Thanks.

Angie said...

1. Usually, if I notice at all, I usually think it is striking.
2. I do have some white hair creeping in under the dark brown. It is in streaks.
3. I do not use color because, well, basically I am too lazy to keep it up and I can think of a hundred other ways to spend the money.
4. I guess I just answered that. By the way, I do not have a problem with other people coloring their hair.
5. I think this proverb is a more about respect for older people who have lived a life following God's ways. Proverbs 3:2 says that keeping God's commands "will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity". It always comes down to the heart , doesn't it? But just in case, bring on the gray! Smile.
I really like your blog. Wish I had had half as much wisdom at your age. My teenage girls enjoyed your comments about the lack of clothing at the mall. It provided a great conversation about modesty. (Again) Thanks. Hee Hee.

Patricia said...

When I see a gray haired woman, I think she is very brave and proud to be who she is!
I colored and highlighted my hair for many years, just for fun! My husband never wanted me to use unnatural products in my hair. Two years ago this June, I stopped coloring my hair. The roots rarely showed, as my hair has come in white/light, and I had colored my hair champagne blonde for years.
I get MANY compliments on my hair color. I am 54, and now, I am growing my hair longer so I can put it up in "old-fashioned" attractive styles.
When I read the scriptures about gray hair, I feel proud that I am in that category:)

dcrmom said...

Interesting thoughts. I'm not opposed to coloring one's gray. I have quite a few. I colored them last spring, but when the color wore off, I never did it again.

The Proverbs verse is an interesting one. I think it speaks more in a poetic sense than it intends to state requirements. However, it's a point to ponder. Why are we coloring our gray? Is it b/c we buy into our culture's worship of youth? Or is it just because we feel more attractive without it?

Good food for thought.

Anonymous said...

Great discussion!

1) When I see gray hair on someone else, it's a passing thought. I don't think too much about it. (Unless it is my own...see the following questions.)

2) I am 36 years old and have had a LOT of gray (white) hair since around the time I turned 30. I have dark hair so it is very noticeable.

3 & 4) I used to color my hair but since it grows quickly, I would end up having roots within a few weeks. It was a never ending cycle! I have not colored my hair for three years now. Part of why I don't is because over-the-counter haircolor doesn't last for me. I also do not want to spend a lot of money for a professional color. (I am a SAHM and am making quite a few "sacrifices" to be one. Spending a lot of money on beauty products...including makeup... and beauty services is not how our money is best spent.)

5) I love this proverb and had never thought of it applying to me. (only those who have grown old) Maybe I should think about this verse when I am brushing my hair everyday and thinking, "I have too much gray!"

Steph VG said...

I'm late, I'm late - but I just found your blog today (03/25/07) and wanted to add my 2 cents.

1) When I see grey or white hair, I usually think one of two things. On an older woman, I think, "Wow, she must know a lot!" On a younger woman, I think, "Wow, she's been through it! She must know a lot!" I realize that doesn't always play out, but I think it anyway.

2) I do have a few, but they're still underneath and not really visible.

3) I decided a while ago not to pull them out or color.

4) Aging is something we all go through, and my hair will naturally age along with the rest of me. I don't want to pay for the constant upkeep. AND, I remember my grandmother coloring her hair some awful unnatural shade because of my GRANDFATHER'S vanity. I just don't want to go there.

5) Yes and no. Yes in Bible-believing, -preaching, -obeying churches. No in the world. Many people live unrighteously and go grey or white. But in a good church, it's an almost sure sign that someone is worth listening to, being taught by, following for an example.