My father never really went grey but he died young so I have no idea what he would have looked like as an old man. My mother started to go grey in her 30's and began adjusting the color of her hair soon after that. She streaked her hair - large sections of hair that are dyed/bleached a different color. And she frosted her hair. More involved than streaking, this involved a plastic bag with holes in it placed over your head. Then strands of hair were drawn through the holes with a crochet hook. Most of your hair is protected by the plastic cap but the hair sticking through could be colored/bleached. The plastic bag is then removed after the hair is processed. All of these color adjustments require a number of stinky chemicals and all the color faded or grew out. None the less, vanity required something other than simply going grey.
I learned many wonderful things from my mother but one of the really stupid things I learned from her was that going grey was a really bad thing. I also started to go grey in my 30's and not wanting to look "OLD" I started adjusting the color of my hair too. It was called highlighting by then and was basically frosting but with more finesse. No plastic cap just hundreds of small aluminum foil pieces wrapped around the sections of hair to be colored/bleached. It started slowly with just a bit of highlights - just adding a kiss of the sun - but grew larger and longer as the amount of grey in my hair grew. Finally my hairdresser announced that highlighting wasn't going to do the job anymore and I just needed to start coloring/dyeing all my hair. I vividly remember the conversation but have no idea when it happened or how old I was at the time.
Old ladies shouldn't have dark hair. It's my rule, just like old ladies shouldn't have long hair unless they keep it pulled up. I think it's based in truth though because your skin color changes through time. I always wanted to go back to the medium brown hair I had as a young woman and my hairdresser kept making me blond. I was never blond a day in my life until it started coming out of a bottle but I finally realized how silly I would look trying to go back to that lovely brown.
A couple of years ago I got tired of coloring my hair. By that time I had met quite a few women of my age who didn't color their hair and who looked fabulous in grey hair. My friend Patsy Engelhard who owns Knit 1 Oxford in Oxford, MS is in that category. How would I know what I would look like without the color on my hair if I didn't stop using it? So I informed my long time hairdresser that the color would stop and we would see what my hair looked like when the remnants of the color had grown out. I could have accelerated the process by simply shaving my head but that wasn't a look I wanted.
It took just over a year for all the blond to get cut off my head. I kept meaning to take some pictures of me as I let my hair go back to it's natural color but I never managed it. The transition wasn't particularly pretty but I couldn't be more pleased with the grey hair.
I've changed my Facebook picture to the grey me above. I wish I still looked like the youngster I remember being 40 years ago but since that isn't an option, I'm pleased with the me that is now.