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“I Went Gray in My Teens”: 3 Madison Reed Employees' Approach to Premature Grays

by July 17, 2019

I Went Gray in My Teens

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Whether it’s genetic (likely), stress-related (probably not), or just something you wake up one day to discover in the mirror, gray hair can happen sooner rather than later. We asked three of our team members what it was like to start going gray before their friends, their approach to gray coverage, and whether they’d rock silver hair in the future…

“Plucking my grays was a mistake”

Lindsay, Director of Product Strategy & Merchandising

woman who colors hair to cover grays

I’ve always been a beauty junkie, so it’s no surprise I started playing around with hair color and highlights at a young age. I just gravitated to whichever colors and styles were trendy—hello, the Jennifer Aniston “Friends” look. Anyway, because of my penchant for coloring my hair so often, I was almost 25 before I realized I was getting gray hairs all along my temples and at my hairline close to my ears. I remember pulling my hair back into a ponytail and seeing the silver strands jump out at me in the bathroom mirror. My immediate response was to start plucking—totally ignoring what I thought was just an old wives’ tale. But for me at least, it turned out to be true, and the more I plucked, the more grays seemed to grow in. After that, I wised up and started coloring my hair.

Every 8-10 weeks, I get my roots and temples covered, and I’ll add a few balayage highlights for summer. Despite going gray relatively early, I still don’t have a ton of grays, so it’s a fairly low-maintenance routine. But I like how my hair looks when it’s freshly colored—when my hair looks good, I feel good. My final word on the subject—color your gray streaks or don’t color them, but put down the tweezers.

“My father went gray at 32, so I knew what was coming”

Krista, Model Program Coordinator & Lead Colorist

woman with premature gray hair

Right before I turned 30, I started noticing a few gray hairs along my center part. I had already been highlighting my hair, so my solution was to get brighter highlights more frequently. The highlights did a decent job of covering up my grays for a little while, but as I started seeing more and more outgrowth, I knew it was time to take some root coverage action as well. But it honestly didn’t come as a surprise to me that I started going gray so much earlier than most of my friends. My father went completely gray at 32, so I always knew it was only a matter of time!

My hair color routine now is permanent color on my roots and highlights on my mid-lengths and ends. Personally, I find that the lighter I go with my hair color, the easier time I have blending it in with my wisdom stripe...which is great news, since I love being a blonde. I keep my roots just slightly darker than my highlighted ends—right now, I’m using Radiant Cream Color in Siena Brown to cover my grays. This gives my dark blonde highlights some extra depth and dimension. Eventually I want to start leaving some gray in, but I don’t feel ready yet. Right now, I have to color my roots every three weeks just to keep up—luckily, I work in the right industry.

“I found my first gray hair in my teens”

Nichole, Senior Inventory Manager

Woman with gray hair as a teenager

I think the first time I found a gray hair, I was a teenager. It was such a novelty at the time—a single strand of gray! I just plucked it out and that was that. But within a few years, if I had repeated that procedure, I would have been staring at a much larger pile. The responses from others usually followed a pattern, and a rude one at that. People would notice I was going gray, remark that I was awfully young for it, then follow up with some advice about how I should reduce the stress in my life. But I didn’t feel more stressed, and I didn’t like the constant feedback that there was something wrong with going gray so early. At the same time, no one else in my family had any gray hair at all, so it was a little perplexing to say the least.

I was afraid I would be completely gray by the time I was 30, but that didn’t happen. By my late twenties I started coloring my hair regularly, and now it’s just part of my routine. Doing it at home is easier than I thought it would be. Someday, I’ll embrace a full head of silver hair...but I think I’m going to give it a few years.

Did you start finding gray hairs earlier than you expected to, or going gray before your friends? We’d love to hear your take in the comments.

Be sure to read our in-depth article on What Causes Gray Hair.