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100+ Fascinating Gray Hair Statistics and Survey Results

Inside: Gray hair statistics and survey results

As a gray hair blogger, I immerse myself in silver hair facts and statistics every day.  

But one thing that struck me recently was how few research studies actually answer the questions that women are asking.  

In order to get those answers, I created a comprehensive gray hair survey, distributed it far and wide, and received over 1150 responses from women all over the world.  

So, if you’re interested in learning more about gray hair, you’ve come to the right place!

Part 1 of this article shares the results of my survey, and part 2 shares a few other interesting gray hair statistics from various research studies done over the years.

Please note that this article may contain affiliate links.  You can read my full disclosure at the bottom of the page.

2022 Katie Goes Platinum Gray Hair Survey Results

Please note: I’ve summarized many of the results of my survey in charts and graphs.  

If you are a blogger or reporter and include some of my findings in your article, please feel free to use any of the charts and graphs from this post.  

My only request is that you link back to this blog post somewhere in your article.


Everything you want to know about how actual women who’ve gone gray feel about their gray hair is in this article. But it is a LONG read (over 5,000 words)!

If it’s more convenient, you can purchase the PDF file for only $5. This way, you can print it out or read it on your device without any distracting ads or videos. It would also be a great way to support the blog – thank you!

Age and Gray Hair

pinterest pin about gray hair stats

One of the reasons so many women feel pressured to dye their hair is because we live in a youth-centered society that equates gray hair with old age.

But part of the reason we associate gray hair with old age is that the vast majority of women dye their hair starting at a fairly young age (Source).  

Until recently, we rarely saw women in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and even their 50s walking around in public with naturally gray hair.  

At What Age Do Women Start Greying? 

So, how old ARE most women when they find those first white hairs? Let’s look at the survey results:

chart about what age women first find gray hair

It appears that the majority of respondents found their first gray hair in their 20s and 30s:

  • 22.7% – 21-25 years old
  • 18.6% – 16-20 years old
  • 18% – 26-30 years old
  • 10.9% – 31-35 years old
  • 10% – 36-40 years old

A few found their first grays in early childhood:

  • 0.17% – 1-5 years old
  • 0.7% – 6-10 years old
  • 5.26% – 11-15 years old

And only a small percentage found their first grays over age 40:

  • 5.87% – 41-45 years old
  • 2.85% – 51-55 years old
  • 0.95% – 56 – 65 years old
  • 0.007% – over age 66

At What Age Do Women Start Dyeing Their Hair (for Fun)?

Even as a gray hair advocate, I’m one of the first to admit that experimenting with different hair colors is a super fun thing to do when you’re young and feel like experimenting with different looks to suit your personality.

It appears that many of my readers felt the same, as 75.3% of my respondents had dyed their hair for fun, with the vast majority doing so before the age of 35 (70%) :

Chart about what age women start dyeing hair for fun

After age 35, the number of women who started dyeing their hair for fun (as opposed to dyeing for gray coverage) went way down:

  • 2.9% – 36-40 years old
  • 1.6% – 41-45 years old
  • 0.002% – 51-60 years old

And 24.7% of my respondents never dyed their hair just for fun (as opposed to dyeing to cover the grays).

At What Age Do Women Start Dyeing Their Hair Primarily for Gray Coverage?

The majority of women in my study (23.2%) started dyeing their hair for gray coverage between the ages of 31-35 years old:

Chart about what age women start dyeing hair for gray coverage

While others started dyeing for gray coverage in their 20s, late 30s, and 40s:

  • 18.2% – 36-40 years old
  • 18.1% – 26-30 years old
  • 13% – 41-45 years old
  • 9.1% – 21-25 years old
  • 7.1% – 46-50 years old

Only 3% of women in this study NEVER dyed their hair (whether for fun or for gray coverage).

At What Age Do Some Women Stop Dyeing their Hair and Let the Grays Grow In?

I think most of us can agree that dyeing your hair just to change up your look IS fun.  Dyeing your hair for gray coverage? Not so much.

Not only is it expensive and time-consuming, but silver roots are so obvious against dyed hair that you end up in a never-ending cycle of chasing your roots. 

So I asked my readers how old they were when they decided they’d had ENOUGH.

The majority of respondents (39.3%) stopped dyeing their hair in their 50s:

Chart about what age women choose to stop dyeing and go gray
  • 39.3% – between the ages of 51-60
  • 20.4% – between the ages of 61-70
  • 8% – under age 40
  • 2.3% – over age 70

Hair Dye Statistics

Since the majority of my survey respondents had dyed their hair, I thought it would be interesting to ask them about their hair dye experiences:

Where Do Women Prefer to Dye Their Hair? 

When I used to dye my hair, I frequently alternated between doing so at home (using a box dye) or going to the salon, and it appears that most of my respondents did the same:

Chart about where and how people dye their hair

A whopping 47.4% of respondents used a combination of at-home hair color and salon dyes to achieve their desired results.  

Considering the cost of dyeing in a salon, I don’t think this will come as much of a surprise to anyone.  

Also, considering that many of us with gray hair had to dye our roots every 2-3 weeks, dyeing at home made the most economic sense due to the sheer frequency.

Why Do Some Women Choose to Never Dye Their Hair?

I received 33 responses to this question but had to disallow 13 of them as they were from people who HAD dyed or highlighted their hair at least one time.

So, that leaves 20 people out of 1159 who answered that they had NEVER dyed their hair.

It totally makes sense to me that 17% answered this way since it has been estimated that approximately 70-75% of the population have dyed their hair at least once (Source1, Source2).

People who answered this question were asked to write a short paragraph explaining why they chose to never dye.  

These are their responses, in a nutshell:

Chart about what why some women choose to never dye

The number one reason women chose not to dye their hair was because they were happy with their hair color, even after the grays started appearing.

The 2nd most popular reason to never dye was that dyeing was too much work.  

That’s definitely understandable as one of the most liberating aspects of embracing one’s gray hair is to be done with the constant cycle of dyeing and root touch-ups!

Going Gray from Dyed Hair Statistics

Why do some women choose to stop dyeing their hair and let the grays grow in? 

There are a multitude of reasons, of course – so in this next section, we’ll examine the reasons why women stop dyeing, and how they feel about the process of going gray.

Why Do Women Stop Dyeing and Go Gray? 

Considering the social pressure to dye gray hair, it takes most women a while to finally decide that they’re ready to ditch the dye altogether.  It usually happens when the cons of dyeing start to outweigh the pros.

So I gave my survey respondents the opportunity to click on multiple reasons for finally deciding to go gray.  

Most of the respondents chose more than 5 reasons for going gray.

The number one reason women stopped dyeing their hair and went gray was that they were tired of the constant upkeep (74.8%).  

The second most popular reason was that they were tired of wasting time (40.8%).

Chart about what the main reasons women ditch the dye

And here’s an itemized list of some of the other reasons women chose to go gray from dyed hair:

  • Embracing an All-Natural Lifestyle (34.7%)
  • Ready to Embrace their Age (25.6%)
  • Wanted to Feel Authentically “Me” (25.4%)
  • Worried About Long-Term Health Effects (24.2%)
  • Financial/Tired of the Expense (20.5%)
  • Covid Pandemic/Salon Shutdown (20%) 
  • Curiosity (20%)
  • Afraid of Toxic Chemicals in Dye (14%)
  • Damaged Hair (13%)
  • Someone I Know Went Gray (12.9%)
  • Hair Loss (7.6%)
  • Allergies (5.7%)
  • Bad Reaction to Hair Dye (4.7%)
  • Cancer/Chemo (1.3%)
  • Pregnancy (0.5%)

After respondents clicked off on all the reasons they went gray, I gave them the opportunity to let me know what other reasons they might have had for going gray.

One of the most popular reasons was that their grays had become resistant to the dye. Others didn’t like the look of artificial hair dye.

A number of women said that their husband/partner or hairdresser encouraged them to stop dyeing, and many others stated that they had been inspired by seeing other women (online or in “real life”) with beautiful silver hair.

Other respondents wanted to set a good example for their children by showing them that it was OK to go gray.

My favorite response, hands-down, was the woman who replied she “…was ready to be a wild, white-haired savage woman.” 

I love it!

Which Method of Going Gray Do Women Prefer?

There are many different ways to go gray – it really depends on your temperament and how much time and/or money you want to invest to get there.

Based on the survey results, the cold turkey method turns out to be the number one way women chose to go gray from dyed hair (63.8%).  

The second most popular method was the salon transition (25.5%):

Chart about what the most popular ways to go gray

Not surprisingly, many of the women who chose to go gray cold turkey also cut their hair into a pixie cut (10.7%) or buzzed all their hair off (1.4%).  

Other respondents left their hair medium-length or long and just trimmed their hair as needed (55%).

A number of respondents (0.07%) used a mix of techniques to go gray – for example, getting a salon transition at the start of their transition and then letting their silvers grow out cold turkey from there.  

Other respondents got low lights throughout the transition, while others grew out their gray hair cold turkey but used fun colors (like Overtone) to cover their fading ends.

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How Many Attempts To Go Gray Does It Take?

Going gray from dyed hair is not easy for many people, so they find that they have to try it multiple times until it finally “sticks.”

However, 73.4% of my respondents went gray on the 1st try:

Chart about how many attempts it takes to go gray from dyed hair

For others, it took a few tries:

  • 20.2% – 2 times
  • 4.3% –  3 times
  • 0.4% –  4 times
  • 1.7% –  5 times

Here are a few of the reasons it took some women more than 1 attempt to go gray:

I had my 30-year reunion coming up and I dyed it for that. Huge mistake. I tried stripping it out and my hair broke off. Instant, unwanted pixie cut.”

“I had a hair dye accident with a product I thought was a toner, but it was a color add-in and it turned my hair deep purple. Also, I was getting some criticism that I wasn’t ready for.  As soon as I was ready though, criticism stopped. It was as if those people understood that they had no power over me anymore.”

“In the grocery with my 4-year-old, & someone asked if she was “having fun with Grandma.” I was NOT ready for that, so I tried again in a couple of years, getting a short cut & going cold turkey. That time I was ready.”

The global pandemic (and accompanying salon shutdowns) definitely made the transition period easier for many women:

“I would always get to about 2-3 inches of gray and then give up and dye it again. I just wasn’t ready to push through that stage. I also didn’t have a salon involved in going gray because of the pressure to dye it. In the end, it was the pandemic that finally worked for me. I was barely leaving the house, so I figured it was a good time!”

“I’m a hairstylist and get bored, so I had mostly grown it out (with a few blonde bits in front) – that was about 5 years ago. Fast forward to 2020, salons closing and I decided to not colour because my clients couldn’t come see me, and have carried on. Now fully natural, I like the idea about being part of changing the narrative and stigma that grey hair is old.” 

Are Women Happy With the Way They Went Gray?

If you want to have a successful transition to gray hair, it helps to pick a method that suits your personality, temperament, and pocketbook.

But not everybody figures that out beforehand, so I was curious if other women were satisfied with the method they chose to go gray.  

And, apparently, they were! 

77.4% said they would use the same method to go gray again if they had to start over:

Chart about if women wished they used a different method to go gray

The small percentage of women who said “Yes” to using a different method if they had to it over again (7.9%) chose the cold turkey method as their 1st choice, and the salon transition as their 2nd choice

Chart about what method women would use to go gray if they had to do it again

Some of the survey participants who went gray via a salon transition regretted it due to the damage done to their hair:

“At first I thought I could cheat and go gray in a day and spent $600 and 8 hours in the salon. It was a disaster and turned yellow/green. I dyed it brown again and started over. My hair was severely damaged.”

“I would not strip and then put toner in my hair. It fried it. I would have found someone better and paid a lot more, or simply do some blending a couple of times with low and highlights as it grew out, then left it alone.”

But some of the women who did the cold turkey grow-out felt like they’d consider a salon transition or a shorter haircut if they had to do it all again because they had a lot of trouble dealing with the “skunk stripe”.  

Others felt that they just weren’t mentally/emotionally ready to transition to gray hair the first time. 

When they did it again, years later, they were in a better frame of mind and could enjoy the transition.

What Are the Biggest Challenges in Going Gray?

According to the survey results, 25.5% had no challenges going gray and found the transition quite easy.

But 35% of respondents felt that their biggest challenge in going gray was the fear of looking older:

graph about the top 5 challenges in going gray

And here are the other challenges, itemized:

  • 16.6% worried that they wouldn’t like their shade of gray
  • 7.4% found social pressure difficult
  • 2.9% feared being different
  • 2.6% worried that going gray would hurt their career
  • 2.6% found it difficult to deal with unsupportive friends /coworkers
  • 2.2% worried that their hair texture would change
  • 2% had to deal with an unsupportive spouse
  • 1.6% had to deal with an unsupportive hairstylist
  • 1.1% worried about dating while going gray
  • 0.54% had to deal with unsupportive children

Survey respondents were asked to elaborate a bit about the challenges they faced:

“Working in Asia and being part Asian, going gray at 52 is not a concept grasped or embraced. I am constantly told/asked to dye my hair. “

“The skunk line was a daily challenge! Nearly caved many times in the first 6 months.”

“The first 6 months were the hardest when it was not clear that this was intentional. I worried people would assume I was too lazy or broke to color my roots. Other than that the process was quite liberating.”

“Not looking and feeling my best as my natural color grows in. I have 3 shades of color and I’ve been told I look like my tri-color spaniel! LOL”

“I hated the demarcation line – I was worried it would look stupid and as if I had just given up on my grooming and upkeep. It took at least 18 months for me to get over that feeling.”

After Women Go Gray, Do They Find that Their Worries Were Unfounded?

Happily, 43.6% of the respondents found that the fears they had about going gray were unfounded, while 23% said they didn’t have any worries/fears about going gray.

chart about whether gray hair worries were founded or unfounded

Survey respondents were asked to elaborate on which fears were founded or unfounded:

“I got asked to play a grandmother in a video (non-speaking role) because of my gray hair. When I showed up to the video shoot, they said I would now be the aunt. I guess my gray hair didn’t make me look old enough to play a grandmother, although I am a grandmother.”

“The colour wasn’t terrible with my skin tone after all, it was adjusting to the extreme colour difference and feeling like myself still – it just took time to adjust.”

“Once I fully transitioned I found that I did not look older but instead looked more vibrant and natural.  My color also made my green eyes pop!  I was able to change my wardrobe and makeup to colors that never looked right on me before.  I am only 41 and I get so many compliments everywhere I go from men and women on my hair colour now.”

“My fears were unfounded because in my journey there became an acceptance of who I am. I really did gift myself authenticity, a freedom to be me…along with the freedom of time not sitting for hours every month and the freedom to save money (although I am a skin and hair product junkie).”

“Looking older is founded. Sometimes I love my hair and other times I still think I look older than I am. It’s still a challenge, but I’m not going back to coloring.”

How Do Women Feel While They Are Transitioning to Gray Hair?

Going gray from colored hair can be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster – some days, it feels like you’ve made the absolute BEST decision; on other days, it feels like you’ve made a terrible mistake.

The good news is that the two most common emotions during the gray hair transition among my survey respondents were “liberated/free” (48.4%) and “excited” (20.6%):

chart about gray hair transition emotions

Here’s a sampling of comments regarding the emotional side of going gray:

“An unexpected result of going gray was a deeper acceptance and appreciation for myself.  The beliefs about aging were deeply embedded in my thought process, and it was nice to challenge and defeat those old beliefs.”

“Although I’d tried many times to go natural, I’d always play around with color. It was an emotional reaction to changes in my life that I felt completely helpless to control. Coloring or changing styles was a way of responding to & regaining some control. It wasn’t until I was ready to embrace who I was that I dropped the [hair] mask and found me.”

“Before I transitioned, when I would see other women growing out their hair I got excited and longed to have that confidence or bravery or freedom from considering other people’s opinions. I tended to gush about how much I loved their hair. In my small town, I know a lot of women my age and older who have also grown out their gray during the lockdown and when we see each other at a work event we just gush and celebrate each other. It’s such a change from years ago when women around my age were encouraging me to color. It’s celebrating vs. silencing. I love my color now.”

“Different days brought different emotions.”

“Everyone was so supportive. I’d have people stop me in the street (still do) and tell me how beautiful my hair is.  Even young women! However, I did have one friend say she liked it better before.  I told her I didn’t need her opinion.“

“Facing the reality of the stage I’m at in life was a bit sobering.”

“For a little while, I did feel a sense of loss. Going silver for me marked the end of my youth and the beginning of the second half of my life.”

“Going gray also triggered me to make a lot of personal changes in my life regarding my physical health and mental health. Processed a lot of past trauma, rebuilt my marriage, rebuilt my body with weight training and physical fitness. I feel like I’m in one of the best places of my life despite the challenging 2 years with Covid and my husband’s major medical issues.”

“Going silver is about more than hair. It became a journey of self-acceptance and self-love. I’m more concerned about being free of others’ expectations and biases. I‚’m living exactly as I like, whether it be wearing makeup or not, dressing up or not or being age appropriate (whatever that is.) Going silver just lit something else up in me.”

“Going gray immediately forced a change in my wardrobe and makeup-wearing habits. It’s been exactly 1 year since I went gray, and I’m still struggling with the wardrobe and makeup. Some days I feel like I look really old.”

“I am comfortable with my choice but sad as it was a part of getting older/time passing.”

“I feel like a badass.”

“I feel like I’ve taken control of my identity, my appearance. I’m taking a stand against a society that has always judged women harshly over their appearance.”

“I love the colors of my grey. I really don’t care what others think. It’s how I am feeling about myself that’s important. I am becoming stronger.”

“It changed based on daily stresses and challenges, various disappointments and setbacks, and still seeing myself in dreams and in my mind’s eye with dark hair. Excitement seeing how beautiful the silver was.”

“It changed how I see myself. My self-confidence improved and, like throwing a pebble in a pond, rippled through all aspects of my life. I feel like it helped me become more authentic.”

“It is a bit of a shock to see this gray when I do not feel my actual age.”

“It’s harder than I thought. I thought it was just about my choice but other people feel like they have to comment if they don’t like it. There is a lot of societal pressure to look younger and embracing the grey seems to be almost a form of rebellion.”

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Do Gray-Haired Women Regret Dyeing in the First Place?

As mentioned earlier, dyeing your hair can be super fun and exhilarating, so it’s not a surprise to find that 38.1% of my respondents said they WOULD still have dyed their hair in the first place.

chart about whether women regret using dye

However, I also asked them: 

Do Fully Gray-Haired Women Plan to Return to Dyeing?

The response was a resounding NO, with 95.5% of respondents saying they would never go back to dyeing their hair. Only 2.3% said they would consider dyeing again.

chart about whether women with gray hair will go back to dyeing

Does Hair Texture Change When It Goes Gray?

We’ve been told (for decades!) that gray hair will always be coarser than dyed hair.  

But that hasn’t been my experience, and neither has it been the case for most of the women who took my survey:  Only 14.9% of respondents felt that their gray hair was coarser, while 21.7% found their gray hair to be smoother than it had been before.

A whopping 40.8% said their gray hair was shinier and 24.9% found it to be thicker.

statistics on how hair texture changes when you go gray

Not all was rosy, however:

  • 23.3% – frizzier
  • 10.3% – thinner
  • 5.9% – less curly
  • 3.3% – less wavy

One piece of advice – if you want to predict what your gray hair texture will be like, think back to how your hair was before you hit puberty and before you ever dyed your hair.  Your gray hair should be similar to that texture.  

However, hormones can change your hair texture, too – so if you are pregnant or going through menopause while transitioning to gray, you may experience a double-whammy of texture changes.

Are Women Who’ve Gone Fully Gray Happy With Their Decision?

It’s impossible to predict what your gray hair will look like until ALL the colored bits are cut off, so it’s understandable that there’s a lot of trepidation during the transition period about HOW exactly your hair will look.  

What if you hate it?

This should put your mind at ease: 69.5% of respondents who have fully transitioned stated they are happy with how their gray hair looks once they’ve fully transitioned:

chart about whether women are happy they went gray

What Do Women Love About Their Gray Hair?

The number one thing that women love about their gray hair is the freedom (36.9%). After that, they love the color (21.7%), and how it suits their complexion better (16.5%).

chart about what women love about their gray hair

Freedom (judging by the long-form answers) is pretty simple to understand: once you are done trying to cover your gray hair, you are free from the never-ending cycle of “chasing your roots”, and therefore liberated from the time and money commitments of dyeing your hair. 

Survey respondents who loved their hair color not only commented about how beautiful their color was (the sparkliness of the silver, the snowy-whiteness of white hair, and the gorgeous contrasts of salt & pepper hair) but the uniqueness of gray shades and patterns really stood out as something they loved about their hair:

“When the light catches it, it literally lights up the room. It can make a real statement.”

“There are so many colours in my hair now, before it was dull and flat, all one colour. It literally sparkles in the sun!”

“My hair color is such a beautiful mixture of lowlights and highlights.  It is so unique.”

“It’s white (I REALLY love the white streak that I have) in the front, and salt & pepper on the rest of my head, with some areas in the back that are gray-free. The non-gray is really dark, & I had forgotten how much I love my natural dark color!!”

What Don’t Some Women Like About Their Gray Hair?

While most people were happy with their gray hair, 0.12% of respondents were not happy with their gray hair

chart about what women hate about their gray hair

Here are some of the responses:

“I wish it was more striking.  It turns out I don’t have as much gray as I thought.  But going back to dyeing feels troublesome.“

“It makes me look old, to myself and to my spouse.”

“It’s not that I don’t like my gray hair but there are days when I do feel frumpy. I feel that I might look older than what I actually am.”

“The fact that parts aren’t as curly really bums me out. My dad lost all his curl and my mom lost most, so I imagine the more the silver comes in, the more I’ll have to deal with learning how to style a completely different head of hair. I identified strongly as a curly brunette, and I’m not thrilled about losing the “curly” part. I’ve never liked my hair straight.”

“Sometimes when I see old pictures, video of my blonde hair, it looks more vibrant and youthful. It doesn’t exactly make me want to go back to dyeing, because I want to live with natural hair now, but there’s a little pang when I see it.”

“I don’t like having to be on the lookout for yellowing.  I have to wear hats and be careful about shampoos.”

Is Dating While Gray Difficult?

Dating while gray is a popular conversation topic in gray hair Facebook groups, but it turns out only a small percentage of my respondents are dating while gray, so the answers to this question were mixed.

Many people felt I should have made this a more general question about relationships (whether married/partnered/dating).  Next time!

chart about what dating while gray

Of those who ARE in the dating pool, 15.9% didn’t think gray hair was a liability while dating, while 10.7% were unsure.

Here are some of the comments I received from those who are dating while gray:

  • People seem really into it, and it’s a good filter for people who don’t share my values.”
  • “Men are still interested. Period. I don’t think it’s as big a deal to most men as most women fear.”
  • “I always get compliments on it from men. Never had any man say they don’t like it. They say it’s a plus and a really cool style. And it’s a good conversation point.”
  • “The (far too) young men have not been put off. Some men seem to be very attracted to my hair/ I feel invisible to others, but that might not be hair related.”

The respondents who were NOT in the dating pool (i.e., married or in a relationship) wrote long-form answers to me as well, and it appears that the vast majority of them had support from their significant other, and many of them said that they also get hit on or complimented by other men:

  • “Not dating but my old man absolutely supports me 100 percent in my decision and still thinks I’m sexy and beautiful.”
  • “My partner is 4 years younger than me and has around the same amount of grey as me – he absolutely loves his greys! This really made me want to embrace mine. Why should he get to love his but I need to be ashamed of mine?”
  • “My husband has grey hair too and looks lovely. He’s really impressed with my new hair colour and feels we match each other. He’s very supportive of my choice and how it presents a positive model for our daughter to embrace how she looks.”
  • “I’m married so not dating but recently had someone form an attraction to me- thinking I was 15 years younger than I am.  Gray hair was not an issue for him.”

Other Interesting Gray Hair Facts and Statistics 

I was surprised to find that there weren’t as many verified/legitimate studies on gray hair as I expected when I began researching this part of my article.

I don’t feel comfortable citing studies that have since been debunked, or articles that didn’t have sources, so I’m just sharing a few of the legitimate statistics (plus some fun facts) that I’ve found here because I think they’re interesting:

Caucasians tend to gray earlier than people of African or Asian descent. (Source)

The average age for going gray is broken down by race as follows:  

  • Whites: mid-30s
  • Asians: late-30s
  • African-Americans: mid-40s  (Source)

A 2018 study by the Journal of Trichology found that white people are considered prematurely gray if they gray before age 20, while black people are considered prematurely gray if they gray before age 30.  Not enough studies have been done among the Asian population to define premature gray in that group.  (Source)

There’s a popular rule of thumb that says 50% of the population will be gray by age 50, but according to recent studies, the prevalence of gray hair by age 50 is pretty dependent upon race, gender, and ethnicity, so only 6%–23% of people globally have 50% gray hair by 50 years of age. (Source)

Men tend to have a larger volume of gray hair between the ages of 45-65 than women. (Source)

Prematurely graying doesn’t correlate to rapid gray growth. However, after age 50, grayness increases sharply for most people, regardless of how young they were when they first went gray.  (Source)

Smokers tend to go gray at a younger age than nonsmokers, regardless of race or gender. (Source)

1 in 3 women dyed their hair at home for the first time during the pandemic quarantine.  (Source)

72% of women find a man with gray hair attractive, according to a poll by Match.com (Source)

A 2018 study of 18-20-year-olds found that their study subjects who had premature graying of hair had much higher rates of vegetarianism, a family history of PHG (premature hair graying), higher BMI, and higher rates of alcohol consumption. (Source)

Premature hair greying has been linked to certain autoimmune diseases such as alopecia areata, vitiligo, and pernicious anemia. Certain health problems and medical conditions (such as the aging disorder Werner’s Syndrome) can also result in the early onset of grey hair. (Source)

The old wives’ tale that plucking one gray hair will cause many more to grow in its place has been proven to be untrue, but avoid doing it anyway as it can damage your hair follicles in the long run. (Source)

Premature gray hair can be caused not only by environmental factors (such as smoking, UV light, and air pollution) but also by the lack of certain vitamins and minerals (mainly iron and copper deficiencies, but also deficiencies of vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, and vitamin D3). (Source, Source)  

A recent study (that used mice as subjects) finally provided proof of the long-suspected link between psychological stress and gray hair growth rates. (Source)

Can a person go gray overnight due to a sudden shock? It’s unlikely, despite what you’ve heard about Marie Antoinette, but scientists are still looking into it. (Source)

Hydrogen peroxide doesn’t just help women go blonde, it also helps them go gray! As we age, our hair cells increase the production of hydrogen peroxide in the hair shaft. This excess of hydrogen peroxide will eventually turn hair white. (Source)

Melanin affects your hair color: Gray hair has less melanin than darker hair, and white hair has no melanin. The amount of melanin deposited on your hair depends on genes and ethnic makeup. (Source)

The excessive use of certain hair products (such as hair dyes, many of which contain hydrogen peroxide) can decrease melanin production and result in gray hair, ironically enough. (Source)

In 2016, researchers at University College London were the first to identify a gene for grey hair, thereby proving that greying can be caused by genetics and not just caused by environmental factors. (Source)

In the past decade we’ve finally seen the negative perception of gray hair start to change. And for that, we can thank the young women who started the “granny hair” trend by dyeing their hair silver. (Source)

About the Katie Goes Platinum Gray Hair Survey

Every year, I send my newsletter subscribers a survey to find out how I can better serve them in the future.  

I also send them surveys on various topics throughout the year as research for upcoming blog posts, so my audience is used to taking surveys and I always get a pretty high response rate.

But this year I decided to cast my net a little wider.  I wrote a broader survey, with questions all about the gray hair journey from “soup to nuts” as they say.

And after I created the survey, I shared it in the following places:

Katie Goes Platinum Facebook Page
Katie Goes Platinum Instagram
Katie Goes Platinum Newsletter
Katie Goes Platinum YouTube Community
#DYEfree2BME Facebook Group
Grombre UK/EU Facebook Group
Silver Revolution Facebook Group
The Silver Circle Facebook Group (* This group is only visible to group members)

Responses poured in from around the globe (28 countries!), with the majority of the responses coming from these countries:

United States of America: 69%
United Kingdom: 12.7%
Canada: 6.1%
Australia: 4.5%
France: 1.2%

Thank you so much to all who participated!

I’m a blogger, not a research scientist or statistician so let me stress that this was an informal study conducted to the best of my abilities. And it was fun!


And that’s it for now! If I find more interesting (and verified!) statistics, I’ll add them to this post over time.

If you have any suggestions for future gray hair surveys that you’d like me to do, or if you want to share some fascinating statistics with me, please comment below!

And please remember to link back to this article if you use any of my charts or graphs in your own articles, blog posts, or social media postings. 

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  1. 63 … light hair…not gray.
    wondering when it might happen
    at this point would be a shock

  2. Toni Monteiro-Norton says:

    I’m 68 years old and have very little gray hair, maybe 1%. My mother died at 59 with about as much as me. My daughters are in their 40’s and just like me.

    My mother, lived in the era when I Love Lucy was a big hit on prime time. I always thought she must have been a big fan because she ALWAYS died her hair red. Lucy had her handsome Cuban, Ricky. My mom had her handsome Portuguese, Gil. She always told me she hated her natural color and called it mousy brown. Then her hair dresser talked her into trying other colors. I remember my dad hated the blonde.

    After my mom retired, in her 50s she stopped dying her hair. To her great surprise, she had no gray! She went back to her natural “mousy brown”. Turns out my great grandmother, her grandmother passed away at 98 with hardly any gray!

    I’ve tried to do research about this family trait and can’t find very much info. I was hoping you could help.

    1. It’s interesting, isn’t it? My family grays very early and tends to be fully gray in their 30s/40s. I’ve heard anecdotally that people of Irish descent (which my family is) tend to be more prone to gray hair, but other than that rumor, haven’t been able to track down much more on that subject. If I DO find anything, I’ll make sure to add it here.

      1. Kimberly Silvis says:

        I’m 51, have been growing out my grays, salt and pepper for 50 weeks now, such a struggle! I have long hair that was dyed and highlighted. I have gotten layers cut into it, to get rid of the highlights and still have probably another 3 inches of highlights to get rid of! I really like my natural dark hair with the white streaks, but it doesn’t blend well with the dyed color that’s left and on most days makes me feel frumpy. But, I will persevere! I’m of Irish descent also, my mom had very little gray, up to her death at age 81, and her mother was jet black until her death at 68. So, I honestly don’t think genetics plays too much into it. I’m hoping my second year is easier than the first 🤞. Also, my natural hair is super soft, although some of the grays are a bit wiry.

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