In 1950 only 7% of American women artificially colored their hair while today Clairol estimates that at least 65% of women in America dye.
She correctly (I think) identifies two motives: to be more attractive and to retain credibility at work. On the former I don't think it's so much that one wants to positively attract, it's that one doesn't want to be seen as too awful and horrible. Isn't that sad?
It also seems very sad to me that grey hair in a woman is seen as diminishing her credibility - I personally know I am much more effective and wily than I was twenty years ago and my employer gets a better return for what I'm paid, but most men and women find their employment prospects shrinking as they grow older. For women the pressures to stay looking young are stronger, but I do know men agonise about thinning hair, even if being grey isn't quite as 'bad'.
For the ladies
My hair is grey and I don't dye it
My hair would be grey except I dye it
My hair isn't grey, but when it is I'll leave it grey
My hair isn't grey but when it is I'll dye it
For the men
Grey hair - don't dye it
Grey hair - dye it
When my hair is grey I'll leave it grey
When my hair is grey I'll dye it
I've set this so results can be seen by all, I hope that's OK.
Just so I am not being all negative Pandagon links to this article about greying from a woman who conducted a surprising experiment.
My experiments produced stunningly counterintuitive results. In one, I posted my profile and picture on Match.com, putatively looking for dates in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles -- first with my hair photo-shopped back to the brown color I had once dyed it, and then, months later, with my current gray hair. To my surprise, three times as many men expressed interest in going out with me with my hair gray than they had with my dyed hair. Good Morning America's producers, somewhat incredulous of my results, replicated the stunt in advance of my appearance on the program, with a sixty-one-year-old widow from Florida, and had exactly the same results. Needless to say, the finding that men seem actually to prefer a woman with gray hair (among many other surprising findings in my book) generated a tremendous amount of media interest.
I was very surprised by this result, and its replication. This is obviously in relation to an older women, dating older men.