Hair Color: Gray the New Black

Blonde, brunette, redhead: More women are now adding gray to their hair color options.

In a world obsessed with youth, something strange is happening among trendsetters.

Flashes of silver can be seen streaking across the hair of the hip and glamorous more and more often.

While gray hair has long been considered distinguished on men, a different standard seems to be applied to women. Drug stores shelves are filled with products targeting women and designed to cover grey hair.

Model and Yoga instructor (YogaVidaLA) Claudine Penedo went prematurely gray.

"I was about 19 and I started dying my hair at the age of 19," said Penedo, who spent years covering up her gray.

But now, that same gray hair is getting her modeling work. Penedo attributes that success to a newly-marketable look.

"It is on the cutting edge of what’s happening in fashion right now," Penedo said.


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Beauty manufacturers are preparing for a change in attitude about gray. Nowhere is that more apparent than at a photo shoot for Roberts Cosmetics, where a silver-tressed Lady Godiva is draped over a silver horse.

Roberts Cosmetics has designed a line of products called Pd46 to enhance grays, not eliminate them.

Because, per the line’s catch phrase, the old gray mare ain’t what she used to be.

"Gray should be an option not an affliction," said Cristina Bartolucci with Roberts Cosmetics. "You should be able to be a blond, or a brunette, or a redhead or gray."

But changing perspectives on gray may take some time.

Erin Trefry’s gray hair debuted when she was still in high school, and she kept it, which draws mixed reactions.

"On trips to the grocery store I’m either applauded or immediately rejected, which is kind of like an interesting sociological study," Trefry said.

She recounts an incident that really stung her: Trefry was at the store when a woman noticed her gray tresses. The woman turned to her husband and commented, "She really needs to dye her hair."

“I am called brave, when I’m visiting NY and shocked that people assume in Southern California that I’ve deliberately dyed my hair,” said Trefry.

That reaction isn’t rare.

Before Penedo’s modeling career began taking off her hair stylist Dawn Fantau of Byron and Tracey Salon in Beverly Hills strongly advised her to color her hair and lose the gray.

“I really thought it was going to detract from her beauty,” the stylist said. “I thought inevitably she would look older.”

But now she has embraced Penedo’s look.

"When I look at her I don’t think older, I think she looks sexy. It comes from within, she pulls it off," nthe stylist said. "She’s making a statement that women can age gracefully and can work with what is their own."

Penedo agreed: "The gray hair is what I’ve blossomed into."

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