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To dye or not to dye? Reflections on going gray in a society that judges graying women

Gabriel Spitzer
Ashley Gross looks with some suspicion at the hair color aisle.

This story originally aired on March 10, 2018.   

Gray hair is one of the inevitable timestamps of life, and Ashley Gross has noticed a few springing up on her head lately. Or rather, her kids have noticed, and enjoy pointing them out. This didn't seem like such a big deal, until she noticed that there tend to be relatively few prominent women who let their gray show.

Hair colorants are a multi-billion dollar industry that seems to target women's insecurities about aging. They also reinforce a strain in our culture that diminishes older women.

So what to do? Let it all hang out, social consequences be damned? Or cave in and buy a little dye?

Gross looks for advice from female friends, her mother, and a token male: her husband, Sound Effect host Gabriel Spitzer.


In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.