A reader named Jennifer emailed me last week, wondering why she looked "goth" when she colored her hair a dark chocolate brown, even though that has traditionally been her natural color. She's 37.
Good question! I've often heard you should go lighter as you age, but to check out that bit of hair color wisdom, I consulted my favorite stylist, Pearl Farewell. Her advice is to choose one shade lighter than your normal color as you get older. Like aging hair, skin also loses pigment over time, and dark hair can create too much contrast, making you look washed out.
According to Pearl, a good rule of thumb is to consider what color your hair was when you were a child. Don't go blond, if you were never blond -- but a sandy brown might work even if your hair became darker as an adult. Another option is to try adding soft highlights for a sun-kissed look, and just dye your roots the base tint as the highlights grow out. Highlights also help soften the look of gray roots as they emerge, an added benefit!
If you need a quick and temporary solution for gray roots, you might want to try a product like Great Hair Day, which I review here.