"Gonna wash that gray right out of my hair"

Okay, so this is a completely superficial question and will probably have no effect on my acceptance (or lack there of), but if it might result in even the slightest subliminal edge, I’ll take it. I’m 31 and graying, and with dark brown hair, it’s particularly obvious, especially if my hair is up, as it will be at my interview. I wasn’t overly concerned about it for my ECU interview. They have affirmed a number of times their respect for non-traditional applicants. For some reason, though, I’m more concerned about it for Chapel Hill since they have a younger class. Anyway, the debate is, do I color the grays or no. . . .

Go for it. There’s no downside to doing it, but if you don’t you’ll always wonder…“what if?”

Call the Clairol help line and ask them to recommend a temporary color for you. Then you can do it for the interview and dump it if you don’t like it. I don’t think you should have to, but I color my hair for fun so it’s no big deal to me. It’s unlikely to hurt, might help, and if it doesn’t make you feel all oppressed or anything, go ahead!

At least you still have hair. I’m 39 and blessed with my father’s gift of male pattern baldness. Facing an interview in two weeks it concerned me a bit. My simple suggestion is do whatever will depress your anxiety level. Take care and good luck! stephen

I thought about this before my interviews last year and decided to stay with my natural hair color. Bear in mind that most interviewers will either be much younger than you or much older, so they will either see you as an old geezer or a young pup. The grey won’t make much difference to that opinion. (Plus, there are 20-something guys in my med school class with grey hair, and I know they did not think about dying theirs.)

I found my first grey hairs at 17 (actually my friend sitting behind me in English class noticed them and said “wait, don’t move!” pluck!). Now at 26 seems as though every time I look in the mirror there are more and more of them taunting me. I use semi-permanent coloring on occasion, more for fun than anything, not that temporarily disguising the grey isn’t a bad thing (though that kind of coloring doesn’t stick to the grey hairs for long!). Honestly I remember in college knowing a few students who were going bald or gray… and they were your traditional aged students. If you want to play with color I say go for it, but I don’t think many people will look at you as being a geezer… people often think I’m about 18 despite the grey!

If you’re new to coloring, make sure you allow time for the brightness to fade prior to interview (for me, that’s about a wk of shampoos) and also time to change the color if you don’t like it. So you’re looking at 3 wks prior. Guys, did you realize it was that complicated?

Wash your gray out if you think it will make you feel better about yourself, but I can tell you there are about 10-15 students in my class with gray hair. One of them is 20 years old!

… L’oreal… because you’re worth it!

What does one actually do to ‘wash out’ gray hair?

Well, you don’t wash it out, really, of course. That’s just a South Pacific reference. There are temporary rinses that add a darker color over your hair and some of them are good for covering gray (except reds, which tend to turn out pink). If you choose a good shade, sometimes it covers the grays enough, and in a nice enough color, that they become snazzy highlights.
So the Clairol site tells me. I don’t have gray myself, as far as I know. I just go a little blonder and a little redder with permanent color.

Hi there,

My hair is so gray that is it rapidy becoming white. I did spend some time using the temporary hair color but the rigors of residency have quickly left me little time to do more than wash my hair and hit the scrunchie. I am even considering getting a buzz or getting locks (which look exceptionally cool with gray). If I buzz my hair, I would end up having to wear earrings or I might get mistaken for a boy.

Anyway, do what you think looks best for you. I happen to think that God knows best and I actually look pretty good with the gray hair. I don’t have any wrinkles so I am cool with it. When I applied for medical school, I had no gray and was 85 pounds lighter. Over the four years, there were some changes. Heh! Heh! I am getting back into exercise but the gray is here to stay. One advantage: you can always hit the color or leave the gray. If you havn’t been gray in the first place, you can’t add it for that extra look of wisdom.


Personally, I say proud & unapologetic for your time here on Earth. Screw the color & be “you”.
Best of luck & success to you!!!

A very good question. I agree with the others who say, “Whatever makes you feel more confident” If you do decide to color your hair, I really advise that you go to a good salon for a semi-permanent color. They will pick a nice natural color for you and you won’t be faced with any last minute panic attacks because the color came out wrong. You don’t need that stress. Best of luck on your interviews.
Gina.(44 and 1/4 gray and just starting my premeds this September).

Thanks for all the replies! I decided to go with the “mature” look and kept the greys. It turned out to be a good thing since by the end of the interview both my interviewers seemed to have a clear sense of delineation between my 22-year-old-25-MCAT-and-3.1-gpa self and my current 32-MCAT-but-no-new-coursework self. So I’m glad I didn’t try to look younger. However, thanks to the good advice given here, I think I will try a little something now that it would be just for fun!

Interesting. Emotionally and philosophically, I lean toward the “As God made me” look, but a surgeon friend of mine applied three years in a row, starting at age 30; the third time, she dyed her hair, which was prematurely gray, and got an acceptance letter. Coincidence? Perhaps. She believes it was age discrimination. This was in the '80s so perhaps things have changed a bit.

Of course, for those of us guys who are thin on top, there are fewer options. Shaving it all off, perhaps. Or just emphasize during the interview that I want to cure baldness; they’ll know I’m sincere.

And for me, it was add a few lighter highlights, disguising the gray hairs amongst the newer, lighter shades of brown.
I think the only real difference it made was to my SELF image. It made ME feel better, and thus I portrayed myself in a more positive manner.

I’m also losing my hair and graying (I’m 41 and won’t be applying for at least 2 years), so I’ve looked into natural remedies as well as prescription drugs. One natural remedy that has helped me is taking saw palmetto liquid caplets standardized to 80-95% fatty acid sterols. So far it has helped and it is better on my stomach than Propecia and a lot cheaper, too. I currently take 480 mg. (3 160 mg gel capsules per day). But, as for the gray, I have not done anything about, but as the others have stated, there are hair colorants.