Hair color is a $1.4 billion industry here in the United States. Then again, in our youth-driven culture, it isn't any wonder that women and men are willing to open their wallets wide to keep their hair looking young.

But is it really worth it?

Anne Kreamer, a writer living in Brooklyn, wanted to find out what would happen if she stopped coloring her hair. Like many people in the Boomer phase of life, she found herself feeling anxious about the decision to go gray. Would she be sexually attractive as a gray-haired, middle-aged woman? Would she be discriminated against in the work world?

Kreamer discovered that hair color had very little to do with how she was treated or perceived by others. More surprising is that instead of being a strike against her, the gray came with a few unexpected advantages. For instance, when she created a brunette profile as well as a gray profile, Kreamer found that she received far more male attention with gray hair than with she did as a brunette.

(The rest of Kreamer's insights on hair color and identity can be found in her new book entitled, Going Gray: What I Learned about Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity, and Everything Else That Really Matters. )

So what do you think about going gray? Certainly, women like Helen Mirren and men like George Clooney make gray glamorous, but what about the rest of us? Have you ever considered giving up on the bottle and going au naturale? Did you worry that you might seem less attractive or face subtle discrimination?