In a society that idolizes youth, growing older can feel like a shameful malediction. However, a rising trend of folks are embracing their silver strands. This is supported by the findings of new research conducted by the beauty and wellness booking platform StyleSeat, which polled over 2,000 Americans about their perceptions and experience of aging [1]. But if the overall U.S. population is more comfortable with the idea of aging, social pressure makes it much more complex for women. While 70% of men say they have no problem with aging, only 57% of women say the same.

Choosing authenticity

The survey findings show that Americans, men and women alike, are generally accepting of the process of aging and the changes associated with it. Nearly two-thirds of respondents (63%) agree with this statement, and almost three-quarters (73%) even consider older people to be comparable in beauty to their younger counterparts. Surprisingly, younger generations are more prone to say that “beauty is ageless”: the Gen Z leads the charge with 84%, trailed closely by millennials (73%), Gen X (72%), and boomers at 67%.

Here again, however, there are gender disparities, with 81% of women having no trouble equating old age with beauty, compared to only 65% of men.

Looking more closely at the changes that aging brings, it seems — in theory at least — that Americans are all for a natural approach. More than half (54%) say they prefer authenticity to camouflaging the signs of aging. Baby Boomers (68%) lead the way in embracing their natural skin, followed by Generation X (62%) and Millennials (53%). Younger people, who nevertheless consider beauty to be ageless, are much less inclined to accept showing signs of age, at least in the future (only 22% chose authenticity). Here again, there’s a gulf between men and women. Only 35% of American women are likely to keep things au naturel as they age, compared with 73% of men.

Going gray

If gray hair cannot be associated with age alone, it is undoubtedly one of its symbols. In the United States, only two in five of those concerned say they accept going gray and forego coloring their hair to hide it. But this is — again — more the case for men (54%) than for women (25%). The survey also reveals that one in five Americans opt to change their hairstyle to look younger, including 24% of women and 17% of men.

After asking respondents a series of questions, the authors of the study ranked the US states most inclined to accept age-related changes. With a score of around 91/100, Iowa came out on top of the list of states most accepting of aging, ahead of Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota and Kansas. Conversely, with a score of 75/100, Michigan is the worst performer, followed by Maine, Alabama, Florida and Nevada.