Another thing that's changed from when your mom used to color her grays away under the cover of darkness is the quality of the products available. It's been a long time since anyone has gotten even a whiff of any strong, offensive smelling products in salons. Those have long since disappeared or been replaced by gentler formulations that are free, or mostly free from ammonia, peroxide or other harsher chemicals.
In any case, it's certainly true that coloring your locks can change the way you look. It can revitalize things taking them from boring to fresh and new. Which is why so many of us have wholeheartedly embraced coloring our locks. You just want to make sure the change is for the better.