Plus few things offer the opportunity to change your look the way changing the shade of your tresses does. It lets you keep everything else virtually the same while still giving you the change you seek. Not a bad deal actually.
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 Those have long since disappeared or been replaced by gentler formulations that are free, or mostly free from ammonia, peroxide or other harsher chemicals.