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Why I’m Going Gray

Happy Wednesday ladies. As the title suggests, I’ve decided to see what’s happening with my hair color so I’m going gray. I haven’t been happy with the color of my highlights and their tendency towards brassiness for many years, so about 6 months ago, I decided to go cold turkey.

As always, you can click the red text for more info or to shop the item.

woman with gray hair wearing gray sweater and black pants
WEARING –  BEADED CABLE SWEATER  –  SWEATER PANTS  –  VELVET FLATS  –  DAVID YURMAN HOOPS  –  LIPSTICK IN ‘ROSEWATER’

I can’t say I’m going just gray, because what’s growing in, looks more like an ashy pewter gray. My hairstylist tells me it’s a combination of shades that includes some silver strands, ash blonde, and pure white. The overall effect looks darker in my bathroom lights and almost unnoticeable in other lights. Have you noticed the change?

My hair texture has definitely changed. I really miss the volume I got from coloring my hair. When you use bleach, it swells the hair shaft by opening the cuticle which adds volume. For a woman with thin, baby fine, poker-straight hair, that’s a big deal. It’s a lot flatter now too so I’m adjusting how I style it and trying to get used to the change.

woman standing againt wall wearing gray sweater and black pants
WEARING –  BEADED CABLE SWEATER  –  SWEATER PANTS  –  VELVET FLATS  –  DAVID YURMAN HOOPS  –  LIPSTICK IN ‘ROSEWATER’

Because I was a light blonde with highlights, I’m not dealing with a solid demarcation line where it’s growing. I am still dealing with the moth-eaten look and in some lights, I could be confused for a woman who has just given up. That gorgeous natural gray hair I envisioned just hasn’t shown up yet. I wonder if it will.

Natural brunettes would be hard-pressed to go gray the way I am without having their hair colorist make some adjustments. My stylist wanted to use a toner to help with the transition but I decided against it until I see what I have naturally.

I’ve got a ways to go before I see the full effect of my new, natural hair color, but I’m already changing my hair care products. I’m now using a purple shampoo every day and more conditioner but my hair is still not as shiny as it used to be. The reflective quality of the gray strands is quite different than highlighted hair.woman with gray hair

Most hairspray also has a matte finish and I use it every day which makes my hair look dull. The shine products and glosses usually have an oily component to them which is fatal for fine hair. I did order a few things to try and will let you know how they work out.

In other news- we attended several holiday get-togethers last weekend and now that I’m letting my hair grow out, all I see are women who’ve done the same. I noticed something interesting at one event. The women who are maintaining their original dark brown hair, look older than the women who have lightened it or allowed it to lighten on its own. As we discussed earlier this week, our contrast changes as we age and that involves our hair color.

You might enjoy- How To Find Your Personal Contrast Level And Why It Matters

 

Many who are gray are wearing their hair in a pixie cut which is not a great look with my broad shoulders and square jaw. I’ve been looking for haircut ideas on Pinterest and Instagram, but for now, I don’t want to do anything drastic. One big change at a time is enough for me.

woman leaning on wall
WEARING –  BEADED CABLE SWEATER  –  SWEATER PANTS  –  VELVET FLATS  –  DAVID YURMAN HOOPS  –  LIPSTICK IN ‘ROSEWATER’

Now that I’ve started this, I’m anxious to get to the finish line. I’ve already decided that if I don’t like the results, I can always go back to the salon for color. Going gray is a personal choice each woman makes based on her lifestyle, upkeep of color, finances, and health concerns. It’s our privilege to go gray or not, and I encourage us to support other women’s choices.

How about you. Have you gone gray? How easy was the process?

Thanks for reading ladies and remember to wear what makes you feel confident.

 

 

 

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266 Comments

  1. I let mine go natural “platinum” many years ago. I’m fortunate that my hair was blonde so the transition was an easy one. I’m also lucky that mother nature blessed me with a very pretty shade. I’ve been asked who colors my hair. So hang in there as it may end up better than you think. So far you still look marvelous !

  2. Holly Maupin says:

    When I first went gray I didn’t like it and colored it once more. That was it. I went gray and have never looked back. I love it. I’ve had so many compliments about the cut and color.

  3. Jane Brinck says:

    Good morning! I transitioned in 2016. I wear my hair similar to you and it took me about 18 months to fully transition. I am totally white….how I wish I would have started sooner so I would have had a little salt and pepper but maybe I wouldn’t. About 6 months in I started growing more hair on the crown….hair dye is very damaging after years and years of use. I have found that using different products each shampoo is best for me. I also wear glasses and have 4-5 pairs I switch to depending on what I wear. Good luck with your transition. It is a liberating experience and you will learn a lot about yourself and your friends.

  4. Linda Dwyer says:

    I have been on the same journey since May. I also have baby fine, straight hair and am missing the volume that color gave my hair. I probably have one more cut before my hair is totally gray. Not hating it, not loving it..and I’m also leaving my options open to go back to color if I decide to. But I am enjoying not having to do the upkeep that I’ve done for decades. And my hair has never been healthier…that’s something, I suppose. I’ll be anxious to hear about any new products you try.

  5. Pamela Hall says:

    I went gray a couple years ago and have not regretted it. A word of caution about the purple shampoo. I, too, was using it everyday and my hair began to look a very odd mousy color. My stylist told me I should only use it, at most, once a week. I am much happier with the results since following that advice. Good luck with your journey.

  6. Maura Chambers says:

    I was a natural brunette, but started turning gray in my late teens. My grandfather who was a very dark brunette became white in his 50’s. I took after him! At 48 I had my hair dyed a light brown with highlights. I loved it. I had been dying it dark brown since my 30’s. After a couple years of the highlights I decided to let it go gray…it was the best choice for me. I have had so many complaints over the years. My hair was always shiny and still is. I’m now white/silver with dark hair around the back of my neck that grows in an arch and is hidden underneath my lighter hair. My husband loves it! So, for me, letting my natural hair grow out has been worth it. I hope you enjoy your decision…which ever way you choose.

  7. Karen Lee drakos says:

    I am completely white in front. I too after pandemic gave up on coloring roots then highlighting but bc I’m not completely white ie crown and back I have highlights put in. Honestly not sure I’m comfortable with the cool tone of white against my skin. Hair product. Try Nexus clean and pure. Love the shampoo and FOAM conditioner. Wow. I read in blog about it for gray hair. Good luck. Yes I cut mine shorter finally to really figure it out.

  8. I had wondered if you were letting your colour change – there were a couple of pictures that seemed to show the difference.

    My sister who has very thick curly hair had her hair cut and coloured in December 2019 and then we had lockdown here in the UK. She was shielding and unable to leave the house so just let it grow through. By the time lockdown and shielding had ended she just had a small amount of her dark hair left at the back and that has now completely gone. It’s now a very nice silvery white.

    She has said that her hair feels fantastic, thick, healthy and in great condition. She’s using the Kevin Murphy products for grey hair.

  9. Susan Kelley says:

    I am one of those brown haired women. I tried last summer. It looked awful! So I am back working on a blend. MUch better,especially for my terminally straight hair. Di I mention it is also baby fine, so all that plus a few personal
    issues and I might et it to be presentable! Will let you know!

    1. Susan – I have brown hair that grew out with a very striking line of demarkation.
      I did a side part -sorry TikTok- and kept touching up the part line while letting the rest of my hair go uncolored. I don’t think it fooled anybody, but it got rid of the skunk stripe effect and as the rest grew out I got a blend. I coupled that with frequent trims from my very supportive stylist for about a year and a half.
      Once I was mostly gray, at least down to my ears I flipped my part to the other side which covered up the touched-up part line, and gave me a decent looking mostly gray mix.
      It didn’t look great but I could look at myself in the mirror without cringing, and between you and me what I think was the most important thing. So it worked.

  10. I was grey in my late 40’s and would flip flop with color and highlights every couple years until I just had to stop. I started out salt and pepper, now the crown of my head is silver but I still have lots of salt and pepper in the back. I get more compliments on my hair now than I did years ago. I’ve been blessed with thick, healthy hair, I wear it short. I agree with you that older women still using dark hair color look older and just not natural. I’ve had to change makeup and lipstick colors to adjust to my grey. I would never be without a lip stain or I would look washed out. Hang in there I think you’ll be happy.

  11. I thoroughly enjoy your content and really appreciate your honesty in all things fashion, beauty and lifestyle.
    It’s been almost 5 years since I made the decision to go gray and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. I have fine, thin hair and understand where you’re coming from with the texture without coloring but recently had a perm and after an initial period of learning to handle the curl in my hair I’m very pleased with the results. You might give it a consider a perm to improve the texture of your hair.
    PS
    Loved the recent content on contrast!
    Anne

  12. Debbie Lee says:

    I am a member of that exclusive baby fine, stick straight hair club (and not much of it) also. Decided to fully “embrace” the aging process (thank you Covid) in 2020. Am 67 and so happy to have made the change. You truly don’t understand how freeing it is to stop coloring your hair until you do so. Various FB groups (Going GRAY Gracefully, etc.) helped on those days when I thought WTH am I thinking! Regular haircuts helped tolerate the growing out phase. I now sport a long pixie with lots of layers that give volume. I love the shades of gray/white and have followed advice to get in-person color analysis which resulted in good purge of closet and makeup (was spring, now hard winter). Truly a total transformation. Life is good!

    1. It does sound like an amazing change! Bravo

  13. It is a frustrating transition at times and I applaud you for doing it in front of all your followers. I went from darkish brown and white roots in the front which needed touch up at least every three weeks, cold turkey as well. After letting the roots grow for a few weeks I got it all cut off to about an inch. When I had a bit more growth, got it all cut back again, then let it grow back. There is quite a bit of change in texture and shine as you said, and finding the right products is a process. I do not have straight hair or especially thin hair, except the front, so don’t have much for suggestions for you, but as you fall in love with the new you, you will find your best look. Until you pointed it out I did not notice your roots changing. Thanks for being so open once again to showing us your changing self.

  14. Hi Jennifer,
    Agree with the others, I have not noticed a change in your color and you do a terrific job of styling your hair! I am (or was) a brunette. I color/highlight my hair. I do my own roots and it’s like having a part-time job. I am still working and hate the look of gray roots, so I color them myself. My highlights are caramel and I have found that using a filter to remove harsh minerals from my shower water has made all the difference with brassiness. I mention this for others that also color their hair. However, I do look forward to the day when I will make the transition and just go gray (in a few years). I suspect I will have to cut my hair very short when I do that so as not to look like a skunk. 🙂

    1. Caramel sounds lovely. I’ve read about those shower filters snd they make sense to me for so many reasons.

  15. ani barber says:

    I stopped coloring two years ago. I think my salt and pepper hair looks a lot softer than the dark brown I was dying it. I had to let all the dye grow out before I could really see what it looked like. I really like it now.

  16. You look beautiful with this new look!

    I am one of those women you mentioned “maintaining my dark brown hair.” I would love it if you could speak more about how this look might be aging and actually make us look older and ‘out of date.’ Trying to work up the courage to go grey!

    1. Dark hair can be a harsh contrast to aging complexions, much like wearing black clothes next to our faces. Everything softens as we age so artificially keeping hair dark, begins to look unnatural. Perhaps try some soft highlights or a lighter version of what you have and watch the contrast change. You might like yesterday’s post on how to check your contrast levels.

    2. Sam – I think how good dyed brown hair looks depends a lot on your colorist and on the style that you do your ‘do’. Natural hair isn’t all the same color, so a dark one shade color is a giveaway. Even highlighted hair needs to be carefully considered. Brassy highlights or hair with underlying red tones really stand out against a naturally weathered 40+ y/o face.
      The thing is, even if you go with ashy tones, your dyed hair can pop up with brass/red tones.
      Pam over at Over 50… has decided not to go gray. Her colorist has significantly lightened her brown hair over the years. She’s also moved off of the satin blowdry to a more tossled natural style. I think that brings more light into your hair and is softer.
      I think when considering what to do about your hair that doesn’t involve the infamous “big chop” that you’ve got several different areas to employ your strategy – color, cut, style.

  17. Many years ago, my wonderful hairdresser (since retired) told me that my hair would go platinum gray, that it would be a great color with my skin tones, and I shouldn’t color my hair. I followed her advice. My hair hasn’t gone completely gray yet, but she was right. My friends tell me that if their hair was going gray like mine, they wouldn’t color it either. I am always looking for products for my thin, fine hair as well and look forward to finding out what works for you.

  18. Just lovely anyway! I started going grey in my late 20s. At the time, my hair was very thick. We didn’t have a lot of money so I would color it myself and it always took 2 boxes and wouldn’t last 6 weeks. I then had my year and a half battling cancer and decided I didn’t need to add any chemicals to my system. I too, noticed that women my age and older (60’s) that kept dark hair (men too) look so artificial. I will never forget my granddaughter telling me I had ‘magical’ hair. What? Grandma, it looks brown in the house but when you step into the sun it turns white! It is like magic! I am fine with my magic hair! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Such a beautiful story. Magical hair. I seem to be getting some of that too! Wise woman, your grandma.

    2. Cute story – I am in that same scenario and a few weeks shy of turning 68. My hair color only looks good for 2 weeks and then I use root sprays and powders and wear hats. (Easy to get away with in Florida) I’m sort of at my wits end with my hair and really not sure where to start. Unfortunately my hair is pretty fragile and thinning so my options are limited. Other than that I am blessed with good health. 😊

  19. I decided to let my hair do what it would as I aged. I am pretty minimalist about hair care, but maintain a six week schedule of hair trims. I’ve had short hair and medium hair length, never long as my hair is wavy and sometimes curly.
    My black hair has turned gradually silvery but seems to be going gray. It’s hard to tell because of the lighting.
    My hair is healthy, and I get compliments on the color.
    Whatever we decide to do with our hair, let’s all be happy that we are healthy and have an enthusiasm for life. We’re lucky that we have lived so long to show the color change of hair.
    BTW, I think your hair has always looked great!

    1. I love your attitude Gloria!! Thank you for sharing.

  20. I went grey during the lockdown. Before my transition I would color my hair a light brown, however within a week or two it would look blonde. My hairstylist said that was due to the grey! What ! I never realized I had any grey. I love my grey and get many compliments. However like you my grey is fine, silky and flat. I was hoping for the corse grey. Looking forward to see what products help with your fine grey hair

    1. Mine was fine silky and flat to start so this will be fun:)

  21. I had noticed a change to your hair colour Jennifer, but I thought it was just from new highlights. It’s probably more noticeable to you and to those who see you in natural light.
    I’ll be going ‘au natural’ very soon, and am anticipating having white hair, so I’m very interested in what products and different styling techniques I’ll need to switch to. Any information on that would be appreciated. I’ve started a Pinterest board on short and grey styles, and I’m actually looking forward to trying out different lengths that I never would have had the courage to try before.

    1. Courage is a great word here, Yvonne! If not now, when? I hope you’re doing well. Xx

  22. I too, stopped coloring my hair last year with Covid in full force. Wearing a mask and not going out much at all last year made the transition easier. My hair color was similar to yours and I found that for a week after coloring it looked great, then downhill from there. Cost and concerns over safety of all this dye, along with unhappiness with color and finally accepting my natural hair color pushed me to do this. I’m completely dye free and while most days I am very happy with the new color, some days I have remorse. All in all, a good healthy decision. I find using a purple shampoo once a week keeps the “yellowing” at bay. I’m now struggling with clothes colors…I read your post yesterday and need to re-read it to help me fully understand. For now, when someone says “that looks great on you” I take notice of what color it is.

    1. I am struggling with colors too so will have more info going forward. Thanks soft sharing

  23. I hope that you are as pleased as I have been since I made that decision 4 years ago. It seemed that I was seeing gray roots around two weeks after my hair was colored. I was tired of the time and money it took to have it colored so I had it cut in layers and stopped coloring. I have never looked back! I’m looking forward to hearing about the “finishing” products you will be trying that will add a little shine.

  24. Congratulations! The gray and cuts of our grandmothers’ days are gone if one chooses. I started to add auburn highlights to my brown hair in college and that was quite a while ago! About four years ago, before Covid, I got tired of the coloring and needed a change.
    So I started letting my hair grow out. My hair had started to gray at the front in my 40s and I had left a gray-white streak uncolored. When I stopped coloring, I was amazed to find that my hair was completely white. I have always had curly hair but coloring inhibited the curl and I kept my hair quite short. Now, my hair is white, wonderful curly, longer, and much more shiny. The texture is softer but the curl hides a multitude of sins…including a much-thinned crown (hereditary). I don’t think I have ever gotten so many compliments. Who knew? And now I can wear many softer colors…as you discussed. Having a jolt of new appearance has been great fun at 80.

    1. I have not seriously considered it but think about it often. I get tired of the grind and expense of color; color and hair products are a cost of working at this point in my life but as i move toward retirement i may do it differently. Color, nails, add up over a month.

      1. Women are treated differently in the work place with gray hair. It’s not fair, but a fact. I hear you

    2. I envy your curls! How fun to have a pleasant surprise. Thanks for sharing your journey, Lee

  25. Patti Shannon says:

    I went gray years ago…my auburn hair was just too resistant to color to maintain. A full hour with color on it every 3 weeks was taking too great a toll on my hair, budget, patience and time. I actually had my stylist do one final “heavy frost” (I’m sure it’s called something else now but that’s what it was then). My mother became seriously ill about that time and between being a classic Oreo caregiver and a full-time job I didn’t think about it for the next 3 years. My hair is now a beautiful white. I use purple shampoo once a week; other than that I use a mild shampoo and conditioner every day. It is a little thinner now but it was originally very thick so it’s not a problem. I do find that I wear bolder colors now but still minimal makeup. I agree that women who continue to color tend to look older than those of us who don’t. There are some great Facebook groups for women going gray that can be very encouraging and provide advice and reassurance!

    1. Thanks for sharing your story Patti. ❤️ Your hair sounds beautiful

  26. I went gray years ago for the same reason – color just wasn’t working and there was brassiness in some spots. It has been so liberating although there are changes and adjustments. I have natural curl and deal with humidity and frizziness in the summer. Fall and winter, my hair is so much easier to manage. I now have a layered short-ish bob. I need layering to add volume. My hair is not as thick as it used to be and is very fine. Always a challenge!

    1. I’m thinking a shorter bob may be necessary for me too

  27. Linda Reavill says:

    Growing my hair out was a lot easier during Covid as everyone seemed to be trying it out. What looked like beautiful silver did not turn out to be the case and I am like you – dealing with a less than ideal hair color and texture. And thinning. So, I will be following any successes that you have.

    1. I could be in your boat but I’m anxious to see

  28. Paulette Levy says:

    To be honest I haven’t really noticed a huge change in your hair color. Maybe once or twice thought you’d gone forward with more platinum highlights but only that- once or twice.
    No I’m still having my roots colored. (Why? my hair root is white in front and dark grey in back) – ugly in other words! Not going au natural!
    So- Two to three times a year I have lighter and darker highlights added and I like it. I may add a few more lowlights
    next time! If I was coming in all white or uniformly grey I might think of it but not yet!

    1. Paulette, that is what mine did at the start, white in front and a dark blend in the back. When it grew in I let the bangs grow and did a side sweep with the white. People would stop and say how great it looked, and did I have it professionally done. Hairdressers would say that others would pay ‘big bucks’ for that look and I was so lucky. I just wanted it to be all the same as the front, but have grown to really like the look. Actually the cut is what can really bring it all together to make it unique and fun…. just a thought.

    2. It’s such a personal decision. I can’t see the back but assume it’s much darker than my front too

      1. I have just the opposite problem. I am a golden blonde , fine, straight hair with little body, starting to gray. After a stem cell transplant seven years ago I lost all my hair and believe it, it came back a very dark golden blonde with no gray and curls. I gradually lost most of the curl, but it is still very dark. I am 77 and everyone thinks I must be coloring it. Go figure!

  29. Hi Jennifer, I decided to embrace the grey over a year ago…..attempt number 2. I gave up the first time but I’m so so glad I tried again. I love my hair now after years of highlighting and colouring. I have very short, thick hair so the transition was pretty quick and easy. My colour is a mix of silver at the front, gradually going to a darker salt and pepper back. Who knew!
    Trips to the hairdresser are every 5 weeks but they last 45 mins and are much cheaper 😆
    I am now finding the colours I wear are changing tho, which is interesting.

    Good luck. Will be watching the results.

    1. Libby Martin says:

      Your hair looks beautiful. No worries about the tone, it looks great on you. Mine is very similar but I still have some color added in to temper the mouse-y color. Thanks for your encouragement to all of us as we age gracefully.

  30. Hang in there! I went gray a few years ago and it was a brutal process (I had dark color). I missed the texture coloring gave my hair too. But when you are finally done (and it took me a couple of years because I have shoulder-length hair), your hair will feel so healthy!! And the color of gray/white will improve with time. Good luck!