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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.

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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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269 Comments

  1. My hair is also super fine, super straight, super thin. I enjoy your hair journeys and tips. I can relate very much to your hair stories.

  2. Your hair is transitioning well! My hair started turning gray when I was in my early 30s when I began having it colored. My hair is also fine and straight and the coloring added volume. I allowed my hair to grow out about 8-9 years ago and I do not regret it.
    You say you use conditioner everyday. When I use conditioner often, my hair doesn’t have body. It just lays flat and limp. You might try using it less often. Gray hair general is courser so you should have fuller hair as it grows out.

      1. Conditioner is to be applied only to the ends of your hair to keep them healthy. If you are applying it throughout, then yes, your hair might lay flat.

  3. Yup, I did. Last year during lockdown. Noticed many of the same things. Most of my grey is at the back where the longer top hair meets the shorter, more closely cut nape. I have not regretted doing this as the money spent has been channeled into more satisfying things. My genes tell me it will be a long while before I’m totally grey. Relatives experienced the same, though one had a striking whit streak at her forehead by 20. With dark brownish black hair it was her ‘wow’ feature.

    1. Jennifer….I started going “gray” at 17! I would just pull them out, and for some reason ( do 17 year olds need a reason? ) I put them into an empty tissue box. It wasn’t long before that tissue box had a lot of hair in it, and worrying I’d go bald if I kept doing that, I stopped and from there on began a long journey into hair coloring. 30 years, and many colors later, I stopped “cold turkey”. It took a while to grow out, but what was hiding under all that hair color was amazing! I let my baby fine, thin, straight hair grow long, but maintained it with regular trims which stimulate hair volume. I wear my hair in a French twist, chignon, even a long pony tail. I can’t tell you how many compliments I get on my hair! I didn’t get that when I was coloring. I don’t use a conditioner. I use a children’s hair detangler instead, and shampoo only twice a week. A number of women have told me over the years that they would consider abandoning the hair color ritual after seeing my hair, and these are mostly complete strangers. In 4 months I will be “rocking” 80. One is only as young as one feels, and I don’t see 80 in the mirror, especially my hair. If you want to go gray, or champagne platinum as I am, don’t be afraid to do it. You might also be as surprised as I was to find what was under the hair color all along. Marty Butler

  4. I started going gray at 30 so 35 years later, it is 100% white. I colored it for years and finally stopped. I get many compliments on my white hair telling me it’s beautiful. I don’t take the compliments well thinking they are just being nice. However, I NEVER got a compliment on my dyed locks. Never! I highlight it occasionally but realize soon that my fair skin really goes best with the white hair. I think it makes me look older so I need to be attentive to colors and styles that we wear. I love your website – you have similar coloring to me and love finding you as my mentor! Thanks! Go for it! I can’t wait to see how you adapt to your new hair. You might find a streak or two of a slightly darker color occasionally may give it depth.

  5. Thanks to Jennifer and readers for thoughtful comments. I’m graying slowly so haven’t grappled with the issue yet.
    BUT —“. . . in some lights, I could be mistaken for a woman who has given up” cracked me up! That’s how I looked last night on a Zoom call. How I look is about light, and sleep and mood. All the more reason to take good care of ourselves!

  6. Jennifer, I think your new hair looks gorgeous: soft, natural and lots younger than your previous styling. Lots of product makes hair stiff and I think that’s very ageing. Layers too, can make grey hair dull. So many cut hair ends tend to impede shine.

    I use a Brigeo mask once a week or so before shampooing and my fine hair prefers this to conditioner used every shampoo.

    I don’t know if you can get Evolve hair products over the pond but I think they’re the business for fine hair that needs shine.

    Be brave and go for it!

  7. When salons closed in my state early in the pandemic, and I was staying at home, I decided to see what might happen with my hair. I wasn’t crazy about the process (took me over a year), was tempted to give up a few times, but have been very happy with the end result. When things were opening back up, I did have my cosmetologist (who was very supportive and told me that many of her clients were doing the same) do highlights/lowlights since I was going from brunette to gray. I tried, and have liked, Hair Biology products from Target. My hair is healthier and I’m saving time and money. #teamnatural #silversisters

  8. Thank you for sharing this Jennifer- a very timely post for me. I’ve been ambivalent and wrestling with my hair color for some time & just made an appointment with my hair stylist. I’m 61, my hair was naturally dark brown & I kept it colored that way for years. About 13 years ago I went totally gray for awhile, but I felt I looked so old, washed out and flat, I ended up dyeing it dark brown again. Although my natural color was a lovely silver, it was fine & frizzy. When I wore it long, it required a lot of “fussing”. When I wore it short I felt like I looked like my father. When I look in the mirror, the dark brown is what I recognize as “me”. I also love the body & texture that dyeing adds to my thinning hair. But I’m so tired of the maintenance required every 3 weeks & I wonder if it’s healthy and if it really helps my appearance. I think I’m ready start the transition back to gray, or at least a lighter brown.

    1. It’s an interesting decision we all get to make. Thanks for sharing. I hope you’ll keep us posted how it goes.

  9. I decided to go gray almost 4 years ago and I have not regretted it once. My belief was, as you said, if I hated it I could always go back to coloring. I’m curious and wanted to know what it would look like. I too have very fine hair and I agree it took some getting used to not having the volume coloring adds. I found less product ultimately worked better for me. My stylist (and good friend) recommended going with the “cut it all off and see what happens” approach which reduced the time to loose the line of demarcation considerably. And I totally agree that those who continue to color too dark age themselves, if they would change to a lighter hue it would help a lot.

  10. Thank you so much for this post. Like you I have fine, thin hair, looking at my family I think a lot of it is hereditary. I have colored my hair for the past twenty years with a slightly lighter color than my natural shade and occasionally I have my hairdresser add highlights. Like you it gave me the appearance of more volume and a thicker quality. But I am looking at 75 next month and I, personally, think it is about time to just be “me”. So I am letting it grow out in its natural state. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I only have a few gray hair along my hair line. But I am going to go with it and see how it turns out. As I get older I find I am not concerned with how I look to the outside world. More how comfortable I feel in my own skin.

  11. I’m 5 years ahead of you with age and stopping the haicolor. My hair is like yours, fine, straight, but mine went from blonde to total white! In photos it was shocking for a while to see my hair looking like a q-tip. Now I have embraced it and if I’m out and about I always get many sweet compliments. You will find your products that work for you and with your beautiful blue eyes your new, natural.color will be gorgeous.

  12. I think your hair looks great, and I haven’t noticed any difference. I started going gray about 6 months before the pandemic, which was fortuitous timing! My hairdresser did highlighting and lowlighting to help the transition from my combination of natural brown, colored brown, and gray. I’m so glad I did. I feel like I am saving so much time and money and am happy with the color. One product I recommend is Lorraine Massey’s Curly World “With or Without Hue” purple conditioner. My dry curly hair needs very little shampooing so it’s great to be able to control any brassiness with a moisturizing conditioner.

  13. Hi Jennifer, good luck with the change. I have been a slave to touch ups for years, but am not yet ready to cry Uncle!
    For shine, I really like a product called Beyond Shine by Aquage. You can get it on Amazon, it is not a bit oily, and goes on like hairspray.

  14. Yay you! I went au natural 6 years ago in my 50s. Love wearing it this way. Two suggestions for success: the cut is everything. Stodgy hairdo’s are amplified with grey hair. Second, I tried Prose haircare products and it solved a multitude of issues. They formulate the product to reach your goals (thick, shiny and not brassy are mine) and take into consideration the type of water in your area. That was most of the battle for me with the hard water we have here in Dallas. Can’t speak highly enough of it…game changer

  15. I did the same thing for the exact same reasons. It has been two years know it has turned into the best decision ever made. Also, had many comments on how much better my skin looks.

    Thanks for sharing your story

  16. I made the decision to go gray about five years ago. My coloring is similar yo yours so it also wasn’t much of a problem. I had fine blond hair with highlights and I also miss the body from the coloring and just my blonde hair in general. My hair is a pretty color I think and the texture is much better than the bleached. I am happy I did it. I also still have long hair.

  17. Went grey during the start of the pandemic. not really grey pure white, have been trying several different colors in clothes and makeup, it’s challenging and I haven’t figured out the right shades yet, but will keep working on it

  18. My hair is finer and thinner than yours, but I keep it cut quite short so that it doesn’t separate into little stringy strands. Because my hair was already short, it took about 6 months before it was mostly grown out. I have a mixture of silver and a medium brown. If I am in bright light it looks quite silvery, but inside and in pictures it just looks light brown. One friend said it looks like I highlighted my hair. My hair actually has more body since I stopped coloring it, and I don’t lose hardly any hair when I wash it. My hair is still very shiny. I use the Nioxin for progressed thinning shampoo and conditioner, and use Pantene Silver Expressions purple shampoo twice a week. You have to buy it on Amazon. For extra body I use No Inhibition Body Booster by Zone One Concepts. It is an amazing product for fine hair like ours. It is like no other product out there.

  19. Jennifer, I didn’t notice your transition until you pointed it out! You’re lucky to have light hair that blends with the gray during this time. I started dying my dark brown hair in my 30s to cover the gray and stopped the more than monthly touch ups during Covid last year. I wear my hair short, so the process wasn’t too lengthy, but it sure wasn’t pretty! My hair is now mostly white with some gray and darker streaks in the back. I love it! I never realized how artificial my dyed hair looked until I saw pictures from that time. My hair is now soft and healthy. I like the Hair Biology products from Target.

  20. My appointment is made and SATURDAY is the day! My hair will be returned to its natural state. Your hair color looks fabulous; hope I will be so lucky. You are such an inspiration! Thanks for sharing.

  21. I think your hair looks great! I’m several years into natural hair, and I now have hair to just above my waist in several shades of grey/white. I guess it isn’t common to see long grey hair because people often say how much they love it. I will say that it does need some maintenance. I occasionally use apple cider vinegar as a rinse (before conditioner after shampoo), but I for sure always use a mild shampoo (I use Aveda Shampure) and, in addition to conditioning every time I wash, I frequently use a deep conditioner. While my hair isn’t as shiny as my old dyed hair, it is different, and the time saved and the stress of having roots showing outweighs anything.

  22. Well, my once very dark brown, short, curly and fine hair is now a light golden brown, shoulder length! It took me much longer to style my shorter hair! Fine texture. I found a wonderful hairdresser a few years ago who uses a multi tone coloring process and supports my choice to keep it longer. Day one, I wear it down and day two and three, I clip it up. I get a root touch up and trim every five weeks.
    Many of my friends (and four sisters) have gone natural with their hair color and they look amazing!
    I love your ability to share this journey that so many of us have found ourselves dealing with!

  23. Hi Jennifer, I decided to embrace my silver when I turned 65 – last year. I had been coloring my hair a red/brown for years. I’d been seeing so many stories about women who decided to transition to their natural gray hair, and they looked beautiful. To your point, I now and again will see a mature woman with obviously colored hair and think it does age her. It’s too stark and kind of obvious.
    I have a GREAT hairdresser. When I decided to bite the bullet, she did a highlight/lowlight treatment, carefully matching my roots. (that was the painful part – letting my roots grow out enough so she could accurately match my natural color) I came out of the salon with gray hair, that matched what my natural color would look like. That made the transition easier for me.
    It has taken a year, but now only the very tips of my hair have any of the high/lowlights remaining. The rest is all me. You would be surprised at how many compliments I get on my hair. Women young and old think I paid to get it looking like it does. I really love how it grew out, and agree, the natural color does compliment my mature skin tones more than the color did.
    I too have baby fine hair. I wear a bob haircut, only slightly stacked in the back, to my chin or slightly longer. It’s easy to maintain and the shape is flattering.
    I say, be brave and stick with it! Your transition won’t be as drastic as mine was from red/brown. I bet you’ll be happy you did.

  24. I stopped coloring my hair three years ago and I love it. It was a
    change for me too but I have gotten so many compliments . My hair is thin on top so I had to change my hair style. I use Aveda products and do well with those.

  25. Welcome to the club! Going gray is a type of freedom. I was tired of my 4-6 weeks color appointments. I had a chin length bob and about halfway through going gray I cut it short. My hair is much healthier now.

  26. You will love your new hair! You’ll find that “your” gray is the perfect one for your coloring.

    I was a brunette who went every 2 1/2 to 3 weeks for color. Even with highlights, the color looked hard on me.
    Turns out there was no salt and pepper period. My hairdresser said I was mostly white/gray and lighter around my face. He helped so there was no grow out line.

    I love my gray! It’s a softer, lovely color. I use Olaplex with a blue shampoo once a week.

  27. I noticed grey/white coming in my late teens/early 20’s. Then I thought it needed to be covered up so of course went for full coverage dye jobs. Oooooops – it soon started looking like a toque so stopped the colouring. I didn’t really have the root issues fortunately as my hair was dark enough for it to blend. When I had colour analysis done about 25 yrs ago I felt it was more to do with complexion than hair colour (as that could be artificially changed). I have had very short hair for endless yrs working in the food industry (and wearing hair covering) Now at 71 I have let it grow – you can always make long hair short and softer. B/c I have naturally curly hair I never wanted it to look like a bad perm as I aged.

    1. My hair change came with the pandemic and my hairdresser moving at the same time. The more I washed my hair the more my hair lightened . It came in a silver gray! A purple rinse really helped. I also changed my glasses, from rimless to navy blue. It made a big difference! At the end of the pandemic, I received lots of positive comments. So good luck . It took a bit of patience but now I just go for a haircut_ no color needed.

  28. That is wonderful that is something I have been thinking about, I also know several women who did during business lock down with covid limitations. I may try it in January next year. Thank you for your inspiration.

  29. Hi, I have my naturally very dark hair high lighted, and much lighter over all. I’m not ready to bite the bullet and go gray yet, but my dark hair was much too harsh for my aging face,lol. Redken makes a salon product (maybe called Shades) that gives that hair-color body and shine, but no pigment. It might be an option for you! I enjoy your posts!

  30. Yes! I went gray the year before covid! I was always a brunette and the color was brassy and I needed a touch up every two weeks. Surprise! My hair is white! I did use toner and absolutely do not recommend it as it tended to turn my hair greenish🥺. Now, using baking soda in my shampoo once a week keeps the color bright and occasionally use a purple shampoo, but find that builds up on my hair. My product choices today are Embellish finishing hairspray by Calista( hands down best volume spray I have found), Redken Style High gel, Wow shine spray, and Wow gray hair fibers to cover pink scalp areas.
    I did cut my hair shorter during transition, but that was mostly because of the toner issues. I am thrilled I did this and wish you luck!

    1. I’ve been looking at hair fibers for awhile, and haven’t been able to decide which brand to try, mostly because of the lack of color choices. Which Wow color are you using–I’m not seeing Gray as an option?

      1. Check out Boost N Blend. I use and really like. They have a big color palette and offer different shades of grey.

    2. Thank you. I have gone natural gray over the last year. I’m finer, straighter, flatter than before. I’m so anxious to read your experience and advice. I agree that so many women have gone gray now those who are still coloring , especially darn, look older

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