Andrea’s Transition Story

Inside: Andrea’s transition to a self-confident silver sister

Andrea is 50 and lives in Maryland. She worked in health care for 17 years, then went back to school and became a Middle/High School History Teacher.

She is also an avid photographer.  You can follow her on Instagram at @Andreahdg or Flickr 

Please note that this article may contain affiliate links.  You can read my full disclosure at the bottom of the page.

I was around 18 or 19 when I noticed my first gray hair and quickly yanked it out.

I started dyeing it not long after the birth of my first daughter, when I was about 25 years old. For a few years it was fun; I’d get beachy highlights in the late spring and summer and then I’d get burgundy or plum highlights for the fall and winter.

With the birth of my second daughter, life got busy and I began to use box dye instead of going to the hairdresser.

Life was crazy for a while with two little ones, and then I began to notice that the hair around my face would turn pink or even purple, so I’d have to go to my stylist to ‘fix’ it.

By my late 30’s, I was having to get it dyed every 3-4 weeks and for the last two weeks of that, I’d use a brown mascara hair wand to cover the white hair that framed my face.  

If I did use a box dye for a month or two, it would need to be fixed by a professional. Apparently my hair had streaks of white that took more time to color than the rest of my head.  

It was no longer any fun.

During this time I also got divorced and really started looking at what made me happy.  Going to the hairdresser (which had at one point been fun) was not something that “brought me Joy”.  

I started fantasizing about not dyeing my hair.   

So, I consulted my dear hairdresser about going gray, and she said that it tends to wash women out and many feel like it ages them.  

I got highlights that month, but kept obsessing about it. Finally, the next month, while talking to my boyfriend of two years, he asked why I did it when I really dreaded it each month.

In trying to explain, I realized that my ‘reasons’ for doing it, were not my own, but societal ones.    

My boyfriend said that I was beautiful no matter what color my hair was but that he thought it would be stunning with my olive skin. And I decided right then… no more dye.

As many of us do, I became obsessed with the notion of gray hair.

In 2013/14 there were fewer options available than there are today.  I read Anne Kreamer’s Authentic Self, and began reading Lauren Stein’s blog How Bourgeois.

I realized that I needed to be behind this 100%.  I posted about it on Facebook and told everyone I knew.

When I saw strangers staring at my grow-out, I exclaimed “Isn’t it wonderful? I’m growing out the ugly dye and I’m so excited to see the white grow in.  I LOVE it!”

I realized that there were some women with gorgeous gray hair that I’d never noticed in the past and I went out of my way to compliment their hair and talk to them about mine.

When I was done dyeing my hair, I was DONE.

So that made my only options cutting it or just growing it out. Having had short hair in the past, I decided to just grow it out.

I was so enthusiastic and open about it, that I actually received no negative comments in the 22 months it took me to grow it out.

My last dye was July 2014 and by late winter 2016 (Jan/Feb) I’d gotten the last bit of dye cut out while maintaining my length.

For me, this transition was MUCH more then ‘growing out my hair dye’.  For me, this was a chance to be reflective and think about instant gratification, what made me happy, and what frustrated me.

I started looking at natural ways to take care of my hair.  I started cowashing my hair (washing with conditioner) and reading the labels of everything I put on my hair.  

This morphed into reading the labels on EVERYTHING.  

I started eating a paleo diet and started exercising.  I lost about 80 pounds in the 22 months of growing out my hair dye.

My hair, which used to be frizzy and wavy, actually became curlier!

I now use Deva products to keep my curly hair moisturized and healthy. These are the ones I use:

No Poo Decadence (wash):

One Condition Decadence (conditioner):

Frizz-Free Volumizing Foam:

DevaCurl Light Defining Styling Hair Gel :

Sometimes, I use Wavemaker:

And other times, I use Arc Angel Gel:

I have some white streaks of hair and the purple conditioners that I used at first were really drying and they made my hair more of a dark gray.  

I now use QuickSilverHair Clay once a month to keep my white streaks white.

I also stopped wearing browns which wash me out, but found that I loved wearing bold colors and even gray and white.

My advice to those that are embracing their natural gray is to just embrace whichever way you choose to do this.  

Do plenty of research of all ways and consider that some of the things that we tell ourselves are self-fulfilling.  

If we say “I’m not patient enough to grow it out” then we won’t be.

If we say “It won’t look good on me,” then others around you will sense our hesitation and worry and will tell you what you want to hear or worse, will insult you, so that you decide to cover up the gray again.  

Remember your body hears what your brain says and thinks.  

So think positive thoughts, tell yourself only positive things and banish all your worries.  And be the best YOU, you can be.

Journal, be introspective and reflective and learn about how strong and determined you can be.

Please do me a favor and share this post to social media, as it helps me grow my audience and spread the word about our Silver Revolution!  And remember to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and Pinterest Feed for more gray hair tips and product recommendations. Thanks!

Check out my Amazon Shop for all your gray hair needs!

Related Posts:

Interview with Joli Campbell of QuickSilverHair

Why Blogger Lauren Stein Created Her Own Line of Gray Hair Care Products

Paula Joseph’s Transition to a Silver Sister

Mireya’s Gorgeous Long Silver Hair Transition

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  1. Great story and your hair is gorgeous! I especially love the cool colored glasses – it makes your hair and face pop!!!

    I have very thick wavy hair and I have always blown it straight (I now only wash and blow it out once a week). But I am having a problem with my hair yellowing. I use purple shampoo and conditioner (I’ve tried several different kinds to the point that my hair turns purple!), but it just doesn’t seem to work.

    I am going to spend more time rinsing it all out and try to not blow dry my hair for a few months to see if it is just the heat that is yellowing my hair. It’s very frustrating to see yellow hair – a lot of it!!! 😖🤦🏼‍♀️

  2. I am so glad I read this and saw your images. We
    are very similar in coloring and I hear as well,
    that I will look washed out. Well, you look far from
    washed out. You look beautiful. I’m going for it!
    I’m so done with coloring these roots etc.
    Im going to embrace the gray/silver/white, whatever
    color pops thru.

  3. Andrea Sweinhart says:

    Can you post a great way to determine the colors to wear after going gray (of course for different skin and eye tones) I’ve yet to see one that was helpful. Thank you!

  4. You have Just convenience
    Me to keep going with my transition into silver hair job well done to you regards Sonja

  5. How Beautiful You Are!!! Love your transition and your message. When I first started my journey and feeling less secure with the blazing white streak, my feedback from others was not favorable. Now that I’m comfortable and truly loving my silvers, the response from people is complimentary… your words are so true! We must be positive, it makes the whole process so much more enjoyable.

  6. Beautiful story and transformation and story Andrea!! xo

  7. Thank you for sharing your story…beautiful transition and so inspiring!!!

  8. Your blog has helped me. I’ve been gray for a few years but wanted the white whiter. I’m going to try some of the products you mentioned. I may even try growing my hair longer. I’ve had it short for a long time. Since I’ve lost 51 lbs. it might not be too bad. Here’s hoping.

  9. I watched Andrea during her hair transition. Such a remarkable change to a strong, confident, fun woman! She has boundless energy and enthusiasm. And really looks great, even at 5 am. That’s when she is out in Havre de Grace photographing the sunrise down by the lighthouse.

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