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.
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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
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.
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
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.
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