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Celebrating One Year of Growing Out My Gray Hair

To my surprise and delight, it has now been one year since I ditched the dye and started growing out my gray hair.

As any woman growing out her gray roots can attest, the weeks can go by rather (ahem) slowly.

Watching your roots grow out is somewhat akin to waiting for a pot to boil, watching paint dry, or sitting in your car wondering if your husband will actually make it out the door in time for church. (Sorry, honey!)

But, one day, you wake up and, to your surprise, it has been ONE YEAR since you ditched the dye and embraced your grays.

So, what does it feel like to get to your 12-month Silverversary?

Well, after 25 years of frantically trying to cover up a part of myself, embracing my gray hair and actually finding it attractive feels pretty damn good.

Wait, let me rephrase that. It feels FREAKING GREAT!

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Growing Out My Gray Hair: 12 Months of Progress

Here’s a little collage of my cold-turkey transition progress – from the last dye (February 2018) through late February 2019.

As you can see, the silvers are down near my cheeks now, so I’m at least halfway there!

Katie Goes Platinum's 1 year of going gray

My hair is still very ORANGE on the dyed ends, and blue shampoo doesn’t seem to be helping as much as it did in the beginning. When I first started using it, it made a BIG difference. But now? See for yourself:

Brassy orange ends are a part of the going gray journey

I guess the blue shampoo looks at my current super-brassy orange ends and just gives up, saying “Oh, no no no. This is too MUCH!”

But you know what? Even with the orange ends, I LOVE my new silver hair.

It gleams in the sunlight. I feel like a freaking ice princess when that happens.

The light silver hair has really brightened up my face. I feel like I look 10 years younger!

How It Feels to Embrace Your Grays

I’m happier and feel more alive than I have in a while.

One year of going gray, and Katie is embracing her new style with open arms

Is it too hyperbolic to state that embracing my gray hair was the most transformative decision I’ve made in the past 20 years?

Of course it is! But who cares? Right now, it FEELS that way.

Why did ditching the dye make me feel alive?

I have been thinking about this a lot and it’s not just that I reclaimed my time and my money (although those were NICE side effects), the main thing has been the feeling of absolute FREEDOM!

Freedom from worrying about what other people think and freedom from adhering to the dumb rules our society places on women (no long hair for women after 40! No gray hair until you are in your late 80s!).

I feel rebellious again, and it’s a good feeling. Although I do wonder why I bought into the idea that I HAD to dye my hair and cover my grays.

Why was I so easily swayed? I thought I was a person who knew my own mind and did what she wanted to do.

I didn’t think I cared a whole lot about what society (or other women) thought. But I did!

Looking back, I realize that I started off dyeing my hair for fun… and then it morphed into feeling like I had no choice.

I would color my hair. It would look great for about 4 days. And then the gray roots would start to show. And then in about 2 weeks, my smooth and shiny colored hair would start to get frizzy and coarse.

So I HAD to get my hair colored to get back that smooth, shiny hair and to hide my roots.

Coloring my hair became a vicious, expensive and time-consuming cycle.

I would occasionally think about stopping the dye, but then I would worry about looking unkempt, or looking (God forbid!) old.

It’s a weird and uncomfortable feeling to realize that you’ve bought into an anti-woman and anti-aging message put out by ad companies and enforced by (I hate to say it) fellow women.

Some people think that if you use makeup, you are still buying into the anti-woman and anti-aging message, but I disagree wholeheartedly. I never feel like I HAVE to wear makeup, but I definitely felt like I HAD to dye my hair.

Other Positive Benefits of Ditching the Dye

Aside from the mental benefits of ditching the dye, there are others too:

Physical: My newly silver hair is MUCH healthier!

Over the years, I had been losing clumps of hair in the shower every time I washed my hair. And when I brushed my hair, a TON of hair would come out.

I figured this was just because I was getting older and my hormones were out of whack.

But since I stopped dyeing, I’m hardly losing any hair! In fact, I’m seeing a lot of new growth near my temples.

Before I started dyeing my gray hair, my natural hair was shiny and smooth. But after years of dyeing, my hair had become frizzy and the only thing that would make it look nice again was… more dyeing.

But now that I’ve stopped dyeing, I’m surprised and happy to say my new growth is very shiny and smooth. Sometimes I still get a little frizz, but that is easy to tame with a little dab of QuickSilverHair oil.

Another benefit? My hair looks highlighted, and it’s all natural. No more monochrome hair for me. How did I not see how fake it looked?

Financial: I’ve got more money in my pockets.

Somehow, even when my husband lost his job, I justified getting my hair colored at the salon because I wasn’t so great at home dyeing and I had to look “professional.”

I would occasionally skip a salon visit and do an admittedly crappy job of dyeing my hair at home to save a little money, but why didn’t it occur me to just STOP DYEING? Live and learn.

By skipping 1 year of dyeing, I have saved some serious cash.

Let’s say I dyed at a salon 10 times in a year and at home the other 2 times: That’s $85 x 10 = $850 plus $9 x 2 = $18 for a grand total of $868 saved over the past year.

Not too shabby! And since I had trouble with frizzy hair in between dyes, if I had a special occasion I would sometimes stop by the hair salon for a blowout. Let’s say 3 blowouts a year: $105

So, that’s a total savings of $973. If I had continued dyeing another 20 years, I would have ended up spending at least another $19,460, not adjusting for inflation.

Shoot, I wish I had that money right now. I’d be off to Greece for an island vacation. And my silvers would look great glinting in the Grecian sun, LOL.

iApollo the pug and Katie are enjoying Katie's one year gray hair transition
Apollo would love a Grecian vacation!

Time: I can actually sleep in a bit on a Saturday!

I used to go to the salon on Saturday mornings at 8:00 a.m, so that I wouldn’t miss being with my kids (they sleep late, being teenagers). And I would DIE of boredom sitting in that chair for 2-3 hours on a beautiful day.

I started to really resent the wasted time.

Now, if I want to I can sleep in a bit on a Saturday, or do something I like (like baking) instead of sitting in a chair, reading People magazine while my scalp burns and itches from the dye.

One year into going gray, and I am celebrating by wearing silver nail polish and leggings
Or, I can paint my toenails and cavort around my backyard in silver leggings… like a lunatic!

Environmental: Less toxic chemicals down the drain (and on my head!).

I care about the environment and try (probably not hard enough) to reduce waste and the use of toxic substances.

Although the environment wasn’t the main reason I stopped dyeing, I feel good about the fact that I’m no longer contributing empty plastic bottles of dye to the trash heap, or putting harsh chemicals down the drains and into the waterways.

Do I regret dyeing my hair?

Hell no!

It was fun dyeing my hair when I was young and wanted to try to different colors to express my personality.

What I do regret was dyeing to cover the grays. I had such a fear of looking old or unkempt, so I wasted a lot of time thinking about my roots. Events were planned around my root touch-ups! It seems so silly now.

One year into my gray hair transition and I am feeling great

What has it taught me about women and beauty?

Gray hair is actually really beautiful. Why did I not see it before? Was I really that brainwashed by the beauty industry?

Gray is just another hair color. It only came to signify “old” because of the beauty industry and the fact that we all have been frantically covering up our grays for decades.

Also, what the hell is wrong with being old, anyway? That’s a question for a whole other post.

What do I see for the future?

I can’t picture that I will ever dye my hair again.  I can see using some fun Manic Panic colors on the ends if I miss the reverse ombre effect too much once I’m fully silver.

Now that I’ve gotten at least halfway through my transition, I would like to focus on being healthier in general. I gained 7 lbs. since I started this blog – thanks to my new, insane (but fun!) schedule.

I’d like to learn more about organic skin care and makeup.

I’ll probably investigate ways to embrace my natural curls and waves. I don’t want to damage my silver hair by too much reliance on blow-drying.

Reactions to my 1 Year Gray Hair Journey:

I’ve only had a couple of negative reactions since I started – one from a man, and one from a woman. Everyone else has been very supportive or have (wisely) not said anything.

To my surprise and delight, I keep meeting people in my wide circle of friends and acquaintances who tell me that I’ve inspired them to go gray as well.

It seems like a lot of us need to see another woman taking the leap before we are ready to commit as well. I know that was true for me!

I don’t think I could have done this without all the support of my silver sisters online, as well as the support of my family and friends. It’s not easy going against society’s restrcitions, you know?

My Favorite Hair and Beauty Products:

I’m happy with my current gray hair care routine.

However, I’m thinking about trying this hair mask to get some extra hydration. My hair has been feeling a wee bit dry since winter started.

I still haven’t figured out how to properly use a curling iron. It’s been 37 years since I first tried, and my skills haven’t improved much.

I’ve thought about purchasing this cool tool from Revlon, but I worry about using too much heat on my gray hair. If I do get it, you’ll be the first to know!

image of Revlon Tool

I’ve been thinking about my skin more lately. I hadn’t noticed my neck changing until it happened OVERNIGHT – ok, not overnight, but suddenly my neck looked different. Wrinkly and saggy – I was shocked!

I figured that was just how it was going to be for the rest of my life, but I tried City Beauty’s Multi-Action Sculpting Cream and my neck looked better within two days! It firmed and smoothed the skin on my neck, without drying me out. I use it every morning now, after my shower.

If you want to try it out, you can use the code KATIEGOESPLATINUM for a 10% discount and free shipping over $50. I highly recommend it!

I have also been experimenting with nail colors. To celebrate my 1 Year Silverversary, I got a silver mani-pedi in these two colors. After all, one must celebrate this milestone, am I right?

Well, that’s what one year of growing out your gray hair feels like!

But before I sign off, let me just say that one of the best things about going gray has been the amazing community of women I have met online. You guys rock!

Thanks for coming along on this journey with me. Your support means a lot!

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:

My Two Year Transition to Gray Hair is Over!

My 11 Month Gray Hair Transition

10 Months of Going Gray

9 Month Gray Hair Progress Report

How I Survived 8 Months of Going Gray Cold Turkey

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  1. Thank you for sharing your journey. I too am letting my hair turn gray. I started last year after my 70th birthday. I had been coloring my hair since I was 25. I went from black to auburn to light brown. Now, I am happy that I am on this journey. Like you I had to color my hair every two to three weeks. No more. It is very freeing.

  2. Hey! My last dye job was Dec 20, 2018 (amazing how you can remember the EXACT date!) and I couldn’t be happier! I have long hair and don’t want to cut short so my grow out will take some time but Luckily my hair does grow fast. I have also done a couple of gray rinses at the salon as well as very blond highlights at my 6 month mark to blend in the old with the new. The highlights were just on my top layer and built on the ones I had been having done for years. They really helped blur the transition line! So I am still going to the salon and still spending money, but hey—going gray is not about letting yourself go just embracing your true self and beauty! They great thing is I am only going to the salon every couple months instead of every 4-5 weeks because of those pesky roots. Surprisingly, I am not as gray as I thought but I had certainly forgotten my true color after 40 years of dying my hair!

    1. Wonderful! I am so glad it is going well for you. Isn’t it fun to see your true hair color again?

  3. As a fellow Silver Sis One Year into her journey & A pug Mom, I can not get enough of the pug pic with the silver jacket!!!! Love your blog & appreciate the honesty.

    1. Yay for pugs! So glad you are enjoying the blog! My pug was mad at me for a few hours after I took those pictures. He has a strong sense of dignity and does not like to be dressed up. -)

  4. I wonder if your new mental clarity was also a result of not absorbing hair dye chemicals every few weeks for countless years. I think there’s a lot more to the effects of what we put on our skin than what we think. So glad your son is recovered, in hindsight your husband being laid off was a blessing. Just starting my transition from dyed hair to silver and found your blog. Thanks for sharing your journey!

    1. Good question, re: the chemicals, but I started getting my clarity back about a year before I stopped dyeing, so I think it really was just the trauma. And agreed re: my husband’s layoff – we were so lucky! Good luck with your transition – I hope you really enjoy it!

  5. Thanks for you pics. I’m 7 months in…just doing what you are doing…letting it grow…no drastic cuts for me! Glad your son is lots better


  6. Congratulations Katie! You look fantastic with your silver hair and outfit! And your sweet puppy looks so handsome sporting he’s silver jacket. Great job! I just love your video. Thanks so much for sharing and for all your encouragement and support to all of us on this journey with you.

    Take care,


  7. Congratulations Katie!!!
    Love your video!!!

  8. Lisa Otten says:

    I’m so impressed! Very well written. Its like you & I are fast friends! I’m doing this again. I let my hair grow until I had about 2″ of grey roots then cut my hair super short. I loved being grey, and had grey hair for about 3 years. Then my dad died & I had to go to the funeral. My siblings all hated my hair being grey and I felt pressured to start dying it again. it’s been about 2 years and I am done with the hassle and fake look of dye. So, my journey begins again. This time I am having my hair dresser make it platinum first so the roots aren’t so shocking. We’ll see how far I can get before cutting it short again. Thanks for your article. Love your honesty!

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