Katie's Transition / March 20, 2019

Celebrating One Year of Going Gray!

Ta-Da! I can’t believe it, but it has now been 12 months since I last dyed my hair.

How is that possible? The year has flown by. And I’m not exaggerating when I say I have really enjoyed it.

It has been a year of transformation, mentally, physically and emotionally. Who knew this seemingly inconsequential decision would have such a positive impact?

** Please Note:  This post contains affiliate links.  I only link to products that I personally like or that have been recommended to me by my silver sisters.  You can see my full policy here.**

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!

image of one year going gray katie goes platinum

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:

image of woman with gray hair and brassy orange ends one year of going gray

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

I am going to try ONE more product to see if it helps – I will reveal the product once I find out if it does. I have moderately high hopes.

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.

But the most positive effect of going gray has been mental.

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

image of woman one year going gray

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.

To explain why it has been such a big deal for me, I’m going to get a little personal with you, which is kind of scary, but here goes.

In 2015, two really devastating things happened to our family. My husband got laid off, and two months later, my older son suffered a series of unexplained seizures that landed him in the ICU for almost a week.

For the first four days of his hospital stay, my son was unconscious. They ran a million tests on him. Every night, a team of doctors and nurses would convene to discuss his case. It was serious.

I was absolutely, devastatingly terrified.

I didn’t know if he would die, or have brain damage. (The EMT who brought my son to the hospital told me that if my husband hadn’t been home that day, my son would have died. So if my husband hadn’t been laid off…I can barely stand to think about the consequences!)

As most mothers do, I’ve had to balance being over-protective with letting my child have the freedom to go out and explore the world. So the fact that my son could have died (while doing something as mundane as sitting on the couch watching TV) was unfathomable to me.

Luckily, my son made a full recovery and is doing great. But that terror I felt during those days affected my life for a long time.

I spent almost two years walking around in a brain fog.

I couldn’t focus, and had trouble completing tasks… it felt like having early onset dementia. Things I prided myself on (like keeping my house in order or staying in touch with extended friends and family) suddenly became difficult.

I’d write thank you notes or sympathy cards and forget to mail them. I would lose important papers. In 2017, I finally started to emerge from the fog and things began to get back to normal.

But that’s all they were: normal… And normal is good!

But it wasn’t until last April (when I made the conscious decision to go gray after stalling my next dye job for over 2 months) that I started to feel ALIVE again.

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 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.

Shit, 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.

image of woman and pug going gray one year
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.

image of silver leggings and toenails
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.

image of woman one year going gray

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 dpn’t want to damage my silver hair by too much reliance on blow-drying.

Reactions to my Gray Hair:

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?

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!

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. Highly recommend!

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?

I also made this video:

Well, that’s it for my 1 Year Cold Turkey Gray Hair Transition Progress Report.

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!

The KGP community has really grown, thanks to all of you!

The blog has had 134,189 visitors and 296,421 page views.
Instagram followers: 4600
Facebook followers: 372
Pinterest Subscribers: 2109
YouTube subscribers: 710

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

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12 Comments

  1. sandy

    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.
    XXOO-

    10 . Mar . 2019 Reply
    • Katie

      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. -)

      10 . Mar . 2019 Reply
  2. Jennifer

    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!

    06 . Mar . 2019 Reply
    • Katie

      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!

      06 . Mar . 2019 Reply
  3. Beth

    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

    Beth

    05 . Mar . 2019 Reply
    • Katie

      Thanks, Beth!

      06 . Mar . 2019 Reply
  4. Susan

    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,

    Susan

    28 . Feb . 2019 Reply
    • Katie

      Thanks, Susan! So glad you enjoyed it 💖

      01 . Mar . 2019 Reply
  5. JoAnna

    Congratulations Katie!!!
    Love your video!!!

    28 . Feb . 2019 Reply
    • Katie

      Thanks, JoAnna!

      28 . Feb . 2019 Reply
  6. Lisa Otten

    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!

    28 . Feb . 2019 Reply
    • Katie

      Thanks, Lisa! Good luck with your transition!

      28 . Feb . 2019 Reply

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