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If you are transitioning from dark brunette to white hair and need inspiration, check out Eva’s story! Eva is one of the social media silver sisters whose hair appealed to me immediately. When I first met Eva online, her lovely hair was high contrast: white roots on top of dark brown dye, but now it has mellowed into a beautiful snowy white. You can find Eva on Instagram at @girl_gone_gray
EVA’S STORY: GOING FROM DARK BRUNETTE TO WHITE HAIR
I think I was around twenty years old when I noticed my first gray hairs.
I wasn’t really surprised since my father went gray prematurely and had the most beautiful head of white hair. However, although not surprised I definitely wasn’t thrilled.
It wasn’t too noticeable, but I did start to cover it up, first by going to the salon and then by using box color from home.
My friends and family never had an opinion about it when I was younger. Later in life my friends all covered their gray, so it was normal for me to color mine.
My mother, however, always disliked my box-colored dark brown hair. It was really dark, since the more you use box color, the darker it gets because you have to go darker in order to keep up the fight of covering the white.
She always said, “It looks ridiculous,” “it looks unnatural,” and it is “going to turn blue.” She was loving but oh, so blunt. It just made me want to keep coloring in defiance.
THE BRUNETTE DAYS
I identified with my dark tresses.
My heroes were all pale models or movie stars with really dark hair. I loved it. I thought it was beautiful.
It became my identity with friends and coworkers. People would compliment me and say, “I love your dark hair with your pale skin.”
They would call me Snow White and so my self-esteem was telling me “this is what you need to look like…. forever!”
I continued to dye my hair for over 20 years.
I would be honest with people if they asked if the dark brown was my natural color. I would tell them it was box color and my natural color was probably all gray by now.
They didn’t seem to believe me, until every two weeks I developed a white halo of color around my face. The gray sneaking out, growing with a vengeance.
I fought it like a champ, buying boxes of color in bulk. I was tired of it, but I couldn’t lose my identity.
I was messy, I got dye everywhere. I refused to go to the salon to be talked into highlights or to be scorned for using box coloring.
I’m ashamed to say I looked at my gray as a personal defect. Society had long told me that I was overweight for my height; my features were offset; I had no ability to tan, and my skin was sensitive to everything.
I looked at the gray as yet another challenge to overcome.
A CHANGE IN MINDSET
I wanted to grow out the gray. I wanted to be fierce and embrace it.
I started researching pictures online. Watching YouTube videos. My inspirations on YouTube were Deb Arndt, Monique Parent, Elisa in Montreal, Beauty101byLisa, and especially Nikol Johnson Sanchez from Beauty Reinvented.
I found in these women what I wanted: bravery.
I developed new heroes. I made my decision and I told my family and they were very supportive. My adult daughters thought it was a great idea.
My husband told me to go for it; he said, “It’ll be beautiful!” If you have that kind of support, it makes all the difference in the world.
I stopped coloring in May of 2018. It was not easy!
I wanted to give in and color almost every week for the first three months.
I used root spray and powder touch-up for work until one day the spray and the powder stained my new white growth. I panicked, thinking I had ruined what I just had the courage to start!
So, I decided that day to go COLD TURKEY!!!
I stopped any temporary covering and I tried to grin and bear the comments. Some were encouraging, some were inquisitive, and some were mean.
I persisted through coworkers and a few friends’ suggestions to cut my hair short or bleach the color off, etc.
I tried to explain that I needed to just let my hair decide its course. I needed time to say goodbye to my dark hair identity. To humble myself as well.
To realize life is not about looks. It was my therapy for more than I realized.
I would say stupid things like, “Can I be gray and fat?” “Can I be gray and sexy?”, “Can I be gray and still feel youthful?”
FINDING A GRAY HAIR SUPPORT SYSTEM ONLINE
After all the questioning I carried on and found a super supportive group of silver sisters on Facebook and Instagram.
There are so many wonderful sisters on these sites I can’t list them all.
There are many more, but I could not begin to list all the people on social media that I admire. They have given me the support and the inspiration I needed.
I found courage and a new zest for life.
I know it sounds strange but going gray made me begin to dress better, take better care of myself, and experiment with makeup. It made me more confident!
GOING FROM DARK BROWN TO WHITE HAIR
So here I am: seven months into my transition and I’m loving it.
People stop me all the time and tell me they love my hair, or they ask questions because they want to do the same.
I know it’s just hair, but it has brought so much clarity to so many things for me. I can’t wait to see what it’ll look like when I’m fully transitioned.
Update from Katie: Eva is pretty much transitioned now, in September 2019! Check out her latest photos below for beautiful examples of going gray from dark brunette hair:
My hair feels a lot healthier and seems to grow pretty fast. I don’t really use any special products.
Lately, I’ve been using Hask Blue Chamomile and Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner. It says “for blondes,” but it really makes my whites brighter and doesn’t dry out my hair.
I alternate using it and just a gentle regular shampoo. I wash my hair every two to three days.
ADVICE FOR WOMEN WHO WANT TO GO GRAY
My only advice to anyone wanting to take the plunge and stop dyeing is to do what is best for you. Be true to yourself.
Listen to advice but only positive advice. Drown out the negative, refuse to internalize it. Decide what you want and how you feel about yourself and your hair and do what makes you feel good.
It won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it in the end. Patience is the key ingredient to any journey, especially this one.
What helped me most was to realize if I got to the end of my journey and I didn’t like it, I could always change it. I doubt that I will ever dye my hair again, but I know I have the option if I change my mind.
I’m hoping this is not just a trend, but that society will begin to change and embrace gray hair at any age. I hope that they will continue to show it in a positive light and encourage people to embrace their natural selves.
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