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7 Unexpected Benefits of Going Gray From Dyed Hair

Inside: The top unexpected benefits of going gray from colored hair

5 years ago this month, I decided that I was DONE dyeing my hair.

pinterest pin of woman with gray hair and text that says 7 surprising benefits to going gray

I’d spent 25 years (or more) dyeing it – at first for fun, and then for gray coverage – and I was SO OVER it.

Did I ever consider going gray at all during those 25 years? Yes, many times!

But I was afraid to go gray – afraid I’d look old, afraid that I’d hate my new hair color, or hair texture, afraid I’d look messy, that my husband wouldn’t like it, or even that it might hurt my career.

Well, I’m here today to tell you that none of my fears came true, and to share with you the unexpected benefits I found (both physical and emotional) of ditching the dye and going gray.

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

7 Surprising Benefits of Going Grey

Believe me, there are many more benefits to going gray than just the seven I’ve listed below.

But these seven benefits were so surprising – so unexpected – that I wanted to share them with you today so that you don’t end up (like I did) dyeing your hair for years past when you feel ready to quit.

My Hair Loss Stopped

For years, I’d been losing a ton of hair every day.

It got to the point where I had to buy a special hair catcher to stop my hair from clogging our shower drain.

I lost so much hair that I worried I might eventually go bald.

I was in my late 40s when the hair loss started, and I was in the throes of menopause, so I figured the hormonal fluctuations were causing my hair loss.

But I know now that it wasn’t menopause – it was the DYE!

I know that because my hair loss completely stopped once I stopped dyeing my hair. I have thicker and healthier hair now – at age 55 – than I did as a 25-year-old woman.

And it’s not just me – I did a gray hair study recently, and nearly 25% of the respondents reported thicker hair after they went gray:

image of chart about how hair changes once you go gray

Thicker hair has definitely got to be one of the best reasons to stop dyeing, in my book.

My Dull Hair Became Super Shiny and Smooth

After all those years of dyeing, my formerly glossy dark brown hair had become quite dull.

I spent a fortune on shine sprays, glosses, and keratin treatments to no avail.
Nothing helped!

But once I stopped dyeing, that all stopped.

My platinum hair grows in shiny and smooth all on its own. I don’t have to use any products or get special salon treatments for it to look this way.

I’m saving SO much money and I’m putting fewer chemicals on my head – it’s a win-win situation!

And it’s not just me – according to my study, about 41% of women reported shinier hair once they went gray.

One of the best results of ditching hair dyes is that, for the first time in my adult life, I can air-dry my hair instead of blow-drying it.

In the old days, if I did that, my hair would’ve completely frizzed out – but now, if I air dry it, it comes out pretty smooth all on its own.

If I ever do get any frizz, I just use a little oil to smooth it down.

image of verb ghost oil

I LOVE My Natural Gray Hair Color

The word “gray” sounds so drab and dull, and most of the women I grew up with who had gray hair were very elderly ladies who wore their gray hair in old-fashioned hairstyles. So I didn’t have a lot of great examples of how beautiful gray locks could be.

Because of that, I could NOT picture myself with gray hair – AT ALL.

I was proud of my identity as a green-eyed brunette and I clung on to that identity so hard that I chose to go gray cold turkey for over 2 1⁄2 years just so I could get used to the idea of being gray.

image of woman with black hair and gray roots, woman with brown hair and gray roots, and women who is all gray (same woman - different phases of gray transition)

But now?

I LOVE my hair color so much more than I ever could’ve imagined. I honestly get a thrill seeing my silver hair in the mirror.

Having silver hair feels like a superpower – like I’ve got mercury or Christmas tinsel growing out of my head!

And it’s not just me – other people love it, too – especially men, which was surprising to me.

image of woman with gray hair on pink background

My hair has dimension, it has depth. It’s like having natural highlights. It brightens up my complexion.

I can honestly say I have no desire to go back to covering it up with dye.

If you are gray, I hope you feel the same about YOUR gray hair. Believe me, it’s a huge relief.

And if you don’t love your gray hair, check out my post all about what to do if you hate your gray hair for some tips & tricks to help you love it.

Or you can go back to the dye – there’s no shame in doing that if it feels right to you.

I Stopped Worrying About Aging So Much

Going gray was the catalyst that really forced me to think hard about how why I’d felt so much PRESSURE to dye my hair all those years.

And I realized a lot of it was because I worried that I’d look “old”.

Even though I got my first gray hair around age 15, and had probably been fully gray since my early 30s, I really fell for the idea that gray hair is only for “old people.”

But seriously, what’s wrong with getting old? It’s better than the alternative!

I started thinking about the friends I’d had who died young – some of whom left small children behind. I knew that those women would rather be here on Earth – with their families – getting older – rather than NOT be here.

Thinking about those friends really brought home to me the idea that every day we have here on Earth is a gift – so I’d better enjoy the time I have left instead of fretting about aging.

To paraphrase one of my readers:

Allowing your hair to gray pushes you into the present – it forces you to accept and enjoy who you are NOW rather than chasing the person you used to be.

This change in mindset has been truly liberating – it makes me feel more like “me” than I have in years. Why?

Because I’m not afraid anymore! I’m not hiding a part of myself. I am authentically and imperfectly ME.

It’s a great feeling!

The Silver Sister Community

Over 71% of the people on this planet dye their hair, which means that many of us are the ONLY ones in our friend group with grey hair.

So I worried that I would feel isolated while GOING gray and also after being fully gray. But that hasn’t been the case at ALL.

Here’s what actually happened:

The night I decided to go gray, I posted what I was going to do on social media (I don’t actually recommend doing this unless you have supportive friends and family)… and one of my friends reached out to me to let me know she was mid-transition.

She turned me on to the HUGE gray hair community on Facebook and Instagram.

Having that online support system helped me immensely. Honestly, I don’t know if I could have done this transition without that support.

Seeing other women’s transition pictures, and getting their advice and encouragement was so helpful! And what’s really nice is that I made some great friendships along the way.

image of women with gray hair sitting at a table and laughing
A couple of silver sisters having a great time together

Many of those friendships started on social media but have extended into my real life – I get together with these women. We’ve got an unbreakable bond!

Also – and this is a BIG bonus – having gray hair is a fantastic ice breaker if you go to a party or event and don’t know anybody.

I’ve been to two blogging conventions in the past few years where I didn’t know a SOUL but – being an extrovert – I used my gray hair as a reason to go up and introduce myself to other gray-haired bloggers and we’d get to know each other that way.

It’s definitely one of the best and most unexpected side effects of embracing one’s natural grays.

Positive Emotional Side Effects

Even though there were many positive physical side effects of going gray, I have to say that what really surprised me the MOST about going gray were all the positive emotional side effects.

And I got my first hint of this on the first night that I decided to stop dyeing!

I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that, on the night I finally decided to ditch the dye after years of dithering, I honestly felt like a huge weight had been taken off my shoulders.

I didn’t realize how much all that worrying and stressing about my roots showing was weighing me down until I stopped doing it.

Deciding to stop gave me a feeling of euphoria that lasted throughout my whole transition!

And honestly, that feeling hasn’t abated. I still feel great!

image of sunset with a young woman jumping for joy
Feeling free!

I’m not kidding when I say that going gray has been one of THE most LIBERATING things I’ve done in my life. I feel freer now than I have in years.

Going gray, despite my fears, and having it all turn out OK was also a good lesson to me.

It forced me to start thinking about other limiting beliefs I had – what else was holding me back – and to make positive changes in other areas of my life.

And I’m not alone in this – these positive emotional side effects happen to many other women! It’s one of the most popular topics in the gray hair Facebook groups because it is honestly one of the BEST side effects of ditching the dye.

And now on to #7, which could NOT have happened without the positive emotional side effects I experienced while going gray:

Going Gray Was a Catalyst for Other Changes

Those feelings of self-confidence, authenticity, and liberation had a HUGE impact on my life.

I started my gray hair transition about 3 years after a very stressful life event – the near death of one of my children. (He’s OK now, thank goodness).

image of woman with gray hair and her son with brown curly hair in a breeze
Me & My Now-Healthy Son

That event threw me into a depression and made my anxiety much worse. When I was feeling depressed and anxious, I did NOT feel like “me.”

I’d always been a pretty self-confident, creative, and happy person.

When I started my gray hair transition, I was starting to feel a little bit better but I still didn’t feel like myself, and my self-confidence was shot.

But let me tell you – there is no confidence booster on EARTH that is more powerful than having the guts to go to work every day – in LOS ANGELES – with a GLARING skunk stripe and multi-colored, fading dyed hair.

image of woman with white roots and fading dyed brown ends
Me and my big skunk stripe

I often laugh that if I could do that – I could do anything!

That confidence I got from going gray unleashed something in me – I felt more creative than I had in years.

I started this blog and, to everybody’s shock – including my own, it took off in just a few months!

I never dreamed that in my 50s I’d FINALLY find a career that would be interesting, creative, fun, and draw on all my strengths!

And I’m not alone in this – I’ve met many other silver sisters who started new careers after going gray – many of them became models, others started acting, and others went back to school.

It seems like going gray opens the creative floodgates for a lot of women!

And it forces other positive changes as well.

For example: By age 50, my artificially dark hair really overpowered my face – and I wore WAY too much makeup to try to match it,

But the silver hair really makes my skin glow, so I’m able to wear less makeup – and in lighter colors – and it is so much more flattering.

I also started exercising more and eating healthier.

And I started thinking harder about the chemicals that I put on my hair and in my body. So I started trying to move to mainly clean beauty and hair products.

Other women in the silver sister community have told me that they’ve experienced this as well. It is definitely one of the best side effects of embracing your gray strands, that’s for sure!


Ditching the dye and embracing your natural color is definitely not for everyone.

It takes time and patience, and you have to deal with the quite real cultural stigma against non-pigmented hair.

But if you are sick of worrying about having to get root touch-ups before your vacations… if you are tired of spending a lot of money at salon appointments….or if you are simply DONE with dye stains on your hands and chemicals on your head and you want to enjoy all the benefits I’ve listed above…then going gray might be for you!

Not sure if you’re ready – take my quiz to find out!

And if you have gone gray and you love the results, let me know in the comments below!

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  1. I started going gray after I retired from teaching May 2018. I am not quite completely gray. I have a lot of black hair on the back of my head. most of my gray is in front and sides behind my ears. It does not bother me one bit. I love that I don’t have to go get it dyed since then. I refused to cut it short and let the gray catch up. I love it just the way it is. I have followed Katie since 2018 when she first started going gray. Thank you for all the great ideas, products and words of encouragement.

  2. I started going grey in my late teens. I think in my early 30’s I put some temporary dye in for a second and did some low lights in my 40’s when I had short hair. But in general I’ve never gotten into the dye thing. I’m 64 now with long white hair. No one ever said it made me look old, in fact the opposite. For decades I’ve had women (and men) coming up to me grabbing onto me asking me about my hair. I have fine, wavy hair. About 15 years ago I stopped using shampoo, made a huge difference. I just rinse my hair with warm water every three days or so. It takes a couple weeks for your scalp to adjust but my hair just doesn’t get dried out and has a lot of body. I have no issues with discoloration etc. I also never use a blow dryer. The only time I use shampoo is when I’m in the ocean, hard to get the salt water out without a little shampoo. The best thing I’ve found for adding extra body/texture to my hair is Aveda Pure Abundance powder. It’s pricey but lasts for months. Anyway, glad women are finally putting down the chemical dyes and embracing their natural beauty!

  3. It’s been 5 months that I been letting my hair grow gray. My hair was almost destroyed from color and covid, when I was getting thinner and thinner I thought two things wig or stop coloring. I’ve colored for 46 years. I stopped cold turkey and decided to get my hair cut short I was surprised because I liked it and so did everyone else. Once I’m all gray I’m hoping to let it grow to medium length. I really need to know what’s a good shampoo and cream rinse. I use joico shampoo and cream rinse for color treated hair. I need something for natural gray hair. Does anyone have a good shampoo and conditioner for gray?

  4. I’m really considering going my natural color which I know has quite a bit of gray. Did you all just let it grow out, or did you have your hair stylist do any treatments to take the color out, or at least help the process so the roots were not so drastic?

    1. Hi, Julyn! I chose cold turkey as it was the best method for me (i.e., I just grew it out). But everyone’s different! Check out my post about How to Go Gray from Colored Hair for some tips on which method is best for you.

  5. My hair went white, not Grey at age 35 and every 2 weeks I needed a root touch up. I finally stopped dying it after open heart surgery, mainly because it was too painful to lift my arms up and I’m to cheap to have it dyed professionally. So now I’m totally white, hair is halfway down my back, with some SUPER white streaks down both sides framing my face. I don’t mean to brag, but it’s gorgeous!

    1. I let mine go too, & I was reddish brown before, & now my hair turned blonde, with white streaks, & I love it.

  6. I’ve been color free for years, and I let my hair grow very long. Gasp! But I have never had more compliments. Laura

  7. I’m 48 and the past few months, I’ve stopped coloring my hair. My gray is coming through and I’m anxious and excited. I have been noticing other women’s gray! I feel like speeding the process but, I don’t want to use highlights! It’s a constant struggle within me. I actually enjoy my gray and been paying attention more to my hair. Just need a ‘club’ for the support!!! Thank you. I’ve been taking pictures of the process now. Every month now.

  8. I dyed my blonde hair brunette for Years. When Covid hit, I stopped going to the salon. My natural hair came back a silvery blonde. It looks like I have highlights in it. I am 63, and love it. I get compliments on the color.

  9. I have had grey hair since my twenties. Both men and women comment how shiny and pretty my hair is. I used a Marc Anthony shampoo and let it 90% air dry then a bit of a blower. I am fair skinned and I love it short. I will be 69 this year and agree with your experiences. Rock on!!

  10. I let my hair go white 1and1/2 years ago and I love it. My best friend and husband did not want me to but Im so happy that I did. I’m 79 years old, so dying my hair was ridiculous. You can’t stop aging by dying your hair. I want to grow old gracefully.No more chemicals!

  11. Silver hair is sexy on a lady. Whenever I see a woman who has gone all silver, I will make it a point to compliment her on her hair. Most appreciate the compliments, I have had a few say that it was nice to get a compliment, rather than a rude comment, especially when they have long hair. One friend’s wife has beautiful long silver hair and she was getting comments that she was too old for long hair, her daughter has been hounding her to cut it short. She had not had it cut in over four years, as she got it cut too short at the salon. I told her that I could show her husband how to cut it for her, but she didn’t trust him with the shears. She did ask me to cut it for her, as my wife has long hair and I regularly trim hers. I agreed to cut it for her, I asked her where she wanted it cut, held up a tape measure and took a picture on her phone. Her ends had thinned out a lot, she wanted close to 10” taken off. After the haircut, her hair was just past her elbows, a blunt neat line that looked much fuller. She received a lot of compliments on her hair from people in the grocery store and out in public. So I would strongly encourage any lady who wants to grow her silver hair long to do so, it looks great, but do keep your ends trimmed so they don’t look straggly.

  12. Kim Procknow says:

    I liberated myself 2 years ago… one of the best decisions I’ve made. Last week I also completed a trek to the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro…who says a gray haired (63 year old) can’t do hard things. Take that those of you who dismiss gray hairs as less than or not quite capable. Woohoo!

  13. nancy lang says:

    I started almost 2 years ago. I was so sick of seeing my roots within 3 weeks. My hair is long, so I’m almost
    There, not quite! I will never turn back, I am a green eyed brunette also, my gray is so much prettier, matches my skin tone and people are Always commenting on my pretty eyes now. Best decision i made, only wish i had never colored to begin with. i guess o thought it just what everyone did . i decided also that my colored brown hair just looked silly, just like colored hair. just fake hair. to each their own, everyone is different. so glad i decided
    to be myself

    1. That’s wonderful, Nancy! So glad that you are happy with your decision 🙂

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