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10 Mistakes NEVER to Make If You Want to Successfully Transition to Gray Hair

Going gray from dyed hair can be a liberating and fun experience but there are definitely some pitfalls to avoid if you want to have a smooth and successful transition. 

After all, if your gray hair journey goes smoothly you’re more likely to stick with it and reach your ultimate goal: a beautiful head of naturally silver hair. 

And if it goes badly? You might find yourself heading back to the dye bottle. 

Not that there’s anything wrong with that but, if your goal is to reclaim your natural color, that’s definitely not the outcome you want.

I recently polled my readers to find out what mistakes they regretted making while going gray, and we identified 10 that you’ll definitely want to avoid if at all possible.

Keep scrolling to get the tips, and – if you prefer video – make sure to scroll to the end of the post for the video version of this post.

pinterest pin of woman with gray roots

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The Top 10 Grey Hair Transition Mistakes

#1 – Listening to Your Friends’ Opinions

one woman with dark hair one woman with red hair and both are doing the thumbs down symbol and frowning

One of the biggest mistakes is listening to your friends’ opinions about your decision to go gray (or about how your transitioning hair looks).  

My advice?

Do not tell your friends that you’ve decided to go gray (or are thinking about going gray).  Just start your transition and move forward with confidence.

If that’s not an option (if it’s too late), at least don’t solicit their opinions.

Why? Because if they give you negative feedback, it can make you feel insecure about your own decision or even stop you from going gray altogether.

The best way to keep that from happening is:  don’t even mention that you’re transitioning. Just start doing it.

If your friends see that you’re going gray and decide to give you their unsolicited opinions about it, see the below scenarios for helpful responses that should (if they are polite people) keep them from making further negative remarks if they’re so inclined:

Scenario 1:

Friend: “I think your colored hair looks so much better. You’re going to look terrible if you go gray.”

You: “Well, I’m really happy about going gray and I just know I’m going to love it.”  

Scenario 2:

Friend: “Oh, are you going gray?”

You: “Yes I am. Isn’t it wonderful? I’m so excited.” 

That way you let them know right away you’re excited, and if they have an ounce of politeness in them, they will not give a negative opinion.

If they do give a negative opinion, the best thing to do is to say, “Well, I love it, and that’s really all that matters.”

If a friend persists in telling you her negative thoughts about your gray hair transition, you might just have to come right out and say, “I’m sorry, but the subject of my gray hair is off-limits.”

#2 – Not Understanding Your Going Gray Needs

young woman pursing lips and wearing a puzzled expression

Another common mistake women make when they go gray is not understanding themselves well; not understanding what they want or need from their gray hair transition. 

If you don’t know yourself very well when you choose a method of going gray you might choose a method that isn’t suited for your personality, your hair type, your pocketbook, or your temperament.

If you choose a method of going gray that doesn’t work for you, you’re going to have a negative experience.  

And if you have a negative experience, you’re more likely to give up and go back to the dye. 

There’s nothing wrong with going back to the dye, of course, but if you DO want to go gray, think about the reasons that you chose to go gray. 

  • Is it because of hair dye allergies
  • Is it because you’re just sick and tired of spending the time and the money? 
  • Is it because you’re tired of hiding a part of yourself? 

If you understand WHY you are going gray, it will make it much easier to do it with confidence. And if you have confidence, you’ll be less likely to cave on bad hair days or when you get negative feedback.

You also want to think about HOW you can go gray in a way that is comfortable for YOU. 

For example:

  • Do you want to keep your hair short or long? 
  • Do you want to go gray slowly or quickly?
  • What’s the condition of your hair? Is it healthy or is it damaged? 

These are just a few of the questions you should ask yourself before you go gray – believe me, you won’t regret it!

#3 – Not Researching Different Transition Methods

woman reading an ipad article about how to go grey

Each method of going gray has its pros and cons, so you need to decide which method has enough pros to make the cons worthwhile for you.  

Here are a few examples: 

Going gray cold turkey with long hair.  This is a fantastic method for somebody like me who did not want to cut her hair, did not want to keep dyeing it and did not want to go gray quickly.  But it’s a terrible solution for somebody who wants to go gray quickly and gracefully. 

Going gray with a buzz cut. This is a fantastic option for somebody who wants to go gray super quickly,easily, and inexpensively, but it’s a terrible option for somebody who hates the way she looks with short hair or would be traumatized by growing gray overnight.

Going gray with a salon transition. This is a great way to go gray if you have healthy and/or lighter-colored hair and you don’t mind spending a little money to transition. And also if you are happy with the idea of going gray quickly. 

But it is a terrible option for women who have severely damaged hair, very dark hair, or who would be traumatized by going gray quickly.  It’s also not a great option for women on a tight budget (due to follow-up visits and products).

These are just a few examples obviously, but it’s a good place to start. 

book cover gray haired woman with text every which way to gray

If you would like to find out more about all the different ways to go gray and their pros and cons, and guidance how to find the method that will work best for you, definitely make sure to check out my latest ebook, Every Which Way To Gray: Everything You Need to Know About Transitioning to Naturally Silver Hair. You can get $10 off for a limited time by using the coupon code KGP10.

Just remember, there’s not only one right way to go gray – but there IS a best way for YOU.  You just need to find it.

#4 – Discarding All Your Old Hair Products Immediately

woman with red curly hair and green shirt holding multiple hair products

A lot of women feel like they need to immediately discard all the products that they’ve been using on their dyed hair and start fresh with gray-friendly products. But that is NOT necessary.

If your current shampoo and conditioner are giving you the results that you want you can keep using them until they run out.

The only product that you might need to buy shortly after deciding to go gray is blue shampoo, and this recommendation is only applicable to brunettes who are going to go gray cold turkey. 

The reason is that as your brunette hair dye fades, it’s very likely to take on brassy tones and blue shampoo will neutralize those orange tones and make your hair look fantastic.  It will also brighten your gray roots, so that’s a cool bonus. 

If your hair is partially or fully gray, then you might want to think about getting a purple shampoo only if your gray hair is taking on yellow tones. If it’s not, you don’t need to worry about it.

And if it doesn’t bother you, you also don’t need to worry about it. 

But if you’re like me and the yellow tones bother you, you might want to consider getting a purple shampoo, using it maybe once a week, and always following up with a deep conditioner because purple shampoo can tend to be drying. 

I actually prefer to use the Bold Uniq shampoo and conditioner because when you use them together, there’s no need for a deep conditioner. It’s very, very moisturizing.

#5 – Sticking With an Unsupportive or Inexperienced Hair Stylist

hairdresser giving a consultation to woman in salon chair

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One of the best ways to derail your gray hair transition is by sticking with a stylist who reacts super negatively to your desire to go gray. 

If that happens, it’s best to start looking for a new stylist because, believe me, it’s a very rare instance where you can actually convince them that this is the right choice for you. 

You don’t need that kind of negativity or judgment in your life. It’s already a big leap of faith to decide to go gray in our culture, so you want somebody who’s going to support you and figure out ways to help this transition go easily for you. 

You want a stylist who is not only supportive and encouraging but also (if you want to go gray AT the salon), experienced in dealing with gray hair transitions.

Hint: A reputable salon that does gray hair transitions will not take you on as a client if they feel that your hair is too damaged.

So you’ll want to make sure they give you an appointment in advance where they can check out your hair, check out how damaged it is (if it’s damaged at all), and also how dark it is because the darker the hair, the harder it is to transition via salon methods and the more damage that can occur because of bleaching. 

See my Gray-Friendly Salon Directory to find a salon near you. Note: Not all of them offer salon transitions to gray, but they ALL are gray-friendly.

If you want a salon transition to gray (via gray blending, etc.), make sure to call the salon first to confirm that they can do that for you.

#6 – Tossing Out Old Clothes and Makeup Too Quickly

young woman cleaning out closet and looking at a yellow shirt

A lot of women toss out their favorite clothes and makeup products after they decide to go gray because they assume that their favorite colors will no longer flatter them once they go gray.

But that’s not necessarily true.

You might find that your color choices stay the same, or you might find that certain colors look better on you now that you’re going gray.

But you really won’t know for sure until ALL your dye is cut off. So don’t jump the gun and get rid of your favorite colors until you’re completely transitioned.

#7 – Not Protecting Your Newly Silver Hair From Yellowing

woman with yellowing gray hair and the text THIS is yellowing
shinyhappysilvers.com

Not everybody will get yellow tones in their gray hair, but women with fine gray hair are more prone to it so – if that describes you –  you might want to try to forestall any yellowing as soon as you can. 

Here are a few quick tips:

Invest in an AquaBliss Shower Filter. They are very easy to use and they have replaceable cartridges that filter out harmful particles & infuse healthy minerals to reduce the negative effects of hard water.  

Protect your hair from the sun. You can do this by using a UV protectant along with a UPF hat

Protect your hair from the heat. In other words, if you are using a hot tool, make sure you always use a thermal protectant to avoid heat damage.

Use a clarifying shampoo once a week to remove product build-up.  

Those are just a few ways you can protect your gray hair from yellowing. For more tips, see my full article on how to prevent and treat yellowing gray hair.

#8 – Not Seeking Support

lonely woman sitting at a restaurant looking out window

As we all know, going gray can be an isolating experience since most of our friends still dye their hair.

So one of the number one things to do is to find a gray hair support group

I can’t overstate how important this is, and there are support groups out there for everybody

For example:

  • There are support groups for women with curly hair going gray 
  • There are support groups for women who DO NOT like to wear makeup and are going gray
  • There are support groups for women who DO like to wear makeup and are going gray. 

Some groups are more pleasant than others. Some groups have very stringent rules. Other groups hardly have any rules. Which one you choose is up to you.

Finally, if you have supportive friends or family members, spend more time with them during your transition than your friends who are unsupportive or negative.

Believe me, having support will make your transition to gray hair so much more pleasant.

#9 – Not Being Gentle With Your Gray Hair

woman with long gray hair and white t-shirt holding hairbrush

Natural gray hair is a bit more fragile than colored hair and it has a lot less elasticity, so you need to be a little more gentle with it. 

Here are a few ways to be more gentle with your gray hair.

Sleep on a silk pillowcase. I was a little skeptical about the idea of using a silk pillowcase at first, but it really does help. 

When you use a silk pillowcase, your hair glides softly across the pillow at night as opposed to getting all bunched up, so when you wake up in the morning you have less frizz, fewer tangles, and fewer split ends.

For more info, see my video all about why silk products are fantastic for hair and skin:

Before air-drying or blow-drying your hair, make sure to wrap it up first in either a microfiber towel or a t-shirt towel and let it dry for about 10 to 15 minutes. And when you’re ready to move on to the next step of your styling process, instead of vigorously rubbing your damp hair with your towel, take the towel and just kind of gently squeeze your hair with the towel to remove excess moisture.

If you absolutely must use blow dryers, flat irons, or other hot tools, make sure to always use a heat protectant first and to put your heat tool on the lowest possible setting, or even better, at the no heat setting because this will protect your hair from yellowing and it’ll also stop hair breakage.

#10 – Giving Up On Your Gray Hair Too Quickly

woman-unhappy-gray-hair-transition

I know it takes some effort, but if you can, be patient and wait until ALL of the color is cut off before you decide whether or not you like your particular shade of gray hair, or decide whether you have enough grays to do this.

It’s impossible to predict what your gray hair will look like while you still have dyed hair on your head as the dyed hair reflects off of your unpigmented hair and muddies your perception of what your hair will look like and how much unpigmented hair you actually have.

If you wait until all the dye is cut off and you’re still not happy, you might want to wait a few weeks to make absolutely sure that’s really how you feel because you’ve put a lot of time and effort into going gray. 

If you wait a month and you still hate the color of your hair, you don’t have to be stuck with it. 

You can either go back to the dye, which there is no shame in doing at all, or you try to figure out a way to make it work for you.

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Conclusion

I hope this article was helpful to you and that you have a super successful transition to your natural hair color.  

Just remember, if you made some of these common gray hair transition mistakes, don’t fret! 

Please share some of your favorite transition tips, tricks, and mistakes to avoid in the comment section below. 

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!

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2 Comments

  1. Katie:
    I have followed exactly what you mentioned, before I knew about you, I had read do not go gray if you dyed your hair. So, what I did was let my hair go gray first, then I could not believe how great it looked without doing any dying, anything else, I do wash my hair with a good shampoo and conditioner, some people I know could not believe how well my hair looked going gray and how good I looked going gray. I will be honest, I was a little scared going gray, because I didn’t think I would look good at all, well I went gray and I get so many comments on how great I look going gray. Believe me, I was so relieved to know it looked good on me and how great the hair came out going gray. Thank you so much for your articles about going gray and for your interest in all who go gray. God Bless you Katie, again I am so glad I let it go gray and I do feel comfortable with the look it gives you after you go gray. Thank you again Katie, take care and keep up the articles on going gray.

    Carol Duffert

    1. Thank you, Carol! I love hearing from you – it makes my day!

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