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10 Proven Ways to Make Your Cold Turkey Gray Hair Transition Fun!

Inside: 10 Ways to make your cold turkey gray hair transition easier & fun.

Going gray cold turkey (i.e., without help from a salon) is a popular way to transition to gray hair as it is inexpensive and doesn’t damage your hair.

I personally find the cold turkey gray hair transition fun, but I know not every woman feels that way, so here are 10 ways to help you get through it!

However, some of you did not choose to go gray cold turkey; instead, you may have had an allergic reaction to dye, or perhaps there was another medical issue that caused you to forego hair color.

Or some of you may have chosen to forego hair dye because you are adopting an all-natural lifestyle.

Or, perhaps you did choose to go gray cold turkey, but some days you wake up and look at your hair, and just feel “blah” about it.

So, read on for some tips & tricks to put a little more fun back into your cold turkey gray hair transition!

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1. Join the silver hair community on Facebook.

You will find a lot of women here who are going through the same cold turkey gray hair transition as you, and there is a lot of encouragement and support! It really made a difference for me, and for a lot of the silver sisters I’ve met.

I can’t overstate how much it helps to engage with other women who are going through the transition to gray hair.

2. Create a “gray-only” Instagram account.

In other words, an Instagram account that is solely meant to document your gray hair transition.  It’s a great way to connect with other silver sisters and it’s fun to see everyone’s progress.

Need some inspiration? Check out my list of 17 Gray Hair Instagrammers to follow!

3. Experiment with lipstick and clothing colors.

Make your cold turkey gray hair transition fun by experimenting with colorful lipsticks

You might be surprised to find that you now look great in colors that you couldn’t wear before!

A lot of women report that the neutral colors they favored before make them look a little washed out now that they’ve gone gray.  Have some fun and try something new.

4. Can’t stand seeing your demarcation line? Hide it!

You can use root powder, or you can do what many women do and try headbands, scarves, and hats to cover your growing-out roots.

I mean, look at these lovely ladies from Instagram below.  They are having fun and looking stylish and, in some cases, hiding their roots!

Note: All of the Instagram and other photos on this site are used with permission. Please show your support to these awesome gray hair influencers by following them on social media. You’ll be inspired, I promise. ❤️

5. Adopt a “Screw It!” attitude.

Advantages: it’s free and once you adopt a “screw it” attitude towards your nutty calico hair color (or skunk stripe or whatever you call it), you will find that there are a number of things in your life that you may want to change as well.

I haven’t read this yet, but my librarian sister recommended this book (pardon the language!) and the title says it all.

I have better things to worry about than if someone thinks my transitioning gray hair looks crappy.  It’s very liberating to adopt this attitude – I recommend it!

6. Take selfies and track your progress.

It’s fun to watch your hair change. If you were a dark brunette like me, it feels crazy and exciting to watch your hair get lighter.

“Who IS this woman?!”, you will exclaim to your reflection in the mirror.

So, make sure to take photographs and learn how to use a good photo app (like PicCollage) to create beautiful collages so you can track your progress. You’ll be glad you did!

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7. Watch Gray Hair Influencers on YouTube.

There are so many gray hair videos on YouTube, with loads of good tips for getting through your cold turkey gray hair transition happily and stylishly.  I find these ladies inspirational. 

Here are a few of the videos that I’ve found helpful:

Elisa in Montreal’s “Going Grey Is Not A Trend

Monique Parent’s “How To Survive Going Gray: The First Year: Tips, Tricks & Hacks

Nikol Johnson’s “My Gray Hair Journey

8. Take a little of the money you were going to spend at the salon, and treat yourself to something different.

Have you ever heard of Persephone Books?  They specialize in reprinting fiction and non-fiction by mid-twentieth century female authors.

Not only do they pick outstanding writers, but each book is bound in a lovely light gray (!) jacket with a beautiful faux-fabric endpaper.

I don’t live in the U.K. so it is cheaper for me to buy their books through AbeBooks.com.  Two of my favorites by Whipple are High Wages and  Someone at a Distance.

Don’t feel like buying a book? There are a million other things you can spend your well-earned money on: frivolous things like pedicures, manicures, facials.

Or, sock that money away and go on a vacation!  There are so many better ways to spend our time and money than spending hours on a Saturday coloring our hair.

9. Learn to enjoy the shocked reactions of the people around you!

I was at a restaurant at lunch today, and a man was staring so hard at my hair that he walked into a table! WHAM!

And what’s really funny is that this is not the first time something like this has happened since I started going gray. Some people CANNOT believe that a woman would walk around with half-gray hair, and it’s hilarious when you catch them being OPENLY PERPLEXED!

10. Avoid negative or rude people!

For gosh sakes, you don’t have to put up with that.  If you have someone who is being negative about your gray hair transition, it might be time to give that friendship a break.

Be around friends and family who support you in your decision to go gray.  Time is precious and it’s better to spend time around people who love and support us.

Video: 10 Tips for Going Gray Fearlessly


I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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:

7 Weird Things That Happen When You Go Gray!

To Hell With Going Gray Gracefully!

What Does it Mean to be a Silver Sister?

Gray Hair Before & After

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  1. Rose Woolley says:

    Hi Katie,
    This past winter I asked my hair dresser to help me transition to my natural hair. I have been coloring my hair from brown to blonde to cover the grey which has been coming in strong for years. So I decided it was time to stop the dying and go all natural. But, what I did not expect was for hair dresser to blow me off about the transition. So I cut the cord with her and found another hair dresser that was all about stopping the dye!! So she told me to begin using purple shampoo and conditioner. Well, I do like whats happening so far. We also added some highlights for texture. Three weeks and my hair looks great so far! I’m going to check out the You-tube video you provided, Thanks!

    1. Hi, Rose! I’m so glad you ditched your unsupportive hairdresser and found one who could help you go gray! She sounds like a keeper. You’ll have such a better transition with her on your side. Best of luck to you!

      1. Harriet Scaglione says:

        I went cold turkey. My hair was very dark and when it started growing in I was white not silver. My natural color now is platinum white. I use Oribe Silverati shampoo for white and silver hair only. It keeps my hair shiny. I love my hair. It was worth the 2 years it took to go out.

  2. Alicia Baldwin says:

    For women that were blondes or with light brown hair what works really well are some professional highlights sort of woven into the gray & white hair. Even as it grows out it looks cool. This only works for women with a light color base. It is a bit expensive. No amateur stylists.

  3. Hi Katie – I’m so glad I found your blog! I’ve been letting my hair go grey since the pandemic began (I’m 59, and my last hair color was in February.) It’s growing out, but slowly. That said, I feel really happy about my decision to let it go grey. It’s so liberating! My natural hair color was a little brownish, but I’ve been coloring it a blondish-brown for years. Now that it’s growing out, the grey at the crown looks really pretty and silvery, but the hair that still has color is fading to a yellow-ish tone, and there’s still a pretty obvious line of demarcation. The area I find most unflattering is the “back part” in the back of my head where my hair kind of splits apart, revealing a hefty amount of scalp in my relatively fine hair. I’ve wondered about trying a purple shampoo to brighten the grey and maybe mask some of the yellow in the part that still has color in it. What do you think? Any brands of shampoo/conditioner that you think work well for people who are transitioning from dark blonde to grey? My hair is shoulder length and pretty fine. Thanks in advance for your advice!

    1. Hi, Alison! So glad you are enjoying the blog.
      If your hair has blonde and grey, I would recommend the Pantene Pro-V. Click the link to read my review. Don’t use it more than once a week, though, or your hair can get a purple tinge. I personally only use it once a month or so. good luck!

      1. I went from brunette to gray cold turkey, but it was at the start of the pandemic. I could have done my own hair color, but decided it was a great time to do it – I wasn’t going anywhere, anyway. And I was 73 – had to do it sometime…. I have chin length hair, and it took about 18 mos. total. I did have a demarcation line. If I was going somewhere, I used a temporary color spray on the top gray part. After a few months the former colored lower sections really started to fade. I continued using the spray – a lighter brown, and blended with the faded ends. I am fortunate to still have the same texture and shine with my gray. I still have more dark in the back (graying always starts in the front at the temples), and still use the spray in the front from ear to ear, 3 x quickly – because I feel it’s too white in the front when I’m going out somewhere. A quick brush, and it gives just a very slight streaking. The spray color washes out with the next shampoo, although it may be adding to a slight brassy tone, so I use a purple shampoo. I am so glad I did it! Have had many compliments, even from total strangers!

    2. Hi Alison R,
      I hope you will see this reply.
      You mentioned seeing a split in your fine hair in the back and I’ve had the same situation all my life.
      One thing that helped me is to buy those little silver hair clips – the one hairstylists use to separate hair while cutting.
      After towel drying your hair, use a few clips to selectively clip sections of hair together in the crown/back of head area. Basically forcing hair to dry together in a different pattern so the scalp doesn’t show. Then air dry or blow dry, removing clips when done. This was life changing for me – it also creates great volume. Hope you get to try it!


  4. Thank you so much for this blog? I have been researching transitioning to grey for over a year and just had my last coloring on my hair this week. I am in my late 50s with shoulder length hair and after reading lots of articles and watching lots of videos I am opting to go “cold turkey”. I am going too keep a journal of this journey. I am very excited and am going into this next chapter gracefully.

  5. Suzie Crowley Giles says:

    Hi Katie’ I’ve been thinking about stopping colouring my light blond hair (coloured from darker blond) for a long time – at least a couple of years – as the roots that come through in between colours are a really lovely silver. I’ve discussed it with my hairdresser and (of course) he has discouraged me from letting it grow out. Now we’ve been in lockdown for over six weeks, and I was due for a colour before lockdown happened, I’ve got a good inch and a half of silver and to be honest it doesn’t even really look as if there are roots…it blends in with my coloured light blond! I’m tempted to put a silver all-over colour on but would rather not. The problem is that I wont be cutting the colour off as I like my hair long. What do you think about puttling a silver on it?

    1. Hi, Suzie! I haven’t heard of too much success from people trying to color their hair silver at home. If your hair is blending nicely on its own, I would just leave it. You’re one of the lucky ones! I’ll check around and if I can find anything that people say DOES work, I’ll write back. GOod luck!

  6. Annette Clark says:

    Well I’ve decided today that I’m not going to color my hair dark blonde anymore,I’m completely switching to going silvery gray, I already have the salt and pepper look, so once I have a color kit ,I will do it and make that change, I’ve hid it long enough,time to embrace it and give myself a late birthday gift.

  7. Susan Brockmann says:

    Here we are in the middle of the Covid19 shut -in so obviously I haven”t been able to have my hair touched up. My hair is naturally very dark and very curly. I have been getting blond highlights for the last 5 years. The curls help hide the dark hair underneath. I would say my gray is only about 1/4th over most of my hair but on the sides around my ears it is almost all gray. I would like to go natural but I don’t know how it would look when it is so salt and pepper over most of my hair and all still dark at my neck and about 1/3 of the way up my head.. My dad didn’t go all gray until he was in his mid 80’s. So far I seem to be following in his footsteps. I’m 72 and my hair is still mostly dark brown. Truthfully I don’t know what to do. I feel like I may be salt and pepper for the nest 5-10 years. Should I let my hair go natural or continue to get blond highlights? Anyone else have this problem?

    1. Hi Susan, I too have curly brown hair with highlights. I have not colored my roots in two months. The right side of my head is much more silver than my left (ala Cruella DeVille)! So far the back doesn’t seem as grey as the top either. I’m still going for the cold turkey grow out. I have shoulder length hair and would like to keep the length but I’m not afraid to cut it really short either. We’ll see. It’s easy to be brave at home during this shut down. I go back to work in August, that’s when I’ll see how brave I really am. So far I’m getting a kick out of it. You should try it…you can always color it again.

  8. I’ve been reading all these posts. I have colored my hair for years. I’m 72. About8 years ago I let it go gray after looking at many pictures of beautiful gray haired ladies. My hair is a pretty almost platinum gray. I found my self in a love/hate relationship with it. Some days thinking I would have to get in and get some color or I’d die. Truly hating it. Then I’d find myself saying it’s ok with a lot of self talk. I, too, was always looking at people’s hair and judging my own. Eventually went back to coloring about 4-5 years ago and really do love my color. Now I’m back to really wanting to give up the 2 hour salon visits, not to mention the outrageous amounts of money I spend.( sounding very fickle to me as I write this} So…. I’m finding myself back out here trying to get the mind set to accept my hair and my age. ( I still work part time and for the most part with much younger women. DUH!)

    1. It’s definitely a struggle many of us have coped with, Robyn! You’ll know when it’s the right time for you again – and don’t beat up on yourself as our culture doesn’t make it easy to accept our grays! Just thinking about going gray again is already a rebellion 🙂

  9. I’m thinking about transitioning. Less than a year from retirement so thinking of waiting until after that. Worried between the frizziness and the stark white (not gray) i will look like a hot mess. Any suggestions how to tame the frizzes?

    1. Hi, Laura – I like a little argan or coconut oil to tame the frizzies. The BTWCO hair serum is also excellent!

  10. Cee Cee Anzaldi says:

    I want to do this however, I have naturally unruly, thick, curly, hair which if left alone (although it hasn’t been for the last, oh say 30 year in one desperate attempt to tame it or another) was when last seen quite wiry. I have been blessing Keratin treatments for the last few years that have given me the freedom and ability to wear my hair the way I like it, not pin straight but with body, waves and lots of shine. My hair has gone from dark chestnut brown to dyed dark brown that looks black, but is in reality a silvery white. I love it long but recently (as in yesterday) cut it fairly short to begin transitioning it. Short because in my impatience I used effasol to remove the color (it’s a mild bleach mixed with water) and tho it didn’t touch the seriously overlapped demi permanent color I had been using, it turned the only slightly abused hair a lovely orangey red stripe with about a quarter to a half inch white stripe down the center. The problem is it is now heading into summer ie humidity here on the east coast (I live near the beach), and my new bangs will soon shrink to new heights. I can’t handle the change in length, (about a foot), color(s) and frizz all at once. Official color correcting is financially not feasible because as it turns out here in the Boston area it’s a car payment (or two). So, decisions decisions. My hairdresser friend that has been cutting it for years at my home has suggested heavy foiling to blend it all in thus making it easier to transition, but since he doesn’t charge me I have to wait til he’s free. My thought is to color just the 2 tone red and white til he can do it, then keratin it to get thru the summer heat and go for it in the fall. What a journey!

    1. Wow! That’s a lot to go through but it’s great that you have a hairdresser friend on your side. Best of luck to you – you sound like the kind of person who will have fun with the transition, which will make it easier! 🙂

  11. Gail A Whitman says:

    I have been coloring my hair for over 40 years. The hairdresser I had been using went out of business so I am taking the opportunity to finally take the plunge and go natural. I have found a wonderful hairdresser that comes to my house to help me with the transition. Luckily my hair is fairly short so we are just going to keep doing cuts until I am all gray. I am about 4 months into the process and am not hating the way it is growing in. Turns out my hair is a really nice silver color. I love that I found this site to get tips and support. Thank you

    1. Gail, so glad you found this site, too! It’s great that you have a supportive hairdresser. That makes all the difference!

  12. I’m 7 weeks dye free. Eight years ago I dyed my brown hair black. I love the black but upkeep went from 6 weeks to 5 weeks to 2. After 20 years of dyeing my hair, I’m ready to stop being a slave to it. With gray being an “in” color, I’m excited to see what my hair will look like in a few months. The best part about this is that my husband completely supports me. Thank you for your blog. I love women who are for women!

    1. Lisa, thank you for your kind words! And so glad you have a husband who supports you. It makes all the difference!

  13. Wow I’m over a year in and as a African American opting out of perms as well the struggle is real,Yet Thanks for your much needed insight?

    1. Christina Johnson says:

      What’s the best approach for blah grey hair? I have been coloring my hair for about 34 years a medium red. When I previously tried to stop coloring; it was an ugly grey with a brassy tone. I would like to try again STOP coloring. Any ideas ? Thanks.
      Çhrìstìña J.

      1. Hi, Christina: How long did you wait to decide that your gray was a blah color? You can’t tell what the gray is going to look like until it’s pretty well grown out (because gray hair is basically translucent and reflects the colored hair around it – so if you still have a lot of dye left, you can’t really get a good idea of what it will look like). I couldn’t tell what mine was going to look like until it was almost halfway down my face. But if your gray grows out and you don’t like the color, check out Monique Parent’s videos on YouTube. She sometimes uses products like Manic Panic to enhance the whiteness of here hair – it creates a great contrast!

      2. I was seriously Ill just over 2yrs ago still kept dying my hair until I had a final operation last February decided I cant be bothered to dye it any more. Had dark hair it is now mainly gray the top long layer is still half and half but the dyed dark section has lightened. My hair dresser is amazed that I haven’t dyed my hair and is encouraging. I am 65 and I think it does make you look older but most think I am younger than my husband when I am 5yrs older. I cant be bothered to dye my hair my husband doesn’t dye his!

  14. Elaine Fotinos Burrell says:

    Katie, I just want to thank you for sharing your journey and offering these fun articles to read! I’m only about 6 weeks in, and am very inspired by you and the other ladies. It’s good to keep the fun and the humor in it, and I appreciate that about you! I’ll continue to follow and I will share pics when I am ready, a little farther along…thank you!

    1. Thank you, Elaine! I really appreciate your sweet words. ❤️ . I’ll look forward to seeing your pix!

  15. i have been growing out my gray for 7 months now. On the drive home from my last color appointment in June 2018, I just knew that was it for me. Cold turkey. I’ve gotten a short cut, which I admit is still a bit of a shock to my system, as I’ve been a long hair girl my entire life, but my hair is so healthy now. Fuller and seriously new growth all around my hairline. It’s crazy. I probably have another cut or two to go and all the remaining color, about 2” will be gone. It’s so freeing. And I feel authentic. I’m 60. Seriously. We all know there was silver under that dye! Lol. My husband and daughter love it. And I get more compliments than I have in the last five years. Who knew!?

  16. i have been growing out my gray for 7 months now. On the drive home from my last color appointment in June 2018, I just knew that was it for me. Cold turkey. I’ve gotten a short cut, which I admit is still a bit of a shock to my system, as I’ve been a long hair girl my entire life, but my hair is so healthy now. Fuller and seriously new growth all around my hairline. It’s crazy. I probably have another cut or two to go and all the remaining color, about 2” will be gone. It’s so freeing. And I feel authentic. I’m 60. Seriously. We all know there was color under that dye! Lol. My husband and daughter love it. And I get more compliments than I have in the last five years. Who knew!?

    1. Vicki, that’s great! I keep asking myself, “Who knew? too! I wish I had known sooner, but at least we eventually did get to find this out!

  17. I was in the local coffee shop the other day and the darling cashier said she loved my hair! I haven’t dyed it in 8 weeks and my gray is underneath, and around my face. I thanked her and then she said the most precious thing. Each gray hair is your wisdom showing. 🙂 Stinkin Adorable.

      1. I’m 51 years young and and have an inch or so of silver grow out on my long dyed medium blond mop. I was checking a customer out at the the diner the other day (my hair was pulled back from my face so my silver was glowing) and as I took the ladies card she said “I just love your hair! Who does that color for you?” I had to laugh and told her the truth of the matter and that she was the “shot in the arm” I need because I had just been doubting my choice to go grey the day before. She came along just in time to give me the encouragement I needed to continue the journey.
        Thank goodness for those bits of sunlight in our paths and thank you for sharing your transition and tips!

  18. Silverilocks says:

    Great tips, especially the Persephone books idea. Love that!

    1. So glad you loved that! I love Persephone books – they are the best!

  19. Carole Tish says:

    I treated myself to more expensive stylists 🙂 Weirdly found them very interested and excited by what i was doing.
    I actually sat in the stylists chair last Tuesday, surrounded by women getting their grey roots covered. I felt quite empowered and very much going my own way.
    I also bought accessories and stuff ?

    1. Carole, those sound like good ideas (better stylists and buying accessories!) . It really does make you feel liberated when you are one of the only women in the salon chair not trying to hide these beautiful silvers! Good for you!

  20. Fab advice Katie. I am also going cold turkey! In for a penny, in for a pound as we say in ?? And am going to save money on dye to put towards a holiday for a BIG birthday in 2021…!
    I worked at University College London in Bloomsbury for a number of years and would often drop into Persephone Books. It’s a beautiful shop x

    1. I like your plan, Claire!

      I’m jealous that you’ve been to Persephone Books! I’ll have to make it over there some day – love them!

  21. Michele Tovaraz says:

    Hi Katie
    This is my first comment, but I love reading and rereading your blog. It certainly has helped me as I’m just beginning this fantastic journey. Recently I’ve had an

    1. Thanks, Michele! I’m so glad the blog is helping you! Your comment got cut off, so I hope you can write back 🙂

      1. Michele Tovaraz says:

        I was saying I had an ‘aha’ moment of sorts..my middle name is Treasure (my Mom’s name) and it occurred to me that I’ve been burying my treasure under dye. It’s silly, I know, but it’s meaningful to me the I’m slowly uncovering my silver treasure.

        Thanks Katie

        Sincerely, Michele Polished_grey

        1. That’s not silly at all – I think a lot of us have had that feeling ❤️! I love it and what a great middle name, by the way!

          1. Rebecca McCormick says:

            What a long strange trip this has been! I tried for three years before I was finally able to not dye.
            My hair is past my waist long and I will be at year 2 in January. I am still quite calico, but, wow my hair is growing like crazy! I Had a salon dye at about month three to blend it a bit.
            I love my silver and grey and dark new hair, but still sometimes fuss about “the bottom mess” to myself. My hair is so much thicker, and healthier and grows much faster.
            I have had a lot of compliments about my ombre. Lol.
            I’ve worn lots of buns, avoided mirrors and well, I feel like I am getting there. Thank you for being supportive.

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