Silver Hair Transition Stories / February 17, 2019

Jojo’s Salt & Pepper Curls

Jojo is 36 and lives in London. She’s a life coach and public speaking trainer who started her silver transition in September 2017. You can find her silver hair account on Instagram at @saltandpeppercurls.

As a little girl I would don the rubber gloves and colour my mum’s hair with a box of L’Oréal no. 4 every few weeks.

I remember the stink of the dye, and the stress she felt if I missed a bit of the grey at her temples.

I told myself I would NEVER be enslaved in that way. When I started to go grey, I was going to let it happen without a fight.

Fast forward to my teens and my first greys started appearing.

Back then, I actually thought it was cool to have a few greys peeking out (oh for those confident days when I felt fully entitled to be myself!). I didn’t try to hide them.

However, like most teenagers, I did experiment with hair dye for fun, adding various shades of plum and russet that I now know looked terrible.

I honestly can’t tell you the point at which dyeing for fun became dyeing to cover the badger stripe at the top of my head.

It happened subtly, and almost unconsciously I found myself – in my twenties and then thirties –  in a routine of buying a box of dye and hanging my head over the bathtub; first once every couple of months, then once a month, and then every couple of weeks.

I recall catching sight of myself on camera during a conference call at work and thinking: “oh man, there’s that stripe, it’s terrible.”

Looking back, it was the stripe/contrast that I hated, more than the grey hair itself.

I’ve never really subscribed to the idea of having to look youthful in order to be beautiful, but I still fell into the trap of thinking that there was something wrong with my greying hair and I felt compelled to change it.

image woman dyed hair black curls
JoJo with Dyed Hair

A few years ago, in my early thirties, I went to see a colour consultant in London.

Her name was Morag and she was spectacular, with bright lipstick and a stunning, sleek silver bob.

In fact, a couple of years ago I told a live story about going to see Morag that I’d love you to watch if you’re interested in the power of colour to change your attitude to yourself and the world:

Anyway, as well as giving me the gift of lipstick, which genuinely changed my life, Morag also suggested that I ditch the dye and let my silvers shine.

Excited, but lacking confidence, I reached out to a couple of friends with the idea, looking for encouragement to do what I wanted to do.

I’m sure it won’t surprise you to hear that I was met with horror. I was going to look too old, it wasn’t going to suit me, the transition would be terrible, etc.

The wind came out of my sails and for the next few years, I continued buying bottle dye every couple of weeks, whilst at the same time becoming increasingly aware of the futility of my battle against the grey.

I felt inauthentic, especially when encouraging my clients to live their best, boldest lives   –  I’m a coach and public speaking trainer –  but I also felt caught on the merry-go-round of covering my roots.

It was a picture of the drop-dead-gorgeous @embracingthegrey on Instagram that finally convinced me to embark on the silver journey. (Strangely enough, her photo was shown to me by one of the friends who had been most staunchly against my transition when I first suggested it!)

Sabrinia had short curly hair that looked similar to mine and suddenly I could conceive of a future in which I could release myself from the slavery of the dye, and – hopefully – look good too!

That was almost a year and a half ago, and I have not looked back since. It’s been a weird time, for sure, and there have been moments of mourning, doubt, and surprise.

But I love the sense of authenticity and liberation I have found through making this transition.

I’ve stopped wishing that my hair was different and instead grown really curious about how I can make it look and feel happy and healthy.

** 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.**

And even though it’s not (artificially) shiny any more, it is softer and more moisturised than it has been since I hit puberty and the frizz kicked in.

I’m a huge fan of Cantu beauty products, and I’ve come to use ‘the Laura method’, both of which I learned about from my Insta community of silver sisters.

People talk a lot about the toxicity of social media, and how women can be so cruel to each other, but I have taken huge strength and joy from the women I have met online.

They are beautiful and bold and brave; they are gorgeous and kind and supportive; they are human and thoughtful and fun.

I have been so inspired by so many of them, and whenever anyone tells me that I am inspiring them on their journey, it fills my heart and puts a spring in my step.

So, THANK YOU so much Katie Goes Platinum, and your readers, for allowing me to share my story here.

Embracing your natural hair is not, for me, about looking a certain way. It’s about being a certain way; authentic, courageous, self-confident.

And the best thing? My mum has finally decided to ditch the dye too! She’s one month in and wearing a lot of hats right now, but I can already tell she’s going to look amazing.

image of woman salt and pepper curls

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All of the Instagram and other photos on this site are used with permission.

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7 Comments

  1. Debora Hoffmann

    You look so beautiful, Jojo! Love your short curly silvery ‘do. Thank you for sharing your journey. You’ve helped to inspire me to embrace my curls if my hair turns out to be curlier when it’s silver. And possibly embrace a shorter cut. Hmm . . .

    21 . Mar . 2019 Reply
  2. James Thomas

    Very powerful and inspiring word and things I never knew about you Jojo. You are right social media can be an awful place to be especially if your not feeling too great about life and yourself. But used in the right way it can be uplifting and supportive. Thank you for sharing and being so honest. I think your so brave and inspiring and I think your great.

    12 . Jan . 2019 Reply
    • Jojo Thomas

      Ahh, thank you my lovely one! 💋💋

      14 . Jan . 2019 Reply
  3. Michele @polished_grey

    You had me laughing and crying. Love you and your hair and the positive message to your silver sisters

    10 . Jan . 2019 Reply
    • Jojo Thomas

      Thank you so much beautiful! 😘

      14 . Jan . 2019 Reply
  4. Lisa Casas

    I absolutely love your hair—and YOU! Such an inspiration!

    10 . Jan . 2019 Reply
    • Jojo Thomas

      Gracias Lisa, that means a lot! 😘😘

      10 . Jan . 2019 Reply

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Katie

Katie is the founder of Katie Goes Platinum. After constantly dyeing her hair for over 25 years, in 2018 Katie decided to stop the madness and embrace the gray. Since then, she’s been sharing her favorite gray hair tips, resources, and stories to empower women to feel beautiful during and after their transition to gray hair.