Joli’s Silver Hair Journey
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I was 13 years old when I discovered my first gray hair.
Actually, my mom found it. I don’t really remember feeling any particular way about it.
My mom was “frosting” her salt and pepper then, and my dad was also salt and peppered, so I knew I would likely gray early because they both had. I’m not sure I ever really cared too much about it.
Many people commented on my tinsel and say, “you’re too young to have gray hair!” I eventually began to reply, “Evidently, my hair didn’t get that memo.”
I began coloring my hair with semi-permanent color (Shades EQ) when I was about 19.
It was really to just play with colors and my friend was a hair stylist so I let her have fun too. There weren’t any bright primary colors yet, about the craziest I ever had was extremely dark eggplant or cherry cola red.
At the age of 23, I went through a sudden and unexpected divorce, and my hair doubled in whites very rapidly. I noticed my streak over my left temple was showing more and more, at this point.
My trips to the salon became monthly for at least the next 10 years.
I even drove three hours to see my favorite colorist once I moved to Albuquerque, as I couldn’t find anyone there I trusted.
She eventually retired, and I started coloring it myself with a “natural” product from the organic grocery store.
I was in my 30’s by then and I really began to wonder what my natural color looked like.
THINKING ABOUT GOING GRAY
I had dinner with a group of women one night.
One woman had this gorgeous head of straight, A-line cut, salt and pepper hair. She was 40 years old and had never colored her hair.
I sat there throughout dinner thinking about how I wanted her hair. I wanted to know what I would look like. I kept thinking that I would probably look 40 and I was only about 33.
I practiced growing it out for several months at a time exploring what it looked like. The longest I went was six months.
I was at my chiropractor’s office. He was totally silver, but he was out for the day, so his dad was giving me my adjustment. When he got to the top of my head, he exclaimed, “what in the world are you doing with your hair???”
I told him I was thinking about stopping dyeing my hair.
He said, “Don’t even think about it, you are way too young, my wife still colors hers, and if she stopped I’d buy the dye myself.”
Beyond the fact that it was none of his business, and that he should not have said anything to me at all, I believed him.
I was so shocked and taken aback.
I picked up dye on the way home. I caved hard. I looked in the mirror at my roots and decided they were mousey gray and unattractive.
I began coloring again and continued until my white streak just wouldn’t hold color anymore.
GROWING OUT THE WHITE STREAK
I had my stylist highlight it and I grew it out while dyeing around it every three weeks with permanent red dye.
I was 37 and nearing 20 years of coloring my hair at least monthly if not more.
When my white streak had fully grown out about 18 months later, I LOVED it, and strangers would stop me to comment on my hair.
I’ll never forget this compliment: I had been in this store for about an hour when I went to check out the clerk looked at me and he said, “I hope you don’t mind me saying this, but I’ve been watching you since you came in and your hair is FIERCE!”
I said, “You mean my white streak?” He replied, “Nope all of it, the red, the white, the curls. You just ROCK!”
I then started collecting images on Pinterest. I had a board dedicated to “Locks!” Curly, red, silver, long, short, Yazemeenah Rossi, Cindy Joseph, and anyone else I could find.
Then I connected with Yazemeenah on Facebook. I had posted a picture of her walking with a horse and I stated that this was who I wanted to look like when I was silver. I tagged her, we became friends, and eventually, she came to New Mexico.
She stopped by for an afternoon visit. I feel bad, I kind of grilled her about her hair. She was very kind and gracious answering every question I had.
She too had found her first gray when she was 12 or 13; the only difference was…she NEVER touched her hair with dye. I told her I had been thinking I would wait until after I turned 40 to see what was under the dye.
She said to me, “why wait, you will never know what it looks like until you try.”
So I did. I colored my hair for the last time in February 2015.
GOING FROM DYED TO NATURALLY SILVER CURLS
For the first five months, I went gray cold turkey.
Then I had a gray blending done with low-lights. She was not supposed to touch the roots; however, she did in some places.
I was very unhappy because essentially I was back at square one.
In June, I had one of the worst chop job haircuts of my life. The good thing was, she cut off at least half the dyed ends.
From there I kept my hair regularly trimmed to my jawline, and by October 2016, I was completely transitioned. It took almost 20 months.
You can see my full transition video here: https://quicksilverhair.com/transition-to-silver/
MY FAVORITE PRODUCTS
I always recommend Acure Curiously Clarifying Shampoo and Conditioner. I say use it at least every ten days. Buildup is the enemy for white hair, especially.
I love this product so much, I recommend it so often, and so far only one person I know didn’t like it. They are Curly Girl Method friendly.
They are sulfate-free, silicone free, gluten free, all natural, smell delicious, and they work. I swear they bottle magic in the clarifying product.
Find the right moisture for your hair type: dry hair will equal damaged hair. It will be more prone to heat and sun damage than healthy moisturized hair.
I also created products to counteract the effects of yellowing from buildup:
QuickSilverHair Clay and Oil are made to soften and brighten gray hair. They were specifically designed by me, for silver hair, but can be used at any stage of your journey.
You can read more at QuickSilverHair.com
PRODUCTS I’M NOT CRAZY ABOUT
I know a lot of people use baking soda and apple cider vinegar, I know they usually love it, but a word of caution: baking soda is drying and apple cider vinegar can discolor white porous hair.
I rarely ever use purple shampoo, it is also made of dye, and I often just end up itchy.
I used Pinterest for images of silver curls and I collected inspiration.
I read How Bourgeois and Lauren’s transition every chance I got. Eventually, I joined The Silver Circle on Facebook; I call it the nicest place on the internet. Seriously, this group of women are the most supportive and kind group I have ever been in.
I actually ended up making a huge physical transition at the 9-month mark of my journey to silver: I had a complete hysterectomy.
It was a difficult decision to make but in the end, it was a really smart move. My surgeon who specialized in my condition, after my surgery said I only had a few more months before organ damage occurred.
You might be wondering how this connected to my hair, but I really started to feel myself stepping into a new me, a more authentic me, and this was one more step of me being me without something hanging over my head all the time.
GOING GRAY BENEFITS
The entire process of embracing my natural color hair also allowed me to embrace my natural place in the world.
Also, I have made some of the most beautiful and genuine friends because of The Silver Circle, something I never expected but that has profoundly changed my life.
I have usually kept to myself with an extremely limited circle of friends.
Who knew turning 40 and going silver would bring me such blessings from all over the globe?
Just do it.
We are sold a potion in a bottle made to make us believe it has magic powers to keep us looking youthful…it doesn’t.
You will never know what you have under your dyed hair until you let it spring forth.
The process is trying and it takes patience, courage, fortitude, and resilience.
In all honesty, I have now watched thousands of women transition into their natural color. Not one of those women looked older. Not one of those women looked worse.
In fact, they usually look softer, and their eyes look brighter, their skin looks perfect against their natural hair color, creating a beautiful masterpiece.
Mother Nature knows exactly what she is doing when she paints your skin, your eyes, and your hair…trust her.
Your hair is your hair. It is your choice how you present yourself to the world. Be you!
Finally, if you grow your hair out, you have zero dye left, and you absolutely just hate it, you know exactly what to do to get it the way you like it again.
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 shop on Amazon for all your gray hair needs:
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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.