Silver Hair Transition Stories / November 28, 2020

Jonie’s Personal Silver Revolution

Inside: My interview with Jonie Peck, the founder of Silver Revolution, about her gray hair transition.

Jonie, how old were you when you discovered your first gray hair, and how did you feel about it?

I noticed my first gray in my early 20’s! I felt embarrassed and wanted to cover it up immediately.

I recently calculated that I spent over $40,000 in just hair color alone. It never even occurred to me what my natural hair color was.  It was ingrained in me to cover it up, regardless of the money and time wasted.

How many years did you dye?

I’m 53 now, so I guess nearly 30 years. 

I went to the salon every 6-8 weeks and did a box root touch-up between salon visits. I would never have dreamed of showing my silvers.

Can you tell us a little bit about why you decided to go gray?

I started,  maybe three years ago, really thinking about all the money and time that I was spending on dyeing my hair. It was my husband, Garrett, who encouraged me not to be pouring all those toxins on my head.

image of woman with dyed dark hair
June 2017 – Just a few silvers showing!

I’ve been dyeing since my early 20’s. I’ve been dyeing mostly an auburn color. I’ve always had longer hair. 

My hair has always been my crowning glory. My mom used to call it my best feature, really. When I told my friends that I was thinking about going gray, they said, “No way. You will never, ever last.” 

Once I made the decision, it was a journey, let me tell you!

I thought that I could go gray in a day, no matter how much I read on blogs and videos where they said that dark brunette hair was the hardest shade to go gray.

I thought, “Oh, well, no, my hair’s different.” 

I worked with a colorist. She was fantastic. I had about five inches grown out, so she put foils all over my hair and bleached it and toned it, and 10 hours later, I walked out of there.

It looked pretty decent, but it was a mess after one wash. I looked like a green sea monster.

Oh no. I’ve heard about that.

Yeah. I was so ashamed and horrified. It really made me think about my relationship with my hair and how emotionally tied I was to my hair. 

It looked absolutely terrible. I couldn’t stand it, and so I went back to brown. Not only did I have to start over, but the damage to my hair was awful.

December 2017 – shortly after the Sea Monster incident

My hair texture was never the same. My hair literally would fall out in clumps in the shower. I lost about a quarter of my hair, honestly.

I know everyone has their journey, but if I could save one person from not bleaching and ruining their dark hair, I’m going to. It’s easier for lighter haired women to bleach because their hair is used to bleach, but my hair was not used to bleach.

It totally destroyed my hair.

After that, I thought, “Okay, no more anything. I’m going to just go cold turkey,” but I had this orange-y color where the brown was, so I worked with my colorist about three or four times. She just dyed the ends dark.

I had all this red and orange color on the ends, and all this dark and silver coming in because my hair is really dark in some places and really light in other places. When I had the orange, it looked terrible.

So that was a real help, keeping the ends dyed dark.

How did your friends/family make you feel about your gray hair? 

My husband encouraged me every step of the way. 

Some of my best friends, not so much.  Some friends my age and older were horrified and just knew I would cave in and dye it! But my younger friends were HUGE supporters. 

My kids were very cool to the idea at first, but now love the fact that I went against the social norms that women face with ageism and dyeing and embraced my authentic hair color. 

I honestly thought more of my friends who dye would jump on board with me, but I think the older you are, the harder it is to stop the dye.   I’ve had a few admit they wish they stopped dyeing years ago when they were younger, which I think is interesting.

Yeah. Hair is such a part of your identity. There’s a whole lot of psychological stuff wrapped up in our hair, so don’t ever feel bad about being concerned about your hair. It’s probably one of the first things you notice about somebody, don’t you think?

Yeah, definitely. That’s why this transition is so hard for most people and why we’ve seen such an influx of members in the Silver Revolution group since the pandemic hit. We’re up to over 15,000 members!

I know. It’s grown a lot.

It’s unbelievable. In just two years!

I’m sure some will trail off once they get back to their salon {after the pandemic}, but that’s fine. They’re just not ready for the journey. 

Anyway, once I made the decision, I was so inspired by all the beautiful silver-haired model that I just thought, “That’s my color. I’m going for it. Silver is in. It’s my time. Let’s do it.” 

image of woman with gray roots
December 2019 – still some damage on the ends

I’m about two years and nine months into the transition right now. I still have some brown dye on the ends.

I’m just going to let it grow. I’m not going to cut it anymore. I don’t need to. I barely dry my hair. I have no damage now.  It’s so healthy.

image of 50 year old woman with long gray hair
August 2020 – almost done!

It’s been such an inner personal journey, and those dyed ends remind me how far I’ve come and that good things are worth the wait! 

After all, we’ve just got time.

** 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.**

FAVORITE PRODUCTS

Can you tell us a little bit about how you take care of your hair? 

I wash it twice a week.

I’m obsessed with this Fanola No Yellow purple shampoo, but you need to wear gloves, for sure!  I learned the hard way. Yes. It totally stained my hands.

I just leave it on in the shower, maybe five minutes. Then it leaves me with this metallic-y, fresh, gorgeous color. I love it. I’m really obsessed. But don’t use it too much!  I use it once a week, every other shampoo. 

Then I really like the Kérastase products. I use just regular shampoo and sometimes the clarifying shampoo. But I especially love the Kérastase masks

I’m obsessed with this Kérastase Fresh Affair. It’s their new dry shampoo.

That sounds great. I’ve been washing my hair twice a week, I think. How often do you wash yours?

Twice a week. Yeah, no more than that. 

Then after I wash and condition it, I use this Bumble and Bumble Invisible Hairdresser Oil I really love. I just put a few pumps on. 

I don’t like oils that make my hair greasy when my hair is dry, because some oils do that, like Moroccan oil or Argan oil. And a couple of the oils that I’ve tried, I’ve gotten rid of because I don’t want to wash my hair and then have it look oily.

But this Invisible Oil, it maintains the curl, and it holds down the frizz, and it really tames it. This is one of my favorite products. 

But other than that, I use just hairspray to hold. I’m not super obsessed with products like I was when I first started the journey.

Did you ever try the L’Oreal Colorista color spray?

I wish I had tried that. That’s the one that you use to see what you’d look like with gray hair, right?

Yeah. I think I bought six of them at a time. I have this tiny bit left. I’m actually going to give it to my friend tonight because she’s just starting her journey.

It’s kind of fun. You just spray it. You can use it along the demarcation line so it’s not so stark.

I’ve been eating these hair gummies probably a little bit too much. SugarBear Hair gummies, you can get them on Amazon, and I swear they make your hair grow. But they make all of your hair on your entire body grow. Just a warning.

Oh no, do you get a mustache or something?

I got a little bit more facial hair, but it really works. I can tell that these are great. I love these because they also cure my sugar craving.

image of woman with long gray hair
March 2020 – Thick and Wavy

Your hair looks fantastic. It looks really thick and healthy.

REACTIONS

Now, did you have any friends who were naysayers when you first did this?

Oh, yeah. My best friend said some pretty awful things to me. She said, “It will age you. Men are not going to look at you the same.” 

In fact, it’s been the opposite. I get a lot of stares just from people who say, “Wow, you really went gray, and it looks okay.” 

It’s wonderful to share my experience with strangers and with friends. That’s why I started Silver Revolution.

My friends who are older than me say, “Oh, no way, no, I’m never going to go gray. I can’t. It’s too late,” which is interesting.  But my younger friends are all on board. They say, “Oh my gosh. Yes, it looks so good.”

Have you had anybody go gray yet because of you? I’m never going to tell somebody they should go gray, but I’ve had several people come up and say that they went gray because they saw me, so it’s like I’m leading by example.

Yeah. I’ve had that a lot.

But like I said, my older friends, they just love their dye and their bleach. That’s fine. Whatever.

Yeah. To each his own.

Yeah. To each his own. But it feels good when someone comes up to you and says, “You inspired me,” because I’m inspired daily by these Facebook groups and blogs and you. There are a lot of resources out there, which is so great.

CHANGES

Did you find that going gray also prompted you to make other big changes in your life? If so, please explain. 

I think I’ve become more confident in making decisions on my own and vetting out a few toxic people in my life.  I spend my time with my closest loves and try not to worry about what people think all the time. 

Since you’ve let your hair go gray from the dark brunette color it was before, has it changed the kind of colors you wear,  or the style of your clothing, or your attitude? What has it changed?

Yes, definitely, it has changed a few things. Not really the style of clothes I wear, but definitely the colors.

Burnt orange-y kind of rust tones used to be my favorite with my auburn hair, but they look terrible on me now, so I’ve had to get rid of all of that color. 

And brown as well. Brown doesn’t look good on me anymore.

But the neutrals, like a light camel and the grays and the more earth tones, I love to wear. I’ve been really into pinks lately, and neutrals.

Do you wear more or less makeup? 

I would say less makeup, but I like to pay it up when I go out. I like to play up my eyes once in a while and lipstick. I just can’t do the dark lipstick.  I prefer nudes.

image of woman with gray roots
Feb. 2020

I have a really hard time keeping lipstick on. 

There’s a City Beauty product called City Lips (in Clear).  You put it on, let it dry,  and then you put your lipstick on and it keeps your lipstick from feathering or disappearing.  I love it!

ADVICE

Any advice to women who are thinking about going gray? 

There has been such a huge influx of women going gray because of the pandemic and not being able to see their colorist, plus it’s expensive.

There is NO easy way to go silver, but in my opinion, the best way is to go cold turkey!  But you have to do what’s best for YOU! 

Consider all options and join a support group like Silver Revolution!  Make the decision, and stick to it! You will find strength that you never thought possible. 

Do you have any advice for somebody who’s on the fence about going gray?

Yeah. I think making the decision is the hardest part. If you’re on the fence, just let it grow for four months. Give yourself three to four months, just see what those colors are. You just never know what’s up there. 

You may hate it. You may decide, “I don’t have enough gray. No, it’s mousy. I don’t like it.” That’s fine. You can always go back to the dye. But you have to give yourself, I would say, four months, four to five months just to see. 

It may not be time. You can go back to dye. Some people dye and then realize they made a mistake and come back to it. 

… two or three times.

Yeah. It’s just hair. We make mistakes. We think we can go one way, and it doesn’t work out. Just don’t be hard on yourself. Just get support.

I mean, our Silver Revolution Facebook group and the Silver Circle and a few others have been just so, so supportive and so lovely. 

The women who I’ve met, like you and Joli and just so many others have just … you’re my friends. It’s having another friend group who’s super supportive. Sometimes, you can talk and say things to them, you, that you wouldn’t say to other people.

That’s true. I find the support really amazing.

I remember when I was in my late 40s, I started to have that feeling of being invisible like some women say they have. I felt like I was kind of fading away. When I look at pictures of myself now, I think it was that fake hair color, it was harsh, and it was overpowering the rest of my face. Do you know what I mean?

Yes!

I also think I was dyeing my hair to hide my age. So now that I’m not hiding anything, I feel more like me, which makes you feel younger. Do you know what I mean? When you feel authentic, I think it makes you feel youthful.

I do, too. I agree with that statement.

However, I still look at some pictures of my old hair, and I long for it. I’m not going to lie. I’m like, “Oh, my hair,” and then show a picture to my husband Garrett, and he’ll be like, “No way. That looks so fake. No way. It looks so much better now.”

My Gray Hair Journey: Going Gray With Long Hair Over 50
Watch this video on YouTube.

Before we finish up, what’s the number one thing that seems to be worrying women who decide to go gray?

Their husbands not being supportive, hands down. That is very bothersome to me. There’s a much broader, bigger underlying problem with that.

I’m not a therapist, but I know that your husband, your lover, should be supportive of whatever you decide. If they are saying, “It will age you. It looks terrible. When are you going to get your hair colored? –   there’s another underlying issue.  That’s not kind. 

I’m really glad that we, as Silver Revolution members, support, encourage and give women the courage and the strength to be brave and say, “That’s not okay.”

Usually, the husbands come around. Have you noticed that?

Yeah. Usually, they do, especially once the hair’s all grown out.

I think that that’s the best thing about our Silver Revolution group – the kindness and how uplifting we all are. If there’s anything ever negative or unkind, we’re all over that. We don’t need any of that in our world right now. There’s no space for that.

I can’t thank you enough for all that you do, for the group and your blog. I’m just so proud of you for what you’ve done.

Thank you.

Cheers, Katie. Thank you so much for having me. I can’t wait to meet you one day. One day, we’re going to meet face to face.

Yes, definitely. When this is all over, we’ll get on the plane and have a girl’s weekend.

No kidding. When I can give you a big hug.

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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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.