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Inside: All about Joni’s grey hair transition. You can find her on Instagram: @jd904!
Hi! My name is Joni, and I live in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. I will be 52 years old in November. I colored my hair for nearly 25 years.
My Grey Hair Back Story
I was probably around 17 years old when I came across my first grey hair. It didn’t surprise me. My mother started going grey at an early age, too.
When I’d find a grey hair here and there, I’d simply pluck them out. By the time I reached my late 20s-early 30s, though, the greys really started to come in.
That’s when I began using box dye to color my hair myself. I did that for a few years.
When my greys started coming in like crazy, I decided to go to a salon and let a professional handle it. I wanted to keep my lovely, rich brown color.
For a few years, the salon could achieve that.
But as more and more greys came in, it was difficult to get the color just right. The greys were resistant to the dye, so the salon would keep the dye on for a long time.
That ended up bothering my scalp – making it so itchy and sore.
Once I reached my early 40s, I could tell that I was probably all grey underneath that dye. Two weeks after having been to salon, there would be the telltale signs of a white stripe along my part.
I never wanted my greys to show so I’d use root spray or a powdered root cover-up. When that didn’t do the trick, I’d buy a box of root touch-up dye at the drugstore to cover it up. I’d probably use that dye once a week for the next three or four weeks until I went in for a salon color.
I got my hair colored every eight to ten weeks at the salon. I didn’t want to go in any sooner than that because 1) I couldn’t stand the whole process and how much time it took and 2) it hurt my scalp.
Around age 46, I was so weary of coloring my hair. I started to really question what I was doing.
QUESTIONING MY DECISION TO DYE MY GREY HAIR
I wondered, as someone who would eat very healthy, exercise, and go the more natural route for things, why I continued to put this terrible dye on my head.
I began to research women embracing their greys. I created a board on Pinterest and pinned pictures of beautiful silver-haired ladies I liked.
In my research, I came across the blog “How Bourgeois,” and I read all of Lauren’s posts on going grey. I watched many YouTube videos of women documenting their transition to grey. Deb Arndt and Monique Parent were the two women I watched the most.
Then I read the book “Going Grey: How to Embrace Your Authentic Self with Grace and Style” by Ann Kreamer. I loved it, and I was ready to embrace my greys.
MY FAMILY WASN’T ON BOARD WITH MY GRAY HAIR TRANSITION AT FIRST
I asked my daughters and husband what they thought of me not coloring my hair anymore, and they were not on board with it. My girls said they didn’t want me to look like a grandmother.
My husband really loved my (dyed) brown hair. So, I gave up on that idea begrudgingly.
But a few years later when I was 50, I’d had enough of the whole coloring routine. It was just too much. I was so tired of the upkeep and using harsh chemicals on my head that made my scalp hurt.
Mostly, I wanted to be a good example to my young daughters and show them that grey hair is nothing to be ashamed of or hide. I was ready to buck the societal norms and embrace my natural color.
I let my family know what I had decided to do and this time they were so understanding and completely on board.
WHY GO GREY COLD TURKEY?
I didn’t want to do any sort of grey blending or bleaching to hide the demarcation line because I wanted no part in putting any more harsh chemicals on my head.
So, going cold turkey in growing out my greys was the best way for me. I wasn’t willing to cut my hair short to speed up the transition either; I was in it for the long, awkward haul.
GREY HAIR SUPPORT AND COMMUNITY
I was happy to see so many women posting selfies of their grey hair transition on Instagram.
This seemed like a great way to make me accountable and stick to the long process, so I jumped in and started posting my own transition pictures and joining in on the conversations within the silver hair community.
It helped me so much to go through my transition with hundreds of other women around the world doing the very same thing. The support and camaraderie was amazing. I couldn’t have done it without them.
I also had lots of support from my family and friends. Not one person ever made a negative comment about my decision to go grey. That made it so much easier.
The biggest obstacle was my mindset. So much of this transition process is based in the ego and fear, at least for me.
I was so concerned about how I’d look and what others would think. I got over that fear because as time went on and my beautiful silvers grew in, I became more confident and comfortable with myself.
Also, I learned that nobody really cares what you’re doing with your hair. It was so freeing!
I began my transition on March 25, 2018 and finished on October 10, 2019 – 18.5 months from start to finish.
My Favorite Products for Grey Hair
I’m a minimalist when it comes to products for my hair. I use shampoo and conditioner by Acure.
For styling, I use Universal Styling Crème by Aveda.
And if I think my hair has a little frizz going on, I’ll use the tiniest bit of coconut oil and run that through my hair.
How my Makeup and Clothing Choices Have Changed
My make-up has stayed the same, although, I might be going with a little more vibrant lip color these days.
As far as clothing goes, I feel that darker colors look best with my silver hair. I’ve always worn a lot of black and navy, but now I’m starting to add in some red, fuchsia, and greens.
Final Thoughts on Going Grey
Ditching the dye and growing out your greys is about so much more than just your hair.
- It’s about things like shifting your perspective about aging and cultural norms.
- It’s about gaining confidence and self-acceptance.
- It’s about finding your authenticity and being comfortable with yourself.
And because this whole process can be very trying, it demands loads of patience, love, and most of all grace.
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