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Can You Save Money By Going Gray?

Inside: How you can save money by going gray

If you’re looking to save money every month, have you thought about ditching hair dye and letting your hair go naturally gray?

Yes, it can feel a little scary to embrace your natural gray hair, but there are so many benefits!

I’ve written a lot on this website about those other benefits of going grey (both physical and emotional), but today I’m just going to focus on how going gray can save you money.  

And in these inflationary times, who wouldn’t want to save a little cash?  

woman with short grey pixie haircut holding a wad of cash

Please note that this article may contain affiliate links.  You can read my full disclosure at the bottom of the page.

Why Trying to Avoid Going Gray is Expensive

Embracing your natural hair color is a very personal decision. 

It can be a liberating and budget-friendly choice, especially for women in their 20s to 60s who often feel pressured to maintain a youthful appearance

If you go on social media (including my Facebook group), you’ll quickly see that more and more women have stopped worrying about having gray hair in recent years.

After all, trying to avoid going gray can be expensive: between salon visits for color treatments, purchasing at-home dye kits and root touch-up products, and investing in other color-preserving hair products, the costs quickly add up. 

Let’s not forget the time and energy spent maintaining that flawless, non-gray look. 

By choosing to transition to your beautiful silver locks, you can not only save a significant amount of money each month but also gain the freedom to focus on self-care and embrace your authentic self. 

Plus, imagine all the fun and fabulous ways you can pamper yourself with that extra cash!

image of beautiful gray-haired woman lying on couch and smiling

Can Going Gray Really Save You Money?

Here are two significant ways that you can save a lot of money by going gray:

Example 1: Dyeing Your Hair at Home

Choosing to embrace your natural hair instead of dyeing it at home can lead to some significant savings in the long run. 

While at-home box dye kits are less expensive than salon visits, they still come with costs. These include the price of the dye itself, plus additional supplies like gloves, brushes, color-safe shampoos, and leave-in conditioner. 

And remember, the maintenance required for dyed hair, such as root touch-ups and potential color corrections, can add up over time!

By allowing your hair to go gray, you eliminate these expenses and invest in a more low-maintenance hair care routine. 

Your focus can shift to nourishing your silver strands with hydrating and strengthening products that enhance their natural beauty. 

This decision can save you money and time while promoting self-acceptance and confidence in your authentic appearance. 

green banner with text: free download - calculate how much you can save by going gray
woman with yellow sweater and gray hair holding stack of cash

Example 2: Having Your Hair Dyed at the Salon

Embracing your naturally grey hair instead of having it dyed at the hair salon can lead to substantial financial savings. 

Hair appointments for color treatments can be quite expensive, especially when you factor in the costs of root touch-ups, highlights or lowlights, and toning or gloss services. 

Additionally, salons often charge extra for deep conditioning treatments and color-preserving products to maintain the vibrancy of your dyed locks.

By allowing your hair to go gray, you can eliminate these recurring expenses and invest in a more sustainable and budget-friendly hair care routine. 

Instead of spending money on color treatments, you can treat yourself to occasional trims and indulge in quality products designed to enhance your silver strands’ beauty and health. 

Other Ways Going Gray Can Save You Money

Letting your hair go gray can result in several other financial benefits for women. Here are a few additional ways you can save money by embracing your natural silver locks:

  1. Reduced styling costs: When you’re not constantly dyeing your hair, you may find that you need fewer styling products and tools to create your desired look.
    Silver hair often has a unique texture that lends itself to simple, elegant styles, reducing the need for expensive hair sprays, mousses, hair oil, and heat-styling tools. Contrary to popular belief, many of us (myself included) have found that our naturally gray hair is smoother, shinier, and thicker than our dyed hair. So, if you let your hair go gray, you might find that you no longer have to invest in Brazilian blowouts, keratin treatments, anti-frizz products, or salon blowouts.
  2. Lower frequency of haircuts: As you transition to your naturally gray hair color, some of you might notice that your hair growth slows down slightly, meaning that you can space out your haircut appointments. This will save you money on salon visits and allow you to focus on maintaining the health of your hair instead. You may notice this with both long hair and short hairstyles.
  3. Simplified hair care routine: By embracing your gray hair, you can adopt a more streamlined hair care routine, focusing on quality products designed explicitly for silver strands. This means investing in fewer products overall, translating into savings over time. And you will no longer get panicked if you spot new gray hairs and will therefore no longer feel the need to rush out for something to cover them with. Instead, you can just enjoy your new look!
  4. Less hair damage: Frequent dyeing can weaken and damage your hair, leading to increased expenses for repairing treatments and products to improve your hair texture. By going gray, you’ll prevent further damage, ultimately saving money on restorative care for your hair follicles.
  5. Embracing a minimalist lifestyle: Allowing your gray roots to grow out can be a step towards adopting a more minimalist and intentional lifestyle. By simplifying your hair care routine and focusing on what truly matters, you might find yourself inspired to save money in other areas of your life.

Allowing your hair to go gray can lead to numerous benefits beyond saving money on hair color treatments. Embrace your natural beauty and enjoy the freedom and savings that come with it!

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Why Going Gray Can Save Time as Well as Money

Going gray is not only a budget-friendly choice but can also be the best way to save you a considerable amount of time in the long run. 

image of a retro clock against a pink and blue background

When you’re caught in the dye cycle (whether at home or in the salon), you’re committing to a time-consuming process that includes scheduling appointments, sitting through color treatments, and performing regular touch-ups to keep roots and grays concealed. 

That can take up a lot of time! It’s even (dare I say it) a bit exhausting.

By embracing your natural color, you can eliminate these time-consuming tasks and enjoy a more low-maintenance routine. You’ll no longer have to worry about coordinating salon visits or setting aside hours for at-home dye sessions. 

Instead, you can focus on maintaining the health and shine of your silver locks with simple, effective products and regular trims.

Additionally, going gray can free up the mental energy spent worrying about your appearance and keeping up with societal expectations of youthfulness. You can enjoy who you are NOW instead of constantly trying to recapture who you used to be!

This newfound confidence in your authentic self can lead to better time management as you prioritize self-care and personal growth over constant hair maintenance.

So, by choosing to go gray, you save money and gain precious time to invest in yourself and the things that truly matter in life. 

Embrace your natural beauty, love your hair, and enjoy the benefits of a simpler, more fulfilling hair care journey!

Transition Methods

If you’re ready to transition to your natural shade but you’re concerned about cost, here are some tips regarding the transition process:

What is the Cheapest and Fastest Way to Go Gray?

Ready to go gray quickly and cheaply? 

For about $40, you can invest in a set of clippers, shave off all your dyed hair, and go gray overnight. Then all you have to do is either grow out that silver hair to the length you desire or keep your stylish buzz cut.  

Can it get any easier or cheaper than that?

Other Frugal Transition Methods

If you’ve decided that you want to embrace your natural gray strands, but a buzz cut feels a bit too extreme for you, consider going gray cold turkey with either a pixie cut or longer hair.

In other words, stop dyeing your hair altogether and just get the dyed ends trimmed as needed.

If you go gray cold turkey with longish hair, it can take a while to be fully gray. 

So if time is of the essence, consider going gray with a pixie cut – that way, you can transition quickly and cheaply!  Many women love these stylish and budget-friendly options.

What is the Most Expensive Way to Go Gray?

Hands-down, transitioning to silver hair at the salon is the most expensive way to transition.  

For some of you, going gray at the salon might still be your preferred option – but if you’re on a tight budget, keep in mind that not only will you have to pay for the initial transition appointment but also for follow-up maintenance treatments and specialty products.

If you decide it’s worth the investment, make sure to go to a reputable salon staffed by experienced hairdressers – make sure to read reviews, see before & after pictures, and (if possible) book a consultation ahead of time.  

Transitioning at the salon can be a great experience, but it also comes with a risk of hair damage (due to the processes used), so you must pick a great (experienced!) salon that will only transition you if they determine that your hair can withstand the process.

Spending the extra money to go to a reputable salon will save you money down the road, believe me.

Results of my 2023 Survey

Are you curious about what your fellow women are saying on this topic? Check out the results of my recent survey below!

Please note: I’ve summarized the results of my survey in charts and graphs.  

If you are a blogger or reporter and include some of my findings in your article, please feel free to use any of the charts and graphs from this post.   My only request is that you link back to this blog post somewhere in your article.

#1: Has Going Gray Saved You Money?

The answer was a resounding yes, with over 82% of respondents stating that they have saved money by going gray:

graph showing whether or not going gray has saved you money

A lot of women noted that they spent more money at the start of their transition, but as time went by, they spent less.

Reader Comments:

“It has balanced out now, but when I first went silver, I lost my mind and bought every silver hair product I came upon. I spent so much money, but it was fun! Now I’ve settled into a simple routine, and I’m saving so much!”

“It’s been two years. Definitely save on salon coloring. Spent more at first trying purple shampoos and different shampoos. At this point, it’s less costly.”

“Initially, I spent more than I spent on boxed hair dye, just until I worked out the best products for me. Now that my hair has fully grown out and I know the products I like, I definitely save money.”

“At first, I spent more money trying to find just the right products and transition salon visits. However, now that I have found what my hair likes and needs, being gray is freeing and simple. Mostly, I enjoy the time I have back now that I don’t have to sit in a salon chair for a few hours a month and then the touch-ups.”

“It took a while to stop trying to “change” or “fix” the color by buying and using purple products and clarifiers. Now I accept it as it is and have gotten compliments. I even use fewer different kinds of curly products because the condition is so much better that I’m not constantly chasing after the next ultimate hair repair system. It’s all so freeing.”

“$200 for cut, color highlights & tip every 5 weeks =$2K every year! Three years dye-free, so I am plus $6k. Definitely living my best life with some extra money and beautiful, natural hair. My dyed hair looked great (for three weeks…then roots), but it can’t compare with what I have now!”

green banner with text: free download - calculate how much you can save by going gray

#2: Was Saving Money The Main Reason You Went Gray?

It turns out that going gray was NOT the main reason most women chose to stop dyeing their hair (but it’s a nice side effect, for sure), as only 10% of respondents said it was their main reason to go gray.

graph showing reasons for going gray

#3: If You Saved Money by Going Gray, What Was the Single Biggest Expense You No Longer Have To Worry About?

The answer to this one is probably fairly easy to guess – almost 65% of respondents said that salon visits were the biggest expense they no longer had to worry about.

graph showing biggest savings of going gray

#4: If You Have NOT Saved Money by Going Gray, Why Do You Think That Is?

Some women find that, rather than saving money, they spend more money once they go gray because they want to amplify their appearance using other methods, such as nail salon visits, fancier haircuts, nicer makeup, etc.  

chart showing what items women buy instead of hair dye

Specialty gray hair products (such as blue or purple shampoos) can also start to eat up your budget, so it’s good to be aware of that and do your research before investing in too many products.

Personally, my favorite purple shampoos are a bit pricey, but some budget varieties do quite nicely as well!

Reader quotes:

“I haven’t saved on appointments because I’m going for more blow-drys, buying more clothes, getting my nails done, eating out more, and generally having a ball!”

“I spend that money on self-care treatments (pedicures, botox, massages, facials, and all the silver hair care products) and improving our home gym. In the 4.5 years of embracing my gray, I have saved approximately $5850.”

“I feel like I’m still spending $60 four times/year on keeping my hair trimmed and looking good, and also am purchasing hair protectant and also blue/purple shampoo and conditioner. If I’m saving money, it isn’t as much as I thought it would be!!”

“My 90% gray hair is more coarse and dry than my non-gray hair, so it costs more to keep it shiny and soft and healthy.“

“I take care of my hair now with regular trims and quality shampoo/conditioner. I may be spending more money on my hair because I no longer buy boxed hair dye and grocery store shampoo, but I believe the benefits in my overall health are worth the extra money!”

“The attempts to transition my hair (lowlights) into the lower, darker sections ended up bleaching my hair, and attempts at correcting the clown look are now in the multiyear effort. I wanted to be gray, but I didn’t know how incapable some salon colorists (professing the knowledge to do it) were at getting me there; my hair and my heart have suffered because of this. I have long hair and sadly just cut off several inches to shoulder length, AND I am trying a blue/gray glaze to help. This has not saved me money, but worse, has made me miserable.”

“I feel that I spend about the same or more on products to keep my white hair from yellowing and also good shampoo and conditioner. Before, I used drugstore products, but now I use pricey ones.”

“I went with the salon transition method, and that costs money. I also sprang for lash extensions which also cost. Don’t care. It’s totally worth it!”

#5: If you have saved money by going gray, do you save that excess money or spend it?

A slightly higher percentage of respondents (53%) spent their excess money, while only 47% saved it.  

graph showing whether you save your excess money or spend it after ditching hair dye

So if saving money is one of your main reasons for going gray, consider squirreling that money away in a separate account to avoid temptation.

Reader comments:

“I spend the money on mani/pedis now. The second biggest reason for going gray was the time I saved by not having my hair dyed every two weeks. I love my gray…I went from salon visits every month ($100+) to facials every six weeks ($150).months now. I get many compliments about the color, AND I think people seem friendlier toward me; many more smiles from strangers!!! ❤️”

“I went from salon visits every month ($100+) to facials every six weeks ($150).”

“As you say, going grey isn’t only about not coloring and saving money and time that I used to devote to very frequent salon appointments. It has also meant that I’ve made changes in my color choices for makeup, clothing, jewelry, and accessories. I assume that outflow will slow down at some point, but I see it as part of the adjustment process. Still, don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled with my choice to go natural in color and simultaneously enjoy my curls.”

Reader’s Thoughts on Time Saved by Going Gray (and Other Benefits)

Many of us feel that the time saved by going gray is even more valuable than the money saved.

Personally, I’d rather spend a beautiful Saturday morning at the beach with people I love instead of spending the morning in a salon, bored out of my wits (with an itchy scalp to boot)!

Reader comments:

“More important than money is the time that I save by not coloring my hair. Money is a commodity that I can get more of. My time is finite, and because I cannot make more of it, I need to spend it wisely. Coloring my hair used to take 3-4 hours away from my life every seven weeks. Not any more!!”

“It was the time more than the money, although it’s nice not to spend so much. And the fact that my dyed hair only looked great for about a week, or at most two. The first week, so harsh, second, great, third, bleaching out, esp. in the summer, fourth, roots.”

“I HATED the whole process of dying my hair, boxed dye and salon both, and the time I devoted to it… Didn’t like spending money on something I so actively disliked… So HAPPY that’s all over. (5 years.) Saving money was the bonus. Now I spend the money on things that are much more fun! Can’t complain! :)”

“Since I used to buy boxed hair dye, I don‘t save a huge amount of money. But the freedom and time I gain by not coloring my hair are invaluable! And in the end: time is money ;-).”

“The amount of time I save is more valuable than the money! No more wasting time worrying about my roots showing, what people will think, or driving/sitting at a salon. Freedom!”

“Saved soooo much time! Those salon visits took hours away from me, plus all the planning involved if I was going on vacation and had to worry about roots showing, wondering how to cover them. So much more freedom now.”

“I enjoy not having to sit at the salon when I could be doing other things. The money I save, I set aside and use to treat myself to something I would not buy otherwise!”

“All the time that I have saved in not getting my hair dyed. Time is worth more than money.”

“My hair feels so much healthier and softer! No more dye and no more hair dryer! I save so much time as well as money! I will never regret having gone natural and wish I had done it years ago!!”

“Going grey has saved me so much money over the years, but most importantly has saved my hair and improved my self-confidence as I have received many compliments!”

“My hair has gotten thicker since going gray! I also now have natural silvery highlights, and I used to pay $$$ to have blond highlights, lol. I never thought this would look as good as it does! Wish I had done it years ago.”

“I used to need a lot of specialty hair products to manage my dried-out dyed hair—and special hair accessories to hide the regrowth, i.e., headbands. Increasingly frequent salon visits spiraled me into self-doubt. The insecurity of hiding roots was expensive for sure. Now I can spend that money on a trip to make memories with my kids. “

Video: Save Money by Going Gray


Embracing your natural grays can save you money in the long run, and also has a host of other benefits including healthier, more beautiful hair!

But if you are trying to stick to a budget, make sure to make a plan for the money you saved so you can enjoy your savings and use that money for something that means more to you in the long run.

Any thoughts on this? I’d love to hear them – please comment below!

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  1. I was doing henna on my long hair as I have sensitive skin and the harsh, toxic chemicals in regular hair dyes irritated my skin. It was very time consuming, and I hated having to wear the plastic cap for two hours, as well as the hassle of washing it out. It gave me great color and shine without damaging my hair, but my roots showed so fast, so I decided to just go silver. My husband was 100% supportive of that decision , because it meant that he did not have to apply the henna mix on my hair for me. The great part about doing henna was that my hair was not damaged, and the henna did fade over time. My hair is mixed colors between the silver and the brown now. I use shampoo bars rather than the bottle shampoo and I think my hair feels softer because of it. My mom and sister both continue to dye their hair and both told me that being it is going gray, I should cut it short. I tell them that I have no intention of doing that, I don’t know why so many people have that misconception that gray hair must be short. My husband loves my hair long, he trims my hair for me to keep my ends neat. So I don’t have to worry about a stylist deciding to cut my hair short when I don’t want short hair. I think I will enjoy the transition and I think the different colors are natural highlights that look great when I wear my hair in a french braid.

  2. Very well written and thoughtful piece. I am 4 months in and I am learning great things from your posts/emails/channel.
    My silver new roots and my happy soul thank you.

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