Silver Hair Transition Story: Karen Rich
My name is Karen Rich. I’m 45, and I live in Los Angeles, CA in the USA. I have 2 kids, and I’m married to a retired Air Force officer. You can find me on Instagram @thosegraydays
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I was 18 when I found my first gray hair.
I knew it was coming since both of my parents went gray early (my mom still dyes her hair).
When my older sister started to go gray early she had this awesome gray stripe in the front of her head, and I thought I might get something cool like that!
Alas, not so much. My grays were sprinkled all over my head.
Like most teens, I didn’t think twice. I started dyeing my hair as soon as I could. I started off dyeing it black, but then branched out into reds, highlights, and I even went blonde! (Not a good look on me)
I dyed my hair for 25 years. Wow! Seeing that in black and white makes me sad. I wasted so much time and money.
I did box and salon color. Box dye in my early days, then salon in my mid 20’s and beyond. (Now try not to say that like Buzz Lightyear…) 😉
I stopped dyeing for my health. My scalp would itch and burn so badly after my salon visits.
I had recently lost a friend my age to brain cancer, and I really started worrying about what putting chemicals on my head every 2 weeks was doing to my body.
I went gray cold turkey. From dark brown/almost black to silvery gray/white.
Mostly, people were supportive. I guess I consider not saying anything supportive. If you can’t say anything nice…
I don’t blame people for questioning my judgment. Those first few months can be rough.
People really don’t know what to do with someone who is so blatantly fighting the norm.
I can’t say that I didn’t care when I got those scathing looks, or when people talked to my hairline, but I knew that this was for the best.
It was a decision for ME! For my health and for my journey of self-discovery (as corny as that sounds). Now that I am fully transitioned, people are much more supportive. Go figure.
But I just wasn’t ready before this, and now I’m moving on in a much more positive and accepting place.
I am done with my transition. Almost 2 months into it I chopped off 14 inches of my hair.
Then 4 months later I chopped my hair into a pixie which took care of the last remaining dye. So it basically took 6 months for me to fully transition. I. LOVE. MY. HAIR.
I have curly hair too, so most of the products I focus on are for curly hair.
I don’t use purple shampoos, and I have been lucky to not have a problem with yellowing. I think it’s because I use products with no sulfates and junk. Don’t quote me on that though! I may just be lucky.
I shampoo and deep condition twice a week, and use Shea Moisture Manuka Honey and Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Shampoo and Conditioner.
I then apply Kinky-Curly Knot Today Leave In Conditioner on my soaking wet hair before getting out of the shower.
I’m pretty low maintenance. I don’t wear makeup on a daily basis, and I’m pretty fashion challenged, so even if I wanted to change my makeup or clothes, I would have no idea what to do.
I am on the hunt for the perfect plum lipstick, so if you have any ideas, drop me a DM!
Favorite Gray Hair Resources:
When I first decided to stop dyeing, I found the GGG Going Gray Guide on Facebook to be a LIFESAVER!! Any time I was feeling waffle-y, or just plain awful about my hair, I’d post a picture, and the amount of love I would receive would be overwhelming.
I have since gotten off of Facebook, but have found an incredible #silversisters (and some brothers) community on Instagram.
It is a community filled with the most loving and supportive people. I feel so lucky to “know” every single one of them!
My Life Has Changed Since I Stopped Dyeing My Hair.
After I fully transitioned, I decided to go back to acting. I now have a commercial agent, and next month I’m filming an independent film. I even went to an open call for a model agency that was specifically looking for clientele who were over 40!
I never would have done any of those things if I hadn’t decided to embrace my natural hair. It’s been very liberating!
I have this great plaque on my desk. It says, “Don’t look back, you’re not going that way.” Perfect motto for when we waffle about giving up our “youth”.
I am beyond thrilled with my decision to stop dyeing my hair. It was a challenging journey, and there were times where I was filled with insecurity and doubt.
Look forward to this fantastic adventure. I have tried way more things since ditching the dye than I ever would have done when I was still dyeing. It’s like I’ve come out of hiding.
But on the flip side, I found
My wish for those of you who are ready to take this journey is that you find your inner badass too! 😉
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