Jen Smith’s Silver Hair Adventure
How Jen Smith transformed herself into @silverfox40tales, a silver-haired Instagram sensation! Jen is 46 and lives in Wisconsin, USA.
I was a sophomore in college when I first noticed my greys popping…. I looked closely at them in the mirror because I couldn’t figure out what they actually were!
Up until then, it was not a big deal for me to frequently change the color of my hair.
Just for added effect, lighter highlights for summer and darker and shinier for winter, right?
Coloring my greys was a fun thing to do!
I was blessed with a thick head of hair and I have always received compliments on it.
It was definitely the one thing about myself that I truly felt confident about.
My friends never thought twice about me coloring my hair because I was diligent at keeping all those greys covered! They actually didn’t believe me when I told them how grey I was under all that color…. I guess I sure showed them, LOL!
I finally made the decision to transition to grey while I was on vacation in the Florida Keys.
Inevitably, I would book an appointment with my sister (she is my stylist) a prompt 24 hours or less before we left town, and then I’d pack a box dye to apply just in case my silvers started to peek out.
My roots would typically show themselves one week after my root job.
I colored every two to three weeks and used root concealer in-between. I always said I wouldn’t let myself go grey until I was really old!!!
FINDING GREY HAIR INSPIRATION ONLINE
Like so many, I love to scan Pinterest for inspiration and then later discovered so many interesting things on Instagram.
I am not sure what prompted me to begin to look for grey hair inspiration on these platforms, but once I did, I asked myself ….. “Why couldn’t I do this”? I saw people who were not grey make the choice to dye their hair grey.
At the same time, I started experiencing intense scalp itching after coloring and would even take Zyrtec or Benadryl to combat it.
That’s when I said “enough!”
MY TRANSITION TO GREY
February 2018: My transition was not an easy one because, by the time I decided to quit coloring, my hair was nearly black.
So, my sister (the stylist) and I began with some highlights to try to soften and blend the greys. What I quickly learned is that there is no easy or quick approach to this and that my naturally dry brunette hair may not withstand lightening it to grey or white.
Do you know how many colors are actually in dark hair dye? A LOT!
So, with my sister’s blessing, I sought out a color specialist and she agreed to help me give it a go.
At my first appointment, I was in her chair for over 5 hours and she had 3 people working on my hair at the same time. When I was done with this session my hair was mostly blonde.
Another thing I learned is the yellow dye color in the dark hair dye is virtually impossible to lift to a cool tone color which is what natural grey/silver hair is.
I went to the color specialist religiously about every 8 weeks up until September 2018 and she continued to lighten and blend my demarcation line as it grew. I am grateful for her help.
As much as I did not want to at the time, now I see the value in just going cold turkey (letting the grays grow in naturally, instead of coloring to get to blend the new growth with the old dyed hair).
Instead, I wound up having to cut most of my length off due to breakage. The lightening was so hard on my hair.
Both of my stylists were excellent and did exactly what I asked of them, but hair typically can only take so much.
So now here I am 18 months in and about 10 months completely dye-free. I am still not completely done transitioning. I have just a few inches, mostly in the back, of old color left hanging on for dear life.
I always knew my hair grew fast but when you want it to grow, it seems to grow at a snail’s pace.
I am not going to lie; I had some tears along the way and frantic calls to my sister for help to find products that would help but…… I am so entirely happy that I stuck with it.
My entire family, my husband of 23 years and my 2 kids, were incredibly supportive and often reminded me how beautiful I was throughout my transition.
Overall, I have not had too many naysayers mostly just the usual “I could never do that” type of responses.
I cannot remember what prompted me to share my journey on Instagram, I think it had something with me not being able to back out of it, but I have found such incredible support from some wonderful people.
I can honestly say I have had no haters and if I did…. I would give them zero energy 😊
** 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.**
MY CURRENT PRODUCTS
For shampoo, I use Matrix Total Results Clarifying Shampoo to strip off product buildup. I alternate that with either Matrix So Silver or, if I need to reduce brassy yellow tones, Redken Color Extend Graydiant shampoo.
I use Amika’s Bust Your Brass Violet Leave-In Treatment to help with toning the brassiness leftover from the old color.
For styling, I use Redken’s Frizz Dismiss Rebel Tame because it smooths my coarse locks and is also a great heat protectant.
I’m bit addicted to Sexy Hair Smooth Smooth and Seal – it gives beautiful shine
I haven’t yet explored switching over to more natural hair products but I am entirely open to that and hope to continue to learn about it.
I have tried a lot of different products and I am excited to share that I can now direct followers where to get the same products on Amazon as I am an #amazoninfluencer (NO WAY!!) ….that still seems crazy to me!
Alongside this journey, I have decided to try to begin to reduce chemicals in other areas of my life, and this is when I discovered Beauty Counter. I have since been exploring and using their products so I decided to sign on as a consultant.
I love their investment in the idea that beauty should not be harmful to you.
I am so grateful for all the love and support I have received from the community of silver sisters on Instagram.
I do believe that this process is a very personal choice and I would never judge anyone else who makes the decision to dye their hair or is just not ready to go grey.
I love finding and providing inspiration to anyone who needs it, either to support their decision on going grey or to help them through the process.
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.