Transition Story: Susan Y.
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I first discovered grey hair at age 14 in my grade 9 health class.
A classmate named Sue saw it and exclaimed, “You have a grey hair!”
I made her pull it out. I didn’t feel too much anything about finding it, as I recall. I doubt I cared much because I was that kind of easygoing kid.
My family and friends never, ever said a thing about my having grey hair. Never said, “it looks awful”, “it looks good”, “you should colour it over”, “why don’t you leave it?” Nothing. No one. I was lucky.
But perhaps they didn’t, only because I was so young. It was me who told myself to start colouring and that I should.
I was 18 when I began. No one would have had a chance to say anything about my hair yet. And then for the most part, they nor I, ever saw it again because I coloured it for so long.
I have been colouring my hair religiously for 30 years, with a break around the age of 33-34 when my hair was super short.
This period of not colouring didn’t last long!
I visited a Fair in 2004 and went to the Guess Your Age booth because I knew I’d win. The guy was so, so confused. Young face, grey hair.
He wrote on a piece of paper what he thought I was, held it up to the crowd (there was a crowd), and they kept saying, higher, higher! He thought I was 40. I freaked out.
I’m pretty sure I made my first professional colour appointment a couple of weeks later. Oh, and I won a good prize because he had to guess within three years of my age!
Until my no-dye period in my 30s, I was doing my own horrible colour. I was doing a poor job, so I suspect this is partly
what made me get fed up and stop. My own efforts screamed ‘home job’.
After I restarted, I went to a professional colourist. She may not do my hair anymore but she is amazing and I’d recommend her in a heartbeat to anyone who wants to colour.
I decided to stop dyeing, not because of any earth-shattering event, but simply because I was tired of trekking to my appointments and paying over $100 every time.
When April 2018 rolled around, I kept rescheduling my appointment until I finally realized that I just don’t want to do this anymore and canceled outright. I haven’t looked back.
You could call it going cold turkey when I stopped. But my artificial colour is blonde and it’s actually transitioning quite nicely, not too stark and I get lots of compliments on how pretty the tones are.
Therefore, my transition process right now is approaching the six-month mark, which I can’t believe!
I’m feeling amazing and so happy I’m doing this. I can’t believe it’s grown out this much already, but I think the blonde is helping.
I’ve switched my products to sulfate-free hair products to help my fine natural waves come in better and to help keep my colour from dulling down.
I’ve also added some purple shampoo/conditioner, which does have sulfates, but I don’t use them every day.
I have given away a LOT of hair products that I’m not using anymore.
I use DevaCurl shampoo, conditioner, detangling spray and gel, and Maui conditioning hair oil for my ends. I like how light they are and I know they don’t have all the silicones that make my hair limp. Apparently, it can also dull down your hair with repeated use.
The Maui can be a bit heavy but I use it sparingly. I use Aveda Blue Malva purple shampoo to cut down on yellowing or brassiness.
So all in all, my change in products means I’ve gotten rid of heavy ingredients that weigh down my fine hair and could also make my future silvery goodness not as silver!
There are no specific products that I wouldn’t recommend, only because my own hair is unique and fine and crappy and not everyone needs to avoid what I avoid. There are loads of amazing products that I simply can’t use.
I think the key is to NOT avoid the purple shampoos. Everyone with grey/silver/blonde should have one in their arsenal for when you need it.
I think once you’re fully grey/silver, use whatever products suit you. I believe the key is to get stuff that suits your own
hair texture because once that looks amazing, so will your silvers. You can use silver shampoo to tone down the yellow, but if your hair otherwise is a nasty rat’s nest Brillo pad on your head because you don’t take the time to treat it well, what’s the point of showing off your grey?
And I think the biggest recommendation: buy yourself amazing haircuts!
If you don’t have a great cut for your hair, that’s when you will for sure look dowdy and old. It’s not the silver that does us in – it’s a dumpy haircut.
All my silver hair inspiration comes from YouTube (Monique Parent, Elisa in Montreal, Erica Johnston) and all the amazing Instagram women and men I follow who are also doing the grey transition.
I like how all of them talk about products they use, what they’ve learned about going grey, their personal stories (ah, the personal stories – what a bunch of twits some of these people have had to deal with), and how they make it look AH-MAZING! And that it’s not always easy but time flies and it’s worth it.
My final thoughts on transitioning to silver: It’s not for everybody.
My mom is 73 and refuses to stop colouring. Her colour looks amazing. She has a pro do it, which is key in my opinion.
On the other hand, if you do want to go for it, I say this: It’s hair. It’s going to be hard, depending on how your colour is growing out. No one says it’s easy and it’s true.
Sure, mine is not very obvious as I grow out the old light blonde colour but it’s still there.
Keep on top of your trims, keep a modern hairstyle and get some good products that suit your hair texture.
Ignore the fools who weren’t raised right and would say something mean and negative about what you’re doing. It’s your hair, not theirs.
The ones who say they couldn’t do it, couldn’t do it. You can’t convert the nonconvertible.
And you have to learn to brush off those comments. If you don’t, you’ll cave in, colour again and you might wish you didn’t. And then you’ll know you gave in to other people who have no business being in yours.
You have to learn to kind of forget your hair when walking around during your day. People may look, but they’re not looking. Know what I mean?
If you’ve arrived to a point with transitioning, you may as well keep going. The days are long, but the years are fast and before you know it, the transitioning will be done.
Remember this: it’s hair. It’s not the economy, it’s not your retirement fund, it’s not going to suddenly speak to you and tell you you look like Timmy dipped your ponytail in the inkwell. You can do whatever you want with your own hair.
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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.