Why You Should Transition to Gray Hair This Year
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Inside: All the reasons you might want to transition to gray hair in the New Year.
For twenty-five years, this was my routine:
- Color my hair (either at home or at the salon)
- Enjoy my beautiful, dark, shiny, glossy hair for about 3 days
- Watch with horror as the gray roots appeared shortly after dyeing
- Watch with annoyance as the frizz inched its way back up my hair
- Curse fate for giving me gray roots and frizzy hair
- Dot my burgeoning skunk line with root touch-up products
- Scour Amazon and Target for anti-frizz products that actually WORK
- Straighten my hair with a flat-iron and shine spray to make it look decent
- Repeat this entire process every 3-4 weeks
At age 50, I decided I had had enough. I mean, really, does that routine above look fun or empowering?
No, it’s CRAP.
Look, a lot of us are afraid of going gray. I get it – we’ve been brainwashed by almost 100 years of advertising that gray hair means you are OLD.
It’s time to let go of that limited way of thinking.
Here Are Some Fantastic Reasons to Transition to Gray Hair
Growing Out Your Gray Hair is Fun
I know that sounds crazy. But hear me out: Embracing your natural gray hair is a blast!
Why? Because it’s rebellious. It’s counter-culture. It’s a kick in the pants to the society that tells us that women MUST try to look “young” at any cost.
Go to any Facebook gray hair support group and you know what you’ll find? A bunch of women who are getting a kick out of the gray hair transition process.
It’s one of the most surprising benefits of going gray!
Who knew, right?
Your Hair Will Be Healthier
As I approached my 50th birthday, I despaired about the state of my hair.
I had very thick hair in my youth. But as I got older, my hair started thinning.
Every day in the shower, clumps of hair clogged the drain. My hairbrush was filled with hair all the time, no matter how much I cleaned it.
To top it off, my hair was dull. I had to use shine sprays or serums to recreate the shine of my youthful hair.
And to make matters worse? My hair was frizzy. UGH. I cannot tell you how much money and time I spent trying to find the perfect anti-frizz product.
But since I let my gray grow in, my hair is thick, glossy and smooth.
What the what?! This goes against everything we’ve been told about gray hair.
Does everyone get these results? Probably not.
But the vast majority of women I’ve met in Silver Revolution and on Instagram share the same sentiment – their hair is thicker and healthier than it was while they were dyeing.
Gray Hair is Beautiful
We’ve been conditioned to see gray hair NOT as a color but as a marker of old age.
People go gray at all different ages. I found my first gray hair at around 16 years old, but I’ve heard of women finding them as early as age 7.
Stop seeing gray hair as a symbol of age, and look at it again in a different way. As a different shade of hair color.
Have you seen silver hair sparkle in the sunlight? It’s a sight to behold!
Ditching the Dye is Environmentally Friendly
So many of us try to be respectful of Mother Earth by reducing waste and using natural cleaning products, yet don’t give a second thought about the effect of hair dye on the environment.
Think about all the nasty chemicals that are going down the drain and polluting our rivers and oceans and harming our wildlife. It’s pretty horrifying!
And if you read about how poorly regulated the beauty industry is, you might think twice about putting those potentially-toxic chemicals on your scalp, so close to your brain.
A lot of women find that transitioning to gray hair is their first step towards embracing a healthier, more natural lifestyle.
Going Gray Can Save You Money
Getting your hair dyed at the salon is expensive – add a cut and blow-dry to the cost of color and (in Los Angeles) you’re looking at around $150 per visit (minimum).
Dyeing your hair at home with box dye isn’t expensive, but periodically replacing your bath mat and shower curtain due to hair dye stains definitely adds up (or am I the only messy one?). Plus, it’s a pain in the butt!
Let’s say you dyed your hair at home once every other month, and dyed your hair at the salon every other month between box dyes (my routine the last year before I ditched the dye): that’s around $960 a year.
But, once you stop dyeing? I only get my hair cut every 8 weeks at around $70/visit. So that’s around $455 a year. That’s a net savings of around $500 year.
Not too shabby!
But, I’m also spending less on hair treatments and products – keratin treatments, anti-frizz products, and blow-outs. More money saved!
Gray Hair is Easy to Maintain
When you dye your hair to cover your gray, you constantly worry about the roots showing.
Many of us planned our hair color appointments around vacations and special events and used root-touch up products between salon appointments to hide our grays.
But when you have no roots to hide (because it’s ALL gray), all you need to do to maintain your gray hair is to invest in a great haircut and products that suit your hair texture.
To my surprise, once I stopped dyeing my hair and my hair texture improved, I could actually skip the blow dryer and let my hair dry naturally with almost no frizz.
It’s a miracle!
Are there special products that can make your gray hair look fantastic? Yes! But they’re not mandatory.
The Silver Sisterhood
Since openly gray women are still somewhat of a rarity, it’s an immediate icebreaker in social situations. See another woman going gray at a party? You’ve immediately got something in common and, therefore, something to talk about.
On both Facebook and Instagram, there is a thriving community of “silver sisters.” Women share their gray hair transition stories, seek support, and share tips & tricks on going gray.
A lot of us note that the online silver hair community is one of the most supportive and loving communities of women that we’ve ever met!
The silver sisterhood is a HUGE bonus to going gray.
Silver Hair is Great for Your Complexion
When I dyed my hair dark brown (trying to replicate my natural hair color), I noticed that as I got older, my face seemed to kind of “fade away” in photos. It was disconcerting.
Looking at those photos now, it’s pretty obvious that the dark hair dye overshadowed my complexion. Plus, as my brown dye faded, it became brassy and too wrarm for my naturally cool skin-tone.
Now that my hair is silver, my complexion has brightened up considerably.
And it’s not just me – check out my post on “Before & After Going Gray” and you’ll see that most of the women featured have glowing complexions with their gray hair, as opposed to their dyed hair.
Gray Hair is Unique
One of the best reasons to go gray is that everyone’s gray pattern is different. No two are the same!
My hair is almost entirely white/silver on the top layer, and dark underneath, which creates its own form of highlights.
Other women have hair that is almost all gray in the front of their head and the back is dark.
No two heads of gray hair are alike! Can you say that about artificially-colored hair?
Did you know that the unique shades and pattern variations are one of the things women love most about their gray hair? Check out the results of my comprehensive gray hair survey for more information on that, plus a TON of other great insights from your fellow silver sisters!
Isn’t being different more fun?
Going Gray Doesn’t Have to be Permanent
What if you grow out your gray hair and you don’t like it? Nobody is forcing you to keep it. Going back to the dye is a fine choice in that case.
But why not give it a shot and see if it’s for you? You might be pleasantly surprised!
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 Amazon Shop for all your gray hair needs!
How to Go Gray with Long Hair
Going Gray During the Global Lockdown? Here are Some Tips!
How to Go Gray from Dyed Hair
Debunking Gray Hair Myths
I’ve gone completely gray now! Maybe some blonde still in the last few inches. I do love my gray but need guidance on a good style/cut for me. I’ve been just gently pulling into a twisted upsweep in the back held by a claw clip. I love having it out of my neck but am overweight and think short cuts are to severe for me. i am dealing with balding spots on top and very thin hair.
Side part and softer pullback do help.
Daughter getting married late August. Looking for recommendations on styles and cuts to make her proud of my look.
Hi, Jean – are you a member of my support group, Silver Revolution, on Facebook? If not, you should join and post this question there. There are hairdressers and others in that group who could give you great advice and maybe even share pictures.
I will be doing a video on YouTube soon about using hair toppers -that might help you with the balding spots on top. Maybe a medium bob with layers could work well for you?
Hi I am JoAnn. I became a hairdresser in 1973. I have be coloring my hair since 1975. I am 68yrs. old now and decided to go all natural and my hair is a beautiful platinum silver. Everyone loves it!
Wonderful, JoAnn! That’s a great outcome!
I actually LOVE my hair colored!..my daughter is a hairdresser and I am 71..actually I’m not completely grey at all!…thats great that people want their Grey hair..they should!…I do love my color!…so whatever trips your trigger!
since my daughter does my hair..it is very enjoyable and I spend time visiting with her!!!!
I loved the information you shared and the women looked beautiful with their Grey hair, awesome! I’m a 69 years old black female and I am starting to like my Grey hair especially when I wear makeup I get compliments from people saying that I look pretty or beautiful!
That’s awesome, Leila!
I’m 71 yrs old and I have long mixed gray hair. I never dyed my hair always wanted to go natural. Get tons of compliments and I’m so grateful I made it to see 71.
Hi I am transitioning to grey hair. I too no longer want to go to salon every 4 weeks and put chemicals into my hair. Since I have not colored my hair since March 2020 my hair is so much healthier. I transitioned by having my hairstylist low light my hair in blonde tones. It was a long process but worth it. It made transitioning easier. The low lights are not grown out yet it will probably be another 4-6 months. I am confident and determined to stay with the grey hair. My grey is a silver white and very shiny. I have had a few people comment oh no I am not ready for this this. A few said to me you are going to look older.
I do not feel grey hair defines age and you have to be a leader and not a follower.
Katie – I just found your site and this post helps kick off my commitment. Like many of the other posts, I have been dying my hair for around 30 years. I am 52 and finally decided that I am going grey. I only wish I would have started at the beginning of the pandemic, but am still working from home for the near future, which makes it so much easier to start. Thanks to all of the photos and stories that reinforce the benefits.
I had a stem cell transplant in January. Before I went into hospital, I had a barber shave off my long, slightly wavy red hair since I was going to lose it anyway. My hair is now about an inch or two long, very curly (a not uncommon effect of the chemo), and completely silver-white. I am so thankful to be alive and to be returning to good health, but I do find myself mourning the loss of my signature look, in a way. I want to embrace my “greyness,” but when I look in the mirror, I see Carol Burnett’s sidekick’s “old lady” hair, something I cannot reconcile with how I feel. So, I keep my head covered with a hat, even though it is summer. I would love not to care and to wear my new white do with pride—for me, for the environment, and for the time it will give me to do other things. I have nothing but admiration for all the self-assured women making up the “Grey Brigade.” Hats off to you! 😉
I hope this message finds you well. After chemo five years ago I too found myself unable to fully embrace my “new” hair. Mostly silver, much thinner, curlier then it was. I started coloring it as soon as I could to feel more like myself after being bald and browless for five months. I am now seven months into growing out the dye and embracing the silver. I wish I had had the courage to hang in there five years ago, but I was not ready. It would have saved me from having to do this all over again, though. You know what they say about hindsight?! Anyway, if I may offer my two cents, find a way to minimize the parts you don’t like (blowing out or flat ironing the curl) and make the cut, as your hair grows out, as modern as you can. I have come to believe that it is the cut and style and NOT the color that ages us. I hope this is helpful and that I have not overstepped. Be well, healthy and happy. Much luck to you whatever you choose to do.
Hi…I transitioned a year ago and what a relief! My family and friends couldn’t believe it, the ex hairdresser now grey haired. Everyone talks about the money aspect, I can’t get over having a weekend back. No Saturday mornings spent at the salon….and 2 hours of my life lost to feeling pretty. My grey is fun, exciting, easy to manage and so freeing! Let alone while I was dating, so easily maintained and not a worry …”are my roots showing”. Ladies enjoy and empower!
Yes! Getting your weekends back is one of the best bonuses!
My last salon visit for my perpetual 3 week touch up was on February 19, 2020. Just after is when we all went on COVID-19 lockdown and missed my routine visit. I figured, oh well I won’t see anyone for a while so I won’t have to think about it so much. The skunk line crowning my long dark hair got more prominent so I would just pull it back, spray dye if I had to (it made me feel better), and head out to the market masked up. It is then you realize how much you cover yourself up, on guard, exposed, and quickly return go back to your cocoon. My transformation wasn’t feel like a butterfly waiting to emerge. It was more like the awkward tadpole, get by, and find your way. But with it, I found independence, strength, and liberation. I say no more to hiding, I’m going to see who I am suppose to be. I accept the transition and will brave the new me. It’s four months now, I like what I see. The rebel yell is roared and a brave heart is seen!
Finally! Common sense dialogue regarding the tyranny of hair coloring. I’m 56, brunette-auburn born, and three months into transition. My hair is long, and in the last seven years, it has morphed from straight to slightly wavy, thanks to hormonal changes. I’ve been reluctantly dyeing my hair for 25 or more years. At first, it seemed fun – then – I bought into the hype that greys were to be covered, not shown. But here’s the catch: my hair has always been baby fine; then alopecia – attributed to thyroid dysfunction and heredity on my maternal line – became a factor. I was 32 and losing my hair. Thankfully, daily application of MinoxidiI, daily supplements, and a careful diet have allowed me to regain and retain enough of my strands. But color? The damage it does (along with blow drying, perming, hot rolling, flat ironing, as I foolishly tried it all over the years) has seemed counter-intuitive for a long time. I knew I needed to break the cycle, and cold turkey is the only option that feels right. So – here’s to the next two plus years of perpetual hair changes. Calico cat, Australian wild dog, licorice all-sorts? Call it what you want. I don’t care if it greys, as long as it stays!
I started noticing that my hair was dry and frizzy. My hairdresser asked what was going on and I told her I hadn’t changed anything. I’ve always had healthy pretty hair. When I got home it hit me…maybe with my hormones and the change with aging that it is possible this was the culprit. My hairdresser advised us not to do any blonde for a while and try to keep my hair as healthy as possible. I really felt the dark color near my face washed me out and just didn’t like to look in the mirror. January 9th of 2020 was my last hair appointment. I turned 50 in February. I remember spraying my roots for my big birthday party. I think 2 things played a big role in my decision to stop coloring. 1. I remember looking in the mirror and the silver that was peeking through was sparkling and smiling at me. I think the light gray reminded me of how I loved blonde around my face. 2. My hair dresser moved away and the stress of finding someone new was draining. Every morning I was falling more in love with my new hair peeking through. I decided to embrace the change and see what happens. I like change and I felt if I didn’t like it I could always color it again. Soon after my decision to give this a shot the epidemic happened and I lost my job. Through all this I have managed to stay strong and keep a great attitude. I knew I would face some negatives from people but I am in it to win it. So far I have had a strong group of friends and family that have encouraged me. I am 20 weeks in and I am loving my new look. I am struggling with the demarcation but I will figure that out as well. Reading all of these articles are so refreshing. Thank you!
I took the plunge (again) to short hair a year ago or so, and between dying my regrowth and maintaining a short style, I had become a slave to the upkeep. No more! The salons in my state were closed the day before my next appointment, and I thought- if I cant leave the house for weeks, then this is the right time to stop dying! I’m growing accustomed to the mixed grey and white framing my face now and am so excited to get my first cut, no color, when this lockdown is over. Super short pixie, mostly grey, here I come!
I started my transition before the Pandemic. I had retired in June 2019 and was doing quite a bit of traveling. I had to fit in dye appointments (brunette) with my travel dares which was a pain. In Dec 2019, I stopped dyeing my hair, originally thinking that I would keep it short as a pixie – my hair is wavy and I used a diffuser when drying. Well, Covid changed my plans but I was not concerned because everyone was staying close to home. I had my first haircut at the end of May when salons started opening up. Have not gone back yet because I had a pixie cut. It was great to see much of the now faded dyed hair was gone. My roots are now about 3-4 inches long at the top – most of the dye is gone. I am so surprised to see that I am more silver white on top but my side and back underside are dark. My colorist thought I would be all white- so glad for the variations. Growing my pixie out – thinking to wait and see how long I can tolerate my bangs growing out- aiming for a Bob for now – not sure if I will grow out my layers. Love not having to schedule my life in four week intervals. Love my eyebrows which are the only source of my original hair color since I did not over-tweeze. Love my new look – have to weed out closet and get rid of colors that do not work with the new me?????
Started my grey journey in September 2918. Best self care I’ve done for myself
I’m transitioning. My last coloring was March 1. Salons are still closed. I have wanted to do this for about a year. Look forward to a great haircut soon.
Katie, I’m so glad I found you! I’m 55 and have been threatening to stop dyeing my hair for the last few years. I started in my 20’s for the fun of it and then kept going out of habit and then to cover the gray/white hair. My last color was done in February, and the salons in my state closed in March. My friends all lamented not being able to dye their hair, but the more gray/white I saw, the more I wanted to keep going! Yesterday – nearly 2 months later – the salons reopened. My stylist texted me to see when I’d like an appointment. I told her I didn’t need one until I’m ready to cut my hair off short! (I’m anxious for a pixie but want to take a few pounds off first.) This whole idea of abandoning hair dye feels so right, and I can’t wait to see how it looks! Thanks for the support you provide to women like me. I wish I would have done this a long time ago!
Aww, thank you, Ginny! I’m so glad I could help you! I also wish I had started my gray hair transition a long time ago but we have to stop looking back and just look forward! At least we stopped, right? Good luck to you with your growout!
I was so pleased to be able to get into the hairdressers before the UK lockdown (dumb huh, I mean who’s going to see me….my husband has already seen me at my worst) . Ive tried to transition before and gave up after having highlights to ease the transition (it didnt) Im 8 weeks into this transition process. In the current pandemic and in the great scheme of things my natural grey hair is no big deal. Im really committed this time I already start to feel like ‘Me’. I had naturally black hair when I was younger and was always asked was it dyed (quite ironic looking back) I’ve been various shades of dyed brown over the last 30 years. but I’m actually liking my natural mixed grey & black hair. Im loving all the photos and tips, blogs and you tube videos of lovely silver haired women. So I’m in for the long haul this time and looking forward to seeing the end result.
Best of luck to you, Christine! Nobody told us when we were teens that growing out our dyed hair to gray would actually be fun, liberaitng and empowering, but it IS!
I have been dyeing my hair for 57yrs (from the time I was 15yrs old). I am 63yrs young now.
I last coloured/highlighted my short, fine/straight hair on Jan 30,/2020. When I was due in mid-March for my next Salon visit, the Pandemic was declared. These circumstances solidified my decision to transition to Gray. Whenever the Salons reopen I plan to get a pixie haircut. I can’t wait to see what my hair will look like then!? Hoping it will encourage me to continue my transition.
Reading the various journeys of the Silver Sisterhood has not only inspired me but also given me valuable hair tips.
So glad to hear it, Dana! Good luck with your transition!
I’m also going to join the brigades
Good for you! You will enjoy it 🙂
My grey is not a nice silver grey colour I am seeing in your post. It’s more battleship grey and dull.
Sharon, check out the videos of Monique Parent on YouTube. She has tons of great tips on ways to make your gray hair look great. She uses Manic Panic or Arctic Fox products to make her gray hair whiter and brighter (sometimes) and that could be a fun thing for you to try.