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6 Things You Must Be Able To Handle if You Want To Go Gray

Inside: Everything you must be able to handle if you want to go gray.

Have you ever seen photos and videos of women going gorgeously gray and thought to yourself, “I want to go gray, too?!”

pinterest pin design of beautiful asian woman with gray hair wearing green shirt and thinking

Well, I’ve been blogging about gray hair since I went gray myself back in 2018 – and I’ve supported countless women on their gray hair journey since then.  

And one thing I’ve learned is that if you can’t handle the following 6 things, there is a very good chance that you will hate going gray and that you might even – dare I say it – hate your gray hair once it grows in. 

And we don’t want that to happen, do we? Forewarned is forearmed, so let’s dive right in:

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

#1 – Dealing With Negative Gray Hair Comments

image of family members of all ages holding their thumbs down to indicate disapproval

The first thing you need to be able to handle is probably one of the most aggravating aspects of going gray: negative comments and pushback from people.

Negative comments don’t happen to everyone, but they’re especially common in the United States (unfortunately), so it’s important to plan some witty comebacks and keep them at the ready.

Why? Because rude comments can come out of nowhere, take you by surprise, and derail your transition to gray hair no matter how initially enthusiastic you were about doing it.

Hot tip: remember why you’re going gray. If you can be confident in your decision to go gray, negative comments can roll off your back, making it much easier to continue along your merry way through your entire transition.

#2 – Handling the Gray Hair Transition

image of young brunette woman in pink shirt holding out her gray roots and looking at them in dismay

Going gray from dyed hair is not exactly what one would call easy.

First, you need to make the decision to go gray, and that’s a big leap for a lot of us because there is so much prejudice in our culture against it. Then you have to decide how to go gray – and that takes some thought!

No matter which method of going gray you choose, you’ll probably encounter some pitfalls, as every single method of going gray has pros and cons.

It helps to have patience, a sense of humor, and to be resilient. If you have all three of those qualities or even just one or two of them, you will find the transition to gray hair so much easier.

But if you don’t, that can be very difficult. And when people have a difficult transition, sometimes they just head back to the dye, despite all the reasons they wanted to go gray in the first place.

#3 – Dealing with Uncertainty 

image of young woman with short brown bob, smiling and thinking

How well do you deal with uncertainty? Because you’re going to have to deal with a lot of uncertainty during your gray hair transition.

Why? Well, because there are two major things that you cannot predict about your gray hair: the color and the pattern. 

Despite what your hairdresser might’ve told you, you cannot predict what your gray hair will look like while you still have dyed hair on your head. It’s impossible because the dyed hair reflects off of your translucent hair and muddies your perception of the color.

Now, for a lot of women, the unpredictability is part of the fun. It’s like slowly unwrapping a present, and then you get to see at the end what your present is actually going to look like.

But for people who don’t like unpredictability, that might be difficult to get through.

So just roll with it and remember why you are going gray in the first place. That should help get you through the roughest parts of your transition.

#4 – Maintaining Your Gray Hair

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One of the best parts about going gray is no longer having to spend hours at the hair salon (or at home) dyeing your hair or touching up your gray roots. It’s heaven!

However, that doesn’t mean that gray hair is no maintenance. Gray hair requires its own special maintenance to help it look its best. 

The major maintenance issue with gray hair is yellowing. It won’t happen to everyone, but it does happen to a lot of people.

Here are just a few things that you’ll need to do to prevent yellowing in your gray hair:

  • Use a thermal protectant every single time you use a hot tool of any variety.
  • Buy a hot tool that has a low heat or no heat button. (These tend to be more expensive if you want the ones that go low enough to be used on gray hair – it might be worth it to you, but if not, you can use heatless curlers).
  • Wear a hat or use an SPF every single time you go out in the sun. 
  • Give up smoking, which you should probably do anyway, especially if you want your hair to look great.
  • Going to go swimming in a chlorinated pool? First, you need to wet your hair and put a little oil on to prevent yellowing.

You also have to be cautious with products when you have gray hair as certain products can stain your gray hair (such as amber-colored products), and other products have ingredients you want to avoid.

Even with all that being said, gray hair is still lower maintenance than dyed hair. You just need to take the time to figure out what works for your particular gray hair.

Patience is key

#5 – Riding the Rollercoaster of Change

image of a sign that says "change ahead" with a blue sky in the background

Okay, let me ask you, do you hate change? Because you are going to have to deal with a lot of change during your transition to gray hair.

And I’m not just talking about your hair color; I’m talking about everything else. 

Not only will you find that some of your favorite hair products no longer work for you, but some of your favorite makeup and clothing colors will no longer work for you.

For some of us, switching out our colors is fun, but many women would rather have things stay the same.

Going gray can also be an emotional rollercoaster. If you’re used to being on an even keel, you might find that going gray brings up many emotions, some good and some bad.

One day you might feel excited and inspired and empowered and rebellious by going gray, and when you’re having a bad day, another day, you might feel like, “Oh God, I’ve made a terrible mistake. What am I doing?” 

If you can roll with the changes and go with the flow, this part of going gray will be easier for you, and you’ll have a better time.

#6 – People Assuming You’re Older Than You Are

image of attractive asian woman with gray long wavy hair - she is wearing glasses and smiling

Are you someone who values being mistaken for being younger than your age? I hate to tell you that might change once you go gray. 

It’s not that you won’t look good with gray hair. I’m sure you will!

It’s just that 75% of the population dyes their hair, and this has created a false assumption that if you have gray hair, you must be old.

Now, we all know that’s not true. 

Perceptions have changed a lot, even in just the past five years, but there’s still a very good chance that somebody somewhere is going to put their foot in their mouth and look at your hair color, not your face, and just assume that you’re older than you are.

And to be perfectly honest, YOU might sometimes look in the mirror and worry that your gray hair makes you look older (since that’s the stereotype we grew up with).

It takes a while to get over that, and that really bothers some women. They really feel like the fear of looking older is going to keep them dyeing their hair until they’re in their 90s.

If that happens to you – and if it bothers you – make sure to check out my post about How Not to Look “Old” with Gray Hair

It has a lot of advice and tips & tricks to help you push past that fear of looking older than your age and look your best with your gorgeous gray hair.

Video: 6 Things You Must Handle While Going Gray

Conclusion

Reading all of this, you might think “Going gray sounds like a nightmare!” But believe me, it’s not!

A lot of us find that NONE of the things mentioned here bother us at all. We loved going gray, and we love our gray hair.

But it’s important to be honest about potential pitfalls so that you can be prepared, instead of taken by surprise.

Now, head on over to THIS post all about the unexpected benefits of going gray for a burst of positivity about the whole process!

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2 Comments

  1. All great advice Katie. For some reason I’ve not had to deal with anything on this list. Except maybe being regarded as older. So I tell people I’m really 90 and then ask them- “Don’t. I look great for my age?!”

    1. I love that response, Jo Anna! And I’m so glad you haven’t had to deal with any of these. Not everyone does (the only thing I had to deal with was some negative comments, but I was so happy to go gray that I didn’t care ❤️.

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