Going Gray: Transitioning

posted in: Grey is the New Blond | 22

I opened the proverbial Pandora’s box when I wrote my first post about women going gray (on purpose). Following the overwhelmingly positive responses I received to this article, I decided to share the testimonies of women who had so graciously and humbly shared their journey with me.

 

going gray

 

Going Gray: Julie’s Story

Julie shared her story as well as her process (via pictures) of going gray with me. She said during her transition she would have loved to have such pictures to encourage her.

 

FW: When did you notice your first gray hair?

Julie: I was in high school; 17 or 18 years old.

 

FW: If you colored your hair, how long did you do it?

Julie: I started when I was 23 or 24, so about 22 years.

 

FW: What made you want to stop coloring?

Julie: I was just tired of having to color every 10-14 days. Because of the expense, I did it myself. It was messy, time-consuming and just a pain in the booty! I couldn’t go any longer between colorings because I was coloring it black and as the gray came in I looked like a skunk! LOL

 

FW: How old were you when you went natural?

Julie: I stopped coloring when I was 46 (I’m now 48).

 

FW: How long was the transition process?

Julie: 2 years almost to the day.

 

FW: Did you have some support?

Julie: I did. Just about everyone I told was encouraging. (And some asked what took me so long!)

 

FW: Did you have some nay-sayers?

Julie: Not really. My mom was probably the only one that was remotely negative. And she really wasn’t that. When I told her what I was doing, she just said, “Are you sure you want to do that?” Her gray hairs are (in her words) “mousy” and “wirey” and she was worried mine would be too. Once it started coming in, though, she was totally on board (and, to be honest, a little jealous!)

 

FW: Do you have a partner?  If so, what does he says about your hair?

Julie: When I FIRST started talking about letting my hair go natural (which was about 6-8 years ago – around age 40 or so), he said he wasn’t sure he was ready for me to do it. He’s five years younger than me and I think he was worried I would look much older than he. Of course, I wasn’t ready to do it then, either. So his reaction didn’t bother me. When I finally made the decision, though, he was all for it. He was SO incredibly supportive through the whole process. He never said anything but complimentary things to me and never made me feel ugly (even though I thought I was!). He’s all about the natural look (if he had it his way, I wouldn’t wear makeup either!) so he was completely ok with it.

 

FW: Do you personally feel less attractive because you have gray hair?

Julie: Quite the contrary! I feel MORE attractive! ☺

 

FW: What has going natural done for you?

Julie: I wish I could say I had this great revelation and my life changed because of “going natural”, but I don’t think I can. I’m the same person I was two years ago when I was coloring my hair black. Now, through the process, I learned a lot about what I can and cannot tolerate about myself (and how awesome my husband is. ☺) I was inspired to finally lose the extra 35 pounds I’ve been carrying around and blaming on my age. I also find myself with a more “to each his or her own” attitude. And I’m ok with “looking old”. I mean, I am 48 years old, I should look 48 years old, not 28 years old. And that’s ok. So, no. My life didn’t change because of going natural. I just grew and matured… something I probably would have done anyway. ☺

 

FW: Do you ever consider dying again?

Julie: Goodness, no! Not anymore. Through the process, every now and then, I would get discouraged. I would feel very ugly and would be SO tempted to cover it back up. I’m so glad I didn’t give in to that temptation! I get so many compliments on my hair now – from both men and women. Women ask me who colors my hair (I tell them “God” LOL); hairdressers tell me they wish they could replicate the color. I’m one of the lucky ones… my hair is a pretty color and I love it. I don’t take that for granted.

 

FW: Any advice for someone who wants to go natural but is afraid to?

Julie: Do what YOU want to do. If you want to stop coloring and let your hair go natural, do it. If you want to color it because that’s what makes you feel pretty and confident, color it. Don’t let anyone pressure you to do otherwise. As I mentioned, when I first started thinking about not coloring any longer, it took me years to finally do it. I’d start letting it grow and cover it up. I did that at least a dozen times before I finally decided to go for it. I just wasn’t ready. Let’s face it, gray hair = old in our society. And no one likes looking old. That being said, when someone is waffling, I tell them, “Why not try it? If you don’t like it, you can always cover it back up! And right now, gray hair is trendy… The timing could be more perfect!”

 

Going Gray: Transitioning

going gray going gray
January 2016
Made decision to stop coloring
February 2016
First visit to hairdresser for highlights; soften the black a little. Also started Olaplex. Because I used box color (BAD!), though, the color just wouldn’t come out.
Going Gray Going gray
April 2016
The first few months was the toughest. Style Edit spray was my best friend! I used it to cover up the gray when in public.
Late April 2016
Another visit to the hairdresser for heavy highlights and Olaplex. My hair was so many different colors, I was feeling a little like a calico cat!
going gray going gray
June 2016
5 months, 4 highlight treatments and 4 inches cut off, I was starting to like my hair again.
October 2016
The highlighting destroyed my hair. I had to cut it dramatically. I have always had long hair so this was a much of an adjustment as the color was; maybe more! No more highlighting after this…
going gray going gray
December 2016
Almost a year into it and I was feeling pretty good!
January 2017
One year! If you look closely, you’ll see some little hairs sticking up on top. That, my friends, is new growth. I had no idea how my hair was being affected by the color!
going gray going gray
March 2017
As much as I wanted my hair long, regular cuts of an inch or more is what sped things along a little.
June 2017
SO CLOSE! This is really when I started feeling like I was nearing the end.
going gray going gray
September 2017
Not as much being cut each time and it’s finally starting to get long again… (It looks a little lighter here because I was standing near a window. It looks so much whiter in natural light!)
January 2018
Visit to the hairdresser to get the last of the color cut off! Woohoo!! I have arrived! Two years since my last color and I couldn’t be happier! Now to let it grow out…

 

22 Responses

  1. Kahealani

    I wish I could be so brave! I’m 52 and although I’ve thought about it, I’m not there yet. I tell myself that if I’m blessed enough to make 60 years old, that might be the time! You look beautiful without gray and with!!

    • Florence

      Everyone in their time right? Thanks for taking the time to read this post AND to leave this comment. You have a blessed day.

    • Florence

      Hi Flo,

      I hear you say you are ready to take the plunge but your hair dresser does not support you. The thing is that is YOUR choice, your head, your hair. Moreover, never take advice from someone who has something to gain from that choice. Coloring benefits your hairdresser. If coloring no longer benefits you then it’s time to take the plunge.

      No matter what choice you make, many blessings on your journey.

      Florence

      • Flo

        Thank you for taking the time to reply to my message! I am one week into my last color and the gray roots are already showing. I am sorry I even went to my last appointment because I could have already been 5 weeks without color. Won’t be going back and I am so ready to take this journey! Thank you and I will keep you posted!

        • Florence

          Hi again Flo!

          Please do let me know how it goes. Maybe you can even document your new journey with pictures. And if you are interested, I can give you a Facebook group you can join for additional support! Yeah, you!

          Florence

  2. Linda

    Welcome to the club — I am 58 and have been natural for 3 years. I had colored since I was 26. Every shade of red ! LOL
    As the grey came in, I would cut my hair short & go with it. Then get tired of the look & go back to color.
    Finally just before I was 55, my grey was SO THICK that I said “it’s time” and I’m so very happy !!
    I’m complimented often and love the freedom of only going to the hairdresser for a haircut!!

    • Florence

      Linda,

      Thank you for sharing your story! Glad you are happy with your choice.

      Many blessings,

      Florence

  3. Jean-Marie Dean

    You have inspired me! I’m going to do it! I’m 53 years old and ready. You are so gorgeous! Thank you for sharing🌷

  4. Paulina

    this is so inspirational. I’m 33 and I failed in growing my roots out at 4th month. Too many negativity form others.. I bleached my dark dyed hair and dyed it blonde. I thought blonde hair will look good with gray roots. Color was beautiful – cool light blonde, but it wasn’t me so I dyed it dark again. Now I’m on my second attempt to lettig my hair grow gray. Ladies like you make be believe I can do it 🙂
    Thank you 🙂

    • Florence

      Oh Paulina,
      I am sorry you had to put up with negativity. Yes! You can do it. If you want some additional support, let me know. I can recommend a couple of fantastic groups. Blessings to you!
      Florence

  5. Ann Grimes

    Thank you for sharing your journey to grey. My last full color was on April 20th of this year. On June first just had some ash blond highlights put in around my face to get use to a lighter color. At 61 I am officially transitioning to grey. Started coloring my hair in my 30s just for fun now for the last 10 years it became more of a need to keep out the grey. 🙂 But when you start seeing grey roots after a few weeks I’m tired of trying to keep up the coloring and the expense of coloring. Not to mention the chemicals being put on my hair 😲. My mom had beautiful white grey hair so I am hoping I will too 😀.

  6. Gail

    I’m 66, and next month will be one year for my grow-out. I’m SOOO glad that I finally did this. I should have done it years ago. My hair is all white. I prefer shoulder length hair, so I have about 6″ of white from the top of the crown to my ears, then the dyed blond for another 4″ or so. Even with the 2-toned look, I get lots of compliments. Some people have thought that I paid to get this “ombre” look. LOL! The worst part were those first few months, but you know what I learned? No one even noticed for the first 3-4 months. I thought it was so obvious, and I tried temporary rinses, but that got exhausting and finally I just went with the natural look. My hair was dyed blond so that made it easier for me than for a dark haired person. Still, I was self-conscious about it for those first few months. Now, at almost a year, I’m very anxious for it to be all one color, but I now know that it will be at least another 6-12 months, unless I cut it shorter than I like to wear it. My experience has been nothing but positive. If you are on the fence, just DO IT! Those last few years of coloring, my scalp was often itchy and red. Those problems are now GONE! I’d been coloring my hair for 35 years. God bless you all on your grow-out journey.

  7. Jane Cassell

    Thank you! I have also made the decision to ‘go natural’ but wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to tackle it. I’m 57, my hair is dark and in a bob cut at the moment but my plan is to go with shortish layers and just let it grow out from there – fewer inches to grow out! I will probably let it grow back in to a bob once the colour is gone. I’m going on holiday in 6 weeks, I will colour a shade lighter before I go then hopefully the sun will do it’s bit and it’s cold turkey once I return! I’ve found it’s helped me to plan ahead – I’ve been telling people that I intend to grow the colour out when I get back from holiday so I’m hoping I will have fewer negative comments because people have been forewarned, it’s also helping me to focus and pushing me to do it. I still have a dilemma over whether to have some highlights as it’s growing through, or maybe to use a coloured shampoo which is what I do now when the roots are showing and I don’t have time to colour (I’ve always done it myself), but I’ve never wanted to be blonde and I can’t imagine myself that way. I like the idea of taking regular photos of my progress so thanks for that. Watch this space and good luck to everyone else making the same decision, we can do it! x

    • Florence

      Hi Jane,

      It sounds like you have put a lot of thought into your decision. I would love to see pictures of your transition! Have a great vacation!

      Blessings

      Florence

  8. Deb Thorpe

    It’s been nearly a year since I made my decision to go natural at age 62. I’ve talked about it for years and finally decided to do it. My hair has been dark my entire life, so the white blond highlights (started in stages) my stylist recommended were hard to look at for me. We highlighted 3 times to blur the line, then nothing else. That was 7 months ago and I am really happy with the grow out stage now. I layered my hair to help.it along. I think it will be another 6 months before it’s complete. So glad I am doing this. I still hardly recognize myself in the mirror after being a brunette most of my life. Everyone has complimented me along the way too. Stories like yours have been my inspiration. Thanks for sharing.

    • Florence

      Dear Deb,

      Thank YOU for sharing your story as well and I am so glad you are happy with your choice and the results!

      Blessings

      Florence

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