Gray or Nay?

Personal Thoughts  About Transitioning to Gray Hair

I’m having a love affair with gray hair right now. I think of little else. Except of course, for a million other anxiety inducing thoughts. 😉 Based on recent searches, my Pinterest feed is fully loaded with every shade and style of gray hair – Transitioning to Gray Hair. How to Go Gray Gracefully. Transition to Gray Hair. Growing Out Gray Hair. Best Hair Styles for Gray Hair.

But so far, it’s only an affair. I’ve made no commitment to transition to gray hair myself.  My own hair is still colored while I continue to vacillate about letting my own gray locks grow wild. So besides being envious of so many beautiful women who have already embraced their naturally graying hair, what has me thinking about growing out my natural gray hair?

Transitioning to Gray Hair | Truthful thoughts on Letting my Hair Go Gray!

Over It!

I don’t love the actual hair coloring process. Those hours I spend in the salon chair every 5 weeks always come too soon and feel too long. And, I’m getting close to needing to bump my color back to every four weeks.

Note: I LOVE my Colorist to pieces. She’s educated and creative, and even teaches color. None of these factors have anything to do with her. SHE will be the KEY element to a smooth transition to gray once I finally decide to make the leap.

Gray roots. Brown Hair.  Need I say more?

I’m not gaga over the actual dyed color! My hair tends to pull up warm (read – brassy). The combination of  my pink, ruddy complexion from rosacea (here) and orange-ish hair is not the most flattering combination.

If beauty is pain, then I’m a super model!  I not only have rosacea, but I have seborrheic dermatitis (SD) on my scalp. SD can sometimes cause open sores on my scalp. Add hair color to that and you can just imagine how that feels during the hair coloring process. OUCH!

♥ Oh, the money I’ve spent on coloring my hair! Ugh!  I would love to remove that line item on the monthly budget and use it toward something else. When I think of the cumulative amount I spend a year on my hair… well, I try NOT to think about it. It’s my vice… after Dr. Pepper of course. 😉 

But maybe, like my beloved Dr. Pepper, my life would be just as good without hair color. Maybe even better. I read something Lauren from howbourgeois.com, a woman transitioning to gray hair, quoted and it keeps coming back to me: “What If The Gray Was Your Best Feature”?

Transitioning to Gray Hair | Gray Hair Inspiration | howbourgeios.com
Source

Why is this such a HUGE decision?

It’s  Personal

The decision to color or not color our hair is a totally personal choice. By letting you into my thought process about whether or not to grow out my gray hair, I’m not trying to influence you to stop coloring your hair. But if you’re teetering like I am, you may find some of this interesting.

I’ve already told you WHY I’m thinking about growing out my gray hair. But to answer the question about why this is such a HUGE decision I’m going to tell you WHAT some of the fears holding me back are.

Growing out Gray Hair | What if gray hair is my GLORY?
Like my mom, I started going white in my 20’s. That’s not just a “wide part” if you look closely enough! 😉

Vanity and Beyond

♥  What if it gray hair makes me look….. OLD?

I’ve always look younger than I am. I get told quite regularly that I don’t look 52. When I tell people that I have 6 grandsons, they always say, “NO WAY”. I’m not going to lie, it’s flattering! However, recently when someone said that I didn’t look like a grandmother, I thought to myself, “But I am.” And honestly, it’s one of the greatest gigs going.

I think people say this because we culturally have a picture of a stereotypical granny in a rocking chair figure as a grandmother. To think the fact that we might have already changed that visual says we’ve come a long way baby. But have we gone too far to avoid looking at grandmother at all? Hmm… Just a thought.

♥ Can I be fat AND gray?!?!

I’ve said many times and even once here on the blog,  that I didn’t think my ego could stand to be fat AND Gray. But the “fluff” isn’t going anywhere right now. And what if I never loose weight? I’ve also said that I don’t want to be a really old lady with dark hair. That’s just too unnatural for me!

♥ Will I look like a hag?

Okay, before you go crazy – I don’t think women with gray hair look like hags. Some of the most beautiful Midlife Style Influencers I know have embraced their gray hair. That’s why I’m featuring a few of my beautiful, inspirational friends today.

Transitioning to gray hair | Beautiful Gray Hair | madeuplove.com
Source: Lisa, madeuplove.com

But, we all know those women who don’t do much, or do too much (hello helmet hair) with their gray hair and it just misses the mark. And let’s face it, I’m not styled for photos every day of the week. Many days, my hair is in a ponytail, I have no makeup on and I’m shvitzing something fierce. Now, I’m a hot mess with brown hair, but will this ALL natural version of Paula be too much of a kick in the proverbial nuts for me to handle?

There are of course other questions I won’t elaborate on: What if it’s not flattering? What if I hate it? What if it’s kinky (and not in the fun way ;-P) AND still brassy? Can I handle the grow out stage without being locked in a rubber room? 

However, I wanted to save some space for two BIG, BIG thoughts.

Big thought ONE:

What if it’s not “sexy”?

First, let me tell you that looking sexy isn’t a huge goal for me. Not that I don’t want The Hubs to find me attractive. But, I think sexy is something we are, not something we show. I have an entire post I’m going to write about that, but back to the hair.

We, women, have a ton of “sexuality” wrapped up in our hair. The sheer quantity of women walking around with long hair whether it’s flattering for them or not, is proof enough of that. For lots of us, it’s almost a genetic idea.

We must have this idea that as we get older, we’re only sexy  if we look YOUNGER. Which is kind of funny, because do you remember being young and piling on the makeup and dressing “older” to either get in with the older crowd or because you thought guys would think it was attractive?

I’ll admit that my hair is important to me. Hair is our “glory” after all.  The emotional energy that I put into it can be exhausting. You don’t think you do that? Have you ever cried over a bad haircut?

I have a theory that one day I will find THE perfect swimsuit. It will be the one that I put on that will miraculously transform me into a Christie Brinkley-esque babe (then or now… they are both awesome). But just like even a great swimsuit won’t work like that, having the hair of a supermodel won’t make me one.

Gray Hair | Transitioning to Gray | silveristhenewblonde.com
Source: Jan, silveristhenewblonde.com

 It would seem that gray hair is the  one area we can’t stop associating with age… OLD age, to be specific.

BIG thought TWO

What if I’m no longer considered relevant because my hair is gray?

As women in midlife, we have crossed lots of boundaries and are making waves in more areas than ever before. There are actresses in Hollywood who have remained marketable even though choosing not to alter themselves (think Helen Mirren) for roles. In fact, they actually work more than those actresses who have so contorted their looks with surgeries, that they have “weirded” themselves out of being able to play normal roles.  However, there are lots of celebrities, that despite forgoing facial surgeries still color their hair.

Helen Mirren Gray Hair
Source

It would seem that gray hair is the  one area we can’t stop associating with age… OLD age, to be specific.  In turn, are we saying the gray hair is unacceptable because it makes us look too old? Does gray hair make us look irrelevant unless we’re women of the boardroom, the courtroom or exam room?

But what if I grow out my gray hair and want to go back into say, leading worship in a church? If you’re at all familiar with charismatic worship in today’s larger churches, the platforms are full of cool hipster musicians. And many of the parishioners are their peers. Even with a solid voice, would I be considered relevant in that genre with gray hair? (Oh wow! I could go on forever about this and might feel a part II coming on)  😉

But let’s wrap this up…

Anti-Anti-aging Movement

The Aging Trend

We are living in a decade when embracing the diversity of our bodies and each person’s natural beauty is in vogue. Terms like Healthy Aging, Ageism, Age Disruptor, and Anti-Anti-Aging are seen in articles scattered around the web.  As Midlifers and beyond, we want to be accepted for our knowledge, experience, poise, and wisdom. “Relevance be thy name.” We are finally being encouraged to embrace our birthdays yet, it would seem, at least where hair color is concerned, we are still having trouble embracing those gray hairs as an indicator that we’ve earned another candle on the cake.

Source: Shauna at chicover50.com

Will I or won’t I?

I’m not sure. If I can get my colorist on board and my scalp condition under control, I’d love to go all in and go gray in a day.  It wouldn’t be my exact natural hair color, but the out-growth would be more subtle. I even have a video saved from Pinterest that has already been sent to my “professional glam team” as a guide.

What if gray hair is my glory?

The truth is, I’m scared. But I’m also super excited. I’m anxious (in a good way) to see what I REALLY look like. I started graying in my 20’s, so it’s been a LONG time.

And if it doesn’t work out, or if my 6 grandsons are scared of me, they’re still making brown hair color.

Gray Hair May be our Best Color | Transitioning to gray hair | dimpleonmywhat.com

 

BUT…..

But, what if… just what if, gray hair is my glory? THAT could be awesome!

 

 

 

 

About Paula

Welcome to Dimples On My What! I’m Paula, a 50+ opinionated, funny chick. I’ll share my life, stories, home projects, as well as my fashion and beauty attempts. So stay a while and you just might laugh a little and feel better about your own unfiltered life in a filtered world.

22 thoughts on “Gray or Nay?

  1. Gray hair is also very stubborn.
    Some chemicals, even some water can turn it yellow. The gray color is beautiful. Yellow gray is not beautiful. It does better with a short cut I think.

  2. You know I’ve not been following you very long about a year. During this time you have truly inspired me because I am built very similar to you. You’ve helped me to keep my style going even though I’ve got some health issues that cause me to not feel so great for a day or sometimes several days but you’ve helped keep me going as in get dressed . Do thank you so much💕. Now for the gray hair I’m doing the same thing but right now I’m blonde. As a former hair stylist and salon owner I’ve had many hair colors and style but this gray is just getting to be too much! So for now I’m very light blond and that’s helping to not color every 2-3 weeks but I really have wanted to go all the way gray but family and friends have been very discouraging and I don’t understand why!!! I love your hair either way and I’ll support you in whatever you choose so if you do the gray I may finally follow suit as well. Sending love your way😘💕

    1. I’m baby stepping my way to lighter hair too Paula. I just had highlights put in and am disappointed that they are still very warm. But, for now my colorist is working with me. So hopefully we can get to a good place to just let it grow while continuing to tone the warm out.

  3. Great article!!!! I have been fascilating between letting my gray hair grow out or continuing to color it myself, which is a pain in the hiney! This was encouraging and gave me a lot to think about

  4. I have been perplexed with the idea of Not to Dye many, many times. All that changed when I tried on a wig with 50% gray hair and hated it. I see so many gray haired ladies around town and on the blog and they look Great, so I am sure you will look Great too. If by chance you really don’t like it, Loreal will still be around. It’s all about the journey. . .
    http://www.madamtoomuch.com

    1. I tried on a wig too Neti. It was a cheapo I had ordered online and I didn’t like it either. I think the thing to remember is that our hair and it’s color will be unique to us. And I’m counting on my hope that God knew what He was doing when He “colored me in”. 😉

  5. Four years ago, at age 47, I stopped coloring my hair. I had been going to the salon every five weeks, alternating between all-over color and root touch-ups (brown dye over gray hair). I finally reached the point where I determined I had better things to do with my time and my money. I have never regretted the decision! In fact, hardly a day goes by that I don’t receive a compliment on my hair…and I can’t say that was the case when I was dyeing my hair (even though I had a great colorist). In addition to going gray, I also stopped fighting my hair’s natural texture and found a cut that worked with it, rather than forcing my hair to adapt to a trendy style. My hair has never been healthier and I couldn’t be happier with my decision.

  6. You could try “praying the gray away” 😉 Just kidding. I think some of these ladies you admire still look like they have a hair color process…it’s just not a dark one. Anywho, what if you went with a different base and got a lot of frosted highlights to start the transition. Just a thought. I haven’t looked into it enough.

    1. I just got highlights as a baby step toward blending the gray in better. They are still very warm though. I know that I’ll still need toners (and not the good kind) 😉 as I proceed. I just want less maintenance and to not have a skunk streak for and week or two a month.

  7. I love gray hair and am transitioning mine now. Of course, I wear very short hair so it isn’t a long time period. I have been coloring my hair blonde for years and just started the graying process last appointment. I went through everything you are before starting plus ask everyone’s thoughts. lol My colorist does a great job but as I told her if it all is gray and I don’t like it I will go back to blonde.

  8. So glad I just found your blog! Can’t wait to look around! I’m 44 and 1.5 years into growing out my silver due to reactions to the dyes so the “choice” was taken from me! Which I think makes it harder. I’ve chosen to keep my hair long as I do it – fortunately I have what looks like silver tinsel in my dark almost black hair so it’s not as drastic as If my hair was 100% silver. Most of the thoughts you’ve had I’ve had too for sure !

    1. Tracy,
      Your support and encouragement mean SO much! I’ll need you Silver Sisters to get through it. So, I’m going to check out the FB group for sure.

  9. This is a very moving piece! We (us all natural girls) ALL went through these EXACT question/answer/question series with ourselves before we decided to stop coloring. I’m actually writing you, never been inclined before anywhere else, but you had me at SD (seborrheic Dermatitis). I too suffer from this, well, DID, before when I was coloring. I used to get the blisters, the scabs, the ITCHING, non-stop ITCHING for 2 weeks straight, one week itch free (if I was lucky enough) then time to color again. Ouch. HORRIBLE. I itch even thinking about it. I’m 42, I made the decision to stop when I was 40. I did not want helmet hair, I did not want scabs and itching, what to do. I gave “ditching the Dye” a GO. I made a deal with myself to lay off hair dye for ONE YEAR, and gave myself a chance to reevaluate after I hit that mark. I stopped in late Aug. not ever thinking what it might look like by Christmas and the Holidays, LOL. But I lived, I DID FINE, I might have even grown a few hairs on my chest (LOL, JK). I became a member of the closed group GGG on Facebook. They are an amazing group of ladies who are either thinking about transitioning, actively doing it, or like me now, already transitioned. So, what is life like for a 42 year old with natural hair these days….GREAT. Better than I ever imagined….for these reasons….
    1. My SD is under control, for the FIRST TIME EVER.
    2. My complexion is the best it’s ever been, since I was about 8 years old.
    3. I wear LESS make-up because my skin and my hair match. I used to wear sooooo much make-up, mostly to hide blemishes and even out my skintone. My daily wear these days… mascara, tinted moisturizer, and lip balm/gloss. That’s IT. If I go out, I add my BOOM COLOR lip balm to my cheeks and brush on a little eye-shadow. BAM.
    4. Your hair rewards you for going natural, UH BONUS!!!!
    Rewards you with, NEW GROWTH, SHINE, SOFTNESS, MANAGEABILITY, UNIQUE one of a kind COLOR….no two are the same! How’s that for a fashion statement?!?
    5. I don’t feel OLD, I certainly had to go through some emotions to get to this point but I actually think I “match” myself and look BETTER than before!
    6. I feel like ‘ME’. I’m supposed to look just how I look, at this exact stage of my life and I’m super happy to be here, and be HEALTHY.
    7. Although there are times I miss my all one color, all natural brown hair that I had when I was a teenager, I do not miss ONE THING ABOUT MY DYED HAIR, AT ALL. NOT ONE THING. And that is why Bourgeois states life can be BETTER THAN BEFORE. It really can, it really IS.
    8. It’s personal, only you can decide. For me, the health factor made me decide, I could not keep putting poison on my head and keep going through all that itching! I had mentors who openly talked to me about their natural hair, I was able to feel it, look at it up close and each ladies hair was soft and beautiful. I did not think they looked old or ugly, I thought they were memorable and stood out in a crowd. I wanted what they had!!! They dressed nice, took care of themselves, wore make-up and looked really pretty, my eye was always catching on them. They were my muses! Much like a pintrest page but in real life!
    9. Little known secret….men really like it. Just wait, you’ll see! 😉
    10. Freedom is priceless! Give GGG closed group on FB a try…it’s the perfect private forum to explore your interest in growing out natural hair. BEST WISHES! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for sharing all of this with me Jenny. You are at least the 3rd person who has mentioned the FB group and I have every intent to check it out. I had started having some other hair issues earlier this year that have led me to get serious about the “stepping down” from hair color process. A lot of things can go wrong in life, but when you mess with a girls hair… well, look out! ;-P

  10. The transition to gray is about much more than hair. Its about freedom and empowerment. It’s nearly impossible to explain, but mid way through you will know. When you focus on everything, BUT your hair, amazing things happen. You will find a new you emerging like a butterfly from a coccoon. Gray hair care is simple and your hair will thank you for it. If you are in need of a group of 13,000 plus transitioning or already silver sisters, there is a facebook group that will lift your spirits and keep you excited about thte process no matter what kind of day you are having. Even if you are just thinking about it you can join. Email me for the link as I do not know if that is allowed here. <3

    1. I love how your analogy of a butterfly from a coccoon. Many years ago I stopped doing artificial nails. I’m a manicurist and did my own, so it had nothing to do with money. But I felt the exact same freedom you speak of correlating to my nails. Not artificially enhancing my nails doesn’t mean they are no manicured and taken care of… it just allows me freedom to not have to continually think about that. Your encouragement is overwhelming to me. Thank you.

  11. Hello! Great post. I’m 11 months in my transformation to gray. I love it. Feel free to see some of my hair pics here https://www.instagram.com/marainawaaka/

    I recently joined a FB group called GGG Going Gray Guide where hundreds of women share their transformation stories, tips, fashion info and pictures. Check it out! Good luck.

  12. It’s like you have read my mind and put all my thoughts and fears about this process on paper. I have 3 grandkids and being told people can’t believe it! I’m 59. But you are right – what do we have to lose. Brown hair dye will always be there!

  13. I decided to stop having my hair coloured about 18months ago because the dyed hair didn’t feel like ‘me’ anymore. (I’m 61). So with the help of my hairdresser went ‘cold turkey’ . I did at times look a bit odd but when that last piece of dyed hair had been cut out wow I felt liberated! . I decided to embrace the grey and had a stylish short and chic hairstyle and I not only do I feel like me again I have had lots of compliments on my new look. So anyone contemplating binning the dye….go for it!

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