Have you decided to grow out your gray hair? If you’re one of the many, many women who have decided to ditch the dye you have likely seen bundles of before and after photos of women rocking their natural silver hair. But you may not know what to expect in the “and”, that in-between journey of before to after, including dealing with multi-tone hair, bleach, and hair toner went wrong, misconceptions about gray hair, or the straight-up fortitude to see it through. And what about the emotional side of bucking beauty “standards” that propel us to chase youth? Today’s post will hopefully help you have the confidence to embrace your God-given sparkle.
Quarantine Expands the Silver-Hair-Movement
Whether it’s because of salons being closed during quarantine or more women are jumping on the natural hair color trend, the traffic on my blog posts about my journey to go gray has skyrocketed. At one point my Pinterest numbers were up over 300% just from those posts alone. So since we’ve got a lot of newbies around here and it’s been several months since I posted a hair update, let’s talk about what you can expect if you’ve decided to grow out your gray hair.
It’s been just over two years since my last hair color in May of 2018. Honestly, 2018 must have been the year I finally decided to be me. In February I had had my 17-year-old breast implants removed and just a short time later I decided to ditch the hair dye for good.
Growing Out Your Gray Hair Can Unmask the Real You
I have called this process liberating and freeing (same things, I know) but it’s actually kind of hard to describe the feeling of what it’s like to buck the system and let the natural gray show. No, it’s not perfect and I wish my salt and pepper strands didn’t yellow on the ends, but my dyed hair did the same thing. And I’m sure some people think it makes me look older but I don’t exactly care about that.
What I can articulate is that when I look back at photos of myself with dark hair, (and BTW, I thought I was dying it close to my natural color) I think it looks like I’m wearing a mask. It was pretty hair for sure, but in hindsight, I don’t think it looks authentic to me.
I have seen before and after photos of many, many women and I think it’s the same for almost every one of them. Taking off the mask that covers our hair somehow opens up our faces and brightens our eyes to let so much more life out. And I think if you have decided to stop coloring your hair it can be the same for you!
There are some other things you might also like to know or have asked me questions about and that’s what we’re addressing today. We’re covering:
- Transitioning with Bleach or Hair Color
- Enjoying the Journey
- Photos During the Journey
- Whether or Not to Cut Your Hair Short
- Accepting Your Gray Hair Fingerprint
- Busting the “Gray is for Grannies” Myth
- Compliments and Confidence
Lighten it or Cold Turkey it?
There’s no wrong answer here. It’s your choice and both bleaching and going cold turkey have pros and cons.
If you’ve read some of my previous growing gray hair update posts you know I did go the bleach and tone route trying to get an ashy, silver tone to blend with the new growth. However, it was a very expensive and long process, two to three appointments that were several hours long and then my hair never held the toner for more than a couple of days. It left my hair completely fried, it broke off constantly, and required expensive shampoos to maintain.
That being said, when I look back at photos of my “blond” hair, I kind of like the brightness of it. But while it may have made the new growth line a bit less noticeable, in the end there’s still a demarcation line to deal with. So, if hair health is important to you, you may want to just go for it. BE BOLD…That’s what Nikol from Fresh Beauty Studio did.
Enjoy the Journey
I know. I know. It would be so great if we could snap our fingers and have it grown out but unless you want to shave your head, it ain’t gonna happen. So, be patient and get creative with your hair. Enjoy experimenting with hairstyles, hair accessories, and hats to make the transition more fun. You will get there, I promise!
Don’t Shy Away from the Camera, Even for Big Events
Being a blogger who primarily blogs about fashion, one of the things that caused me to drag my feet from cutting the hair color cord sooner was the notion of having to have photos taken of myself throughout the entire process. I thought people were going to think I looked ridiculous. Okay, I thought I was going to look ridiculous!
This post was made when I thought I was six-months into the process. But in hindsight, I was more like 4 months in as the last blending appointment was actually in March and she has used a toner on my roots.
But considering the many times my gray roots were showing at the top of my unnaturally dark hair between color appointments, at least my longer new growth looked intentional. I honestly wish I had taken more actual progress photos. These are milestone photos, if you will, and like the photos I’m including in this post today, they create a timeline of the process and that’s not a bad thing.
You Don’t Have to Cut Your Hair Short
If shaving our head or getting a pixie cut is your thing, go for it. But for those of us without the features or fearlessness to go there, it’s okay to rock the grombre. I suggest regular hair cuts, as keeping the ends looking healthy creates a healthier appearance overall. Just before the one-year marker, I opted for a shorter bob which helped me get those frizzy ends in check.
You can read more of my thoughts on going gray in How to Go Gray without Going In Sane
It’s a SURPRISE PARTY – Get Preconceived Ideas of What Your Gray Hair Will Look Like Out of Your Head
THIS is actually something I’ve haven’t mentioned in any other post, but it’s so important.
The growth color pattern for our natural silver hair is like a fingerprint and no one else has it.
Like you, I had my Pinterest board and Instagram saves filled with silver hair inspiration and dreamed that the day mine would be fully grown out and look like that. Although those photos are helpful for the courage and confidence to embrace your natural gray hair, try not to picture their hair on you. In fact, we can’t even use our silver-headed mamas to create an exact idea of what our gray will look like.
The growth color pattern for our natural silver hair is like a fingerprint and no one else has it. When I look back at photos of my mom at my age, we might have the same tone of silver and brassy brown undertones, but she didn’t have a silver streak in her bangs. My hair is unique to me as yours is to you.
When you grow out your gray, you will likely feel stronger emotionally because you are making the decision to buck a system that wordlessly tells us to chase youth.Paula, dimples on my WHAT?
Embrace an Attitude of a Myth Buster
You might be worried about looking older with gray hair because we have long associated it with getting older. And, as lots of peeps don’t go gray until later in life, we can understand how this myth got started. But let’s get this straight; gray, silver, and white are just a few of the colors in God’s entire natural hair color crayon box.
Think about it though, age isn’t the singular factor that determines our hair color. A guy in my wedding party started going gray in his teens and I recently read about a dude who started graying at the age of 12. I don’t want to dive too deeply into this today because I’m excitedly working on a post about younger women choosing to let their natural grays, silvers and whites grow free. But consider this one final thought for today:
Free yourself and be part of the movement that says, gray is NOT just for grannies. It’s just a hair color! Show the world that your hair color is just that, a color. There are so many factors that age us more than our hair color.
“Your growth scares the people who don’t want to change.”Source: Unknown
STRENGTH – Surprisingly, one of the biggest changes you will probably experience is emotional. When you grow out your gray hair, you will likely feel stronger because you are making a decision to buck a system that wordlessly tells us to chase youth.
GROWTH – There is so much to be learned about ourselves when we live authentically, especially where our appearance is concerned. I honestly never expected to feel so empowered by my hair. It’s a little CRAZY.
FEAR – However, if you get any negative comments on your hair, realize they are likely coming from a place of someone else’s fear. Changes make other people uncomfortable, especially if they aren’t ready themselves. They can also come from a place of jealously when they aren’t comfortable in their own skin. But even that ultimately comes from fear.
Get Ready For Compliments
I have never had so many compliments on my hair as I have during and since growing out my gray hair and you will likely be the same. Whether they love the color or your courage to be unabashedly yourself, people will be enamoured with you. And it’s not just the women, I’ve gotten compliments from men as well (not that I’m looking). 😉
We got together with a group of couple-friends, including the guy who I used to lead worship with and I couldn’t believe how he went on about my hair. He couldn’t quite articulate it but he kept going back to the word distinguished. Once again, I think it has to do with the confidence to be yourself and remember, confidence is attractive.
Note:(And just so you know, it wasn’t a creepy conversation and he was talking a lot about women with gray in general. Mr. Dimples was there too. 😉
So no matter where you are in the journey of growing out your gray hair, BE CONFIDENT! You’re not only on your way to gray hair, but to STRENGTH, GROWTH, & EMPOWERMENT!