I have talked to several friends who thought that sharing my going gray story would be a good blog post. So, I'm going to do it as part of my "116 days to my 60th" challenge. Here's my story and (now that it's all gray), I'm stickin' to it!
Two years ago this month, I made the decision to stop coloring my hair. I had done this once before, two years prior and that endeavor didn't end well. As is true for many, it often takes a couple of attempts until you really make your mind up to stick it out.
IT'S A LONG HAUL GIRLFRIEND and there are not really any short cuts but one, and that's a "short cut"! I tried a few things that didn't work out very well and I will categorize these under :
Tried and Failed
When I first began to get the bug that I wanted to stop coloring my hair, I would see women my age that I thought looked so beautiful with gray hair. I even approached a total stranger once to ask how she went gray? Her hair was long and beautiful and she was younger than me. She told me that she had her hair dresser bleach her whole head blonde and let her gray come in. I DON'T RECOMMEND THIS. Unless of course, you are fair complected and have blondish or light brown hair. The results on my dark hair were harsh. You see, what we don't know as non-hairdressers is that all those years of color have left a residue on our hair, you can bleach until the cows come home, but all you're going to end up with is what I call Barbie hair, yep, that's what it will feel like, plastic Barbie doll hair, and it will break off in ways you never dreamed of. I promise, it won't be pretty, it also will NOT be gray. Without the right skin tone, being a blonde is not much fun after all. I looked pretty washed out. Eventually, I began coloring my hair again, and it would be two years before I tried again. This time, I did some things differently, I'll share them here and maybe when you're ready it will be a help to you.
I started a PINTEREST BOARD. I labeled it "going gray" I scrolled through Pinterest every chance I got, looking up gray hairstyles and pinning them to my board. I found so many photos of cool gray hairstyles on women my own age and younger. That was a great encourager! ALSO, this often lead to interesting articles and blogs about other women's stories of going gray, how they went about it, products they used etc...THIS ALSO LEAD ME to discovering a few Facebook groups, where women posted their photos of their transitioning to gray. Most of these are closed groups, you have to ask to join. I found these groups to be so encouraging. All the women would cheer each other on, leaving the sweetest comments under each others photos. These forums also gave links and reviews on different products, as well as little videos on changing your makeup, your lipstick and wardrobe colors to go with your new hair color. These ideas may sound crazy to you, but it all works together and you're going to need all the info you can get your hands on for encouragement. When your hair color changes, you'll notice that you may not look the same in some of the colors or makeup you once wore.
I began trying to just let my gray come in naturally, in August (2years ago). By Christmas I had some pretty significant re-growth, which we ladies usually refer to as a skunk stripe. I wore a lot of nice stretchy headbands (*Claire's boutique at your local mall, dirt cheap and lots of colors) and fun hats.
AND THEN IN FEBRUARY I was out with Mr. Wonderful at our local mall on a Friday night, when I saw myself in a mirror while trying on earrings. It was strange to see how I looked in different lighting, and I didn't like it one bit. We walked out of that store and straight into a hair studio, where the sweetest young gal spent a great deal of time cutting my hair off. She knew it was a BIG step for me. It was good that I did it spontaneously, it's a big deal to do "the big chop"!
The thing that had held me back from cutting my hair off sooner was my neck. We all have some things that we're self conscious about, and for me, one of those is my neck. I guess I thought my hair was hiding it, whatever, it is what it is! This is my neck, I'm owning it. With all of that faded color cut off I could now begin letting my hair go gray naturally. Every few months I got a trim to keep things balanced out, the gray coming in and the faded colored ends coming off.
So that's the way it has worked for me. The chop got me out of a self conscious funk that had been plaguing me while sporting my hard earned skunk stripe, after all, you can't wear a hat everywhere. My hair is now completely gray. THE BIGGEST SURPRISE to me has been what my hair color turned out to be! It didn't look anything like I thought it would. My hair is mostly white in the front and a light gray in the back. I have to tell you, I love it. I still have moments, but I'm not missing my auburn brown, or that trip to the hair dresser every three weeks for color. AND I've been amazed that complete strangers come up to me and pay me compliments or ask how I went about it! Wow, I never expected that. I've got to say, I'm liking my real hair.
A few things...
- When someone tells you it took them two years to go completely gray, believe them. Even with the BIG CHOP, it took two years to get all the color off.
- Many women have great results having their hair dresser begin doing highlights and low lights in place of full color, that allows the gray to come in a more subtle way.
- ASK ABOUT TONER, Your new mantra, TONER TONER TONER! This is the key to not having that yellowish color as you transition.
- Ask your hair dresser about "purple shampoo" it's not only for your grandma! It keeps yours silver looking lovely. Caution! Don't over do it, a little dab'ell do ya!
- Make a Pinterest Board. Search; gray hair styles or going gray.
- Facebook groups: Going Gray Gracefully, Going Gorgeously Gray, Going Gray and Loving it, GGG Going Gray Beauty Guide
- Below are a few photos of the stages of my transition from color to gray...
I hope this is helpful to someone out there, we need all the encouragement we can get. If going gray is what you want to do, don't be afraid, GO FOR IT! I'm cheering you on! Feel free to touch base with me, and as always, ENJOY THE BEAUTY OF THIS DAY DEAR !