Gray Hair
Life in General

I’ve Become a Gray Hair

I started coloring my hair years ago. Based on where I lived and who was doing my hair, I’m guessing I was in my late 30s. Everyone, including me, decided I was too young to have gray hair.

As my hair grew out each month, I could start to tell how gray I really was. My stylist told me it was making it hard for my hair to hold the color because it was so much coarser now, due to the gray. I started going every five weeks in order to keep the gray at bay.

Over the years, I changed my style several times but continued to color my hair. For a while, I even had it highlighted to add some variety. I still thought I was too young to have gray hair. But I would occasionally talk about letting it go with my stylist. How do you know if it will be a pretty gray or a mousy gray?

Based on what I could see at the roots, I was pretty sure mine was more silvery than brown. But that was such a small sample.

I even colored it after I retired. I’d think about letting it go natural, but I wanted to find a way to do it gracefully. Is that even possible? What if your hair is currently a dark brown color?

I was told some people cut their hair real short to let it grow out. Hmm, not for me. Really short hair looks good on some people but not very many and especially not me.

Two years ago, a friend of mine had some gray blond streaks in her hair and she said she was trying to transition to her natural color, which of course, included some gray hairs. It really got me thinking. I even had a poll on Facebook asking my friends if I should continue to color my hair.

Biting the gray hair bullet

I decided it was time. I worked with my stylist, who suggested highlighting it as it grew out. The change wouldn’t show quite as much that way. So, that’s what we did. In a way, it was like going gray all at once, letting others get over the shock of my lighter hair.

But did you know you can actually color your hair gray? My youngest niece does it! Funny how I tried to hide it all these years and now she has gray hair on purpose.

Here we are last Christmas. The youngest person and the oldest person have the same color of hair!!

The growing out process

While my hair was lighter, it wasn’t gray. So as it grew out, I had this combination of gray and a yellowy color, with some brown in there too. She only added more highlights a couple of times and it’s been interesting watching it change. I still have lots of dark hair, probably even darker than my colored hair, but it’s underneath the gray hair.

It took about two years to completely grow out and I’ve never regretted doing it. It’s better than I even thought it could be. No more color means faster and cheaper stylist visits. During the early part of the pandemic, I wasn’t fussing over my roots like a lot of other people. Plus it’s better for my hair. I don’t think my gray hair feels coarse at all.

I’ve even started using purple shampoo about every other time I wash it. It gives my hair some brightness and even a hint of purple. No, I’m not becoming a blue hair!!

I get so many compliments on my hair color. I think it’s because the back especially is almost a silver color. The front still has a few dark strands running through it.

I’ve never regretted my decision for one minute. And I never plan to color it again. Well, unless my granddaughter convinces me to go pink. We’ll see. 😉

26 Comments

  • Caroline

    I am so glad I gave up coloring my hair! I started using purple conditioner and think that does help get rid of any yellow tinges left.

    • Retired Introvert

      Hmmm. Purple conditioner. I need to look for that. I only have shampoo. I wonder if using both would be too much.

  • Jackie Foote

    I also transitioned to gray from very blonde. I had it highlighted to blend in, too. While sometimes I miss my blonde hair, I don’t miss having to spend the money or time getting it done. My gray has grown in nicely so that it looks like o have highlighted streaks. I love your gray hair, and it looks great on you!

    • Retired Introvert

      Thanks Jackie. I also love spending less time and money. At this point, I can’t imagine having brown hair again!!

  • Iris

    Good for you! I love the picture. I too colored my hair- for MANY, MANY years. I think I was 24 when I started – and kept it up till I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I decided to shave my head before I started chemo and once it grew back I never looked back. The Purple shampoo does help. Sure makes life easier.

    • Retired Introvert

      Thanks Iris. It does make life easier, even if it’s a small thing. Glad you like the purple shampoo. I love how it makes my hair look.

  • Betty Mc

    All the women in my family went gray early, as did I. It didn’t bother me until I got divorced at 36 and thought the gray had to go to fit in with the new and improved me. So I was an ash blond for the next 15 yrs. My hair grows very fast and wearing it short required a color job every month or so. I told myself that I would continue coloring it until I reached the ripe old age of 50 but woke up one day a few months shy of the big 50 and decided enough was enough. My new husband was all for it (he had beautiful gray hair himself) and I’ve never regretted the decision. I do however regret all the time and money I spent under the misconception that blonds have more fun….not so, at least not for me!

    • Retired Introvert

      We all do things for the wrong reasons, don’t we? I think it was simply vanity that kept me from letting my hair go natural all those years. My hair grows very fast as well, so I was having it colored every 5 weeks. Now that I’m not coloring anymore, I’ve started going for haircuts every 7 weeks. It’s great!!

  • Susan Yinger

    Your hair is absolutely beautiful!
    You made a good decision. You could have done this earlier, but this way you have analyzed and thought it through, and are sure of your decision.
    It doesn’t hurt that you have lots of hair and curls. 😊
    (can I say that I wish I had hair like yours? Mine is gray but it’s thin and limp.)
    You have great color and texture. You really rock it!

    • Retired Introvert

      Thanks Susan. You’re too nice. I like the color but I don’t always like how my hair in general looks. It’s very uncontrollable and while I like having body, sometimes it’s simply too bushy!! Humidity is not my friend. Neither is wind. Does anyone ever like their hair? 😉

  • Janis @ retirementallychallenged.com

    My hair is only about 30% gray and the rest is what used to be called “dirty dishwater blonde.” I’ve been having it colored back to its original (ok, I was pretty young at the time) blonde for many, many years. With the several inch growth I have now (last colored in late February), I’m considering letting it go to natural the whole way. It might sound odd, but I wish I had more gray – I’d rather be gray than dirty dishwater blonde 🙂

    • Retired Introvert

      That doesn’t sound strange at all. If I’m going to have gray hair, I want gray hair. That was my biggest worry and I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I think my hair is even grayer than my mother’s.

  • suzanne

    This would have been the perfect time to let it go, and I did, for about two months. Then, I just couldn’t stand it anymore. My hair is thinning and the color actually helps it feel thicker, so that alone is worth the work to keep it dark. Your hair looks thick and healthy. Congratulations on aging beautifully!

    • Retired Introvert

      My hair is very thick. Actually, my stylist says I have fine hair, just lots of it!! And just ask my husband, I lose a ton of it every day, one strand at a time. I’m worse than our cats were!!

  • Susan Scharnberg

    I started coloring with Sun In spray in 1970 and kept coloring all my life. About 10 years ago, decided to try going natural. It was far whiter than I ever expected but strangely darker right around my face. I’ve kept it that way ever since and will never go back!

    • Retired Introvert

      After all the years of coloring, it’s kind of fun finally seeing what “natural” looks like. Everyone’s hair does something different with the gray, so you just have to bite the bullet and love however it turns out. Thanks Suzy.

  • Judy

    When I was 25, my boss commented that I was too young to be so gray. I colored it for the next 26 years. Sometimes by a stylist. Sometimes when money was tight, I did it myself. In 2008, I got married and we bought a house. I had better ways of spending my money, so I stopped. I lived with big gray roots for less than 6 months. Then I took the plunge and my stylist cut it short. It was far more gray than I imagined. But it is a beautiful silvery gray & I love it!

    • Marisa Atteberry

      I let my natural color (with gray) come back a few years ago after I moved to Arkansas. My neighbor was a hair stylist and she suggested highlights so we did that. It actually came in darker than expected and looks like it has gray highlights now! I have been asked where I get my color done! I love my natural hair now!

      • Retired Introvert

        Kind of makes you wonder why you waited so long, right? I think we worry too much about having gray hair and what’s wrong with it anyway? Thanks Marisa!

    • Retired Introvert

      It’s been kind of fun watching it grow and change. It was a big mystery as to what it would look like but I had my suspicions based on my roots. I’m SO glad I went ahead and let it go natural. No regrets!!

  • mary l origer

    Welcome to the club! It was a very graceful transition, your hair looks pretty. Now if you start wearing socks with sandals, we may have to chat.

  • LA

    I’ve been doing the natural vs colored debate for awhile now. I put in low
    Lights last time instead of color because I’m still salt and pepperish….so far so good

    • Retired Introvert

      It’s so hard to know when it’s the right time but I think I made the right decision. Like a lot of things, it’s the transition that’s the worst and now that that’s done, I’m very happy with my decision.

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