A few weeks ago a friend and I were walking towards a club when the bouncer of another place said, “Cool hair.” I said thanks, and we continued walking only to find out the friends we were meeting were at the place where the bouncer had just commented on my hair. When we got to the door, he checked my friend’s ID and as she started to walk past him, I pointed the top of my head and said, “I’m sure you don’t have to see mine.” He responded, “Well why did you have to go and say that. I thought you had someone do you hair that color.”

Oops, my bad.

I’d all but forgotten that interaction until it warmed up enough in #Chiberia (the city formerly known as Chicago) to go without a winter hat. I sat next to a young lady who looked to be in her 20s, and she said, “I love your hair. That’s how I want to do mine. I want it that white.”

“Oh, I didn’t do my hair; Mother Nature did.”

“That’s your color? You’re growing it out?”

“Yup. I’m on my 8th month.”

“Ugh, I’m so jealous. I have some gray but nothing like that. I hate mine.”

“You should let it grow out. Give it a test. It took me a few months of growth to really start to like mine, and now I can really say that I love it.”

And there it is. Eight months in to growing out my hair, and that’s where I am, in my first loving relationship with my hair and wondering why I hadn’t stopped fighting it sooner.

So much wasted energy hating how fast my hair grew, so much wasted money on hair dye, and so much wasted time in the dyeing process. Oh, and let’s not forget the stains of dye-spills past that live on different areas of the bathroom as reminders of all of that waste.

A few months ago I thought that I’d eventually share my going-gray tips, but I thought that eventually would come 12 months in. After all, what the heck did I really know only 5-6 months in. But eight months in, I know things. I know a lot of things about going gray. I especially know a lot of things about going gray young.

In the past few months I’ve done a lot of reading from and about women who’ve chosen to grow their gray, and I’ve found that the subtext of most of what I’ve read and seen is “aging gracefully.”

It’s been disappointing because it’s not information that’s relevant or even very inspirational to me. I’m only in my early 40s, going gray isn’t at all related to aging or my feelings towards aging. I started graying at 13, my hair color doesn’t have a thing to do with age, and my decision wasn’t to make friends with father time, it was simply to stop fighting my natural color with chemicals.

I’m on the search for women life me! In the meantime, I’ve learned quite a bit and want to offer my best tips for getting started.

Know your why
I think I mentioned this in a previous post, but this was not my first attempt at growing out my gray. I started the process in the fall of ’11 and gave in as soon as my sister told me she didn’t like it and offered to pay for my hair to be colored professionally. Though it should be an easy decision to make, societal standards of beauty don’t make it so, and going into the process without being sure of your reasons for doing it, and firm in your resolve, it’s easy to give in at the first sign of someone else’s distaste.

Brace yourself
I’m not gonna lie, the first few weeks are the hardest. They are the same weeks you are used to fighting. The weeks of gray hair you live through, if just barely, when you haven’t had time to visit the salon or buy that bottle of dye. The weeks that you’ve always spent trying to avoid the world if at all possible. Deciding that you are growing your hair isn’t going to make you see that same white/silver growth in a new light. It just won’t. You will walk by displays of dye and/or stare at your stylist business card thinking, “It would be so easy.” Don’t buy it and don’t dial it. Be strong. Just one more week, and you’ll be at that week you’ve never let yourself see before and your hair will start to take a new look. You’ll all of a sudden start feeling brave. I was listed in Revolution Gray’s 25 Bloggers Rocking the Gray Revolution! I am woman, see me gray!

Stock up on headbands
I read a tip on another blog about using temporary colors to get through the skunk line. If that works for you, then by all means do it, but I felt that I had to just live through it. If I kept touching up the new growth, then when would I begin to adjust to the new color? In spite of my will to go cold turkey, looking in the mirror was still not easy. Accepting it doesn’t necessarily make it aesthetically pleasing, so instead I chose headbands. I bought a ton of them in different styles and colors, and wore them every day.

The process in progress

Chop Chop
Eventually, the headbands started to give me headaches and my brother pointed out that if I was really brave and being all “#grayrevolution” why was I covering it up with headbands. He had a point, so I decided it was time for a next step. For me, that was chop off a lot of my hair. Now I don’t recommend that for everyone, but it worked for me. I do, however, recommend changing it up a little bit. My haircut also had the benefit of adding layers, which now, months after the hair cut, give my hair that look that makes it seem as if I paid to have my hair colored this way. Many people think it’s platinum, and that they’re just funky highlights. Do what works for you and makes you feel good!

Change your routine
Every time someone realizes that my hair is naturally white, their next comment is usually either about how lucky I am it’s not yellow or how I better watch out for yellowing. I know what they mean. I’ve seen it in other people. That white hair yellowing a bit. Though the dyed dark parts of my hair that were once black are now a variation of reds, light browns and dark browns, I haven’t had a problem with yellowing. I think that’s for two reasons:

  1. Good Genes
  2. No Bad Chemicals

I’m lucky—I used to say unlucky— to have two parents who both grayed early and have maintained a beautiful whiteness to their hair, so for me yellowing isn’t too much of a fear. But you can never be too careful so I don’t use many chemicals on my head. At most, I use conditioner, but for the most part I just use coconut oil.

I’m a hair twirler. I’m constantly, without even realizing it, touching my hair. Years of chemicals, not to mention heat styling, left my hair dry and brittle. Though I could almost always manage to make it look soft and smooth with a flat iron, it still never felt good to the touch.  About four months into the process, I started to feel a difference. My hair was soft, it wasn’t crackling under my touch. It felt so amazing to me that I spent the better part of my birthday party making my friends feel how soft and smooth my hair felt. Talk about affirmation.

Are you thinking of growing out or have your grown out your hair? Feel free to post your questions and/or tips!


142 thoughts on “5 tips for growing out gray hair

    1. Im 34 & sick and tired of expensive salon trips and diy dye days. These days I have to go for root touch ups every 2 weeks! I decided to start growing out my grey starting today!!!! I think I might be already 80-89 % grey so Im hoping it will look good at the end. The problem I have is that my hair is very long now and it took me 2 years to grow it out this length which I dont wanna loose now. Luckily for me winter is starting now in Southern Hem and I was thinking of stocking up on alot of cute hats and scarves. Wish me luck and please bare with me if I knock on your door for some encouragement when those fall back into the trap surfaces!

  1. I’m JUST starting the process, myself, and my white is pretty close to what you’re working with. I’ve been wanting to start the process for SO long, but I’ve been a little nervous. This was totally helpful. I definitely feel a little more prepared. Thanks!

      1. Im starting the process on my hair Im going to take & share my pics too.. Thanks for sharing yours. Looks great!!!!!

      2. oh my god, I LOVE this. I’m about 9-10 weeks past my last salon colouring, having decided that that was it (mostly because I hate the thickening that occurs with colour, but also because I am over changing the colour of my hair on principle). reading your post is really helping me accept where my hair’s at right now, which is at “pretty bad”. the fact that I will not turn gray quickly but over a long period isn’t making me feel good, either. I’m trying to tell myself that it’s a stupid thing to worry about in this world (I do think it is, but here I am anyway).your headband strategy sounds good; I wear glasses full time though and I fear that “busy” look about my head. ah well. ponytails for now. THANK YOU

    1. I have decided to make this decision, too. I am so tired of spending so much MONEY at the hairdressers, worrying about getting it done in time for special events, and just want to let it grow in it’s natural color. If it is not so nice, we’ll go from there, but I am gonna stick it out for a year and then decide. You helped me a lot. Thanks.

  2. I just got tired of setting up the equivalent of Dexter’s kill room every 3 weeks, and spending at least 1.5 hrs in isolation in my undies while I diverted the gray by steeping my head in toxic chemicals. All that, only to have that silver white stripe show up again almost as soon as I was done…foolishness. I’m about 3 months in right now and for the most part am excited about it – thanks to people like yourself who shared their journey. Thanks again!

    1. I love the Dexter comparison, I’m a Dexter fan… And a slave to endless boxes of messy hair dye! Though witty, the kill room scenario is pretty acurate! 🙂

  3. I’m 45 and have just had the liberating experience of chopping almost all my dark brown dyed hair off to reveal silver and pewter. My new hair is super short but I was impatient with the growing out process. I had about three months re growth. I’m loving my new hair and have had amazingly positive support from my family and friends. My 19 yo daughter was initially hesitant when I told her I was going to stop dyeing my hair but she now loves the new look and has proclaimed it to be trés chic.

    Like you it’s not about ageing and growing old. But accepting, embracing and loving the hair Mother Nature gave me.

    1. Karen,

      That’s great! I still have some of the dyed ends, which I will eventually cut off. For now, people think it’s some new coloring that only my colorist and I know (no one believes the gray is actually my gray). When it stops being cute, I’ll cut off the ends.

  4. Hi..loved reading your tips! I am just starting..my poor scalp has had enough of dyes and I want to be one of those beautiful women with lots of silver jewelry and funky gray hair! My hair is dyed red so the transition is going to be interesting! 🙂

    1. I’m in the same boat. I wanted to go back to red hair (I really wanted burgundy, just for the spark of it) so I used a box color without ammonia (I have lost hair in the Christmas tree pattern so color without ammonia is supposed to be the best kind to use). The color is bland compared to the brands I used to use that have ammonia. So, I tried putting highlights and low lights by using the same brand in different shades (it used to work, but not too much this time). I’m scared about how drastic the difference is going to be. Right now, I put eye shadow on the part so it’s not so stark white then red. My hair grows slowly so I’m going to need a lot of fortitude to do this. I see my hairdresser next week and I hope she can help. I really don’t want to cut my almost shoulder length hair more than just a trim. Headbands were a clever idea. They often hurt my head after a while, though. Well, I guess we’ll see what adventures lie ahead.

  5. I am 38 and just about to start growing mine out. You have inspired me! I worry about the reactions of others and being seen as old. I am
    Going to get some head bands and see how it goes!
    Thanks 🙂

    1. Amy,

      I worried about people’s reactions too, but most people I know were either supportive or quiet. Surprisingly, I found that strangers had the most positive reactions. I’ve even been complimented by young, male hipsters!

      Don’t worry about anyone else. Wear it with confidence, and the naysayers will hush on their own.

  6. Just started to embrace this idea after dyeing my hair for fifty years! I don’t think my hair is totally grey, probably more salt and cinnamon, but I am game. My poor hair and scalp are going to thank me for it. Just glad winter is coming so I can wear a slouch beret over most of it. It is not just young women who grey who have this problem, there are those of us who have been locked in this vicious cycle or dyeing and destroying for years.

    1. Leslie,

      I get my early white from both my parents, who both started graying early. My mom is about to be 73, and she just finally stopped dyeing her hair red (pink tones). She was going to fight it forever. It’s ingrained in us. In fact, I just had an interesting conversation with her about it over the weekend that is an upcoming blog in itself (look for it later this week).

      Thanks for reading and keep in touch with how it’s going for you!

    2. Hello Leslie! I am 67 and have being dyeing my hair off and on since I was 18, usually a dark brown. I too am getting tired of having to do “root maintenance” every two and a half to three weeks. I also have being wearing shoulder length wigs most of the time in a dark brown (very flattering I might say) for many years. The most I have ever let it grow out was about 1″ and it was mostly white. I am just afraid it would age me 10 years and I know my husband would have a cow if I changed it. What gave you the confidence to do it? Thanks, Linda

  7. I am hoping to find the courage to stop dying my hair and go grey. I mentioned this to my closest friend and she thinks I’m crazy. I really need support. My hair is dyed dark brown. Will it be any easier on me if I get it lightened with highlights before going cold turkey? Any advice is welcome. Thanks

    1. Karen,

      I will be your cheerleader!! It may be easier for you to do highlights first, as a transition. I had very dark black hair, so that didn’t work for me because I’d have to spend too much time processing and I was giving up chemicals cold turkey, but YOU have to do it in the way it makes it easiest for you. Shoot me an email at libby dot julia dot gmail and we’ll chat!

  8. I almost went “cold turkey” last month, but well intentional friends, talked me out of it. This month I’m determined to try it again. My Dad had beautiful grey hair, I hope I’ll be as lucky!

  9. I’m in the contemplating stage, I would love for my hair to grow out white, but I think it will be a darker gray. My boyfriend is totally supportive, the only person trying to talk me out of it, is my 67 year old mother who still dyes her hair to this day. I’m so back and forth, but honestly, I’m tired of fighting the roots and spending money damaging my hair month after month. If I finally take the plunge and start growing it out, I will be back here for some much needed cheerleading haha.

  10. Hi, I’m 37 and I have been dying my hair for about 18 years, and it has been all colours. I’m surprised there was any hair left on my head at one point. I am growing out my dark brown dyed hair (I am naturally dark brown, but with a lot more silver, white and grey coming through at the roots now) and I am partly letting my hair grow out due to laziness and the fact that after 1 week of colouring my hair, it looks flat and dull. I have headbands and chiffon style scarves that will be my saviour in the next few months. My school run mum friends have been supportive, as has my family. Hubby on the other hand, not so much. But he can lump it. It’s my hair at the end of the day. Both of us wanted to declutter this year, well I’m decluttering my old dead hair and embracing the au naturel look. I last dyed it mid December, so I am only a month in, but so far so good. I’m feeling very positive about this and not knowing what to expect, I’ll deal with the consequences and make decisions in about a year’s time. Good luck ladies.

  11. Congrats to all for being so brave!! I too have just started out the growing out process. I last dyed my dark brown hair in mid December. I am hoping I can hold off and just let it grow. Thank you for your blog. I love that your pictures were dated. You look just fantastic! I am keeping my fingers crossed that I can hold out. Thanks for all the great info!

  12. I’ve just come across this blog after googling growing out long, grey(Aussie spelling)hair. I’m 52 & started greying at 19. That’s a lot of chemicals, time & money. I have waist length dark brown hair that is now sporting an inch of grey root one month in.
    I have come close to commitment a few times but it’s like when I quit smoking years ago, it took a few attempts after weakening. But I did it cold turkey! This will be the same. I’ll still keep my length albeit trimmed more regularly & front layered. I’m excited to see my image transformation & my personal grey tone. Maiden, Mother, Crone…I want to rock the Crone phase ha ha. Thankyou so much for your inspiration!!

  13. Great to stumble across this thread. I started greying in my teens & dyed it for 20 years. Finally got the courage up to grow it out last year at 38 years of age. Sooo glad I did but it does take a lot of getting used to. I went lighter blonde first then a pixie cut to soften the look & it’s now almost to my shoulders 🙂 keep at it ladies!!

  14. I have been contemplating doing this for years, have started and given up. I turn 49 on Friday and am ready to liberate myself from coloring. This site is incredible. It is so great to read about so many women, of different ages, freeing themselves from the bondage of coloring.

  15. I’m 48. I started going grey at 22 and also started coloring my dark brown hair. I’m in my 4th week it’s coming in a really cool white. I’m worried about the skunk line but it’s winter. I have alot of very long curly hair. Not sure about going short but that may change. So far I’ve been told how cool it looks!

    1. Curious how you are doing a little more than year growing your gray out. I’m about 8 weeks of growth and can’t stand it. I had a 13 inch ponytail cut off at that time of my last color, to donate. It is shoulder length now. I retired the first of January. So…..I thought since I wasn’t working and going out in the public, I could grow off the color. But have been called a couple of times to fill in a couple of offices. I am still going to try after seeing Libby’s pictures.Wish me luck.

  16. Hi,

    I just turned 40 but decided That I an done coloring my hair. I am Indian so I have really long and thick dark brown hair but i am so done with covering it up. I am letting go cold turkey but about 2 inches of grey are showing in 70% of my hair. I feel it looks ugly but whatever…. I have decided to let it be. I will keep reading your blog , especially in my weak moments. I just worry about being able to wear all the clothes that I have. I shouldnt let my grey dictate that, right??

    1. Hi ,
      I am also 40 years of age , asian with 2 inches of grey hair , was dying with henna but looks horrible as i am about 50 % greay . People make comment which really annoy me but wont let them make me change my mind . I think grey looks good.

  17. I had grown out my naturally grey hair till it was 14 inches long. Then I died it for a play I was in. BAD choice! Now I have to grow out the grey and to do that I have to cut off all my beautiful hair. I will NEVER do that again. NEVER!

  18. I feel inspired by all these comments. I went grey at the front in my twenties and started colouring soon after. I’m 48 soon and have a 9 year old son. He has only ever known me with a variety of brown, black, reddish hair. He freaked when I went to a medium bob. I don’t want to look like an old mum plus I work with teenagers who tell it as it is (special needs ). Hope I’m brave enough.

    1. How’s it going?? I just started too (about 8 weeks into it) . I’m not liking it. Any words of encouragement or tricks?

      1. I’d say consult your hairdresser about what you are thinking of doing as far as the haircut goes. I am a believer in the magic they can do now. I told mine about growing out my hair and she listened to all of the ideas I got from this group. Her advice was to put some highlights and lowlights in my hair so the gray blends in without a clear line of where it starts. We did it and I’ve gotten more compliments on my hair. Also, she’s cut layers into my shoulder length hair and I love it! I’ve wanted a shag since Jane Fonda had hers in Klute.

  19. I am now 2 months in, and noticing a lot of highlight sparkles and I really like it. I had my hair cut into a chin length bob so that I can see the growth more. (I do get impatient, yet strangely and thankfully I haven’t had the urge to colour it.) Keep going ladies and thankyou Libby for the inspiration. x

  20. I am 57 and was diagnosed with DCIS. I also have MS. I could not imagine squeezing in another appointment into my schedule. I still work full time. Something had to go. Coloring my hair was the last thing on my list, so it went and I went on a journey to a new me. How it will turn out, I don’t know, but I have the courage to try.

  21. I have been growing my dark brown hair out since November. My stylist highlighted it heavily. She basically tried to get all my dark brown hair more ashy. It did work! The only problem was that my hair was so so dry from all the highlights. Now it’s Feb. and she wants to highlight it again. I’m not sure what i’ll do but something needs to tone down the skunk line. Well, I think I may have found a solution for me. I had a bottle of fanci-full temporary rinse and tried that. It seemed to tone it down quite a bit. Only problem is the amount I’ll have to use as time passes. I also cut it to below my ears and added a few layers. That seemed to make a difference. I didn’t think i would like it that short but it is growing on me. good luck to everyone! hopefully this helps.

  22. oh my god you are all so brave would love to do this been saying it for years my grey hairs started appearing when I was about 19yrs old my own colour is jet black so when I try I end up with the white skunk line with a mixture of blonde at sides orange ting at back with black grey salt and peppery have shoulder length hair that I don’t want to cut as I don’t suit short hair…… help any tip???

  23. Thank you for your blog and the wonderful words of encouragement I found in it, along with the comments. I am 32 and in the first month of letting go of box color. I started seeing my first grays in my early 20’s. Currently, my hair is very dark brown, which was my natural color, with a very distinct stripe of silver about 2″ wide down the middle of my head. I also have the silver at my temples. Like many others on here, I have grown tired of having to color it every couple weeks, along with all the money that goes into it. I am trying my best not to run to the nearest drugstore and buy the first box of hair I see, which is what I think about everyte I pass a mirror.

  24. This blog is EXACTLY what I needed!!! I’m so tired of being a slave to Hair dye!! I have very very dark wavy/curly hair naturally. I’ve been dying my hair since I was about 14 yrs old.. Starting with “Sun-in” it’s been a slippery slope every since. My mother & her father went gray very young.. (20’s) and I started to go gray in my 20’s as well. Never ever brave enough to dare see just how gray I really was.. Could never make it past the eventual every two weeks having to dye my hair!! Now I’m in my early 40s, I could finally afford to get it done professionally. Having a wonderful colorist take me from very dark to a very pretty blonde. Now the entire front of my hair is white in the back is salt and pepper, I am at the point where it is starting to grow out and I am getting nervous, but so very sick of having to be a slave to getting my hair colored every month!! So seeing these different women talk about their experiences is so much help. I don’t have a “support group” as far as “hair woes” goes, my daughters can to make fun of me sometimes but are very supportive. My hair is pretty short now so I don’t have a lot of room to cut it but want to go cold turkey and stop being a financial slave to hear dying. I have a cruise coming up in May and I want to look very nice for my husband. So he tends to be very supportive and tell me to go all natural ,but he doesn’t have to deal with the half-and-half hair. Actually I have three colors in my hair now! Thank you for this article/blog. I hope to go along with you ladies this journey 🙂

  25. This blog is EXACTLY what I needed!!! I’m so tired of being a slave to Hair dye!! I have very very dark wavy/curly hair naturally. I’ve been dying my hair since I was about 14 yrs old.. Starting with “Sun-in” it’s been a slippery slope every since. My mother & her father went gray very young.. (20’s) and I started to go gray in my 20’s as well. Never ever brave enough to dare see just how gray I really was.. Could never make it past the eventual every two weeks having to dye my hair!! Now I’m in my early 40s, I could finally afford to get it done professionally. Having a wonderful colorist take me from very dark to a very pretty blonde. Now the entire front of my hair is white in the back is salt and pepper, I am at the point where it is starting to grow out and I am getting nervous, but so very sick of having to be a slave to getting my hair colored every month!! So seeing these different women talk about their experiences is so much help. I don’t have a “support group” as far as “hair woes” goes, my daughters can to make fun of me sometimes but are very supportive. My hair is pretty short now so I don’t have a lot of room to cut it but want to go cold turkey and stop being a financial slave to hair dying. I have a cruise coming up in May and I want to look very nice for my husband. Though he tends to be very supportive and tell me to go all natural ,but he doesn’t have to deal with the half-and-half hair. Actually I have three colors in my hair now! Thank you for this article/blog. I hope to go along with you ladies this journey 🙂

  26. I need to catch up with all these great comments! I’ve glanced a bit and see so much support so far. I haven’t shared an updated photo, but I cut off the color a few weeks ago and you can see the new look here.

    I’ll write more as I catch up this weekend!

  27. I have the skunk line. I have just trimmed my fringe back in and mixed my part-in up a bit which has hidden my skunk line a little. Plus wide fabric headbands and scarves are a good idea. Good luck and patience is key (as I keep reminding myself).

  28. I just started this process and am so encouraged to read about everyone’s experience in “embracing the gray”!! I only have about 1/2″ of gray showing so far against my light brown hair color. When it gets to about 2″ I will need to re-read this comment thread for some courage to stick with it! My hair grows so darn slowly but I am determined to finally appreciate my natural color (I’m 60) and no longer give in to the unnatural look of box color. Hang in there, everybody!!!!

  29. I’m so pleased I’ve found your post. I have just started growing out my dark brown, chemically processed hair.. Three months in and my hair is white/ silver grey and I like it !
    I’m 52 and attempted last year.., but gave up and went back to the bottle at christmas.. Stuck for ideas to camouflage the dreaded ‘band’ for a christmas do , and regretted it’ Now nearly three million months in I’m impatient, but excitedly watching the the “new me”grey next to my skin. I’ve had a slighly shorter cut, with layers to assist, I’m using headbands, scarves and clips to assist in the process too….so thanks… Because I thought it was only me who was experiencing this damn process lol .

    1. I am about six months in and actually if I had my hair cut again it would be grown up. But I am aiming for long flowing silver hair and so..the dreaded transition continues 🙂 I get frustrated too..but in a year or so it will all be so worth it. Like a caterpillar to a butterfly..that’s what I keep telling myself!

  30. I too have begun the “dye boycott” and am a dark brown with gray/ white growing in. I am going to get some platinum highlights to help with the transition soon. I am receiving a lot of negative comments though, from friends an family…. Its mostly: “But why?” with a few scattered: “You’re too young for grey hair”. Has anyone else had these comments and what do you say in reply?
    I’ve been through a bout of Leukemia and I now feel the grey is my badge of survival but that’s not a story I want to get into every time someone makes a comment.

    1. I’m 62 and this is my second attempt, about 6 weeks in and a good inch skunk line. Dark brown dyed. Coming in salt and pepper and feels healthier already. I was balding at the temples and already there is some peach fuzz! My best friend is very discouraging and says it looks mousy, oh well, I guess certain people don’t like seeing the ageing process. I get told alot I look like I’m in my 40’s and would look alot older if I let it come it. I’m tired of dyeing it. Every 2-3 weeks to keep the line at at bay. Goodbye to dyeing!! I’m ready to embrace what God gave me come hell or high water. Good luck to all, keeps your chins up ladies and lets start a revolution.

  31. So great about your badge of survival! Love it and glad you get to wear it!

    In the beginning I got a lot of the very same comments/questions, particularly from my family. My Mom’s hair is as white as mine, and if she could, she’d still dye it, so I kind of get why she questions my acceptance of it.

    Now, almost 2 years later, I don’t think she likes it anymore than in its growing stages, but she doesn’t really talk about it.

    I also know a person who runs a blog for people 50+ and when answering some questions for a feature in another blog she was editing, I talked about my gray hair and her response to me was very much a “Why? I couldn’t just give up like that.”

    My solution to the comments/questions was not to address/answer them with anything more than “because I want to.” It may not sound nice, but it made people leave me alone.

    Best wishes on the journey!!


  32. Hi Libby – this was very inspiring. I am at week seven. This is the moment of truth – the box of hair dye sits on my bathroom sink 24/7, ready for my closed door, gag and just do it, every five week session to darken my white hair. I am a blonde. I use, “warm dark blonde” to darken my roots and as it grows out to give me that lemony color from my beach bunny days, because by the time it gets down to my waist it’s lemony blonde again! Hooray! But I’ve actually ended up letting it get a little more grown out out each month for about the last four colorings. What I noticed is that the bottom of my hair is the same color that is growing out, sans a little yellow. But, how shiny. Oh how that little half inch to three quarters of an inch shines like a new quarter – the rest, not so much. The strands are chemically traumatized, and so as they lengthen they are not shiny, reflecting my strict diet and vitamin regimen, gluten free, vegetarian life. No – they look processed! So here I am with this mane of hair that I will not cut, because at 57 healthy single and loving life, why the hell should I go short? But then I get so absurdly insecure about becoming what I really am, un-chemicalized – which is white haired. Like, it’s a fear thing. People guess my age at about 40, I’m lucky like that, and it’s hard to give that up. But there comes a time…there comes a time. And I’m at it. Accepting who you are as a woman includes hair. I typed, “going gray naturally” into google and yours was a few posts down but you are the only one stating the natural facts, and I’m just glad that you have. I feel much braver, right now, as a woman stepping hard on the aging brakes who has always been considered beautiful, it is hard to age, but I just think that beauty ought to have many definitions. And it ought to include our hair displaying color change as our wisdom mounts. Which sentence means that I feel totally still insecure but emboldened by your blog. Please post more. And it doesn’t need to be a bunch of pictures, its about how we feel and accept this change on our body. And I will not cut my hair. I love my long hair. Thanks Libby, talk to us more please. xo ba.

    1. I am 65 and decided to go dye-less after having dyed my hair for over 40 years. My natural color is dark brown and my hair is over 80% white. I had been dying platinum blonde and the white/silver began coming okay. I have a few patches of dark in back, but not too bad. I am thrilled with how it is turning out, and the new growth has come in softer and shinier. I did get a layered cut, sides at chin length and back layered a little longer. I just didn’t want to cut it all very short. I will keep trimming and layering until the dyed hair is all gone. I encourage others to give it a try and take advice from others here and consult a hairstylist whether they think lowlights or highlights will help you with the process. My stylist recommended no more coloring, but to just keep it trimmed and layered until gray was all in. I have about 3 months in and I couldn’t be happier….early on, was tempted to color, but no more! Liberating for sure…money-saving and healthier for my hair and scalp as well! Keep heart to those in mid-process and to those contemplating going natural, you’ll never know til you try! Wish I’d done this year’s ago!

  33. My problem is a little different than the posts I have read. My hair is fully gray and natural (African American). I grayed in my 20’s and began coloring it. After I no longer wished to color it, I began wearing a wig and I have worn wigs for a long time. I continue to wear wigs because my gray hair is everything but; it has yellowed so. I have tried shampoos designed to take the yellow away but they have not worked. It still remains yellow. I am not sure what to do but I would really like to wear my own hair if it was uniform in color and not yellowed. Anyone with ideas of what I can do I would appreciate it?

    1. Hi Mary,

      Have you tried a clarifying shampoo (vs. a shampoo for silver/white hair)? The yellow (I have that issue too) is usually build up from products, your environment, bad water, etc… and clarifying shampoo might help.

      I try to use chemicals sparingly, so what I do is use 1/2 cup baking soda w/enough water for a paste. Put it on hair, rub, leave on for about 15 minutes and rinse. I do an apple cider vinegar rinse (1 tbsp per cup of water), but you can also do a white hair conditioner.

      Hope that helps!!

  34. After not touching hair dye and having very visible roots after 3 or 4 months, I am going for a pixie cut in the next month. I am so excited. Even my hubby who doesn’t like short hair is being very supportive. Very excited (and impatient). Keep going ladies and stick with it. X

  35. What are your thoughts on getting an allover dye of gray (that I see so many people doing now) and letting the gray just grow in naturally? I was told by someone else that it did not work, but I don’t understand why it wouldn’t.

    1. It will require a double-process to bring all your hair to gray, which is very damaging (bleach then color). Color can’t lighten, it can only darken. However, you do you. Whatever you’re comfortable with is what you should do.

  36. Had it all cut off into pixie cut. Gone alot shorter than I originally intended but it is going to grow. Now I can see I haven’t got as much grey/white as I thought. (I’m a bit disappointed.) It does look like I have highlights running through so I can only assume it will look like that as it grows. I have never seen any grey dyes before.

  37. What a great post! I am 50, have had my hair colored for 15 years. I am SO tired of the expense-$140 every 8 weeks. I’m ready to go natural gray.

  38. Thanks for sharing this! Very helpful to me. I have had noticeable white hair since I was 18. I liked it. I didn’t try coloring it until my mid thirties. I recently turned 37. I am in the process of growing out my natural hair. It’s 75% white. You look great!

  39. I’ve really enjoyed reading your hair adventure, and it is an adventure because there are ups and downs, good days and bad. And I’m sure some people have made unwanted comments as well as paying you lovely complements ( I’ve had a few of both!!) But why when men go grey are they distinguish but heaven forbid when a lady makes the decision to let the silver shine through she’s letting her self go?

    This is my hair adventure so far …5 months in and counting!

    I have baby fine whispy hair and started going grey in my early 20’s. I’m now 43 and last Oct (2014) I decided enough is enough and stopped having low lights put in as my hair as it was becoming dehydrated and statically charged.
    I’m fortunate in some ways as I’ve never had a ‘solid’ permanent hair colour as I hate what I call the tide mark look. But now the sprinkling of silver is spreading and the ends (which are still clinging desperately to the last dregs of dye) are looking seriously dry I’ve decided it’s time for a restyle.
    At the moment my hair is cut as an angled chin lenght bob but I don’t want to go crazy pixie short ( which I’ve had in the past) but enought to take out the remaining dyed hair which would leave me with a hair lenght of about 2/3inches. I’m seeing the hair dresser this Wednesday …. wish me luck!

  40. I am happy to find your blog. I am 67 and have colored my hair for 25 years. My sister has encouraged me to go gray so I have started to grow out my brunette short Bob for three months now. This is really difficult and it makes me feel old and faded. I have a family wedding in May. How can I look good with fading hair and a line of demarcation between white and brunette? I don’t want to give up but feel discouraged. So many of you sound free and beautiful. I want to feel like that.

    1. I would ask for consult with a good hair stylist and ask her advice wherever blending in your gray with lowlight and highlights would work to eliminate the line of demarcation for that wedding…then, just let grow out or have only a few strands highlighted the next visit. And then, stop highlights and be natural. She may suggest using a semi-permanent rinse instead of highlights. Wish you luck and have fun at the wedding!

  41. Great insight on this post! I finally stopped fighting God’s second choice for my hair color and I could not be more happy! You look great!

  42. I just stumbled upon your blog and I think we might be twins (sorta)!

    A few years ago I started to let my white streak grow out (hello, I’m the poor man’s Bonnie Rait). Then had to dye over it when I was an extra in a (period) movie. Being a redhead with super thick and big hair AND being named Ginger (yes, I fully realize just how obnoxious this is) has left me with an identity that revolves around my hair. But I’ve loved the white streak and it’s grown larger and larger.

    I decided months ago to let it go. I don’t have nearly as much beautiful white as you do, and where it’s not solid white it looks rather odd with auburn hair. I’ve been getting the same type of attention you have where people think my white hair is some slightly alternative intentional affectation. One young man unfortunately thought this until he realized I was old enough to be his mother. You could see the horror in his eyes as he realized it was natural.

    I’m also getting people sending me articles about the new “granny hair trend”, which isn’t new, because they think I’mactually doing this to my hair. It’s great to see others who are graying early and rocking it because it looks great and not just looking great in spite of it. Your hair is fantastic, and I can’t wait to see it all grown out.

    I finally deiced to remove some of the hair color from my gray and put a platinum toner over it to soften the root line. Unfortunately it didn’t look as great as yours with that dramatic transition of your white line, and I’m not willing to cut my hair off (A phobia resulting from a mother who was exhausted by my thick hair and kept it short my entire childhood).

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  43. Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I started graying at 16 and coloring at 18. I just had my 47th birthday and I’m done with it. A couple weeks ago, I started telling friends I was letting it grow out. Then I told coworkers. I was so pleasantly surprised by everybody’s support! My hair has been dyed in dark browns and most recently dark mahogany brown. So I have quite the skunk stripe! Seeing your pics of growing it out after cutting it short, makes me think I’ll pass on a few trimming appts and see what I get. I’m definitely encouraged after reading your blog and thank you!

  44. I’m a natural redhead who started coloring my hair (highlights first, then allover color) when my glorious auburn started fading and turning a mousey brown in my late 20’s. I just turned 60 and am told I look 45. I kind of want to let my natural color grow out. I have no idea what it is but I see beautiful silver framing my face as the roots grow out–the back roots seem ugly. I have friends younger than me who are almost totally gray and I envy their beautiful, natural hair, which they wear shoulder-length. But I am afraid the gray will age me and make me look my age when I don’t FEEL 60. (I teach at a university and my students keep me young.) So that’s my first dilemma.

    My second dilemma is whether to let it grow or use temporary hair colors to soften the shock as it grows out. Another option, suggested by my hairdresser, is highlights in golden and strawberry blonde colors, using fewer and fewer as time goes on and more gray is exposed. That might also solve the problem of the ugly brownish-gray on the back of my head.

    I’m tired of coloring my hair, but afraid to stop.

  45. I am in that terrible beginning and was JUST googling how to grow it out without looking SO TERRIBLE, and then voila: your post. THANK YOU for talking me down. I will wear scarves until I can’t take it anymore and see where I am at the end of the summer. I am 40 and have been greeting since my 20’s. Definitely genetic. I hope mine grows out as cool as yours. I really related to the crunchy dry hair thing. I’m so tired of it. And of boxed dyes. Thank you again ❤️

  46. Thank you all for the beautiful comments. I have been dying my hair for over 25 years. The “itching” got worse every treatment and then in January led me to the Emergency Department with an unrecognizable face with shut eyes. It appears I had a severe allergic reaction to hair dye. Therefore my going gray was not by choice. I am just now starting to feel a little better but my white hair gets me depressed once in a while. It seems that the roots show in 2 weeks after a treatment but take forever when you are waiting for them to grow out. There is some freedom though. Every 2 1/2 weeks and $100 each time was a little crazy. Not to mention i can’t sit still for long. Anyway. Thank you all for the positivity and I will keep “trudging” along. Going for another haircut on Monday. Hopefully it will only be about 3 more.

  47. I’m really struggling with mine at the minute. I just need it to grow. My hair is at the awkward growing out haircut (and colour) style. And gutted as it’s not as grey as I was hoping for. Keep going at it ladies.

  48. So glad I found this! I am 38, started getting my first greys at 18, and have been colouring my hair since I was 17. I have recently realised the harm I am doing to myself by constantly piling chemicals on my head! Time to stop and embrace the natural colour, whatever it is. I am never happy with my hair, no matter what the colour I put in is. I think I just have finally got fed up of spending money and still not being happy. So to anyone who has gone through the growing out process, well done! I hope to be like you soon!

  49. Thanks for your input girls! I’ve been in the debate stage for months now, scared to try but tired of the costs to not go grey. I have my stripe …. still haven’t made up my mind, but am siding on the letting it go all natural in order to just get over it and quit prolonging the inevitable. I just turned 59, and have dyed my hair for so long. Everyone tells me that my brown hair makes my eyes pop and look beautiful, I have a boss who is a year older than me and has dark hair. I’m also the youngest of five girls and all but the oldest are still dyeing their hair. Not sure why I’m comparing myself to them all …. maybe insecurities, but I’ve seen many beautiful women with grey hair. I want to go grey, but think I’m not slim enough to go there yet…

  50. I Decided to let my hair grey naturally after several years of dying it. I was 44 at the time!!! Initially I received bad comments from family about letting myself go!!! But my own sons were so supportive and made me persevere. I am soooo pleased with the result. I regularly get positive comments from friends and strangers and wish I’d done it sooner, it’s so liberating!!!! I had thin blonde highlights to begin and gradually had less and less put in. I am happy to be natural and free of the process of dying my hair. It was such a chore!!!

  51. Amazing to see all the women tired of chemicals. I’m doing the all natural dive and I’m on day 2! Lol. This totally gives me the push I need and I’m glad to see so many women look great with their gray! I’m 43 but have about 40% gray. Now I’m excited to be different! Thanks, Libby! 😃👊🏼

  52. wow! thank god for you ladies. i am 47 – have always had dark brown beautiful hair and really only got grays (just afew) after my second child was born. my friends talked me into colouring my hair and i liked it at first. but i find myself touching up my roots every 3 weeks and yes, ruining my bathroom, even with my “dexter” set up in my black t shirt. i have long hair and am a teacher to little ones about my son’s age (who winces every time i talk about going gray) – i am terrified of the skunk look and even more terrified of what the kids will say. i consider my self very hip person, always have been, and now, about one month in – i feel like this is a bit like being on a diet or quitting smoking – asking myself – “can i do this?” i have a very round face and could never cut my hair short so i am a little freaked about the transition stage. i am going to a van halen concert tomorrow – with this gray growth – am i nuts? thank you for all your advice and opening up so willingly. silver foxes rock!

  53. ….oh, i also i want to add – that i love the silvery look – it is beautiful and natural but a little scary – the thought of becoming someone else – because that is a bit what it’s like, isn’t it? looking in the mirror and seeing someone else. did anyone else experience that sensation?

  54. I really want to let my gray grow out too. I’m 38 and about 50% gray. The problem is my husband asked me not to because it will “age” me. His is the only opinion that matters, but it does matter. Every month when it’s time to go see my stylist, I don’t want to go. I’ve been Googling gray hair on young women and trying to build up the courage to just do it. Soon, I hope, I’m so sick of the maintenance!

    1. I didn’t have that consideration, but I understand it. I think I was that voice in my own head. Maybe as more women and men embrace their natural color (gray is a natural color), more people will start accepting it.

    2. Be brave and go for it. I am 4 months into growing out mine and have received great support, mainly from my younger work colleagues. I actually dont feel like I thought I would by the whole thing and feel very liberated, cant stop looking in the mirror to see how much it has grown. You never know you may love your natural colour way more than any dyed colour. Good luck!!

  55. Hi! So happy to find this site and read about others who are “transitioning”. I made the decision just this week to grow out my very light silver hair from auburn. I am 57 and started going gray at 21. I have always colored my hair, and honestly was always too vain to consider ever letting my hair grow out natural. will post more later, but one thing that made my decision easier is I photoshopped a picture of my face on a photo of the hair I expect to have and posted it on Facebook. The response was overwhelmingly positive. I am four weeks of growth and was overdue for my hairdresser appointment, which was going to be tomorrow. I cancelled. I am in this adventure!

  56. Thank you Libby and all you wonderful commentators!
    I have so wanted to let the grey finally emerge (I’m 59 years old), but it’s been a challenge. No hairdresser is on board… “no grey” is their mantra. So, I’m going to cancel my next appointment, use temp hair color, maybe get low-lights, and tough it out for a year.

  57. I logged on in hope of support & am thankful to feel it. I have dyed red hair & have felt it’s my identity so the decision to go grey has been a hard one. Like everyone on here though I am tired of being a slave to dying it. I was going to have blonde highlights/ lowlights to make the transition easier but cancelled the appointment. Yes. Susan my hairdresser looked at me as if I was mad going cold turkey! Hard looking in the mirror ( always was complimented on my hair) & feel like hibernating till its grown out but will keep looking on here for ongoing support…. Thanks x

  58. P.s….my sisters has shoulder length grey hair and I’ve been jealous too long with her no dye policy…time for change!

  59. At 7 weeks of growing out my gray, I made a decision on Halloween to chop off my very long hair. I am so very glad I did! Adding all the layers has hidden well my “skunk line” and because my longest hair now is about 3-4 inches, I won’t have to wait 2 years to be totally silver. My plan is to continue to have trims until all the auburn is gone, and decide after it’s all silver whether I want to grow it out right away, or leave it short for awhile. I love the ease of having short hair!!! And I’ve gotten so many complements, people are very supportive! I did cry a little at the hairdresser, but she cut about 15 inches off in a ponytail that I have at home…

  60. @Helen Fox, I’m in the same boat. 30 years of celebrated Irish setter colored hair, and I’ve gone cold turkey. I have about 4″ of growth, long enough to finally pull my hair, bangs included, into a messy knot. I can’t fathom the thought of cutting off my long hair and sporting a little white helmet on my head…so I grow…and grow…if I can’t be the redhead that I always wanted to be, and was, I’m going to have long hair.

    Right now I have the kind of ombré that no amount of money can buy.

    My husband says that I have “Wilding” hair, and I’m going with that.

    Keep on!

  61. Rebecca ” wilding hair” that sounds cool. My growth is similar to yours. I too have long hair and have taken to bundling it on my head. I find myself drawn to looking at other women’s perfectly coloured hair and feeling my resolve weaken . Your comment has helped spur me on…thanks 🙂

  62. So, so happy that I found your site. I have dark brown hair. Started going gray at 20. I’m now 38. I am 90% gray on the top of my head and around the frame of my face, and then 50% gray everywhere else. My hair is thick and coarse. When in its natural state, my hair has an odd wave to it and frizzy. So, I also flat iron it. For the past few years, I have had to dye my hair a reddish dark brown every 2 weeks. I decided a year ago that I was only going to dye where I was 90% gray, in the hopes that I could get myself comfortable enough with my 50% gray to take the plunge and stop colouring altogether. This morning, I reached for my box of dye, ready to go through the agonizing process of using chemicals on my body; trying hard not to get it elsewhere; feeling the burn on my scalp; trying in vain to rinse thoroughly….I stopped and turned to the Web instead. My plan a year ago was to get my 50% gray to a point where I would stop dying, wear my hair in a ponytail until I got past the dreaded stage and onto the bearable stage, and then get a flattering cut in order to help make it look like I wasn’t being a slob and that my look was intentional and, perhaps, fashionable. Your blog has pushed me in the right direction. I will not dye my hair today, or ever. Thankfully Winter is upon us here in Canada, so I’ll wear hats when out in public, embrace my gray at home, and wear my hair up when necessary. By the Spring I should have 3 inches of untreated growth and will cut my hair shorter (it’s a shoulder length bob now). Thank you so much for being the push I needed to go ahead with my plan.

    1. Good Luck to you! It is an up and down journey. I am into it 11 months now. It’s amazing how fast your hair grows when you can see the white line. I still have about 2 inches left and am now feeling confident about it.

  63. Thankful to have found this blog. I will be 55 this month and refuse to be a slave to the salon anymore. The great reveal of 2016 is coming and I can’t wait. You would have thought I’d said I was going to commit a capital crime from the reaction of my mother and sisters. Lol Why is it referred to as “giving up”?? It’s a hair color!! I’ve decided to make them eat there words-

  64. hola soy de mexico, me encanto tu narración, me siento tan identificada, tengo treinta y cinco años , y llevo cuatro meses sin tinte!! desde los quince años tengo canas y decidí liberarme!! mis principales críticos son mi familia, pero me siento firme y a seguir adelante!!! saludos!!

  65. Really grateful to find this post. I am 43, have been greying since 19 and dying since my mid 30’s. I only have about 7 weeks since my last dye, but I am planning to just chop it off and hope it looks like I had my hair tipped. I really appreciate that you have non-keep dying advice. I also have dark hair and most of the interim solutions seem like they would require even more money and time spent. I know interim dyes are probably right for some, but I just appreciated seeing a post about someone who went cold turkey and also chopped it off. Excited to see my stylist next week and get it chopped!

  66. Oh Libby & all you lovely ladies! You have no idea (well yes you have) how thrilled I was to come across your blog!! I have been in a state about my hair for months – I am going through the menopause & my hair texture has changed dramatically – naturally I’m brunette and coloured to keep it that way for some time but about 3 years ago I became intolerant to the tint so my hairdresser suggested going lighter which all seemed to work for a while but I hated putting any chemicals on my hair – I recently came across a hair clinic near me and they have diagnosed me with a condition called seborrhoea oleosa which means that my natural oils on my scalp are a little high – it’s very mild and I’m currently following a regime of special shampoo & conditioner & scalp stimulater & a food supplement! It’s early days but of course I’ve been recommended not to colour it as that won’t help!! I’m naturally curly as well but it’s gone very frizzy now as well but I’m determined to get my healthy hair back but not sure what sort of grey will come through!! My side bits are white – I am so stressed about it – I look at everyone on the TV & walking down the road & wish my hair was like that – I’ve been thinking about wigs & scarves & things – I’d really appreciate any websites that anyone can recommend for wigs and stuff as I feel that may help – I feel so dowdy & I’ve not long taken up ballroom dancing and I panic every time we have an event to go to!! It’s been so lovely reading all your posts – you think you’re on your own!

  67. Sheelagh

    My hair started going grey in my 20s and I am now 67, I’ve been dying my hair all that time apart from growing it out 20 years ago to find an almost white front and an almost black-brown back. I thought I looked most peculiar and fairly soon dyed it again. I found this blog today and, although I’m quite a bit older than most of you, felt as if I had suddenly met a family of women! I have a lovely supportive hairdresser who has tried to help by stripping the colour from my hair and then using a semi-permanent grey dye to blend in more naturally. Last time I used bands and scarves to cover the line I hated so much. At the moment I have a bob but I think as soon as possible I will have it cut short. In some ways I am proud of my age and experience but people have often thought me younger than I am but now being a white/grey mix I have been asked if I were a pensioner for the first time. I was shocked at my internal feelings of shock and sadness. I won’t stop though, I also feel quite liberated!! I will find a style that suits me now …………
    Hooray for all of us……….
    Thank you everyone who has cheered me on a cold, dark January day!

  68. I am so Happy I found all of you!! I just started the process of letting my grey grow out with about 2 inches of grey growth. I’m wearing headbands which helps a ton. I will be 52 in July and have been coloring due to grey since I was in my early 30’s, I have waist length dark curly hair, This coming Sunday I am cutting it off to about my Shoulder in the back and longer in the front. I love the inspiration you all give one another. Thank You all so much!!

  69. Hi,
    It’s been 3 months since my last visit to the hairdresser, I have about an inch of white hair growth. I started to go white at a very early age(15) I am now 58 so have been colouring my hair for many many years, I made my decision to go natural due to the condition of my hair and also having to visit my local hair salon once every 3 weeks. Comments from family and friends have been quite negative, but to be honest it’s not bothered me. I’ll be honest it’s been quite hard not to give in and not been able to wear my hair down as bothered me slightly, I just concentrate on the fact that it will all be worth it in the end. I just wear my hair in a ponytail, which does highlight the white regrowth. But why hide it, I’m doing this for me. I think I will get another 2 inch regrowth and then have it cut in the pixie style, I will then be pure white. Excited but also scared if it doesn’t suit me, good luck to all you lovely ladies who are going through the transition.

  70. I am about 10 months in. I started by lightening my normal dye color, little by little. I could probably get a pixie to get down to all natural, and still sometimes get the urge to color it. But each time I’ve headed to the stylist, some pretty young girl makes a comment of how pretty and unique my ‘reverse ombre’ color is, and how they might try it next – it strengthens my resolve. Hoping a cute LOB sometime this summer will leave me natural. But will I like it? Hope so!!

  71. thank you ladies for sharing your stories of adventure and rediscovery. after 30 yrs of dyeing, woke up on my 17th birthday with a lovely white 1/2′ wide racing stripe going down the side of my side parted hair, my addiction to the colored dye began. ugh! today I look at myself, 46, 2 small children, and well-loved and decide that I will no longer fight the white tide. I have no idea how much grey/white I have but my deep brown and burgundy makes a wonderful backdrop to the already 3/4″ I have allowed to grow out (haven’t dyed since mid-February). I am tired of the work, ladies. beauty is within each of us, not a gosh darn box. reading all these posts, I think i’ll finally go by the store and pick up a scarf or two. keep going all of you lovelies. the color of our hair does not decide who we are. we can do this.

  72. Keep going!!!! I’m into it a year now. Still not all gone. It’s funny. I had to get my hair done every 2 weeks.

    1. I have silver roots that you can see, but i cant afford to keep gong every 6 weeks for root cover and very few highlights. I have brown hair with very very little highlights. I always make vintage or bandannas as a headband to get me thru….It looks cute ,and I also wear the very light berets spelling ???? its funny because I always tell everyone need hair done. I cant keep putting this money out….I am on disablity and have to budget………Have u noticed how much the prices have gone up…..Geeeeeeez !!!!!! One of my daughters said Im not ready to go grey ,im not old enough, I am 62, from the Woodstock days and like a little funk. I find i am always wearing my hair in bun……..my hair is past the bottom of neck…..Hep Help, How can I start gong grey, it really is kind of silver.

  73. I really want to grow out my grey. I am 64 and still have some darker roots especially at the back.I started to dye my hair a lighter blonde as was always blonde for years but then it started to go a bit darker and I started to dye it and have been for over 30 years and getting sick and tired of doing it. My hairdresser told me I am 50% grey and that was last year. I am wondering if it would look ok with some coming in darker. Seems mostly light around my face.

  74. I just started on this journey as well. I am 54 and very tired of colouring. How long did it take to grow out shoulder length hair?
    My hair seems to be coming in a beautiful white. I wish it were faster so that I can see what it will be in the end.

  75. I’m being Brave, I am 58 started my journey 2 months ago, I am lucky I only have s sprinkling of Grey, but bring it on Grey highlights.

  76. Finally growing mine out too..I am a hairdresser..semi retired from the salon routine, thank the Gods…..I am a very young looking 63…and yep, I have colored, weaved, any everything you can imagine for years!! Finally decided to see what my real hair color looks like…I’m 3 moths into it now….and can’t wait to see how it’s going to look….dark brown to silver. And yes it’s very empowering!!!

  77. I decided to grow out my natural hair color because I think it will be beautiful. I am 52 and have been coloring my hair since my late teens or early twenties… I really cannot remember! I was naturally a dark brunette, and have tried every color I possibly could over the years. My hair was pretty dry, as you can imagine, and over the past few years I began to notice the graying roots VERY clearly, and needed to color every 2 weeks to hide it. My New Year resolution became to go natural, I wanted to see what my hair really looked like beneath the harsh and phony looking dyes. I looked at pictures of all the beautiful shades of gray different women had grown out, and was impressed by the vibrant health I could see.
    Well, I have to admit, I saw that bright glowing skunk stripe and freaked out after allowing it to grow out for 3 weeks last December, so I began the process of bleaching out all of my color. My final bleach (it took 3 bleachings over the course of 2 months to prevent severe damage) was the end of February. Because I used coconut oil heavily during the entire process, my hair stayed soft and shiny. I purchased tubes of temporary silver color called Pravana Vivids, it is a stain which lasts about a month before completely washing out, and have been using that once a month. I only wash my hair twice a week. My hair was about three inches below my bra strap back when I started this, and I kept snipping off a bit each month to keep it healthy looking, plus finally bringing it up to just below my shoulders.
    It has been growing out for 6 months now, I have about 3 inches of natural growth. Without the stain my hair is very dark in the back and underneath, a bit salt and pepper around the front, and I have this fabulous streak of white off center at my forehead. I cannot wait for it to be all grown out! When I stain it, the silver stain helps the whole thing blend, it slightly mutes the dark and it makes the bleached out hair along with my own white hairs become the silver gray stain color. I can see the line of demarcation, but it isn’t as intense when I use the stain. The stain doesn’t damage my hair or scalp, and washes out completely. I intend to continue staining until it is all long enough to cut off.. I use one tube a month, I paid 5 dollars per tube for for 8 tubes, which was an awesome deal, now they are about 9 bucks a tube.
    I understand that hair grows approximately 1/2 an inch each month, and I really do not want to go any shorter than this, so I plan to continue to snip a bit off the ends each month as this grows out. I imagine that by next spring I may be ready to get a bob cut, not too super short, but for now I am enjoying this. It is fun when the stain washes all out and I can see how much it has grown, and am very surprised by the lovely streak of white. People just think that I have intentionally had this color done, and the more which grows out, the better it all looks because my grays look like highlights. I am especially amazed at the wonderful softness of my new growth and how good it feels to not use the stinky permanent dyes anymore or have to deal with the mess. I think natural color, and even the graying, looks the most beautiful on all of us… everyone keep growing it out!

  78. I quit coloring my hair when I turned 50. I thought I had a lot of gray, and decided to see what it would look like. I’m not the patient type. When it had grown out a bout an inch and a half, I cut off all the dyed hair. I had a short spikes hairdo that was PURE WHITE! If i’d of known how pretty my white hair is, I would have quit coloring a long time ago.

    I now wear it cut in a short bob. People are always asking me what color I color my hair. I’m pretty sure you can’t buy this color in a bottle. One of my biggest surprises is the color change in my wardrobe. I wear more color than I did before. I also had my make up professionally done. It needed to change along with my hair color, and I had no clue how to do that.

    People tell me I look 10 years younger since l stopped coloring my hair.

  79. I’m starting again to let my natural gray grow out, which is about 20% gray and light brown. Im 69 and really tired of the bad dye jobs and expense. Wish me luck.

  80. Wow! This is so inspiring, ladies!! I want to do this. It has been six weeks since I have coloured my hair. I am scared to death of looking really old. I turned 50 this year. Like all of you, I am so tired of the constant dye process. I will have to make a little bit of a makeup change. I wear very neutral lip gloss right now with my dark brown hair (used to be natural dark brown until I started going gray at the age of 25) and will find a more bolder red or pinkish colour. Part of me is so excited to do this. It is going to be so hard to go to work every day throughout this process, but I’m ready to do it! Thank you for the inspiration. : )

  81. Hi, I am 47 and about 2 months into my journey. And honestly it feels like a journey. I’m at the yuck, I look older stage at the mo as I see my grey hair as a sign of aging. Did you increase the makeup at all when you did the process as I feel like it has aged me 10 years….
    Thank you

  82. I honestly don’t know how much grey I actually have because I’ve been coloring for so long. My 48th birthday is October 15th. That means I have been doing stuff to my hair (hightlighting, coloring, etc.) for 32 years. Holy cow! No wonder I’m sick of it. Plus, I had an illness in 2010 that required 6 weeks of antibiotics delivered via a picc line. I lost a lot of hair. Luckily, I had really thick hair to begin with, and it has rebounded/is still rebounding, but I just think it would be better for my hair to just leave it alone. Thanks for your encouraging and enlightening post. You have made me feel like I can do this!

  83. I’m 4months into my journey and am facinated to see my natural silver hair coming through, I’m also very relieved to have made the decision to go through this journey Xx.

  84. Encouraging blog. Great comments. I started in May. I had very dark brown hair. I had it highlighted only in the front and on the top, and I regularly use Wella toner T18 and a gray additive 050? to minimize the line of demarcation. I also changed my style to short with layers. Lots of encouraging comments from friends. For those few well-meaning friends who recommend that I dye it again, I ask them to reserve their judgement for at least a full year. Enjoy the journey!

  85. Encouraging, beautiful and brave piece! Thanks for sharing your experience. In am going to be 40 the next month and I started to notice the first greys. I was scared of the process since I was 30 because my mother went grey early and with a not so nice shade of deep grey. On the other hand, my father had his first greys later on, and his hair now is almost totally white. I think I took from him because currently, I have only a few white hair on the temples. Maybe the next year, when they will be more, I will start doing some highlights to mix them with my still coloured ones. Hope I’ll find the right shade to go with light brown and pure white 😉

  86. I am 3 months into growing out my hair. Not by choice but after 30 years of dying my hair I had such a bad reaction that I nearly died. After such a fright my Dr has advised me never to do it again. I’m finding it a painful process but I must keep going.

    1. I too had a severe reaction to hair dye after many years. The doctor also told me that the next time I dye my hair will be my last. It was devastating to me but it’s been a year now and I am a free woman. Just stay with it. You will feel like a new woman!!! ( also save a lot of money, lol)

  87. I am 58 and I am tired of doing my roots every three weeks. The grey is just fighting me to come out. I have pretty long hair and it is black. I feel very scared and yet I am feel I am ready to see what it looks like. I went to a hair colorist who said that because my hair is so thick and curly that processing it would be more damaging to my hair. So her response was to let it go naturally and then down the road give yourself a good haircut. Do you think this is a good opinion? My friend thinks she just didn’t want to deal with my hair texture. I took her advise.

    1. Hi! Welcome to the journey!! I don’t know if you can see from the photo, but I also started the process with long, black hair. Also thick and curly (left of grid, middle photo). About two months in, I cut it (see photo left bottom of grid). I only cut it because my hair was so processed it was dry.

      Now, on my 2nd go around growing it out. I started the process with about just pas shoulder-length hair and 3 or so months in, my hair is much longer, but I don’t plan to cut it that short again. I’m going to trim 1/2″ or so every other month starting in March.

      I think this time for me, I’m a lot braver and it’s truly confirmed that I never want to color my hair again. I don’t care about “trying to make it look good now, because I’m okay with it.

      I don’t know if that helps, but hope it did.

      I’ve been really bad about keeping up with comments here, but will catch up and get in the conversation.

    2. Good Lord we could be sisters! I have masses of long dark hair and Im quite attached to it! How s your journey going? Just started mine!

  88. I’m 75 and had a great colorist but decided I was curious about going grey. We are doing low light foils on the roots and now doing more of lighter foils so I don’t have a line. I love how it looks. Did get a short bob to encourage getting the original color gone faster. Our plan is fewer foil highlights as I get more grey. The hairdresser says I will continue to want low lights or highlights to look ” interesting” which made me laugh!

    1. So energized by your blog Libby and all the women who have shared their stories! I’m 55 and like you went white very early ….started noticing it around 19. I see you reached a benchmark at 8 months…that will put me to my 56th birthday. Trying to do this and keep my long hair but we will see! Scarey and exciting at the same time. Thanks ladies!

  89. Aaahhh, I am so nervous. I am 34 and I decided today I will no longer color my hair. I have had gray hair since I was 14. I am tired of the maintenance and cost. Why can’t I be beautiful just being me. Why do I care what others think? I never have before, so why does this matter so much. Guess I was always tired of explaining it and hearing the gasp from other women.Thank you for inspiring me.

    1. HI Chelsie…this is Laurie from the post above you. I started growing my hair out in October. I’ve got 20 or so years on you, girl but we share the same issues. Also, I’ve always been told I look young for my age, so this was a real vanity struggle for me…but believe me….it’s so worth it and you will be beautiful just being you!

  90. I have been comtemplating this for a couple of years. I try it and get to the point where there is 1/2 inch and I chicken out. I am going to do it this time. I don’t know what my fear is. I am not sure what color my natural hair is I just know around my face it’s white and it’s getting harder and harder to cover it and my hair is just so dry from all the chemicals. thank you so much for your wonderful commentary on the “growth”. it helped a LOT. I would cut my hair all off but in the past few years it has gotten very curly and unruly it’s at bra length now and I think the heaviness holds it down. I will check back in in a month. thanks again

  91. hi, everyone…so glad to have found this site! I’m 47 and have been coloring my hair since I was 12. Mom was prematurely grey. I’m Asian, so I color my hair dark brown or black every 3-4 weeks at the salon. My stylist says that I will feel differently about myself with my white hair…he says I’m about 80% white. He doesn’t recommend abandoning my coloring (of course not…he will lose money every 3 weeks!), and says that it will age my looks by 10 years. He says to try a wig before making a decision. Does anyone have any suggestions on where I can find a wig to try? He also recommended that I do this after I retire, since I work in a professional office environment. Also, separate concern…has anyone had an issue of thinning hair? I’m so scared that I will look like an old balding Chinese lady with thin hair, where you can see my scalp, esp. in the front where I have the majority of my white hair. Contemplating this adventure, as my next roots appointment is in 3 days…any words of advice and perspective would be appreciated!

    1. Hi Kimberley
      I had a similar situation. Long time relationship with my colourist – every 3 weeks, plus root cover up in between. I’m 56 and started to go white around 21. I can’t tell you where to try on a wig, but I can share my advice. I wanted to get off the colouring because of the time and money I spent in the salon and health concerns about dumping dye on my head so often. But I also had certain musts if I let my grey grow in: I wanted a smooth(ish) transition – no skunk lines – and didn’t want a Farmer’s Market Grey. I wanted to keep my long hair as much as possible. Also I have been told I look younger than my years, and had a bit of anxiety about that for sure. My colorist refused to help me transition beyond putting more blonde streaks in, so I left her, which was difficult as we’d developed a friendship over the 20-odd years I’d been going to her. I found someone who was very good at colour and began sessions with foils – about 100 per visit. Every 6 weeks. It was expensive and the entire process-which lasted a year- cost in total about $1,000 here in Toronto. I took pictures of my transition each month and I’d be happy to share a before and after with you. My email is laurie.leclair@rogers.com
      Best of luck with your decision!

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