surprisingly, very few people were unkind. my colorist was helpful, she suggested using headbands which was the way i got through it (and i also saw it on goingraylookinggreat.com which is now very different website but most likely still helpful -- and you can get the book out of the library).
i would wear headbands showing the white around my face and i got tons of compliments on that!!
the first time i returned to a social group with my hair about 2 months into transition and i wore a headband i got rave compliments, both women and men coming up to me saying how much they liked the white, thought it looked great around my face.
then, i'd be out and about, supermarket, train station.... and strangers would come up to me and compliment my hair. it seemed like people say 45 yrs and younger loved the black/white look!! go figure.
i have an aunt who at first did not like it, would tell me how she colors her hair and how easy it is.... but now she loves it, tells me i look beautiful. so i am sure there were people who were taken aback by white front/black back, but they did not say anything. most knew i was transitioning.
i could have cut it very short but my face is not good with pixie styles, but i did get it cut shorter than i normally wear it about 9 months into transition -- not all was cut off but enough to see it was mostly white/gray.
i also did toy with the idea of lowlights when i started, thought i'd do them say a few months in. then i thought about how the color would oxidize and i'd be left with sort of orange streaks around my face.... decided to just bite the bullet and go cold turkey. the headbands, of which i had many, both plastic clip types and material headbands, are what saved it for me!
i have never regretted it and now i can immediately spot colored hair and see how it does not look quite right against the person's skin, can make them look older, tired.... i am saving time and money and love the look.
and my kids were supportive, in fact, my son-in-law said he wished his mom would do the same.