Are You Embracing or Running Away From Your Gray Hair?

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i'm not a colorist, but i will share my daughter's experience.
like me, and my father before me, she is graying early, started at 17. so for her wedding 4 years ago her friend who is a colorist did a 'TEMPORARY' color to cover the gray.
ah, she finally cut it all out last year. (it had oxidized and was orangey.)

my hair was darkest brown/black, and i bit the bullet and went cold turkey to transition. happy i did.
Originally Posted by rbb
Thanks, rbb. How did you respond to people who were unkind or tried to be "helpful" to you when you were transitioning?
CG since 4/15/12
2c-3b, fine to medium, high porosity, low elasticity
20% gray (stopped coloring 6/12)

LOVES: protein, Shea Moisture condish. & masque, KCCC, Re:Coil (HG), Kiss My Face Upper Mgmt. gel, my own FSG!

does not love: non-cg ingredients, oils, PVA/PVP, synthetic fragrances or poly-quats

Thanks, rbb. How did you respond to people who were unkind or tried to be "helpful" to you when you were transitioning?
Originally Posted by bubblemama
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.
diaspora and curlygoinggray like this.
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3a, some 2c & 3b, medium texture, porosity normal, low elasticity
washing/cowashing, conditioning, protein tx: curl junkie products
leave in:cj conditioners and treatments as leave in
styling: cj pattern pusha, cj honey butta leave in, cj cccc, cj ciab, lalsg. cj aloe fix gel is my high dews/summer HG!!
sealants - spiral solutions emollience butter, jane carter nourish & shine
^^ Good story RBB!
One thing I never understand is how people can be convinced (mostly by the media) that natural grey hair given to them by Mother Nature makes them look older, but chemically colored hair makes them look younger.
curlygoinggray likes this.
In Western PA
Found NC in 2004. CG since 2-05, going grey since 9-05. 3B with some 3A.
Hair texture-medium/fine, porosity-normal except for the ends which are porous, elasticity-normal.
Suave & VO5 cond, LA Looks Sport Gel, oils, honey, vinegar.
http://public.fotki.com/jeepcurlygurl/ password jeepy **updated Aug 2014**
https://www.facebook.com/lifetheuniverseandtodd
thanks, jeep!
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3a, some 2c & 3b, medium texture, porosity normal, low elasticity
washing/cowashing, conditioning, protein tx: curl junkie products
leave in:cj conditioners and treatments as leave in
styling: cj pattern pusha, cj honey butta leave in, cj cccc, cj ciab, lalsg. cj aloe fix gel is my high dews/summer HG!!
sealants - spiral solutions emollience butter, jane carter nourish & shine
^^ Good story RBB!
One thing I never understand is how people can be convinced (mostly by the media) that natural grey hair given to them by Mother Nature makes them look older, but chemically colored hair makes them look younger.
Originally Posted by jeepcurlygurl
+1

I would say that 98% of the women I've seen who have chosen to go gray look MUCH better with their natural color than they ever did with the dye. Seeing their pix was when I got the courage to stop dyeing.
curlygoinggray likes this.
CG since 4/15/12
2c-3b, fine to medium, high porosity, low elasticity
20% gray (stopped coloring 6/12)

LOVES: protein, Shea Moisture condish. & masque, KCCC, Re:Coil (HG), Kiss My Face Upper Mgmt. gel, my own FSG!

does not love: non-cg ingredients, oils, PVA/PVP, synthetic fragrances or poly-quats

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....
Originally Posted by rbb
Thanks for sharing, rbb. I've been noticing more and more now the beautiful silver heads here (where I live, not on NC) and the awful dye jobs. A realatively young (she can't be more than 50) woman in one of my classes has the darkest fake blue black hair and I have to resist the temptation to tell her to let it go. I just know she'd look better with her natural color.
CG since 4/15/12
2c-3b, fine to medium, high porosity, low elasticity
20% gray (stopped coloring 6/12)

LOVES: protein, Shea Moisture condish. & masque, KCCC, Re:Coil (HG), Kiss My Face Upper Mgmt. gel, my own FSG!

does not love: non-cg ingredients, oils, PVA/PVP, synthetic fragrances or poly-quats


Last edited by bubblemama; 08-10-2012 at 05:52 PM. Reason: didn't mean "here" as in this forum
Thank you rbb and others for sharing your stories about accepting your grey/silver curls. I'm not ready yet, but seeing how pretty it looks on all of you is inspiring.

How long did you wait before you stopped coloring; like what % grey were you (sorry if that's been answered already, did not backtrack through whole thread)?

I recently turned 40 (happy bday to me!) and am about 5-10% silver so far, and I started coloring about a year ago. I'm not getting my roots done obsessively at this point (more because I can't afford than because I'm accepting it). I am a little worried that people will stop thinking I look so "young" if I stop coloring. People tend to be surprised that I'm over 30. I think my dyed hair looks very natural still.

I am jealous of my friends with light hair because their grey just looks like highlights. On my dark hair, I still think it looks weird. :/
Formerly Urbancurl.
Medium-high density, fine-medium, low-normal porosity, 3b/c, permanent color.
CG, no heat, combs, brushes, parabens.
Fall/Winter HG=Alba Botanica Soft Hold Style Cream.
Spring/Summer HG=MGA Sculpting Gel
Current fave LI=Madre Labs Made by Nature for Baby Conditioner.
Limit oils, butters, glycerin.
Happy birthday!!

I never regularly colored my hair. I dyed it a few times in my 30's just for the fun of it (colors like black cherry, deep purple). In my early-mid 40's I started using henna/cassia because my hair was damaged and I had heard it would help strengthen it (which it did). I used it for a few years until I started to turn grey in my late 40's. Then I chopped my hair off into a chin length bob, getting rid of most of the colored ends, and let the grey grow in.

It's not easy knowing we are getting older, but there's no stopping it. We just have to decide what makes us happiest. For me it's being natural (grey, curls, no botox, no surgeries) along with clothes that make me feel good and fun makeup, nail polish, purses, and jewelry.
In Western PA
Found NC in 2004. CG since 2-05, going grey since 9-05. 3B with some 3A.
Hair texture-medium/fine, porosity-normal except for the ends which are porous, elasticity-normal.
Suave & VO5 cond, LA Looks Sport Gel, oils, honey, vinegar.
http://public.fotki.com/jeepcurlygurl/ password jeepy **updated Aug 2014**
https://www.facebook.com/lifetheuniverseandtodd
"How long did you wait before you stopped coloring; like what % grey were you?"

diaspora -- i colored my hair for years, i think about 20+. i wanted to stop, but did not want to deal with the transition. i thought about it and talked about it for 8 years before i took the plunge.
i knew i would at some point as i would look at older women and see how bad their dyed hair made their face look.
i was about 85% white/gray when i stopped. i still have natural black hair at the underneath bottom of my head. my sister was salt and pepper when she transitioned so it was a little easier.
i was sorry i ever started (my ex hated the grays.... so i thought i should color. alone, i would not have. but i did. so i stopped. now my daughter is graying as i did, but she is not coloring her hair. think she saw what i went through, plus her husband is very supportive of her grays, thinks my dye-free hair is great.
i think what makes people look old is how they wear/care for their hair, rather than the color. altho, i personally do think after a certain age chemically colored hair is a mismatch for your skin and that ages you. my personal opinion.
jeepcurlygurl and diaspora like this.
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3a, some 2c & 3b, medium texture, porosity normal, low elasticity
washing/cowashing, conditioning, protein tx: curl junkie products
leave in:cj conditioners and treatments as leave in
styling: cj pattern pusha, cj honey butta leave in, cj cccc, cj ciab, lalsg. cj aloe fix gel is my high dews/summer HG!!
sealants - spiral solutions emollience butter, jane carter nourish & shine
Great story rbb about your transition and what you went through in your mind as well - thanks for sharing this! I do agree with you that how we wear our hair is just as much a factor in whether it looks old or not. As far as being "a certain age" I think a lot of this also depends on the condition of someone's skin as far as how it corresponds to the hair or not. So, with coloring or not, pay attention to skin care, ladies! Obviously, if someone is very wrinkly and VERY uneven in tone, the colored hair is going to look odd and especially if it's way too dark. A word about coloring - it seems that so many dedicated non-colorers of hair have this stereotype of the older person always coloring their hair black. Indeed some do, but far from all. With the increased variation in hair colors and products, there's no need to have that harsh look if one chooses to color, or continue coloring their hair. There's any variety of beautiful shades out there, and no, one doesn't have to go in the opposite direction and go "generic blonde" either. The only ones who pull this last off are the ones who had lighter hair to begin with, usually no darker than lightest brown, and they have the skin tone to go with it too. The rest of us don't, especially those of us who had really dark hair to begin with. In our case, going no lighter than a medium shade works better whether that shade have red, gold, ash or neutral tones in it. This tends to go better with the medium complexions than blonde would.
But back to grey - it really does have to be well-cared for, and cut well, whatever length, otherwise it just looks scraggly, and that last indeed does make a mature woman look older than she needs to. We have enough going on with age without making it look WORSE LOL!
All I know, at this stage in the game anyway, I get a TON of compliments on my hair coloring, even from my hair cutter who would be more than happy to tell one if something wasn't working. But I look younger in general and my skin, while not flawless, is still tight and healthy-looking, not much in the way of wrinkling save for forehead wrinkles that have been there for a LONG time. Bangs takes care of that LOL. No Botox or surgery for me, along with jeep here. I'll catch up with her eventually with the grey hair part, just not yet.
jeepcurlygurl and PerkyCurlz like this.
I have already posted somewhere "embracing" my gray. It is a very personal decision.

For me, I want to be ME and that is where embracing my curls come in also!!!! I have spent my entire life trying to "pull something off" with my hair. In fact, I bought 18" #4 brown extensions last fall!!! I am tired of not being the real me (coloring). I DON'T want to look younger than my age, I want to LOOK my age and be complimented for what is "ME" and be proud of my natural color and natural curl. Hey, we all AGE, its a fact of life, why not make the most of our natural self. That is only my opinion.
jeepcurlygurl and diaspora like this.

Mostly: Wen Cleansing Conditioner: Lavendar & Tea Tree

Occasionally: DevaCurl No-Poo, One Condition, & Angel; KCCC, KCKT & KCCC
Last Dye 1/4/12; Started Curlygirl Method 6/2012; Final cut to remove dye 3/30/13
I'm running away. Far far away.

I'm actually having a pretty hard time with this getting older, getting bigger, getting grayer thing. It really gets to me & gets me down. I know I can't take it with me, but man, why's it so hard to see these changes happen to me?
Big Chop from hip - 5/2014
Enjoying the journey to APL or BSL!
I'm running away. Far far away.

I'm actually having a pretty hard time with this getting older, getting bigger, getting grayer thing. It really gets to me & gets me down. I know I can't take it with me, but man, why's it so hard to see these changes happen to me?
Originally Posted by LISA LISA
I think it's natural, especially given all the pressure society puts on women to look youthful, and the hyper-attention placed on our looks in general, for it to feel rather disturbing when our bodies change. But hopefully, over time we come to accept it, and these changes become less and less disturbing.

I didn't freak out about turning 40 last month. Part of the reason is because no one would guess I'm 40 anyway (which really, is a little stupid, because of course 40 can look like me, 40 can look lots of ways! and don't make me paranoid for when the time comes that you actually do think I look 40, people! and give me credit for the 40 years of experience I have living life!), but the other reason I didn't freak out, I'll take credit for:

I've tried to follow my dreams and not live on someone else's timeline.*

I try not to judge myself based on traditional measures of success (career, marriage, children, money, etc.), but on what makes me feel fulfilled and like a good person. It's super hard taking this road, but it is the one for me. When I don't follow my instincts and try to do the "sensible" thing, because I feel pressured to do so or because I can't see another option, I always regret it. (Not saying there is anything at all wrong with focusing on the above things! Most of them are just not my dreams/goals, not so far.)

*Yes, there have been prices to pay for living this way, such as being poor and having no financial security :/ but that could change. There are prices to pay when I give in to a more traditional life too.
Formerly Urbancurl.
Medium-high density, fine-medium, low-normal porosity, 3b/c, permanent color.
CG, no heat, combs, brushes, parabens.
Fall/Winter HG=Alba Botanica Soft Hold Style Cream.
Spring/Summer HG=MGA Sculpting Gel
Current fave LI=Madre Labs Made by Nature for Baby Conditioner.
Limit oils, butters, glycerin.

Last edited by diaspora; 08-13-2012 at 10:08 AM.
I'm running away. Far far away.

I'm actually having a pretty hard time with this getting older, getting bigger, getting grayer thing. It really gets to me & gets me down. I know I can't take it with me, but man, why's it so hard to see these changes happen to me?
Originally Posted by LISA LISA

Have you been following Cindy Joseph's blog? She's a former makeup artist who became well known as a gray-haired model in her late forties. She has since become a "pro-age" spokesperson and has her own very small line of natural cosmetics. She also has a video blog which covers topics of interest to the over 40 crowd - including how to deal with aging. Very inspiring! Take a look here: Boom By Cindy Joseph Blog | The Pro-Age Revolution Blog
2Poodles Southeast PA
fine, med porosity, normal elasticity
Currently using the following 2 - 3 x/week:
Living Proof Perfect Hair Day suphate-free Poo, cone-free CO and styling treatment, plus KCCC

"I would say that 98% of the women I've seen who have chosen to go gray look MUCH better with their natural color than they ever did with the dye."

Maybe where this poster was was the case, but all I know is that when I lived near Santa Fe, I saw legions of women who were very determined about "going natural" and got it confused with giving up on their appearance altogether. For example, since they were letting their hair go grey, they also gave up on any decent haircuts whatever the length, and also nary a drop of moisturizer or makeup either. A friend of mine who lives in the area theorized that many women come to Santa Fe after the divorce and totally divest themselves of anything that reminded them of before, so that might have something to do with it. She might be right about that, as so many women were in Santa Fe to find themselves one way or the other. But so many of these people would have looked better with at least a trim, if not some flattering color, as many had complexions that simply looked awful with the grey. A few did have nice silvery hair, but not all that many.
Lest all of this sound like I'm just caving to the beauty industry and anti-grey totally, I do envy people who do look lovely with their silver hair and hope that I come to a time when it will look good on me. That just happens to be not quite yet. 20 years ago, I tried growing it out when I had less grey, but the longest I held off without hitting the bottle again was 4 months. Maybe I should have stuck it out back then because the grow-out process will be far more difficult in the future at such time when I decide to do it. But what influenced me not to stick it out was going and trying on varying grey wigs ranging from lightly salt-and-pepper all the way to full grey, and they all looked bad on me colorwise.
"I would say that 98% of the women I've seen who have chosen to go gray look MUCH better with their natural color than they ever did with the dye."

Maybe where this poster was was the case, but all I know is that when I lived near Santa Fe, I saw legions of women who were very determined about "going natural" and got it confused with giving up on their appearance altogether. For example, since they were letting their hair go grey, they also gave up on any decent haircuts whatever the length, and also nary a drop of moisturizer or makeup either. A friend of mine who lives in the area theorized that many women come to Santa Fe after the divorce and totally divest themselves of anything that reminded them of before, so that might have something to do with it. She might be right about that, as so many women were in Santa Fe to find themselves one way or the other. But so many of these people would have looked better with at least a trim, if not some flattering color, as many had complexions that simply looked awful with the grey. A few did have nice silvery hair, but not all that many.
Lest all of this sound like I'm just caving to the beauty industry and anti-grey totally, I do envy people who do look lovely with their silver hair and hope that I come to a time when it will look good on me. That just happens to be not quite yet. 20 years ago, I tried growing it out when I had less grey, but the longest I held off without hitting the bottle again was 4 months. Maybe I should have stuck it out back then because the grow-out process will be far more difficult in the future at such time when I decide to do it. But what influenced me not to stick it out was going and trying on varying grey wigs ranging from lightly salt-and-pepper all the way to full grey, and they all looked bad on me colorwise.
Originally Posted by caramix3a
there is a big difference between not coloring your hair and not taking care of your appearance!! just as all women who color their hair don't necessarily get cuts/trims, condition,take care of their hair... or moisturize/take care of their skin.
[FONT="Arial Narrow"]
3a, some 2c & 3b, medium texture, porosity normal, low elasticity
washing/cowashing, conditioning, protein tx: curl junkie products
leave in:cj conditioners and treatments as leave in
styling: cj pattern pusha, cj honey butta leave in, cj cccc, cj ciab, lalsg. cj aloe fix gel is my high dews/summer HG!!
sealants - spiral solutions emollience butter, jane carter nourish & shine
"there is a big difference between not coloring your hair and not taking care of your appearance!!" - rbb

Exactly what I meant, in case that wasn't clear.
I have been going gray since i was in my late 20s (now 3 and didn't really need to start dyeing it until a few years ago when my hair started REALLY turning white. yes i said 'need' bc i'm just not ready to go all gray. my dad went all gray in his 30s so i know i am fighting nature here but you know, all a personal choice!

but i am having a hard time finding color that will stick. mainstream dyes kill my scalp, natural ones fade fast and i haven't tried to henna my dark brown hair in YEARS and not sure which to get.

all in all, just not ready to embrace! i'm staying fit by running away from it LOL
I'm ready to embrace my gray - 4 month's into transition.

My first hair color was in June '08 and had to have corrective color in August. By December I thought I knew everything and tried henna. Used a mix of henna and buxus off and on for 5 months then went back to the salon at the end of June '09. My stylist added lots of highlights and colored it a light brown. Started using Natural Instincts semi-permanent hair color somewhere around the end of 2010 and did my last root touch up on April 29, 2012. I'm ready to just be ME

Also in the past year I've learned to embrace my natural waves although there are no waves in the below photo. I had my hair trimmed Saturday and had it blown straight, thought it would be easier to see the progress this way.
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Are You Embracing or Running Away From Your Gray Hair?-p1010247.jpg  
curlygoinggray likes this.
2b fine texture, normal porosity/elasticity


Last edited by Shellwe; 09-03-2012 at 12:03 PM.
TriciaRose's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 2
Going gray is not about looking old for me - I'm lucky to have youthful genetics. I've seen women with gray who are drop dead beautiful at various ages. I was born a golden blonde and after childbirth it started to turn dark, dingy blonde, almost brown - my mama called it "dishwater blonde." Same thing happened to my blonde children. I spent a long time very light blonde to please my husband and never felt it flattered my skin. After the divorce I went to a soft strawberry blonde/red which was better with green eyes and peachy skin tone. Around age 53 the silver started popping in on the very top - like a spotlight! The texture is still silky, not wirey like some have. Unfortunately the gray is not silver everywhere - it's a dingy brownish slate. Some places it is white. I would go gray in a minute if it flattered my skin. I've settled by keeping it a warm honey blonde with lighter highlights. I do get tired of being a slave to touch-ups but it's about having a color that is flattering to your face and eyes. I envy women who have pretty gray, I really do.

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