I’ve decided, for the second time in my life, to stop dying my hair and let my salt and peppered hair show.
The first time I went gray, I was 41, and I remember it was relatively easy. I went through some months in which my hair had diverse colors, but it also looked like highlighted, I used to cut it frequently, not too short, until it soon looked like this:
This is how I looked in 2014. In retrospect, this is the style I liked the best in the past 4 years, and I wish I had kept it, but, for some reason, I did not like to have gray hair like this at 43.
As my hair grew longer, one day, tired of the grays, I used a non permanent hair dye, and at the time, I happened to receive lots of compliments. Next month, when the dye had washed off, I picked the wrong hair dye, it was a permanent one, and that’s how I went back to dying my hair regularly.
Not only that, at one point, I thought that since my base hair was dark brown, I’d better pick a dark brown color, and that with a dark brown dye, my color would stay nice and last longer. But the dark brown dye only saturated my hair completely and made it black. (Later, a hairdresser who fixed that harsh black with highlights, explained to me that dark brown is the same as black, both saturate your hair and nothing can remove or lift that color, only bleaching the hair -which I didn’t do-, or highlights for correction, which was my option at the time).
This is a picture of me when my hair was black, early 2015. It did not feel bad at first, but little by little, my roots were paler, and I had to keep dying it, and it started to feel harsh and flat too.
After I had some highlights to remove the black little by little, every time I dyed it, I chose lighter brown. For 2 or 3 times, I even chose to color it red, but since my hair was probably 30% or more gray, and since red fades away fast, some weeks, when my next coloring was due, I ended up looking like below, so I started picking auburn browns once more.
The photo above is taken in natural light, where the color shows more, and you can see how it yellowed by the gray strands, it still showed some dark areas, plus the red towards the tips. I only liked it when it was recently done, and for a few days after.
I also started to cut it shorter.I believe the dye was damaging and drying my hair a lot. I cannot say that I didn’t like it at.all, but somewhere between January 2016, and now, my hair started to fall more, my scalp itched constantly, my roots and grays showed earlier, and I simply got tired of the whole coloring process.
The next picture is from September 2016. August 19 was the last day I colored my hair. A month after, September, when this picture was taken, you can see that my hair held up the color well, but October came, and I didn’t want to color it anymore. My scalp wasn’t as itchy, I wanted to, somehow, stop it from falling so much (in case for me it was because of the color), and I simply wanted to see if I can enjoy it the way it is right now.
The last picture is today, 3 months and 5 days after the last color bottle. We went to a beautiful wedding, and the picture shows the top in natural light, but the whole effect is, I think, not as bad.
My lovely friends are photobombing me in the picture below.
My hair is whiter by my ears. This last picture is taken now, in artificial light, and it looks horrendous, but I assure you it’s not like that. The most exciting part about my gray hair this time, to me, it’s that beautiful white by the ears. I can’t wait to see how different strands of hair may be lighter, making my hair naturally textured and fun. It’s going to be a difficult journey for me, because I’m pretty impatient. Oh, how I wish my hair were now as it was in 2013, almost 4 years earlier! If I don’t cut it short (and I don’t think I will, or not now), it may take me from 1 year and 1/2, to 2 years to outgrow the colored part of the hair.
I don’t know where this journey will take me, hopefully I’ll go through the stages until one day I can see all my gray hair and celebrate it. I may dye it again (I doubt it, but I’ve decided not to feel a failure if that ever happens, and not to be one of those advising others to do this). Some women have never colored their hair, even if they had gray hair early in life, others have colored and kept doing so in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, even 70’s, why not? This is a personal preference and decision. My decision is what it is for now. I plan to document this journey, and I will show you pictures hopefully at the 6 month mark, or whenever any changes occur (I may cut it again at that time or earlier). Another thing to consider is my hairdresser. I love her, she knows how to cut curly hair, but she is not pro gray hair. She told me how great I look when my hair is colored, and that she thinks I’m too young for gray hair. I truly think I need someone supportive of my desire to grow it gray, plus those hairdressers who are enthusiastic about gray hair, may have a more positive vision about a haircut that may suit me and help me with this slow transition. I truly dread going back to her, I dream with going to a place where the hairstylist is excited about my decision.