My ‘gray-t’ journey!

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:

2013

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2014

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.

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2015

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.

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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).

2015

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.

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2015

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.

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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.

Jan, 2016

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.

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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.

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Nov, 2016

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.

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My lovely friends are photobombing me in the picture below.

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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.

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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.

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9 comments on “My ‘gray-t’ journey!

  1. Good for you! Welcome to the world of gray haired women! I found my first gray hair on the morning my second child was born! And I was only 19! Yes, I started very early with the childbearing, and graying. I colored my hair off and on but stopped completely many years ago and I haven’t looked back. I’ve had complete strangers stop me and ask me what I use to color my hair! And a friend from church told me she was “inspired” by my gray to let her hair go natural. I blogged about my journey here… http://mykeeponkeepingon.blogspot.com/2015/04/oh-no-gray-hair.html

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    • I’ve left you a second comment at your lovely post about your journey with gray hair. I have always been one to love everybody else’s gray hair but mine, but that’s changing. I have also been indoctrinated, or thought myself, that gray hair ages women. Maybe it’s our perception. At one point, I thought gray aged me, now I think coloring ages me even more, I don’t like it, I have to do it more often, I’m learning to find ways to love the gray. In a pony tail, gray frames my face, and I’m playing with colorful make up to not feel so pale or strange, and if I have to be mostly on pony tails for a while, I’m fine with it. It’s a lesson in patience, and a good way to change my perceptions in life, and try to find the good things in this unexpected turn (I never thought I’d want to go gray again until much later in life).

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      • I think our skin shows our age way more than the graying of our hair…but that’s just my observation. How often I’ve seen women in their mid to late 70’s without a trace of gray hair and I wonder who they think they’re kidding. Their skin tells it all! Now, if I could get smooth, wrinkle free skin from a bottle (that I could afford!) I’d certainly give that a go!

        I need to remind myself…what’s the alternative to aging? Death! Just trying to keep it all in perspective.

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  2. You are right on that, Linda. I also believe that a well done color for the right woman is becoming, but (and this is different for each of us), color, as you say, can look artificial too when taken into consideration along with skin, and the whole person. I was coloring by inertia, and because I learned to dislike ‘my grays’, but in truth, I consider aging a privilege of not so many of us. It’s a gift to have one more birthday. I never mind telling my age, I’m grateful to our Lord for giving me 45 years on this earth.

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  3. I love your transparency here, Silvia. And I would love to know your hairdresser…I have so much trouble finding someone who can cut curly hair. I’ve just started finding a few white hairs now at 37 years old. I’ve been able to trim them but I know that many more are coming. I’ve never colored or highlighted my hair so we’ll see when the time comes what I’ll do 🙂 You look classy and timeless in all of your photos here!

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    • Kim, you are a kind and encouraging friend, I’ll share my hairdresser with you, she’s Anita, or Ana, at the Great Clips at Highland Knolls. I don’t want to change, I think I can work this out with her. If I explain to her it’s very important to me to let my hair grow its color and texture, she’ll respect that. Because she can really cut curly hair. (I’ve had some ladies with curly hair asking me, if I didn’t mind telling them who cut my hair at times when I had a fresh haircut). She’s one of those beautiful women who has lovely colored hair. She knows how to color it, because hers looks so natural. If you ever go there, tell her I recommended, she’d love to hear that.

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      • Thanks Silvia for letting me know about Anita! I’ll have to give her a try 🙂 I need a cut badly but am always afraid to try someone new. But your hair is always so lovely that I’m sure I’ll be pleased. Thank you!

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