Right now there’s a tag going around on social media for those of us in the gray hair community to answer questions about our transition to gray hair.
Now more than ever, gray hair is a choice. It’s just as valid as all the other colors. It doesn’t mean that someone is old, not relevant or has stopped caring about her appearance. Nothing could be further from the truth.
We gray hair pioneers are trying to change that outdated perception. That’s why I decided to participate in this tag. I hope that my answers to these ten questions may help you with your own transition to gray hair.
1. How old were you when you started going gray?
I was 16. I remember being at school, looking in the bathroom mirror and I saw one or two gleaming silver strands in my medium brown hair. I was shocked!
By my late 30s, my hair was at least fifty percent gray and the rest of the color was a faded reddish brown which did absolutely nothing for me. That’s when I started regularly dyeing it dark brown.
2. How old were you when you decided to transition?
Shortly after my 60th birthday. I had always wanted to go blonde and I thought, “What am I waiting for.” I was also going through a traumatic time recovering from a broken ankle and I was ready for a new me.
3. Did you go to your hairdresser to help with the transition or did you just go “cold turkey?” What did your hairdresser do to help if you went to one?
You really only have three choices when transitioning to gray hair. You can cut it all off, you can let it grow out, or you can bleach it.
I chose bleaching and went to the hairdresser to get all the dark color removed from my hair. That is the fastest and most expensive option.
4. What was the reaction of your friends and family?
I didn’t go directly to gray hair. It was blonde for a few months. The people who knew me only as a brunette didn’t seem to like it, but only a couple of people said anything to me. My sister-in-law said it made me look old. Other people (casual acquaintances and strangers) liked it a lot.
As my natural silver hair grew out, I started experimenting with temporary pastel colors. I didn’t get any further comments from my friends and family. However, I have gotten many compliments from strangers on my new look.
5. Favorite thing about being gray?
I just love the color silver! I like being able to add colorful accents to my hair. I had never really experimented with my hair color before and it’s really fun.
6. Least favorite thing about being gray?
There is one minor thing and that is having to tone out yellowness, although it’s fairly hassle free the way I do it.
The only other thing that bothers me is that there’s no word for people with silver hair. There’s blonde, brunette, redhead, but no term for those of us with gray hair.
7. Do you receive a lot of criticism for your gray hair? If so, how do you deal?
Fortunately, I get no criticism for my gray hair. Truly the only things I get are compliments on my ombre. And if somebody did have something negative to say, it wouldn’t mean anything to me because I no longer care about what people think. I love it and that’s all that matters.
8. What is your favorite compliment that you have received about your hair?
I really do get a lot of compliments on my hair that I never got when it was brunette. But a few months ago I was at a club waiting for the music to start.
Where I was sitting a light was shining down on me, making my hair look so silver white. At that particular time the ombre had faded away and I wasn’t wearing my hair extensions, so it was just my hair in all its glory. A man came up to me from across the room and said, “I just love your hair!”
9. What is your biggest piece of advice to anyone looking to start the process?
Just know that it’s going to be an emotional time. Thinking about things like, am I old, is this going to make me look old, will I be accepted, etc. And then having to adjust the colors of your wardrobe and makeup; everything has to change. There’s a lot to deal with.
I also think going to a hairdresser to help with the transition is the best idea. If I had it to do over again I probably would have done heavy foils instead of overall bleaching. It might have been less damaging and would have been more gradual and an easier adjustment.
If you really want to go gray, just do it. Don’t let anyone hold you back.
10. Who is your gray hair idol?
There are three ladies on YouTube that I’m drawn to.
Maryam Remias is the one who inspired me with her ombre hair. I loved the way it looked on her and she gave me the courage to try it for myself.
I also like Monique Parent. She does so many things with her hair, including trying hairpieces and temporary colors to change things up.
And I admire Victoria Marie who has the most striking silver hair and who’s making a documentary, Gray is the new blonde.
These inspirational, vibrant women are redefining what it means to be gray.
Where are you at in your gray hair journey? Please feel free to share your story below.