love your gray hair.

The gray hair, it’s growing on me

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by Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and is currently traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

I have been coloring my hair for about 16 years. The first five or so were purely for enjoyment, to experiment and play and give my first-born, youth-group-leader-self a space to be a bit rebellious. My favorite was fire-engine red, age 20.

But when I saw the first signs of gray around 23, I obediently added to the grocery list a number on a bottle in a box labeled with a model. Rinse and repeat a couple times a year for 13 years in various shades and hues. Lately it’s been a simple mimicry of my original hair color.

I am now growing out my gray hair to celebrate my 37th year.

At first it was a bit out of laziness, a sigh to accompany a peek in the mirror and the splash of water on the face; a mental note on my to-do list: dye hair. A month passed, then another, and one day it became an actual thing; I was either negligent in my beauty routine, or I was doing something different. So, I decided to call it something different.

love your gray hair.

It surprised me at first, every time I’d glance in the mirror. Oh yeah, I’d remember, I’m going to see what my hair looks like without dye. (And yes, there’s a certain oddity to this rebellion when I’ve already been shampoo-free for four years and only use one product called Hair Butter. But that’s another story.) Yet it grew on me, this gray hair, and it stopped being such a thing.

It still resurfaces as a thing from time to time, when I let it. I notice it when I notice friends my age or older with a head full of brunette or blonde. And then I feel compelled to let it be known, so that people don’t think I just haven’t noticed my gray. “So, I’m growing out my gray hair, to see how it looks.”

love your gray hair.

Most people admire this tenacity, which has been gratifyingly surprising. They’ll say things like, “That’s cool—your gray hair actually looks awesome, as though you did it on purpose.” (I guess it does help that it’s spread out like highlights; it’s not graying in patches).

But even if it was, I think I’d grow it out anyway. There’s something freeing about being myself. About jettisoning one more beauty routine. About doing the opposite of what mainstream magazines tell me I should do.

love your gray hair.

love your gray hair.

I don’t mind getting older. And I don’t mind graying early. It’s helping me delight in a more uninhibited version of myself.

I’m giving myself permission to dye again later, if I want. But don’t be surprised if the next time you see me in person, I’m that thirty-something girl with a rapidly-graying head.

I really, really dig it. It feels good and right.

love your gray hair.

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Comments

  1. I love it! I haven’t colored my hair since the fun phase in high school, but have been faithfully plucking out a handful of random gray hairs for three or four years now. My hair is naturally very dark so they are quite obvious if I leave them. Well, a few months ago I decided I was tired of it and they are now quickly catching up in length to the rest of my hair. I agree it feels quite freeing to just let my hair be what it is and be content that I am growing older. But I was sad when I started looking around and could hardly find gray hair on any of the women I know…. some decades older than me. Glad to see your post and not feel so alone. :)

    • That’s awesome, Ashley. And yes, I know that feeling well, of wondering if I’m the only one with actual gray hair. I think more may dye than we know, but I do know I’m a bit of an anomaly. I’ve decided to own it, though. ;)

    • avatar
      Sharelyn says:

      I was coloring my hair in my 30’s because my mother’s side of the family have always turned gray early. By my early 40’s I stopped and let it go natural. Never did I expect the resulting reactions. I would get stopped in malls, airports, etc. and people commented on how much they loved my hair (the color). The ones that surprised me the most were the men!! At 67, I still get compliments on my almost completely white hair. I take good care of it, get cuts when I need them, etc. I have never regretted letting it go natural. Only my mom complained because she was coloring hers still. She said that if people knew her daughter was completely gray, they’ll know how old she was! I answered that I was/am not ashamed of getting older as long as I look healthy and full of life!

  2. Since 2009 I haven’t highlighted my hair at all, in 2011 I managed to cut off the rest of those blonde highlights and I haven’t looked back! I love that my haircuts are now affordable and I am completely surprised that my own hair color is a rich dark blonde or light brown. I look in the mirror and I love my hair color. I love that my eyebrows no longer look super dark and I feel that my hair color is a great complement to my skin tone. So, while I am not grey, I would happily embrace it. I want to be that old lady with long gray/white hair in a braid, and wrinkles for that matter! I am seeing lots of ladies allowing themselves to go gray and I think its beautiful.

  3. You look great! I turn 57 next week and actually have no idea of how gray I really am!

  4. Oh, Tsh. One week ago I had my hair professionally dyed with permanent color for the first time for the purpose of covering my 38 year old grays.

    My sweet stylist brought out the big guns and apparently my grays are particularly stubborn and didn’t take the color as well as she’d hoped. It was fun to try something new, but I think I’m okay letting it go.

    My mother has never dyed her gray. The transition to full gray was a bit rough, but she got through it and for many years she has rocked her gray hair with sassy haircuts and a great attitude. I’m liking her approach more and more.

  5. YAY YOU!

    I started going grey when I was 25; about the time I started teaching (coincidence?) I dyed it more for the fun than the coverage but haven’t coloured it in over six years. There’s grey but it’s not immediately noticeable. When I tease my students I point to it and tell them it’s their fault.

    I am hoping for the silver fox look one day! There are some women who are even more stunning as they age. I wish more women would embrace the grey. Once upon a time we honoured age, and we looked upon things like wrinkles and grey hair as being earned. This makes a lot of sense to me: why worship youth? I was an idiot in my youth lol

  6. Good for you! I have red/strawberry blond hair and have never dyed it because I love my hair color (and it’s really hard to dye your hair when it’s already red). Supposedly red hair never really goes gray but just kind of blond and then straight to white. I’ll take it however it comes, I suppose.

    • Ooh, that sounds fantastic, Steph.

    • avatar
      Denise Ellen Pedroza says:

      My Dad is red head, now that he’s 60, he doesn’t have salt and pepper hair, he has cinnamon and sugar hair. :-)

    • I too am a red head and have never died it. I have a patch where my bangs would be that is already coming in white, and has been all through out my 30s. At first I thought it was only me going white/grayy to find out friends had been coloring to hide for years. Knowing this has encouraged me to let it go and I still haven’t died my hair. And no one has ever said anything about my shock of white. Apparently it just blends in. Love your stance to keep life more simple and real.

  7. Thank you for this awesome post. I will be turning 37 next month and my hair has been going gray since my 20’s. I can’t even remember when was the last time I colored it. My hairstylist always mentions it and I have had 2 people ask me if my kids are my grandkids. That makes me sad and I consider coloring it, but have yet to do so. I don’t mind it myself. I feel like that’s the way God intends me to look.

    • If they’re your grandkids? Gracious, you’re the same age as me! If you don’t mind it, I say rock it. ;)

  8. I get this! I love your gray hair. I did the color thing for a while and ended up looking like this while trying to grow it out:
    http://itwasbroughtonbylove.blogspot.com/2013/04/silver-or-gray.html

    I truly love my gray hair and embrace it wholeheartedly. And when someone compliments me on it I just smile and say “Thank you!” Yours is going to be beautiful when it’s all grown out. Just beautiful.

  9. Love those silver highlights :-) I grew my hair out to 60-70 % white and blonde at 39. I still have tough moments (family pictures, for example), but I love not coloring more than I don’t like silver blonde. You’ll get loads of compliments, especially from men, and probably have to work to find a hairdresser that is o.k. with it. For me, the fact that my husband and sons love it was a biggie. Good luck!

  10. I love it! I used to pluck mine out when I saw them, but for the last year or so, I’ve been letting them go. And I haven’t dyed my hair in maybe two years now? Yes, freeing!! (although I’m with you–reserving the right to change my mind)

  11. I’m 37 this year as well. I absolutely look forward to having full grey/white one day but for me, the grey just doesn’t match me right now. The awesome thing about hair is that we can change it to much who we are or who want to be. I think that’s pretty fun.

  12. Sigh. I just started coloring mine. I always said I wouldn’t – I wanted to stay au naturel and proud of it – but I have SO MUCH of it now. And my natural hair color is so dark that it stands out rather blindingly. I think it aged me by about 10 years. I decided I wanted to start coloring it and I have mixed feelings about doing it, but overall I am happy about it being gone for now. Some day I want to be an old lady with long gray/white hair. But I’m not ready yet. :)

    • Hey, I think if you like it, then rock it, friend! I get the not being ready yet – I felt that way back in my 20s and well, most of my life until now. :) (And yeah, it might help that I’m a lighter brown than you.)

  13. I envy you as I wish I didn’t have to color my hair. I have A LOT, I mean, A LOT of gray as I started graying early. It runs on my dad side of the family and am not fond of it, but there are worse things I could have inherited. I will be 50 next month, and still can’t bring myself to letting it go. Maybe in 10 years or have grandkids. Kudos to you, it looks great!

    • Thanks, Cheryl! And I’m sure you look awesome, no matter what. Also remember that, technically-speaking, you don’t “have” to color your hair. That’s what I told myself for years. ;)

  14. avatar
    Melanie says:

    It looks great!! I did the same about a year ago and can’t imagine going back to coloring. I’m also 37 :)

  15. Rock the gray hair!! I guess I should consider myself lucky, since I didn’t start seeing these renegades until last year at age 38. I plucked at first, but they started to multiply. Now, they are here to stay. A friend said they are a badge of honor.

  16. Totally love this attitude!

    It’s the one I hope to continue to embrace myself. My gray isn’t hugely noticeable yet, but I find it rather cool. I’m really into this growing older thing (apart from the exercise injuries/aches and pains that seem harder to shake now). I’ve always thought a full head of gray hair is lovely, graceful, bold, and so very feminine.

    I also love that you’ve given yourself permission to do otherwise in the future if you choose to.

    By the way, I’ve been meaning to tell you, with your newish hairstyle and those glasses, you remind me of my mom when she was your age, which is a lovely thing.

    • Aw, that’s cool, Caroline! And yes, I’ve been “into” the growing older thing, too, fascinated by how our culture is so obsessed with youth. It actually feels kinda rebellious of me, which I dig. ;)

  17. Although I highlight my hair and it likely covers up my grays, it’s always felt a little funny about it. On a gut level, it seems unwise to get myself into this trap where I have to keep on highlighting hair. Why start something that you have to just keep doing forever? I don’t really have any intention of becoming a grandmother who doesn’t have gray hair. But right now, it feels like such a treat to have a nice hair cut and color. I’m in it for the relaxation as much as I am the vanity!

  18. I turned 37 this summer. And I’m looking for the grey hairs. I WANT them! Hubby is getting them, and I’m jealous.

  19. I know it would be so incredibly evolved of me to say how great it is that you are letting your hair go grey and how I am similarly au natural, but nope, nada, can’t do it. My mom always colored her hair until, oh, about 10 years ago I guess and she went grey. (She was in her 60s at the time.) I hated it. It aged her so much in both appearance and ultimately attitude. She kept it grey for several years then at about 70 decided to color it again. Her youthful look and attitude returned! (Thankfully so – she has been dealing with a serious health issue and she’s needed that you-can’t-beat-me attitude.)

    So I color my hair and plan to continue. Our finances are such that I can’t do it as often as I “should” so I have in between grey-ish stages. But I plan to be what I want to be as me for as long as I want. I won’t let peer pressure (and I have a lot) convince me that I should skip the hair color if that’s what all the cool girls are doing. I want to be me and I have dark brown hair with red undertones!

    • That’s cool, Dee! Sounds like you have the right attitude, which is what this post is really about, after all. :)

  20. avatar
    Christine says:

    Good for you, Tsh! I am 42 and began growing my grays out about six months ago. The main reasons were because I felt like the gray was appearing sooner and sooner after each color application, and I was tired of being a slave to the process.
    I love the way it looks! But the interesting and unexpected part is the number of comments and questions I have received regarding it. Friends and strangers have asked what I am doing, why, whether I have changed my color palette (I haven’t), etc. A lot of women say I am an inspiration for them to try it themselves. I had no idea my decision would invoke so much attention:)

    • Yes! It’s funny how this is such a big deal, isn’t it? I’m really starting to believe that most women dye their hair if they feel it’s “prematurely” aging—which begs the question of whether it’s premature at all, if more than we know have gray. Hmm.

  21. Ha! This is too funny. Just this morning I was looking at my gray hair and wondering if I should let it go or start to color my hair. I decided to see how it looks in the next year or so and see how gray it really gets. Then I opened my email and saw your post. I think you look great, btw.

  22. Get it! I love this so much, for so many reasons. I think women get such a raw deal, because we’re told to look older up until our mid to late twenties (to be “sexy”), and then suddenly we pass a line and now it’s all “younger younger! age is gross, you crone!”
    I have friends who are 30 and already contemplating Botox because when they frown, they get wrinkles. It just makes me so sad. Men get to be silver foxes with no questions asked (and I’m a huge fan of my husband’s salt and pepper temples). Why don’t we give ourselves the same freedom? If you want to dye your hair for fun, awesome! Do it! But if it’s for some sort of shame… that’s just not okay.
    As a child, I always loved to see laugh lines around people’s eyes. Now, I love that I’m starting to earn my own.

    • Yes! I totally think it’s a gender thing. I love gray hair on men, so I don’t get why it has to be associated with “croniness” with women. Such a dichotomy.

      (Also, I laughed out loud at “age is gross!”) :)

  23. I love it Tsh.

    The cut, the color – basically your whole head is amazing. And I love this post! 37 has been a surprising year for me as well when it comes to wanting to embrace myself as myself, if that makes sense.

    • Thanks, friend. I like your head, too. (That sounds weird.) And yes to the 37—it’s been quite a milestone year for me, too. Didn’t see that coming…

  24. avatar
    Rod Henegar says:

    Yikes, daughter, you have gray hair? I suddenly feel just a tad older after reading this. I didn’t mind my hair turning gray but I very much minded when it decided to turn loose. Sorry, I usually just stalk your site but today I had to chime in.

    • This is funny, Dad – I really have had gray hair since my mid-twenties. Apparently I hide it well. And yeah, I can understand the gray vs. going away thing. That’d feel weird to me, too.

      And don’t ever feel the need to apologize for lurking (reading, not commenting)… most readers do, and that’s fine with me.

  25. If I could grow gray like you, I would let it go too. I think it’s amazing, but my gray looks like a tidal wave hit it. I’m convincing myself as I turn 41 that I’ll be done hiding the gray and come out a new gray-haired, vivacious new woman at 45! Sounds good…for now.

  26. Not this chick – I can’t bear the gray!!! It makes me *feel* older, so I color it away every couple of months. That’s just me, though. I understand more than 70% of US women color their hair, so gray hair is so much more unique an individual! Anyone over 40 without gray can be assumed to be coloring, but they’ll have no judgement from me!

    • Totally get that, Missy! It made me feel aged, too, for a long time. But now I almost want to look older.

      And yes, I assume most women dye their hair past a certain age, which is cool if they’re doing it because they want to! I totally get that artistic side, and reserve the right to do it again for fun, if I want. ;)

  27. I love it! I’ve always thought that gray hair is beautiful, and often looks more natural – and naturally skin-brightening – than dyed hair. People pay good money to get highlights, and you get yours for free. :)

  28. Ditto to everything you said! I’m 42, but started going gray way back in college. At first, I was just rebelling against the upkeep and price of coloring, but now it just feels counter-cultural! Plus, my husband loves it. :) I needed to read this today, though, because I’ve started to look at myself in photos and wonder if it is looking frumpy. But, I have new resolve — it’s who I am and I want to handle it with grace so that others might have the courage to do the same!

  29. Yah for you! I started getting gray hairs in my teens, dyed it for a bit in my 20s and then let it go. Tease my husband that I’ve saved him hundred (thousands if done professionally)! Now 61 and loving the mostly white! Blessings!

  30. I think your gray looks great. I turned 40 this year and I’m noticing more gray streaks in my hair. As a woman of color I decided to not only not color my hair but I stopped putting relaxers or perms in my hair a couple of years ago. It was so damaging to my hair. I love the look of being natural and letting my hair do what it was meant to do. It’s thick and beautiful like it was when I was a little girl. I enjoy the freedom and manageability of it.

  31. Me too! Also at 37, oddly enough. http://rollingstaircase.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/why-i-went-gray/ Aren’t people’s reactions funny?

  32. I’m writing a series on my blog about letting my gray hair grow in! It’s been a fascinating journey! It’s difficult for some women to discuss, and it’s been an eye-opener to see that, overall, men don’t care whether we dye of not – we women seem to be in competition with each other. I’m trying to get us to re-think the whole thing. Loved seeing this!
    Check out my posts (ongoing) about this, if you’d like:

    http://adventuresintheballpark.blogspot.com/2014/06/fifteen-shades-of-gray-part-1-hair-dye.html

  33. I have been looking forward to going grey since reading Tommy DePola’s “Nanna Upstairs and Nanna Downstairs” as a liitle girl. I plan to fully embraces it when the time comes!

  34. Great article! Definitely fits the theme of your site, simple. At 34 and my own hair graying, I’m not changing a thing. It helps me be honest with who I really am. Loved reading all the encouraging comments here:)

  35. I LOVE that you wrote this! I am 43 and have been dying my hair for probably 20 years. I can’t tell you how many times I have looked into the mirror and thought “Ack! I need to dye my hair!” (especially in the fluorescent lights of work, or Target, or some other very public place!) Then, I have another thought: What if I DIDN’T? I have talked to my mother about this. She was completely white by 60, but dyed her hair until the week after my wedding, 8 years ago (she is 70 now). “You’ll be disappointed if you don’t dye your hair. It will make you look older. People will call you ma’am and ask if they can help you carry your groceries to your car.” My hairdresser? “I don’t think you’d like it. You’re too young to be gray!” I haven’t found a single person (except my husband: Do it!) who thinks it is a “good idea” for me to stop dying my hair. Every now and then I think (and sometimes say out loud to aforementioned individuals): But this is ME! This is who I AM! “Don’t do it” is all I hear. You have inspired me. I’m going to see where this new inspiration goes and I say WOOOOO HOOOOO! FREEDOM!!!! to you!!

    • avatar
      Hannah Joy says:

      The book “Going Grey” by Ann Kreamer has some fabulous insight and encouragement about, well, going grey. I loved it!
      It’s also helpful to look in your community for people who ROCK their grey hair.

  36. Ever since my early twenties I loved the magical look of gray hair on others. It’s naturally flattering to the face as we grow older do to the lightening effect. I had recently added a few highlights, yet will be growing my hair back to it’s natural shade. At this time I only have a small amount of gray, yet look forward to seeing much more. A side benefit is the simplicity of natural hair.

  37. I’m the opposite. Finally embracing that I want to add color. My hair is just looking more drab as I get older (people used to ask me if my hair color was natural because I had great natural highlights…but no more). I’ve been resisting color, thinking that it was an unnecessary indulgence, but I finally bit the bullet and had my gal put in highlights. And I love it. I feel like myself again. I think it’s one of those “self care” things – deciding that I’m “worth” the effort and it’s okay to do something because I want to. (Same as you wanting to grow out your grey… just the opposite choice.)

    • That’s sort of how I feel! I never colored my hair – ever. I loved how it naturally looked and didn’t need anything else. But the greys changed all that. I finally bit the bullet.

  38. Just last week I actually Googled “Embracing your Gray”. I’ve been graying (actually it’s silver/white), since my early thirties. At first I could pluck and pull the few hairs, others were hidden underneath. In the last 5 years I started coloring it, although I hated it. I hate the feeling of hair color, the process, the mess and my scalp reacted to it every time, so I only colored every 6-8 months. I haven’t colored since January after one of my sweet third grade students asked how old I was turning on my birthday. 41 I told her…She said, “Wow, I thought you were a lot younger, but I see you have gray hair, so 41 makes more sense!” Needless to say, I promptly colored my hair that weekend. Being summer, coloring seems like a waste of time, money and energy because we swim all summer and the chlorine and sun lighten it anyway. My hair is long and wavy, so the grays look like lovely streaks. My kids and husband love it, and I don’t mind it either. We go back to school in 4 weeks and I’m going to continue to not color and embrace my gray and we’ll just wait for the comments from the 3rd graders! :)

    PS-the only thing I don’t like about the gray is the dryness and texture…gonna have to try some of that Hair Butter!

  39. Ok, I’m officially calling it a revolution, now that you’re doing it. I wrote about my journey back in March. Welcome to the silver sisterhood.
    http://acupofrosieleigh.blogspot.com/2014/03/why-i-dont-dye-my-gray-hair.html

  40. avatar
    Lee Ann says:

    One day in my college years, the days of experimenting with odd shades, my dad looked at me and said, ” I don’t understand why you and your sister dye your hair. You both have such beautiful brown hair to begin with”. This is as close to complementing my beauty as my dad will ever come, and I have never dyed my hair since, although sometimes the grey showing up now tempts me. In truth I think it is difficult to maintain keeping it dyed.

  41. I think this is a great simple choice for your lifestyle, Tsh. It would be SO much easier just to let nature take its course.

    I wish our culture celebrate gray more readily; we need more people to just do it and live boldly, confidently and in the public eye with beautifully gray hair. That would help slowly shift the way people think about it.

    I grew out my gray for quite a while and after a long stretch with no coloring and significant growth, I ended up caving in. But…instead of using salon or box color, I researched henna and indigo for hair color. I chose to use a combination henna and indigo for a brown color. Because people who use henna and indigo are often the same kinds of people who go no-poo and low-poo (I hate typing that poo word in conjunction with my hair, even though it’s about shampoo; still I’m a mom, and poo in hair has in the past been within the realm of possibility), I think you might be just the kind of person who would be open to experimenting.

    So if you cave, you can go chemical free and have some fun experimenting with plant-based coloring. I was going gray mostly to eliminate dumping all those chemicals on my head, so if your goal is gray, you won’t want to mess with the henna because it is pretty time consuming and can be messy if you don’t take precautions. But I like the results and wanted to toss that out to you as something you could try later, if you wanted. (If you do, make sure you get pure henna and pure indigo, and not a mix that might have metals in them.)

    • Yes! I’ve thought about doing the henna thing at some point. Thanks for your $.02, Ann. And thanks for your kind words.

  42. I’m wondering about the grey creeping in at the edges too. I’m 40 now but my kids are still little-ish, so I do sometimes compare myself to other, younger moms. Silly huh? I love the reddish color I’ve been getting dyed with, since it’s a sassier version of my natural ashy light brown.
    I asked my DH the other day how he would feel if I went grey and he said he would let me know! It’s such a habit to want to pluck those wiry silver strands from the edge of my hairline and I’m trying to use self control until I make a decision! Hmmm.

  43. I just turned 56 this year and have been coloring my hair for the past 20 years. I started dying for fun, but it’s no longer fun at all! I’m beginning to love my gray hair, I stopped dying about 6 months ago. Time to embrace who I really am!!

  44. I have no idea when I’m going to go grey, but plan to embrace it. I’ve never been one to dye my hair, since I go with pretty much the most low maintenance beauty routine imaginable.

    I suppose I’m also inspired by my mom who never hid her gray. It’s growing into a nice silver. Her mom’s hair went completely white and looks great too. Not sure about my dad’s side as his mom always dyed her hair, which is too bad because I’m much closer to her in color.

  45. Good for you! I am 38 and while I don’t have grey yet, I have vowed to embrace it when I do. After all, there is so much about aging that I have no control over, why even try, right? I think if more of us shunned societies beauty standards maybe the world would be a better place for the young girls in our society. You should be proud of your grey!

  46. I started coloring my hair at 38 and stopped at 39. I hated it. I have now embraced the awesome gray, that accompanies the awesome self-acceptance that finally crept up on me around age 40. Rock that gray, girl! It truly is so freeing. And beautiful.

    • avatar
      Karen Wells says:

      I’m with you, Christine! I am amused by the silver and gold appearance my hair has now as the crown of my head is fairly silver, but when I flip my ends up, they are definitely a warmer, brown-gold tone!

  47. I’m impressed. :) I tend to do the negligent thing. :) I’ve actually only ever had highlights but I’m blond so it hides things well.

  48. I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum….I never dyed my hair, and now I’m accepting it as part of my routine. I actually love it! When the rest of me feels tired (often), my hair isn’t. After my kids are grown and I’m not so tired, I’ll let my hair take its rest then. ;)

  49. I have been going gray forever, never bothered to cover it up because it was so well dispersed, and now it’s finally a force to be reckoned with. It’s not the color I object to, but the dramatic change in texture. My gray hairs are very witch-like, and now that I have enough, I’m approaching full-on Witch. Honestly, they are like wire. It stinks, because I like the color! I finally got my hair colored for the first time in 20 years recently, just to smooth the texture a bit. Yours looks great! I was excited about being gray. Maybe I could do a relaxing treatment?

  50. You’re very brave. I don’t have any gray hairs yet, but I will no doubt hit the dye bottle when that time comes. And I’m not a fan of dying my hair..

  51. I’m 31 and about as grey as you. I go back and forth as to whether I want to dye it or let it be. Right now I’m letting it be and, for the most part, I like it. I need to stop worrying so much about what everyone else might be thinking. Also, I’ve taken to just washing my hair with Dr. Bronner’s which can strip my hair dye pretty quick. And I do love my simple and chemical free hair routine!

  52. My dad says you may “have to get older” but you can be immature all your life. ;) I think the gray is a fantastic sparkle in your hair and it looks great. Besides, you are seriously cool enough to pull it off.

  53. avatar
    Library Momma says:

    What makes you think you are prematurely graying?! There are so many people coloring that it can be hard to tell, but I think at 38 your actually average or have less gray than most that age. Do what feels right!

  54. avatar
    Linda Sand says:

    I colored my hair for so many years my roots were a different color than my hair which looked pretty bad. So I had mine highlighted gray to help the new growth blend in. The stylist thought I was nuts but I felt better during the growing out process than I would have otherwise.

  55. avatar
    Erin B. says:

    I’m 32 and am proud of my gray hair. I came to the realization that there are enough people in this world who will never live to see their head full of gray hair or even their first gray hair. Growing old is a privileged denied to many, so I make the conscious choice to embrace my age and all that goes with it! :)

  56. I like the gray too. I have exactly 3 gray hairs when I don’t dye it. Not exactly highlights or old lady sparkle yet but I think gray hair is beautiful. My grandmother had jet black hair with just the tiniest amount of gray around her face all the way into her 60’s but I’ve always loved the silver woven all the way through. It totally looks like highlights. Also, you’ve mastered the no poo look. ;)

  57. What a great post! I’m right there with you. My first pregnancy at age 35 brought out my first gray hairs. I was appalled! Then my second pregnancy came and more came out. By then, I was trying to go back to my natural color and just kinda decided this was my natural color. I don’t have many, they peek out here and there and oh how people love pointing it out. But it is an exercise in letting go.

    I think it looks wonderful on you!

  58. You go, girl! I’m 42. Started going dye-free a few months ago. My first greys appeared in high school; coloring began in my mid-twenties. Embracing the grey came about three years after embracing the natural curl. I’m quite happy with my decision to let my hair go natural in curl and color.

    Interestingly, the most positive feedback I’ve had is from friends who are a generation older than me. They congratulate me on the decision and say they wished they’d done it at my age because they feel stuck now. I appreciate their perspective.

  59. YOU GO GIRLFRIEND! I admire you boldness. I thought I would finally throw in the towel as 50 but Cayley was adamantly against me going grey/silver. However I am getting tired of the upkeep. Going grey would simplify my life. Something to consider.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • avatar
      Karen Wells says:

      Go for it, Cherie! It does make life much simpler, especially for fuss-free personalities like myself. See my post below for a funny consequence of being too gray early!

    • I think you’d look hot with silver hair, Cherie! ;)

  60. Love this post! I also love my gray! I’ll be 40 in a few months, but have always looked much younger, thanks to my red hair, freckles and (lack of) height (4′ 9.5″)…I was so happy to start going gray at 30, soon after I had my first child (coincidence?). At 29, people were still thinking I was 14 – not fun!

    When all’s said and done, however, to dye or not to dye is not a moral issue (in my humble opinion). Whatever it is that makes you feel confident, beautiful and able to fully embrace the wonder that is you – do that :)

  61. I adore this! I recently stopped dyeing my hair and noticed many more grays popping up. At first I wasn’t thrilled but I realized that I actually like them. I’m 34 and feel younger than I am so I think that was my original hang up. I am embracing this new season of life with graying hair as an accomplishment…and if I change my mind, I can always go back to dyeing it. Thanks for sharing this-it could not have come at a better time!! Thanks for leading the natural gray revolution!!
    -mandy

  62. Please tell me more about going shampoo-free and the Hair Butter you use.

  63. I just turned 65. Tough birthday for me. I have been coloring my hair since I was 15, back in the days of Summer Blonde and Sun In. So, for 50 years I have been blonde. It was always light anyway, but an unflattering shade. I now have white at the roots and HATE IT. I would rather get a part time job just to do my hair. I am jealous of your bravery. Maybe someday.
    Not ready yet.

  64. avatar
    Susan Eaton says:

    I am 44 and still never highlighted or dyed my hair and I don’t think I will. My Mom stopped about 9 yrs ago and it was so freeing for her (and saved money). I’m the one in the middle of my FB profile right now. I got a few perms in my late teens and I remember when after I had my last perm around age 18, my hair started to get dark again because the chemicals would make it light or hints of red in my dark brown hair. I didn’t even need perms because I had/have wavy hair. Whenever I got it cut, the hairdresser would say I have virgin, healthy hair because I rarely used products in my hair like gel or hairspray or even use the dryer on it too much. I have gray/white underneath and so when I wear my hair down you don’t see it much but even if you did, I am OK with it.

  65. avatar
    Jessika says:

    Thanks for this. I thought I was the only 37 year old with gray hair! I’ve been coloring it forever and I’m not quite ready to stop just yet, but it feels empowering to hear someone as brave and you. I think it ages me so bad when they start coming out, maybe in a few years I will let go of the color. It’s such a pain in the butt having to color it every month!

  66. Given your love for fuss free things, I’m actually a bit surprised that you’ve colored your hair for so long! Your “new” color suits you very well!

    I stopped coloring my hair in my late 20’s. My grey is coming in too, but it is a completely different texture than what my not grey hair is. They are curly cue curly, which makes hiding them practically impossible anyway.

  67. I really want to do this. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I’ve never dyed my hair and I really don’t want to start now. (I’d hate the up keep. I’m a pretty low maintenance girl). But I also hate this idea that women are supposed to always be young. While I am a bit afraid of growing old, I also feel that we need to set an example to our kids that growing older doesn’t mean giving up an excitement and zest for life. That being said, I don’t actually have any gray yet, so we’ll see how I feel when the time comes.

  68. avatar
    Karen Wells says:

    You go, girl! When I had my fourth child at nearly 40, I decided I couldn’t have this beautiful, new baby and a substantial amount of gray hair! For some reason it didn’t dawn on me that I was a graying, older, very pregnant woman to begin with! So I dyed my hair. I tried to come close to my natural color, but I was never satisfied. Finally, after trying to keep up with my quickly emerging roots for about a year, I gave up and let it go gray. I really do prefer a low maintenance lifestyle anyway.

    Now, at 52, I am definitely more silver than just gray, especially in the front. My decision to let my hair gray as it will even inspired a friend that it was “okay” to go natural! What pressure she felt from society to color!!

    My choice to remain natural is not without awkward moments, though. My fourth
    child is now only 13. Last October (he was only 12 then!) during his last football game, I walked the sidelines taking pictures. One of his teammates remarked to my son that it was cool that his grandma came to take pictures of his game! My son chuckled, “Dude, that’s my MOM!” Yeah, it was funny. And I wasn’t offended. It was the innocence of a child trying to be genuine!

  69. Love this, Tsh. I started turning gray at *ahem* 21. Now, at 29, I am noticeably gray. I do, at times, color it, but my husband actually really likes the gray. So, I’m getting used to it. :)

  70. Love it! I wrote a post a while back about the conversations in my head going back and forth about whether or not to dye my gray. My husband truly loves my silver streaks. I only really mind the ones that grow in all wiry and wonky, sticking out at bizarre angles. :) I did use henna a couple of months ago, which I really loved (not for the covering gray, but because it made my hair SUPER shiny and not as baby fine). I’m still too lazy to do it regularly, though.
    http://www.motherhoodandmore.com/2013/11/to-dye-or-not-to-dye-that-is-question.html

  71. I’m 56 — I tried “going gray” about five years ago and felt old, frumpy and I was clearly the only – even in my age group – with gray hair! I’m now two months into the process — no one can really tell yet, or else they think I’m simply lazy. We’ll see how it goes this time. I just want to be who I am!

  72. I love it! I’ve grown mine out in the last two years and love it, though I occasionally find myself surprised by it. At 36 it feels good to just be me, naturally.

  73. I stopped coloring my hair several years ago and am more gray than not at the moment. And I am embracing it. :) I keep it cut in a young, fun style and receive comments regularly about how wonderful it looks and how folks are happy to see someone appreciate who they are in all of their glory. LOL

  74. If it was just for me I would let myself go gray too. I’ve tried it a couple times since I started to go gray in my early 40’s. But I have a teen daughter and she asked me to colour it back to my original hair colour. She said I was looking too much like a grandma already. So I coloured it back to my original colour and have received many, many compliments on it – even my husband loved it and he’s an ‘all natural’ kind of guy.

  75. Have fun with it Tsh! I’m 57 and never have dyed, love my silver and auburn streaks (which started in my 20s!) When I returned to college at 54 a young girl in my art class nicknamed me “Saltandpepper”, and it always reminded me of my mother’s look and feel when she quit dying in her 60’s! I thought she looked lovely and natural.

  76. You go girl! I have no idea what my natural hair color is anymore, isn’t that sad? I think its empowering to just embrace your roots, literally! Not sure I’m that brave yet!

  77. I haven’t colored my hair in four years. I am only 31 and I am blonde, so my gray isn’t that noticeable. But I quit when I was trying to get pregnant. And then I realized U hated doing it.

  78. Isn’t it amazing that the simple decision to stop dyeing your hair can illicit such a range of responses?!?
    It’s great that we live where we can dye, cut, shave , tattoo, wear whatever makes us feel like our authentic self and if we change our mind the next day – that’s ok as well.

  79. Love that you decided to make this a conscious decision. I mean, of course you did. :) But I love it anyway. I’ve never dyed my hair. Ever. But as I have started seeing silver hairs (SILVER. They are not gray. They are silver and fancy.) creep up over the past couple of years, I’ve thought that I’ll definitely start dying it soon. I haven’t yet. But I suspect I will. Then again, that’s an awful lot of work for someone who can’t seem to find the energy to dry her hair more than once a month. So. Perhaps I’ll make the same decision you have!

  80. I’m about to turn 35 and am developing a nice grey streak coming out on the right side of my forehead and honestly, I love it. I absolutely love it. And my husband thinks it’s all kinds of sexy (which helps, of course)!

  81. What confidence! I want that!

    I’ve been dying my brown hair for 10-15 years, as I got my first gray at 24. Two weeks ago, I decided to try blonde streaks again (ombre!), just to try something new (and, I admit, trendy.) Although I’m proud that I left my gray showing up on top, I feel a little ridiculous. Am I too old for this? It’s just not me. So thank you for the inspiration to go au natural!

  82. I’ve been going gray since my 20s too- there seems to be so many of us! And stopped dying it at all about 7 years ago. Which actually coincided with starting a family- maybe it was just laziness! Ha! But I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the variety of colors my hair has turned- I have all this blond/gray/dark brown that there’s no way I could replicate with a bottle and that makes me kind of excited. My kids say I have rainbow colored hair and when I think about coloring it for fun I know I would lose that. Good for you for growing it out!

    On my 36th birthday a few weeks ago I was listening to the indigo girls and that line “with every lesson learned a line upon your beautiful face” played and yeah- this is a wonderful age to embrace.

  83. avatar
    Juanita says:

    I love your post! I think most women who are old enough to have gray hair has thought about letting it grow out, but wouldn’t for fear of looking older. I had been dying my dark brown hair for years. 5 years ago I decided to let it grow out. My hairdresser helped me with the transition. She gave me blond highlights to blend in with the gray until I was comfortable enough to be all natural gray. I’ll be honest and say that I had second thoughts about keeping it gray when others commented in a negative way. I didn’t give in. It has been such a freedom not having to fret over the gray hairs that appeared soon after having my hair dyed, and now I get compliments!!

  84. I haven’t colored my brown hair since September or October. I used to color myself, every 5 or so weeks, and still have the “skunk line” after two weeks. The first few months of growing it out I would have liked to skip over, but after this last hair trim just this last week I am soooo happy with my decision, and I think by November the last of the brown will be off. Happy 40th Birthday to me! I love my salt and pepper, I love saving the time and money, and I joke with my friends and colleagues that I am starting a trend. So, in seeing your post, and reading some of the comments, I see I am not the only one – yeah! :) BTW, my husband who is 5 years older than I only has about 5 gray hairs on his whole head!

  85. I like the idea of going gray. I’m letting my hair do what it wants right now but I’m not sprouting as many grays as I thought I would. I will eventually though as my Grandma and Mom both went gray. I’m looking forward to it. I have pitch black hair – I think grays sprinkled in will be purdy.

    Nell

  86. Bravo!! I am almost a year without dying my hair too. Mixed bag of responses. My heroine is Jamie Lee Curtis. I figure if men can go gray, why can’t us ladies? We had moved into a new house and I didn’t want to mess up the shower with dye-you know it goes everywhere, no matter how careful you are. My answer to the negative comments: this is the color God gave me, if you don’t like it, take it up with Him.

  87. avatar
    kristin says:

    I’ve been torturing myself with the “be natural” vs. “im too damn young to be gray.” argument for a couple of years now. I am very simple in every part of my routine but haven’t quite come to terms with all this gray! I am almost 36 and don’t feel the way the gray seems to make me look. Hmm. Anyway, I think this post was great and very brave and real. Thank you for sharing and being so open to the rest of us!
    Take care!
    Kristin

  88. I’ll be 41 this year and have only colored my hair once in my life about 15 years ago just for fun. They gray is scattered around and my hair is long-ish. I keep telling myself I’m starting a new trend, long, gray hair. I’ll keep you posted!

    PS, LOVEd your hair!!

  89. When I told you I liked you hair this weekend, I’m not sure that I even noticed the gray. I love the cut and your hair totally suited you. Love you, friend!

  90. avatar
    Susanna says:

    This is so great to read! I just gave up dyeing about 4 months ago and it’s hard sometimes! I’m 34 and have dark brown hair, so my greys stand up and shout their presence against the dark! But I always said I wanted to go grey naturally, but wasn’t doing it and had to ask myself why? I do feel too young to be going grey, but reading through this, I’m not. Turns out 30ish is totally normal! Take that magazines ;) What I want to say, is that as I’m embracing my grey ( 90%) of the time, it’s great to know I’m not alone in thinking this is too much money and work for something I don’t “need.” If I want a different color, cool! But I don’t have hide the grey. It’s not something to be ashamed of. LOVE your blog/site.

  91. Good for you. When I was about 40, I started getting streaks of gray, too. I let them go and was frequently asked who did the highlights in my hair. Now that I’m 70 something, my hair is completely silver and I still get compliments on my hair. I’m so grateful that I never had to be conscious of the gray roots that needed constant attention. :)

  92. I love it!
    I think part of having a more simple way of life includes being satisfied with all things in life~including our natural appearance.

  93. That’s great for you. I have to laugh because thanks to my lovely genetics I started going gray at 14. So all this talk of mid 20s makes me a little jealous, although I started going grayer faster early to mid 20s. I’m 32, I’m grayer than you are but I quit dying mostly because of budget. It was only this last year I grew it all the way out. I get compliments and offers to dye my hair. I’ll probably just live without!

  94. love this! i actually met you live and in person (guess that would be strange to have one without the other) during WDS’ pro-blogger academy. you talk was insightful and encouraging and truth be told…i didn’t even notice your hair or the gray :)

    i’m 27 and have had ‘highlights of gray’ since 20 that have stayed out and about since they pushed their way through. i refer to them as tinsel because who doesn’t love christmas?! i admire how freeing this makes you feel, it’s one less thing to check off your ‘to-do’ list and that you chose to write about it because it’s obviously having an impact. so…thank you!

  95. I have an aunt who went completely and rather suddenly gray in her mid-twenties. She’s never dyed it that I know of, and I have always thought of her as one of the most beautiful and glamorous people I know. It’s all in the attitude! I can’t imagine my aunt with anything except gray hair, and she wears it extremely well. She’s about 60 now, and still incredibly gorgeous, with lovely silvery-white hair (and she didn’t chop it all off, either!).

  96. I love it, Tsh!! Last October I was so sick I couldn’t make it to my monthly hair-color appointment. I started coloring my hair in 1987 (I was 22). I sat in front of the mirror staring and wondering what my gray hair would look like. I had planned on letting it grow out when I turned 50. It was a light-bulb moment when I decided why am I waiting to live more simply? I want to find out now! I called and canceled my color appointment and scheduled a hair cut. I cut 5″ off my hair and I haven’t colored since. Now ten months later, I’m all silver gray except for some blonde tips. I absolutely love it! It is so freeing!

    I loved to hear your story! You go girl! I hear from so many people… “I couldn’t do it!” or “Mine wouldn’t look like that!” You are truly an inspiration!! Thank you for sharing your story and helping me learn to live as my authentic self!!

  97. I hear ya, Tsh! My hair started going very gray in my early 30s and I let it go natural for a while. Then I got sick of it (and sick of being called my kids’ grandma!) and started highlighting, and then using a permanent color when it went really gray. Finally a few years ago (in my late 50s) I could see that the roots were pretty white so I decided to grow it out. And while I was at it, I decided to grow it long for the first time since I was about 20! I’m a rebel at heart so the idea of NOT covering my gray and NOT keeping it short like “they” say older women should really appealed to me. I get lots of compliments. Also, my 90+ year old mother finally stopped coloring hers when she saw how good mine looked. Hers is even more beautiful than mine — snowy, shiny, white!

  98. Tsh, what a great message!

    This is my year to turn gray. I’m ok with it.

    I decided many years ago that coloring my hair was not something I wanted to do. I thought turning gray would be a natural extension of my “free to be” hippie attitude on aging. How very authentic, genuine, self actualized I planned to be.

    Until . . .

    My first gray hair appeared. I think my heart stopped. I know I cried. At 47 I wasn’t ready for gray hair. I’ll admit it took some time to embrace this new season of my life.

    The plan is to ROCK 50! With gray hair! Living a life in harmony, compassion, intention and love!

    Be Blessed.

  99. I think whatever hair color you choose is fine as long as your hair is healthy. I cannot begin to tell you how many women I know of grey or white or salt-n-pepper hair color but have nasty split ends, etc.

    Hair that is healthy is beautiful whatever color the person chooses. Hair that is damaged and full of split ends, especially if it is long, is just gross. IMHO

  100. I decided to stop coloring my hair when I turned 50…I am now going to soon be 55. Do I think about coloring…yes…..but I can’t stand those chemicals that go on my head. The comments I get are crazy…anywhere from….I love your color…to…..I could never do that. It is freeing…..and yes I look older with it….but at least when I end up in a nursing home…I will match the other whiteheads and not look crazy while it is growing out. Go Grey…it is very freeing.

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