Life After Forty, Random Ramblings

Summoning the Courage to go Grey at 44.

It’s taken me a while to gather up the courage to share this post. My inner circle of family and friends know my secret, but I wasn’t quite ready to share this with the rest of the world. Recently, some of my friends have started asking me questions which is why I felt it was time to share my personal journey.

I started noticing my first grey hairs when I was in my teens. I started coloring my hair when other people began making negative comments about these strands of grey hair mixed with my naturally dark brown—nearly black—hair. I was only 17-years-old and I was ashamed of the natural color of my hair. I was ashamed that my hair was going grey prematurely.

Premature greying runs in my family. It’s genetic. Looking back, I wish I could have felt differently about my hair. I wish I could have seen the beauty in those white strands. But silver-haired women are generally looked at unfavorably in western culture. Women with silver hair are usually seen as “old” or “past their prime,” especially back then. Instead, the women in my family used their premature greying as an excuse to be ANY hair color—and I do mean ANY color—up to and including hair shades only found in a box of crayons!

I have been dying my hair for approximately 27 YEARS! Over the course of those years, I have been just about EVERY color that can be bought in box-form. From black to blond and EVERY shade of red. During the past decade, I’ve had to color my roots every 2-3 weeks, chasing that white line across the top of my head. Trying to cover up those roots. My hair grows out fast! THAT much hair color is NOT good for your hair. I learned to deep-condition my hair weekly, fearing my hair might break off and fall out if I didn’t.

Somewhere along this journey, I decided I’d FINALLY allow my hair to be its natural color—grey—when I turned 50.

I’m 44-years-old.

I’m tired of dying my hair. I’m tired of chasing the white root line—the line of demarcation—where I part my hair. It’s exhausting. I’m done!

About a year ago, I started researching HOW to go grey gracefully. Young twenty-something ladies in my town were spending a LOT of money to PURPOSELY color their hair grey while I was hiding my naturally silver tresses. (It’s a look.) It seemed silly for me to wait any longer. That’s when I found actress Monique Parent’s YouTube channel. She is elegant and funny and has shared her journey, both good and bad, and I am forever grateful for her teachings! (Click the link to check her out!)

Anyway, it’s been FIVE…almost six months since I stopped coloring my hair with permanent hair color. Three months before that, I stopped coloring my hair red and started using increasingly lighter hair color in brownish-blond shades. It’s made it easier to blend my grey roots with the rest of my hair. I was afraid to use bleach on my hair since I’ve been HEAVILY dying my hair with box-dye for sooo long and sooo often. I’d rather be cautious than melt my over-processed hair. I was told that my hair could probably handle the bleach. All those years of deep-conditioning treatments have kept my hair in decent shape. I was too afraid to try that. (Your results may vary.)

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Instead…I’ve been using a combination of Fanci-full in Plush Brown—around $5 at Walmart—and L’Oréal Paris Root Magic Cover Up in Dark Blond—around $10 at Walmart—to hide the line of demarcation as my hair grows out. Both products wash out completely whenever I wash my hair. Since I started this journey, I’ve stopped washing my hair quite as often. Usually, I can get away with only washing my hair once a week. (Root Magic is kind of drying.) I “pineapple” my hair in a loose, high ponytail at night when I go to bed. This also helps my hair to stay in shape and not look “greasy.” If you want to try using these products yourself, I recommend wearing gloves. While both products wash clean with soap and water, they can stain dry skin, especially around the cuticles. I have gotten both products accidentally on my clothing. So far, I haven’t had any problem with either causing a permanent stain on dark fabric. The Fanci-full did stain a painted bathroom cabinet where I failed to wipe off drips in a timely fashion.

So here are some pics I took of myself at the end of last week, just before I washed my hair. As you can see, my hair doesn’t look greasy and there’s still quite a lot of red tint in my hair:

 

And here is a pic of the silver roots I’m hiding. This pic was taken AFTER I washed my hair:

 

This is FIVE (almost six) months of growth. As you can see, my roots are more white than grey. I’m really pleased with the color and texture. The new growth is shiny and smooth. The Fanci-full and the Root Magic applications do such a nice job, you really can’t see the line of demarcation even with 3-inch roots. Most people have no idea that I’m growing out my silver hair. Had I known there were temporary ways to color my hair this effectively, I doubt I would have used permanent color quite as often.

A few things to keep in mind if you’re thinking of trying this. EVERYONE around you will have their opinion on what YOU should do with YOUR hair. Some people will be super-supportive. Some will not. People will criticize you. They will tell you how old you will look. They think the silver hair is a permanent thing, like you can’t change your mind later on. They seem to forget that it’s JUST HAIR. If I get tired of grey hair, I can change it! Since I started this journey, I realize I can literally change my hair for the day, depending on which washout color I choose. If I wanted…pink hair, I could HAVE pink hair!

If you’re thinking about allowing your hair to go grey and have any questions please feel free to ask. It’s scary to try something new! You don’t have to do this alone.  🙂

xo Juli

 

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14 thoughts on “Summoning the Courage to go Grey at 44.”

  1. I love the white! my aunt (mom’s sister) and my dad both have beautiful silver/white hair. My dad’s is so pretty in fact, I used him as a model for Malick’s hair for the new book covers. My poor mom has blechy mouse colored gray, and i have a bad feeling I will, too. Hoping not, but we’ll seel

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve seen pics of your dad. Yes, he has beautiful hair! One thing I HAVE learned from stalking Monique Parent’s vlog is that you can manipulate the shade of grey once you get there, either permanently or temporarily. Fanci-full makes a product called “White Mink” if you want to temporarily make grey hair appear less yellow. There are products that make grey hair look more granite or steel. If you want to go more white…there are products for that. If you want to tone it to a blond shade, you can go there. I always assumed that you were “stuck” with the shade of grey you inherited, but that’s not entirely true. You can help it along a little. 🙂

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  2. A super post and a gutsy lady. I say that because I need to go natural but not knowing what’s beneath stops me. I’m afraid i will turn into my mother white haired miserable and unkind. But hair is only hair and i know changing my colour won’t change my personality really.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When and If you decide to go natural is a completely personal decision.

      I didn’t know that I could have it both ways until I started checking out Monique Parent’s vlog. I didn’t know I could appear to have colored my hair while I grew my silver out. Fanci-full is a fun product because it doesn’t penetrate the hair. It just sits on top of it. It’s semi-transparent which is why I also use the spray. I don’t want to look like I have a “skunk stripe” while I go through the process of growing out my hair. And…even after I finish going silver, I may have days where I want to be another color besides silver. I got used to changing up my hair color. ALL the time! LOL

      The thing is, once you have a light base color like white or grey hair, then you “play” with it. There’s a cashier at a store I shop at who allowed her hair to go grey. Every time I see her, she’s trying something new: blue highlights, or purple bangs, or caramel lowlights while leaving the rest of her bobbed hair silver. Her hair is sooo fun and pretty. I would guess that this woman is probably in her late forties, but she might be older. She’s NOT a kid but she certainly doesn’t look matronly or frumpy.

      There are soooo many temporary products you can try! I had no idea!!! Plus, you can even play with the shade of grey. You can make your grey hair whiter or more of a steely color if you don’t grow out the shade of silver you wanted. There are a LOT of options out there!!! We just don’t hear about them because grey hair wasn’t “fashionable” until recently.

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  3. I offer my encouragement, though I know it is, sadly and wrongly, a different issue for men than for women. I, too, got my first grey hair when I was a teen. It’s salt-and-pepper now, though white is taking over. Except that in a good way I don’t really care and don’t think of it that often. And I don’t have to because of that male-female thing. I am vain enough to be glad I have the hair. It seems to me this is for you another part of being who you are. I agree with those who say you’re gutsy. Lead on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!!! And you’re right. When a man goes grey we say he looks distinguished. He’s a “silver fox.” When a woman goes grey…we just think of her as “old.” How silly is that?! I don’t think it HAS to be this way. It’s a stereotype. It’s just hair! 🙂

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  4. I’ve been letting my hairdresser color my hair for the past few years. The last time, she missed a BUNCH of gray at the top, so I felt like I wasted my money. I’ve been seriously considering trying something that’s not permanent just to see if I can do it. Right now, I have some some streaks in the top part of my hair (my hair keeps permanent color for a LONG time, so no streaks in the bottom part), but I don’t like it. I don’t think I’m ready for the gray look just yet. But I think it’s great that you and others are okay with that. Also, yours looks nice. My doesn’t. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think your grey/white hair looks fabulous. I went through about a year of having my hair colored. My hairdresser did it a light brown with blond streaks. I would look in the mirror and say:”who on earth is that?”. I stopped getting it colored and had a really short buzz cut and it only took a couple of months to be grey. It may sound silly but i felt like i had reclaimed myself. I was ME again.

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