ps for those coloring dark and debating transitioning --

My grey was really concentrated around my temples. I never really saw warnings about how when you first start growing it out, your hairline will look like it's receding because of the grey/dark contrast on the individual strands.

ai yi yi

but it gets better once more of the strand is grey

wearing it up helped that look less wonky

Also that's why I did the zigzag lowlights along the part when I started (was planning to do it more often but my hairdresser and I decided it was unnecessary). The grey growout makes one's part look VERY WIDE but the zigzag offsets that.

MsMaven, it sounds like despite your frustrations you have arrived at your destination with healthy hair and a lot of wisdom.

Thank you Krish and Cee.

Vix, your hair grows really fast. Mine does, too, but not as fast as yours. I may try the fish oil. Maybe I can shorten this process by a few months. You may be right. If i discontinue the highlighting, I may end up with some darker pieces. My stylish has been doing as much blending as she can. Maybe we need to revise our plan at my next appt, which is for toner. in early May I am scheduled for another blowout. Highlights aren’t scheduled until the end of April, so we have plenty of time to think about best options on how to handle the blond sections. Maybe the toner will be enough.

I love your hair! I started going grey at 18, and I finally got tired of the maintenance years ago. I was a deep red/auburn shade, and I had to go a few months in a lighter shade, then a few months in an even lighter shade. It was a long process and it did wear on me.

I'm glad I did it, though. Now all I have to do is use something purple on it to keep it from getting too brassy. Good luck with your journey!

I fessed up to my grey about 5 years ago, and it was the best decision, ever. A tough one to make, but once made there was no looking back. I’d write more, but I’m in Mexico on vacation, and really enjoying being somewhat unplugged. Once I get home I’ll try to remember to either respond to this, or to pm you.

I agree that you are probably better off not highlighting at this point. You’re just prolonging the agony.

And congrats!

You have very beautiful hair, Mainelady!
I am afraid I don´t have much to contribute here - dark brown and still colouring... just wanted to say you look great!

Mainelady I meant to say, that the parts of my hair that are still brunette, at the back mainly, seem to be a DIFFERENT brunette than what they used to be. It's odd. They are not as clearly brown, but they are still dark.
PS: I see we're the same age! Cheers. I'm not a grandmother like you, yet. Hopefully one day x

Cindysmith, your hair is gorgeous and I look forward to the day when I am able to fully enjoy mine. I have been told that even when I all my color is my own I will want to use a blue or purple shampoo, or a gray toner to keep my stands looking white/silver instead of yellowed gray.

Elizabeth P thanks for taking time from you vacation to post. Enjoy every moment of your trip!

Oh thank you, Katerina. You are very kind. Your dark brown hair is so much a part of your style. I think you might always want to keep that shade.

Jenni NZ, we are on Team 57. I think we are owning it well. Hoping your wishes to become a grandmother come true for you. It is the ultimate happiness factor. Crazy how such a little fella can flood every fiber of my being with so much love and happiness. I can’t contain my joy, so I just let it spill over onto the world around me.

"I want to model this kind of self-acceptance to my child. I want to prove to the world that "older" doesn't mean "less stylish" or "uninteresting." I want to spend all that money I used to spend on hair dye on doing fun stuff with my loved ones." Preach!

I am so, so glad I haven't done any coloring other than a couple highlights decades ago and a little John Frieda glaze years ago. It is what it is and I can spend my bucks on Living Proof shampoo (which, as much as I wanted to hate it, is magical for my fine, thin hair). I think it would be traumatic to go from brown to grey all at once.

I work at a place where we help people in transition start new careers, and I have found that my grey makes me approachable. Older women feel like I'm one of them.

You know what is interesting?

I get compliments on my hair quite often, and they come from two main groups.

1). Women around my age and older who are still dyeing their hair.

2). Young women in their 30s.

You might say, it's easy for the latter to admire -- they don't have to think about being there!

But I find it really interesting about the former group.

Amen, Thirkellgirl.

Suz, maybe the first group is like I was for a long to admire it on others, but not quite ready to risk it for myself. I wish I had done this sooner.

Still reading this thread for encouragement and expertise.

I for one am really pleased to hear that the greys get less wiry as time goes on! Mine have a mind of their own.

Although I was also a cut it all off, I do really admire thick strong looking longer grey hair and I think yours looks fantastic. It did take a long time to get used to my reflection in the mirror, but I am used to it now, 5 or so years in. As with so many things, the story really never ends.

April, the support here is amazing, isn’t it?

Laura, I think mine could go wiry, but I am keeping up with the smoothing treatments at least until I have gray the entire length of my locks.

Shevia, 5years huh? That makes me feel better. Sometimes I still don’t recognize myself and thought I should be used to the new me by now. All things in time, right?

I think your hair looks great! I hope mine looks as good when it goes grey. I think posts about the process of transitioning to grey are fascinating. There's so much more to it than I would have guessed.

So had my DH and DD closely examine my hair (it has been 6 weeks since I touched it up). Gray in the front - along hairline, in my part and disbursed throughout the front. Not a one gray hair in the back and they searched very closely. I think I need to switch up my demi permanent color from a warm tone to a neutral tone since that is the tone of my natural hair color. The warm tone just makes it look "pinker?"

I wish it were more salt and pepper that I have seen many women my age have. For now I will just touch up the front with the demi permanent color and hope that the back of my head catches up with the front.

This is a lovely post, and gosh, your hair looks gorgeous! I am one of those younger women in their 30s from whom Suz gets compliments. I found my first grey hair at 23, and am actually moving slowly towards salt and pepper now, 9 years later, though it doesn't show in photos yet... I've never coloured, because my hair already tends toward thin and dry, so it's not worth it to me. Interesting to see the range of experiences and different approaches in this thread.

You know, in addition to women here on the forum who look amazing in their grey, silver, or white, or salt and pepper hair (Joy, Bonnie, JAileen, as well as Elizabeth P, Shevia, Vix, Transcona Shannon and more), I got a lot of courage from a friend of mine who is naturally very dark haired and who, like LaPed, began to grey very early, only in her case it seemed accelerated, so she was truly grey by 40 or so and has now been grey for a decade. She's a few years younger than I am. was really helpful to watch her undergo the process and live with it and I think it just made it easier not to be the only person in this situation. I'm one of those people who has friends across generations -- from their 20s into their 70s, but most of my friends, whatever their age, either are not grey naturally, or still colour their hair. It was good to have an example in real life of a friend who did not.

I think in Western (first world) society we need to accept that most women will colour, and those of us who do not will be the odd ones out. There is so much pressure to look young. So we have to be psychologically ready to accept that we will look older in a way with our grey hair. I look at it a bit like when I had had my first baby at 29, I had stretch marks and so on and no longer looked like a young woman who hadn't given birth. But I felt I earned them, getting my gorgeous baby!
My main reason for not colouring has been authenticity, as I said before. But for me, following closely behind is actually laziness in certain things. I am a very hard worker at work, and when I'm not there I literally cannot be bothered with many things. Spending hours in a hairdesser's chair was one for me. I also use my famed "shoe currency" ( famed with my husband and best friend, at least). It goes when considering spending money, "How many pairs of shoes could that buy?". Because a shoe will last a long time and coloured hair only a few weeks

Jenni NZ- I thought I was the only one who thought in terms of "currency". When planning to give up the coloring I thought of it in terms of how many scarves and purses could I get in a year..... to say nothing of dinner out! And Anne Kreamer's book "Going Grey" was a fun read on the subject. But when all was said and done... I needed that shove of the hair dresser appointment mix up I mentioned earlier.

Another thought. As my hair gets lighter, I like my skin, especially face, to be a bit darker and recommend using a self tanner and slightly darker tinted moisturizer or foundation than your skin tone. I also use more lipstick than before.

ML (and Vix!), you are very brave to go gray while having such long hair. My grow out took only six or nine months, but my hair is short and grows super fast. I knew I had to stop coloring when I saw roots after only two or 2.5 weeks. I was coloring for DD who associated gray with being really, really old, and I was already an older mom, having given birth to her when I was over 40. My last color job was a few weeks before she graduated from high school.

My dad's hair got softer and got a bit wavy when he turned gray. My mom's hair got a bit wiry and never went fully silver. I think I have hair like my dad's sisters whose hair remained the same coarse texture and went fully silver in their 70s.

Quite a few women at my church have their natural color and many are all silver like Joy. Some stopped coloring and others never colored.

So I keep wondering: At some point down the road will my hair be light enough such that I want to bookend with white shoes? (I would really like some black'n'white footwear, but white footwear has never felt like *me*.)

You’re hair looks beautiful. Thank you for sharing your process.

What an informative thread! Mainelady your hair looks so beautiful.

Many of my friends of my age (early to mid 40s) are going grey. I'm not yet, although my hair could do with some colour intervention since I've been lazy for a while about doing anything to it's increasingly mousy colour (partly because is is in healthier condition when not blonded) but when I do get to that point I know YLF will be ful of solutions and wisdom!

Thank you Sara L. For me (and I am happy to be in such great company) there has been a lot to the process and transition. For others, I think the process of going gray is much simpler. I think my journey might have been simpler if I was ready to let myself go gray when the hairs began to lose pigment. I had just had my first baby and at 27 I was not ready to let the grays show.

Danusia, your plan sounds like a good one for you. I am discovering that sections of my hair are graying at different rates. That is why my stylist has been adding the highlights. To break up the really dark patches. I think I may try to step away from the highlights and just keep working with the grow out and the toner. If I can’t stand it, we can go back to highlights.

LaPedestrienne, I think you are wise. If you are already salt and pepper, your hair is just going to get better with minimal work. Lucky girl!

Suz, yes! IKWYM. All around me in differnent settings and in photos, I see gorgeous women with various shades of gray hair. They inspired me, but I still vacillated about going gray for a long time. Then my twin sister took the plunge. She lives in a different state, so I got Photo updates each time she went to the salon. She was my ultimate inspiration. I began my process about 3 months after she did. It has been much easier to travel this road with her leading the way.

Jenni and efbgen, I understand! For years, I thought coloring my hair was worth every penny and every minute in the chair. I do still spend some money and time in the chair to help me feel comfortable with this transition, but I am spending far less of both. It is a team effort keeping me looking and feeling my best and worth it to me. I do appreciate fewer appointments and like the extra currency.

Joy, thank you for sharing your observations about your skin. I am noticing that I look paler than ever before. By late winter and early spring my skin has reached its winter white stage, where any hint of sun kissed glow has long disappeared. This is the first spring I have had light hair and I think I need to try some tinted moisturize or a little self tanner to give me a boost. I like a stronger lip color and have some nice shades to try.

Donna F it is interesting about the gray hair of your family. My parents both went gray very early. Both were completely gray in their 30s. Both had gorgeous thick hair. My dad’s was silver. He was a clever man and well known for his wit. He was nicknamed the Silver Fox. My mom’s hair was silver and white and is now pure white. Her hair is stunning. I hope you find some black and white shoes you like. Maybe try some white and tan? Perhaps you are going to like bookending with variations of white and other colors.

Thank you Colette and Anne. Isn’t it amazing the amount of knowledge and support here on YLF? I am so pleased to be a part of this group of Fabbers.

ML thank you for posting this. I know in the future I will probably want to go grey and would love to do it like this too. I have always had longer hair, so having a short pixie plus grey, may be too much. I can definitely see me doing something similar to you. You have stunning hair and it looked gorgeous in its different shades, but the current shade is definitely the prettiest.

Gorgeous hair, Mainelady. I am a little older than you and my gray is relatively sparse. More than a little hair envy - and so many other beautifully gray folks here at YLF!

I wish I could say that I have more admirable reasons for not coloring, but it really comes down to time and money and how I wish to spend both. Same reasons for the bun-head. It’s out of my face, off my neck, and less fussy than short hair for me. (Thick silky straight hair with no body and a mind of its own.)

Mom went fully gray much younger than me - Dad didn’t go really gray until his health started failing.

Thanks so much to everyone for sharing their journeys. Such an interesting thread - and very popular! I’ve read each entry all the way to the end. Thanks for sharing!

ML, I think it looks terrific and I agree with everyone that simply staying the course is the best way to go.

I’m one of those women of an age that compliments fab grey style on other women in my age group but does not have the guts to make the transition myself. I identify way too strongly as a brunette, and my face is aging more visibly than many of my peers, so I feel like letting my hair go au naturel would simply make me feel and look “old,” which I definitely do not feel now. I’m already struggling to accept what the mirror is showing me without adding in the additional factor of a head of splotchy gray (mine is not coming in prettily from what I can see). I know I’ll have to do it someday, but for now I’m a coward who will continue to put a few $$ in my stylist’s wallet every couple of months. However, I always enjoy seeing how well so many of you wear your natural color, and perhaps someday I’ll follow your footsteps!

Thanks, Bijou. ChrisM and Janet. I feel so supported here and it really does help to know I have a little team cheering me on. I think the true key to success is really being ready for the shift. Some people never are and until fairly recently, I thought I would dye my hair until the end of my time on this planet. I was fully prepared to be a constant customer to my stylist. Somehow, the thought of scheduling appointments every 3 weeks as ok, but needing to schedule every two weeks put a new spin on things.
We each need to recognize our own levels of comfort and well, rolling with change is something I have had to work on. I find I am able to accept change better as I get older, so that helps. I am not quite at the stage of being able to embrace change, but maybe that will come with being old and gray.

Yes and doesn't that *sound* pejorative, "old and gray". I appreciate Janet's honesty in saying how strongly she identifies as a brunette. I feel it may be a bit easier for me to accept ageing because I see it daily in my work. I just don't see the point in fighting the passage of time myself. It *is*, you can't change it. For those of us who have children, the passage of time is what allows them to grow older and perhaps have children of their own. Even people in their late 80s want to fight the mention that they're old. What is their problem? It's ridiculous.