I found my first grey hair at 16. By my mid-twenties, I started coloring my hair every 6-8 weeks. Thus began a cycle that continued every two months for almost 15 years.
I knew I was over 50% grey. I figured it was probably a lot more than that. But I distinctly remember the day I asked my hair stylist how much grey was underneath the dye and her telling me it was probably 90-100%. WHOA! We talked about how often I was having to dye it, how I’d have roots within a week. But I kept coming back.
Every visit, we’d talk about it more. One day she said, you know, we could try not coloring your roots and just see what happens with some blended highlights. I took a deep breath and said “let’s do it.” I didn’t look back. That was February of 2019.
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I didn’t go cold turkey
A lot of women in the Facebook groups I’m a part of have quit coloring their hair cold turkey. I wasn’t ready for that. I simply stopped coloring my roots, and added in some platinum highlights to start. Then a few months in, we did another round of ash blonde highlights, with a few lowlights as well as a glaze. Doing this helped with the demarcation line. The last time I put dye on my hair at a salon was in May 2019.
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What I’ve learned during the “going grey” process:
1. Some days are better than others. Just like I had bad hair days when I was coloring my hair, I had them while I was growing it out. Pony tails and hats are your friend.
2. It’s a slow process. Unless you want to do something drastic like a Pixie cut or pay for some crazy chemical process to go grey, you have to just wait it out. I’d say it took me about 18 months before it was at a point that I was generally happy with it.
3. Purple shampoos help with the yellowing/brassiness that can occur.
4. Going grey gave me the guts to try out some fun color on my hair. I’ve always wanted to play around with pinks and purples but that doesn’t work as well with brown hair. So I’ve been using Overtone on my ends throughout the pandemic, and I totally love it.
Do I feel like I look old?
Not at all. Yes, that was a big concern of mine. Was I letting myself go? But honesty, this is the most authentic me. I’ve had to play around with make-up, and clothing. I used to wear so much grey, and now I find I need pops of color so I don’t look washed out. I curl my hair and put on make-up (when I want to). I still feel like me, but dare I say, better? Honestly, it’s high time society stopped with the idea of women aging being a bad thing.
I’m thinking of embracing my grey. Any advice?
Here’s the bottom line. If you start this process and absolutely hate it, you can always dye your hair again. For me, I was just so dang tired of spending all that money every four weeks, and I was super curious to see what it looked like. I have way more white than I ever would have thought and majority of the time absolutely love it. Do I still have days where I think “Gah, what did I do?”? Sure. That’s where the Overtone comes in, just to spice things up.
But I don’t regret it one bit. This is me. This is Erin.
You can follow me on Instagram: @takebackme to see more of my “going grey” journey.