One day I caught myself fantasizing about going gray. Not in the sense that it was a utopic scenario. More like, I caught myself wondering what I would look like gray. I have always been obsessed with my gray hair since I started growing them in at 19 – and not in a good way. I used to pluck them all with my Tweezermans but when I couldn’t keep up, I started hitting the salon every 2 months, which turned into 6 weeks which eventually turned into every 4 weeks about 20 years later.
I figure over the past 20 years I’ve spent almost $17,000 and just about 30 entire DAYS in the chair getting my hair dyed. And I was a die-hard. Let me tell you, with the conviction of a thousand men and in my deepest heart of hearts I just knew I would NEVER stop dying my hair. NEVER.
Then one day, I saw this beautiful woman in a restaurant in Hingham, MA. (Stars on the harbor to be exact – for all my south shore friends). Anyways, she struck me because her face looked so young and her hair looked so gray. And she was…BEAUTIFUL! Beautiful skin, a joyful smile, cute sassy curly hair – and she seemed like, happy. Enjoying a bottle of wine, dinner and a few laughs with her hubs.
And something came over me. I couldn’t help myself. My legs got up and started walking right toward her and the next thing I knew I heard myself say, “Hi! My name is Lisa. Your hair is gorgeous. How did you do it? Was it hard? Did you have to cut your hair? How about hats? What did your friends say and HOW OLD ARE YOU!?” She was 45, it was hard at first but then it got easier. Her kids didn’t like it but now they are indifferent. And it’s been 3 years and the best thing she ever did.
Guys, that kinda sold me. It took my curiosity from back seat to turn up the music, put it in cruise control and roll down the windows because MAMA’S DRIVING! And I was never really the same after that. My thoughts started changing and instead of thinking “I wonder….” I started deliberately thinking; “What if?” and “When?”
And just as thoughts get louder and louder the longer you sit with them, it got to the point where I couldn’t turn it off. So one day I casually mentioned to my husband, “Maybe I’ll stop dying my hair..” And I’ll never forget what he said because it was the final push I needed. He looked me right in the eye and said, “You should totally do it.”
So the following month I made a hair appointment and…dyed my hair. Hahaha! I don’t know why. I think I just needed that one last time. It’s like the boyfriend you broke up with but you get together with that one last time just to kind of make it all final. To really solidify that you made the right decision. To give yourself the opportunity to officially say goodbye. It’s was almost like so I could commemorate the experience, really burn it into my memory, honor every part of it and then let it go.
And then I let the grow out begin.
How long does it take?
For anyone planning on growing out there hair or wondering how long it will take, I would say to plan on a solid 2 years for the grays to grow past your chin or for like a long bob type of hairstyle. But that being said, it’s not 2 years of hats, scarves and hiding. I would say it’s a solid 9 months – 1 year of making due and then you are home free.
MY DAILY NONTOXIC HAIR CARE STAPLES:
Josh Rosebrook Hairspray to hold down the flyaways.
True Botanicals Nourishing Shampoo – the only nontoxic shampoo that really cleans my hair. LISATRUE20 will save first-timers on orders over $40!
Innersense Organic Beauty Hair Mask to keep my hair conditioned, strong and hydrated!
Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer for the fastest hair dry. Less drying time = less damage.
Overall I would say months 2-5 are probably the hardest because you walk around looking like you missed a hair appointment. It’s like being pregnant in your first trimester where you just feel fat but you don’t look pregnant yet. But once your grays grow in long enough to where you can almost tuck them behind your ears around 6 months, it starts to look intentional rather than questionable. This is when I really started to own the grays and enjoy the process. And the rest is just a waiting game after that.
The hardest part about going gray is deciding to go for it. Once you’ve made up your mind, it’s about perseverance in the beginning but then it’s just about waiting it out in the end. That being said, the best thing you can do find some supports to help you though whether it be you sister, mom, friends, husband, or finding someone else who is going gray…AND join The Gray Book (see below) for more support. Support, encouragement and reassurance are three things that really got me through the tough parts.
For more on Going Gray..
For more on going gray, you can follow along here where I’ve journaled about my experience along they way. I thought I was just growing my hair out but little did I know I was growing and changing on the inside too. It’s all here!
- Going Gray: Why I Stopped Dying My Hair
- Going Gray: 3 Months And Counting
- Going Gray: 5 Months and Counting
- Going Gray: (at 40!) 8 Months and Counting
- Going Gray: It’s Been A Year!
- Going Gray: A Transformation both Inside and Out Video
- Going Gray: The Final Cut!
Join The Gray Book
Also! If you are in the middle of going gray, are thinking about going gray or are like #beentheredonethat – consider joining The Gray Book! A place to come for inspiration, insight, community, conversation and strength – all centered around going gray. There are two ways to get in on the action:
- Join The Gray Book Facebook Group here.
- Join The Gray Book – a quarterly email publication showcasing women’s stories and taking a deeper look at all the issues that come along with going gray.
See you on the inside!
One year of going gray pics
View my “final cut” video here!
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