I think it’s fair to say by now that you’ve probably seen something about grey hair transitions on social media. When I created this blog recently, it wasn’t really my intention to discuss grey hair transition, and especially not my own. I’m a bit on the shy side, despite being a bad ass sassy rebel, ~wink~ so showing something like this is a bit uncomfortable.
Now, after wrestling this idea for several weeks, I’ve decided, what the heck?
So, here’s a bit about my grey hair transition.
*Photos further below
Why did I decide to do this?
There are several reasons why this is what I need to do at this time in my life.
I’m not going to go into a long story about how young I was when I found my first hair. I was a teen and I’ll leave it at that. We grey out early on my dad’s side. For this reason, I started coloring in my thirties. By the time I was forty, the brown wouldn’t cover my grey anymore, so I went blond at the suggestions of my hair dresser. This was great for the longest time, and yes, blondes do get treated differently! But, that’s not what this post is about.
Rituals, Oh Rituals . . .
Once I turned fifty, I became really, really fed up with the whole coloring ritual.
The price was ridiculous, and after tips, I was spending about $150 each month. The bleaching process would affect me so terribly, that even my skin would at times turn white as though it was frostbitten. Nobody at the salon had ever seen such a thing. It looked exactly like severe frostbite. It was probably chemical burns.
Then, my hair was so porous that it would soak up toner like crazy, and no color ever seemed right anymore. Maybe this had to do with my changing skin tone. Who knows?
My hair was also beginning to look fried from over processing. My color would never look good, so the salon had to do about five color corrections the year I turned fifty. I was fed up. The time wasted sitting in a salon for hours too really began to wear me thin.
The second reason was that I was beginning to long for my natural hair and accepting that yes, I was aging, so who cared if I had some greys? I also just wanted the freedom from the salon.
Third, I got so fed up with societal dictates! Who the heck are those people telling us we need to cover up who we really are in order to satisfy “someone’s” idea of beauty?
When I see photos of older women with their long flowing silver hair, they look so beautiful to me. I had always said that I wanted long grey hair when I got older. Then it hit me: I’m older.
Who cares if I don’t look thirty anymore. I’m not thirty. I don’t want to be thirty. With my hair colored, I could easily pass as ten years younger than I actually am. I had much younger men trying to flirt with me, and you know what? While it was flattering, that was short lived. In fact, all that did was make me feel like a fraud.
I didn’t want the attention of younger men. I didn’t want to pretend to be younger when I’m not, only to have people feel like they’d been duped when they met me and found out my age, or saw me from real close up. This chic has some lines there, and she’s cool with them! She’s not cool about pretending to be someone she’s not. I’ve just never felt comfortable with the whole looking younger thing. I just want to be my age and accept myself the way I am.
Now, I’m not putting down anyone who looks younger or colors their hair, or has any facial surgery and nips and tucks. I’m all about doing you and loving who you are. I’m pretty much of a laissez-faire type of girl. Live and let live.
That Chit can Make you Sick!
Now, the most important reason of all was that I was diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome in my forties, which is an autoimmune disease. Several years later, lupus got thrown into the mix. My skin is super ultra sensitive. It doesn’t take much to give me rashes. This is probably why my skin would turn white at the salon when they bleached my hair.
When you have lupus, you can’t go in the sun without expecting damage on your skin and often your system. As a lupus patient, the sun gives me rashes. Soaps, shampoos, laundry detergents and fabric softeners, and a whole slew of things give me rashes. These aren’t the types of rashes that go away with a bit of Benedryl or even steroid creams. These can linger for months once they take hold.
Hair dye also made me lose my hair. A lot of hair. Lupus already instigates hair loss, so throw in a bunch of toxic chemicals, well, we got us some big problems ok?
I can’t tell you how many handfuls of hair I pick up on a daily basis. It’s finally starting to slow down a bit after a few months without dye.
After watching my mom die a very difficult, torturous death from lung cancer, I slowly began to change how I took care of myself. It’s been a gradual process of beginning an exercise regime and hitting the gym, changing my diet, eliminating toxic things like fragrance oils from my home, sent free detergents and products, eating organic as much as possible . . . all that stuff.
After reading about all of the toxic chemicals found in hair dye, I knew that at some point, I wouldn’t not be able to continue dying my hair. With my lupus, each time I dyed my hair, I was afraid my hair would completely fall out.
My scalp would also itch for weeks after coloring. By the time it would stop, I’d have to go back, and visits became more frequent as the grey started really taking over.
Third Time’s a Charm
Incredibly, this is my third attempt at a grey hair transition. The first time I stopped dying was September of 2017 when I was fifty. I lasted a whole six months before coloring again, and I was fully transitioned.
Here I was at an art show/book launch where I was one of the featured artists. It was maybe a few weeks before coloring again. Ugh.
When I started transitioning, I had my hair toned back to brown from blond. Because my hair had been so damaged from bleaching and coloring, I cut my very long hair into a short bob in December. In January, it was still so burnt that I couldn’t stand it anymore and got a pixie cut.
Oh. My. God.
God bless those who look good in pixies and love them. A lot of people liked it on me, but I didn’t. I’ve always been a long hair person and I envy those who can rock a funky pixie, but I like my hair long. I’ve never been comfortable with short hair. I hide myself. I don’t look at people. I become too self-concsious. It’s just not me. Throw in a fully transitioned head of grey hair, and it was all just too much all at once.
The stages of me, trying to figure out what the heck I’m doing. Top left, moi as a blonde. Next, me after toning brown and cutting my hair to a bob before the holidays. You can’t tell, but my hair was like broken straw. Bottom left, moi fully transitioned with a bit of a silver stripe, followed by an after coloring shot.
In March of 2018, I bought a box of drug store dye and colored. I’ve always regretted it, but it made growing out my short hair bearable.
This past fall, I tried for the second time. My last color was around Halloween. I was able to survive Christmas with the skunk stripe, but before New Year’s, I caved and colored. I was going to an annual family party and dreaded the comments, so I decided to avoid them by coloring.
I had also been caught off guard in a store when a man was shopping with his wife and made a rude comment. He wasn’t aware that I’m French, and in French, he told his wife, “See? Is that what you want to look like?”
So, I colored.
Now, I’m on my third and final attempt and it’s so much easier this time.
I can now tie my hair in a ponytail again, and this has made it so much easier. The ponytail allows me to hide the demarcation line while looking decent. I still have a lot of brown in the front, and my silver is mostly on the rest of my head, so a ponytail does the trick.
Also, and most importantly, jerks like the one who didn’t want his wife to go grey and made a rude comment about my hair don’t bother me anymore, My skin has gotten a bit tougher.
Another reason it’s easier this time is because before starting my transition, I colored with a light brown instead of dark and this seems to soften the demarcation rather than having a stark, black or dark line, followed by a hard silver line. I’ve never seen this mentioned in all my grey hair how to research, and for me it’s made it a lot easier. The demarcation is a bit softer with the dark brown gradually lightening before going silver. I know the blorange is an inevitable thing, but I’m cool with that. It’s only temporary.
So, now I’m all gung ho about my grey hair, and I’m even a little less obsessed and impatient than I was the other two times. I’m even rather enjoying the process and just letting things be. I’m letting me be.
Yes, I still check out social media for all the amazing grey hair transition photos, and I feel I need that to stay inspired. Though I find it “easier”, it’s still not “easy”. It does require motivation and inspiration, and I find it by looking at other silver sisters who are transitioning and going through this slow process.
Three months in baby! Hold on ’cause this is gonna be an interesting ride!
This is also why I decided to write about this. I figured I was getting so much inspiration from seeing other women baring themselves, so why not share too? Maybe what I’m writing will help someone else with their transition. For this reason, I’ll be updating my blog on this topic whenever I feel I have something to say on the topic or enough progress to show.
For years, I’ve wanted to help women be their best selves. It’s in my nature to help. Women need to support each other and lift each other up. Going grey is a huge blow to self-esteem as we get used to mess growing out and adapting to the comments and looks that almost certainly come. A little support is a good thing. I hope this blog will help more women like me who are just looking to be themselves, and be free. It’s a great thing to finally be free.
How about you? Have you transitioned, in the middle of transitioning, or thinking of transitioning?
I’ve got this!
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