Ah, people. As much as people can be a source of support and inspiration, there are those who just know how to throw a wet blanket on our excitement.
You start your journey on your grey hair transition and you’re all excited and pumped up. You are determined to do this and see it through. You’ve been thinking about this for a long time now and finally made up your mind, and you’re even excited to see that skunk stripe growing out on top of your head. And then, someone shows up and says, “What the hell are you doing that to yourself for?”
If you’re going to make it, it’s important to learn to tune out the negative, just like everything else. Know why you’re doing this. Make sure you focus on your reasons for wanting to transition to grey hair and stay focused. If you really know why you are letting your hair go grey, ignoring the naysayers becomes a bit easier. Below, you’ll find my 10 tips for coping with negative people while transitioning to grey hair.
“What the hell are you doing that to yourself for?” Those are the exact words I heard from a relative while at a restaurant having dinner. My greying hair became the topic of conversation and she just bluntly blurted out those words. Those words would’ve cut through me last year, but not this time.
If you haven’t read my first blog post on going grey, you need to know that this is my third time transitioning. The first time, I was fully transitioned and then decided to color.
I’m a long hair person and had to cut off all of my hair because of over processing. It was in bad shape and had to be cut into a pixie. While short cuts look amazing on some women, I don’t like them on me. I’m just not comfortable, so suddenly being grey AND having super short hair really made me feel bad about myself. So I colored.
The second time I attempted to transition was last year. I last colored just before Halloween and then caved just before New Year’s when I knew I had to see relatives at a party.
Not long before I colored again, I was in a store and a couple walked by me. I can only guess that the woman was planning on transitioning. As they walked past me, her husband, in French, said, “Is THAT what you want to look like?”
He was talking about me and as much as I like to consider myself to have a thick skin, it hurt. For a few days, I had a hard time looking at people in the eyes and would keep my gaze down.
I’d get stared at walking in public, and it wasn’t my imagination. It wasn’t hard to notice eyes slowly going up to the top of my head. I’ve had friends ask me to not do this. They just can’t imagine why a woman would want to deliberately make herself go grey.
Why is it so hard for people to accept that grey hair on a woman is beautiful and natural? We’ve become so conditioned to think that letting our natural silver beauty shine through is a sin, like something we need to be ashamed of. Attitudes are starting to change, but there are still so many who resist. I really don’t care if someone wants to keep dying their hair. I’m all about to each his own, but that goes for going grey too.
There was a time when society was more reserved and polite. I’m not sure what it is with today’s society, whether social media has changed people and allowed them to think it’s ok to just voice their thoughts wherever they go and to whoever they see, but we’ve descended into a world where people think it’s ok to insult people just because they feel like speaking their minds, whether their opinions are requested or not. I remember a time when civility and politeness were important. Words hurt.
If you’re transitioning, it’s really important to understand your reasons why. Is it for health and wanting to avoid as many toxins as possible? Maybe you’re fed up and frustrated with the whole routine, spending too much time and too much money on salons? Maybe you just think grey hair is beautiful? Maybe you’re just tired of society dictating what you should look like?
So, How Can You Stay Motivated?
- Make a list and write down your reasons. Whenever you find more reason, add them to your list.
- Stay inspired by looking at women who are transitioning or who have fully transitioned. Pinterest and Instagram are great places for beautiful and inspiring photos.
- Join Facebook groups where others are transitioning to grey hair. Even if you don’t join in on any discussions, just reading what others go through can give you inspiration and encouragement, and the will to persevere.
- Keep a journal and write down your thoughts and experiences. If someone said anything negative, write it down and write down a come back, especially if you didn’t have the opportunity to voice your thoughts after the negative comment. Sometimes just writing down what you would’ve liked to reply to that person can help.
- Keep a scrapbook or vision board with cut outs of beautiful grey hair and women who inspire you.
- Find some positive quotes you like and write them in your journal.
- Enlist the help of a friend or family member with whom you can confide in and turn to for help to keep you motivated. You want to find a cheerleader.
- Look at yourself in the mirror each day and tell yourself how beautiful you are, because you’re gorgeous baby!
- Treat yourself to a nice new hair product for grey hair. A little pampering is always nice.
- For Pete’s sake, don’t obsess in front of the mirror so much. Watching grey hair grow is harder than watching paint dry, so stop torturing yourself. I get it. I used to do it, and now I’ve learned to not do it as much. Maybe only once a week. Wink.
Going grey is definitely not an easy thing to do. It takes a lot of time and patience, and in this age of instant gratification, patience is a hard thing to practice, but it’s necessary if you want to succeed with this thing.
There will be times when people will try to bust your bubble and give their unsolicited opinions on your hair, as though they know better. Ha! Learn to not put weight on those types of comments. It’s your hair. Not theirs. What you do to your hair ain’t nobody’s business, ok? You gotta be you, and if your vision of you is with your natural, beautiful silver hair shining and flowing, then you hold on to that vision.
Just keep in mind that time will go by no matter what. A year from now, you can either be happy you decided to not color, or you can regret that you caved and colored. You chose, but whatever you chose, be easy on yourself. You need to remember that everything will happen in its right time. Don’t beat yourself up if you do decide to color. It’s your hair.
As for me, I need to remember to say this the next time someone asks me what the hell I’m doing to myself. I’ll look at them, let my eyes wander to their colored hair, and say, “What the hell are you doing that to yourself for?”
Good luck with your grey hair transition!