As my dad tells the story, a lady asked my grandmother in admiration where she got her hair frosted. And without missing a beat, she responded, “If you had four kids like mine, your hair would be frosted too.”
She passed along her signature salt and pepper locks on to my dad, who passed them on to me. In fact, I was just 25 years old when I found my first undeniably gray hair. And I was not cool with it.
Dying My Hair
Fast forward 13 years and dozens of hair-coloring sessions later, I was touching up my roots every 6-8 weeks. And I am sure I could have been doing it even more frequently. While I loved my new look after a fresh color, I’d feel defeated a week later when a row of gray roots reemerged.
Why was I spending so much money to feel awful about myself?
I thought back to my dad’s story. My grandma never apologized for her gray hair. And I never saw her as anything but beautiful and graceful.
So I decided it was time to embrace my gray hair. I stopped coloring it a year ago.
Like growing out bangs, it’s a big transition and there are some awkward stages before it all grows out. If you’re considering letting your grays grow out, here are a few tips to help manage life during the transition.
Tips for Gray Hair
- Give Yourself Time
Depending on how long your hair is, and how quickly it grows, it can take 12-18 months to grow out your hair. So set realistic expectations. My “goal” is to be completely gray before 40. (and I’m turning 39 very soon).
- Write Down Your “Why”
There will be some days when you get sick of the half grown out hair, and you will seriously consider dying it. But think back to why you wanted to go gray in the first place. Are you embracing your authentic self? Or trying to reduce the chemicals you use on your body? Are you trying to set an example for your kids on what self-love and self-acceptance really looks like? Are you saving the cost of color for a girls’ weekend away?
- Experiment with New Styles
You’ll usually find me with a ponytail or messy bun, so I can’t suggest the perfect style for you to try. But I’ve experimented with braids, buns, and beachy waves, and I’m always surprised by how different my silver hair looks from style to style. Find one or two go-to styles that make you feel confident, even when you’re between hair colors.
- Condition it
Gray hair can also be dryer and more coarse than the hair of your youth, so you want to use products that make your hair gray look silvery and shiny, not dull and dingy. Here is a list of products specifically designed for gray hair.
- Own It
When people ask, and they WILL ask, just own it: “Yep, I’m growing it out so I can rock my silver locks.”