Last Updated on December 8, 2023 by Erin
Have you been considering going gray? Wondering if there’s a way to grow out your grays gracefully? Yes! And I would recommend it to anyone who is on the fence about it.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with dying your hair but going gray naturally has been a great experience for me personally. Let me tell you ALL about it and see if I can sway you to the “gray side.”
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My Journey to Gray
When I was a little girl, my hair was bright blonde, and it was something adults used to compliment on a regular basis. As a result, I began to attach worth to the color of my hair. (Can we just collectively agree to stop complimenting children on their appearances, pretty please?)
Over time, my hair began to get darker, which wasn’t surprising considering my mother’s hair was so dark it was almost black and my father’s hair was light brown. I started to hear words like “dingy” and “dishwater.” Now I started to feel like I had lost the attribute that made me attractive and my self-esteem plummeted.
Enter Hair Dye
I began getting my hair highlighted at the age of 16 and from that point on I had committed myself to a lifetime of regular, expensive hair appointments (as well as inexpensive yet traumatic box dye incidents). I experimented with highlights, lowlights, bleach blonde, dark brown, balayage, ombre, etc., you get the picture. For a while it felt like a fun adventure, being able to change my appearance like a chameleon whenever I got bored.
Once I reached my thirties, the appeal of dying my hair had started to fade. I was tired of writing expensive checks every 6-8 weeks and I couldn’t really figure out what my “signature look” was. It felt like I couldn’t really keep up with the trends and my hair never wanted to behave like I thought it should. Looking back, my hair was incredibly damaged, which was probably why it always looked slightly frizzy, regardless of the products I used.
My mom’s hair was starting to become an inspiration for me. She grew out her grays in her 40s and it is GORGEOUS. Her dark brown hair has striking white streaks throughout and she gets a ton of compliments on it. It always looks so healthy and shiny. I realized that’s what I wanted. Hair that was naturally mine and healthy. At this point I didn’t even know what my natural hair would look like, but I knew there were grays, based on my hairdresser’s assessment each time I came in.
The Golden Opportunity for Going Gray
COVID hit and we were stuck at home for a while. I KNEW this was my opportunity to give my graying hair a shot. I let my roots grow out and I realized there were a lot more grays than I had initially thought. It was terrifying but I kept going. No one was seeing me besides the students I was meeting with virtually online.
When businesses started to open back up, I chose to chop off a ton of length and go for a blunt bob. Every few months I got a trim so that ultimately, I would be left with only my natural hair. It ended up that yes, my hair was a dull dark blonde/light brown color BUT the grays gave it beautiful dimension. When I returned to work in the fall, my coworkers gave me a ton of compliments. They thought I had blonde highlights!
The number of compliments I receive on my hair now is tenfold what I used to receive when I frequently colored my hair. I’ve had several coworkers ask me about my process for going gray because I’ve inspired them to consider it.
The Benefits of Going Gray
Here are the benefits I have found since growing out my gray hair:
- I feel like I’m being true to my self
- I’m saving HUNDREDS of dollars every year
- I feel more confident in my own skin
- My hair is healthy and shiny
- I require fewer hair products because the hair is healthier
- It takes much less time to get ready in the morning
- I’m showing my daughter that she is beautiful exactly the way she is
- My husband says I’m a “natural beauty”
It Leads to Increased Confidence
Gray hair also signals to others that I am comfortable being myself and not trying to conform to societal expectations. By accepting and even celebrating your gray hair, you can show that you value yourself for who you are, rather than trying to live up to external beauty standards.
It might be surprising to hear, but growing out my gray hair makes me feel more attractive. Being authentic and true to yourself is incredibly freeing and has led to increased confidence for me personally. Being confident is incredibly attractive, in my opinion.
It Leads to Healthier Hair
All those years I was coloring my hair I was absolutely ruining the health of my hair. The texture was all wrong and no matter what I did my hair looked fried. My hair already has an interesting texture. It’s not quite wavy but it doesn’t air dry completely straight. It’s just…textured. Once I let my natural hair grow out, I was astonished at how much easier it became to style. I can use my Revlon blow dryer brush after air-drying for a while and THAT’S IT! No more hair dryer and then straightening and adding several products to the mix for it to lay flat and stay that way.
I had heard that gray hair is incredibly coarse and wiry, and while that’s partially true, it’s not nearly the nightmare I was imagining it to be. I sometimes have to quick the top of my head a quick spritz of hairspray and brush the stray grays down but it’s not that big of a deal.
Gray hair is typically coarser and thicker than pigmented hair. This means that as gray hair grows in, it can strengthen the hair shaft and improve overall hair health. This can result in hair that is less prone to breakage and split ends.
Overall, my natural salt and pepper hair is much smoother and shinier. I love it!
It Saves Me Time
As I just mentioned, my hair is a lot healthier. This results in less styling needed. I let it air dry a few minutes, use the blow dryer brush, and I’m good to go!
Also, gray hair tends to be coarser and thicker than pigmented hair. This means that it may be easier to style and hold its shape once it’s styled. Coarser hair can also be easier to work with when using styling tools like curling irons or straighteners.
Gray hair typically has less natural oils than pigmented hair, which can make it easier to manage and style. Natural oils can make hair look greasy or weighed down, which can make it harder to style. I only wash my hair every 3-4 days which also saves me a ton of time. I’ve trained my hair to do that, and dry shampoo helps me stretch no-wash days even further if I need to. As a busy mom with a hectic morning, I need all the time-saving techniques I can get.
It Saves Money!
This one is a no-brainer. When I was going to the salon, I was easily spending up to $160 dollars every 6-8 weeks. That’s definitely pushing $1000/year on my hair. I feel like I should have a disclaimer here that I don’t believe dying your hair is bad. It’s fun and looks good! That being said, if you’re trying to save more money, this could be a great way to go about it.
I definitely don’t mind investing that $1000 elsewhere.
Also, my husband and I can now use the same shampoo and conditioner because I’m not investing in specialty products to maintain the color of my hair. He is also graying, so we can both benefit from the purple shampoo to keep it bright. Sharing products saves money and saves space in the shower.
Overall, while the cost savings may vary depending on individual circumstances, letting your hair go gray naturally can potentially save you money in terms of avoiding ongoing hair color expenses, reducing damage to your hair, and simplifying your hair care routine.
Does Gray Hair Make Me Look Older?
While gray hair may be one factor that people associate with aging, it is not a definitive indicator of age, and other factors also play a role in how others perceive a person’s age. It’s important to remember that aging is a natural process that happens to everyone, and having gray hair is just one aspect of that process. A person’s behavior, lifestyle, and attitude can also influence how others perceive their age.
My hair is about 50% gray at this point, so I don’t think it’s super noticeable unless you’re pretty close to me. From a distance it honestly looks like highlights.
I work with middle school students, and they ask all the time how old I am. (They have no clue that it’s a bit of a social faux pas.) Some of them think I just graduated high school and some of them ask if the kids in my family photos are my grandkids. Based on their comments, I have no clue if I look old or not. Even if I did look older, who cares? Sometimes I think choosing to age gracefully and naturally is unconventional in today’s world, so if anything, it makes me unique and interesting. I’ll take that!
The Products I Use to Care for My Gray Hair
- clarifying shampoo
- moisturizing conditioner
- purple shampoo/conditioner to reduce brassiness (2x/month)
- volumizing foam mousse
- heat protection cream
- Revlon One-Step Volumizer Hair Dryer Brush (total game changer)
You don’t necessarily have to use the same routine or products as me, but there are a few considerations that can help keep gray hair looking its best. Here are some tips for taking care of gray hair:
- Use a gentle shampoo and conditioner that are formulated for color-treated or aging hair. Gray hair can be coarser and drier than pigmented hair, so it’s important to use products that will help hydrate and nourish the hair.
- Use a deep conditioning treatment once a week to help keep hair soft and moisturized.
- Protect hair from UV rays by wearing a hat or using a UV protection spray when spending time outside. UV rays can cause damage to hair, and gray hair is especially vulnerable to damage from the sun.
- Avoid using harsh styling products or tools that can damage hair, such as hot rollers or massive amounts of hair spray.
- Consider using a purple shampoo once a week to help reduce yellowing or brassy tones in gray hair.
There you have it! Know you know why growing out my gray hair was one of the greatest things I ever did. Increased confidence, healthier hair, saves money, and ultimately saves time.
Have you already ditched the dye or are you currently considering it? Comment and let me know! And if you found this post helpful, feel free to share and save 🙂