I am letting my hair go silver, and I am really excited about it. But if you had told me a year ago that I would be writing this post, I wouldn’t at all have believed you.
Let me tell you a little bit about my silver hair story.
I started noticing some grey strands in my bangs in my late twenties. In my mid-thirties, I really noticed my silver coming in a lot. I blamed genes and a very stressful few years at work. But I thought I was greying really prematurely, so I started dyeing my hair.
I’ve had dark, brown hair with natural auburn highlights my whole life, and generally speaking I’ve really liked it. It feels like me.
At first, I would dye my hair every two months or so. And then it got to be every month and half. Then a few years passed, and it was every month. And then more years passed, and it became more and more frequent. Then I felt like I was dyeing my hair constantly.
And I was–about every two weeks. Sometimes even more frequently than that.
And I was really tired of it. I was tired of the mess and of feeling nervous that people would notice my silver and think my hair looked weird or whatever.
And I was also tired of the trash I was generating. I dyed my hair at home, and I used box kits that came with plastic gloves, instructions, dye bottles, and plastic mixing containers. That is so much trash. I got depressed every time I threw stuff away, thinking about how much I was adding to the landfill. I was tired of it.
Mostly I was tired of feeling fearful about my hair. I had been dyeing my hair for ten years at this point.
And I really wished I could stop dyeing my hair, but I felt scared to do so. Honestly, I felt terrified.
I was afraid of grey hair signaling the end of some important era in my life. Also, I was afraid of people looking at me and treating me differently. I was afraid of not recognizing myself and becoming a different person.
So, I was really scared, but I was also really tired of dyeing my hair. I didn’t know what to do.
If you have followed my blog, you probably know that I pray. And that is what I did. I prayed that God would show me that silver and grey hair could be really beautiful and that I could still feel like myself with silver hair. (And if you are not religious, don’t worry–this post is still for you.)
The coolest thing started happening. I started seeing pictures of people with beautiful grey and silver hair everywhere. And I mean everywhere.
I saw them on Instagram. And I saw them on Facebook. Without looking, I started seeing articles about people–especially women–going grey naturally and celebrating it. I joined a Facebook group for women with curly hair who are letting their hair go grey. Oh my word.
I love these women. They are beautiful and spunky and delightful. And they are all so excited about their grey hair. I also found out that a lot of women (and men) start getting grey hair in their early teens and twenties. It’s really common and nothing to be ashamed about.
Watching these women be so excited and exuberant about their process gave me the courage I needed. I realized I could still be my same, exuberant self with silver or grey hair.
So I stopped dyeing my hair in January.
To be honest, I had been transitioning before that. For a while, I had only been dyeing the top layers of my hair, so there was a lot of silver underneath. And last November or December, I had started only dyeing the part of my hair. So even more of the lower layers of my hair had started to turn silver.
My hairstylist who is amazing (thanks, Angela!) cut layers in my hair in my last haircut, and you can see a lot of silver in my lower layers.
For a while I contemplated going to a salon. I thought about having my hair bleached and getting highlights and low lights to help with the transition.
But I noticed that the part of my hair that wasn’t dyed was much healthier than the part that was. And I decided that I wasn’t going to put chemicals on my hair anymore, unless it was necessary. (i.e. Like for work, but I don’t think that will be necessary.)
I thought the transition would be hard, but it hasn’t been.
As my grey has been growing out, I wear my hair up a lot…
or with sunglasses over it because the grey is not as noticeable that way…
Like this–this is my favorite scarf, by the way. I wear it all the time.
…and so I can hide it on days I don’t want to draw attention to it. But honestly, not very many people have noticed. And the ones that have have been complimentary so far.
And since I stopped dyeing the lower layers of my hair, they have really nice silver growth. Aoon I am going to start parting my hair on the other side because I will have really nice silver streaks.
And then I will just keep going from there.
This is January.
And this is today. This picture has a filter on it because I liked the tint it added. You can see the original below.*
I love seeing how my silver hair looks in different lighting. And I love how its shimmer changes depending on the color of clothes and even the color of lipstick I wear.
I have had the same color hair my whole life, and I find that as my silver grows in, I both feel like me and also like a new and daring version of me.
When I think of what made me decided finally to go through with this process, I realize that it is because dyeing my hair made me feel afraid. A while ago, I made a decision that I wanted to live from love and not fear. And I have been conscientiously doing that in most areas of my life.
When I realized that dyeing my hair was causing me so much fear, I decided I needed to find a way to live from love instead. And I am so glad I did.
I have loved finding a community of women who are all embracing their natural grey and silver and doing it with beauty and grace. Also, I love taking care of my hair and the earth in a way that makes me feel good. And I love being my natural self.
Our hair and what we do with it is very personal. No one should be shamed or pressured into dyeing their hair or letting it go grey.
I just want to say to you that whatever stage of your life you are in, you are beautiful and worthy. And you don’t have to be ashamed of being exactly who you are.
Update: I am close to my one year anniversary of going silver, and I am loving it. Here is my hair now:
This post is dedicated to Mom who has the most beautiful silver and grey hair and who has inspired me my whole life.
If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing on social media.
* Unfiltered picture.
Published by shellypruittjohnson
My name is Shelly Johnson, and I am a writer and philosopher with a Ph.D. in philosophy. One of my primary personal and philosophical interests is how we can learn to love ourselves and each other better in order to cultivate personal and political resilience. I teach ethics and a variety of other courses at a local college. I am the author of the blog Love is Stronger. I am also the author of three logic and critical thinking books for high school and middle school: _Argument Builder_, _Discovery of Deduction_ (co-author), and _Everyday Debate_, published by Classical Academic Press. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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9 thoughts on “I am Letting My Hair Go Silver”
I think the important thing is to feel like yourself and to be happy as yourself! 🙂
I think that is exactly right, Ann! This is such a personal decision that people must make on their own.
This is such a feel good post, Shelly. I too have been noticing women with beautiful silver hair. A couple of years ago, I read a Facebook post written by someone who had had cancer when she was young. She wrote about how people seemed to disapprove of her grey hair, but she saw the greys as a triumph that she had lived to be old enough to have grey hair. It made me look at grey hair in a completely different light, as well as other signs of ageing. I am sometimes alarmed at my signs of ageing (wrinkly arms for instance) but I think back to that woman’s post and it gives me perspective.
Ali, I really understand all these feelings. I have sometimes struggled with sadness or alarm at signs of aging. I have really been wanting to figure out how to embrace it because, well, it’s going to happen whether we like it or not. My current silver hair journey has really been helping me embrace aging, and I am so excited about it.