inner + outer beauty

going gray: when to stop coloring your hair

when to stop coloring your hair

About 18 months ago, I did a post on one woman’s decision to eliminate her colorist and go gray. It has probably been one of the more popular posts here at Wardrobe 911 because it’s frightening and empowering at the same time.  On one hand you are embracing the aging of your body yet on the other hand, you are finally giving in to the fact that you no longer look young. That can be really tough, especially when you still FEEL young.

So when is the right time to stop coloring your hair?  It’s different for everyone.  Some never started coloring their hair.  Others let their gray grow out and then eventually start coloring it again.  Some do it around their 50th birthday.  Some never stop.

A beautiful hair color can enhance your looks, your coloring, and can be a true security blanket. So what do you do if you decide to stop coloring your hair? How do you hide the obvious outgrowth?

Well, I started going gray when I was 19. After 22 years of coloring my hair (I’m 41), I’ve made the not-so-easy decision to stop.  Why?  There are two reasons: one practical and the other more personal.

One reason is that I hate spending 3 hours getting my hair colored every TWO weeks.  Most women touch-up their roots every 6 weeks.  About two years ago, I started having to do it every 4 weeks.  Last year, every 3 weeks.  And now?  I’m at my 2 week mark and I have an inch outgrowth.  Colormark’s colorstick works great for now but anything over an inch will get trickier.

My second reason is that I really want to know what I look like with white/gray hair and a young face.  It’s complete curiosity.  There is a lot of fear around it too – especially because of what I do for a living!  But after sitting down with a friend and having a long discussion about it, I realized I’m ready.  He even said “You know, there is something elegant and confident about a woman with gray hair who has a youthful demeanor. Gray hair doesn’t make you old, how you feel about yourself does.”

So, with that I am completely excited about going gray.  How many of you are with me?  How many of you (regardless of age!) are ready to embrace your gray?  I’ll post once a month on my progress (with pictures!) along with giving you pointers on how to do it gracefully. Check out the posts on going gray here.


  1. 1

    I am 49. I’ve been coloring hair for about 32 years. I’ve been toying with goung gray, but daughter, and of course hairdresser disagreed. So I colored it a while longer. My fiance on the other hand wants me to as well. I don’t know why I didn’t assiciate all those chemicals with medical problems..duh..on my part. I as well have 2 autoimmune diseases. I don’t think my transition will be so hard. I have blonde/gray hair..currently died auburn, but what gray that is showing is blending in nicely. I have relatively long hair. The onlt trouble I see is where I hennaed at the bottom. Stubborn stuff won’t come out. Have new makeup ready to go. On another plus, I have been co-washing for the last 2 years, and it seems to have left me with some black underneath. Like this for added definition. Don’t know where the black hair came from. Good luck all!

  2. 2

    So, the questions is…

    Two compliments:

    1. You look so young for your age!
    2. Your hair is so beautiful! If my hair would look like that I would go natural. How do you get that color? I wish my wife would go natural.

    And I say… What is wrong with looking older? What is wrong with being older? Yes, I know… I live here too in this youth obsessed culture created by the companies that profit greatly from preying on our insecurities that they help create by advertizing all of their products that will supposedly correct our flaws. But is is difficult to go against the grain, to be empowered, because many do not “get it.” But do we really care about them? I know sometimes we do because they are a mirror. It takes a brave woman, a strong, woman, and a warrior to have this strength. So if you do make this choice, and when you come across these negative mirrors, remember that you are a warrior; and find another mirror. One that get’s it! 😉

  3. 3

    Got LOTS of grey !!!
    Not too worried ,and hubby loves it !
    But how to make it shiny/silky/soft ??
    It is very dry and coarse!!
    Feels like a brillo pad !
    But defo not colouring again !
    Any advice ???

    • 4

      If you use a blonde/gray toning shampoo such as Jhirmack, only use it 1-2 times a month as it can dry out your hair. I use coconut oil shampoo that I got at a health food store and then a deep conditioner and my hair is super soft. I do the purple Jhirmack shampoo twice a month to keep the yellow out.

  4. 5

    This is so awesome. I started going grey at 18 althought “grey” is a misnomer because the best I could describe it is a sparkly white. I am so tired of being a slave to coloring my hair and frankly I am also curious how I would look with my white hair!! I think I’m done coloring; owning my hair color!

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