inner + outer beauty

platinum hair: three benefits of going gray

arden t reece, before and after going gray

It’s been a while since I’ve written about being “gray” since my transition essentially ended over a year ago. And I’ve been meaning to get a proper before and after together for you and finally got around to doing it — with much photoshop manipulation (I’ll explain below.)

 

I know that going gray is an issue for every woman because many feel that it ages you or limits your job opportunities.  I can see how that may be the case for some — there is gray hair that is best left colored in my opinion.  But there are quite a few women that have platinum hair or dominantly platinum in which I think it looks lovely.  I was lucky — probably because I started going gray at 19.  People ask me all the time if I would ever go back to coloring and you couldn’t pay me a million dollars to do so.  I’ve had dreams where I had my hair colored back to auburn and I’d wake up in total terror — those are true nightmares for me.

So why the color nightmares?  Here’s 3 reasons why — and hopefully it will debunk some gray hair myths you may have:

  1. Gray hair — hair with no pigment — is soft.  My hair is so much softer now AFTER I quit coloring it.  Yes, I have a few crazies but not like when I colored my hair which was like straw (of course I didn’t know it was straw-like until I had normal hair to compare it to.)
  2. Gray hair is not a sign of age.  How you behave is. And, I’m not gray everywhere! uh-em.
  3. Gray hair can be hip.  It does not mean you are letting yourself go.  Pu-lease. It’s how you wear it. Your overall personal style just gets magnified so you do want to wear the right colors because your coloring changes and you can’t wear the trends at all because you will look old. LOL — it’s true.

So, there you have it.  The before photo shown is from a photoshoot so the lighting is fab and the current photo of me on right is from a very candlelit dinner at Bouchon — I had to photoshop the crap out of it to take the yellow overcast out, but this is pretty true to my coloring.  I think — you don’t have to agree — that I look better and more authentic with my natural hair.

+++++

Check out the latest Today Show segment about Going Gray featuring Diana and the gals from GoingGrayLookingGreat.com!

58 Comments

  1. 1

    I think your gray hair is beautiful! I have always loved gray hair and I am pretty sure that I will allow mine to be gray when the time comes. My mom has completely gray hair at age 46 and I am always trying to get her to stop coloring it. Maybe she will let go of her insecurities one day and do it. I am 29 and I only have a few sparse gray hairs once in a while, but hopefully it will be totally white like my mom and grandma.

    • 2

      thanks Nikki! Maybe your mom will eventually decide to embrace it. It’s much harder to make the decision and go through with the grow out phase because it does change how you see + feel about yourself. Our hair is the one thing that makes us feel feminine.

  2. 3

    Well, a well timed article, as I was just asked about MY hair, which has been gray for 2 years now. In my 30’s I started graying from deep brown hair, and it was fast, followed by years of color, highlights,lowlights. I quit. My hair grew so fast I could not keep up with the line of gray hair growing in in 2 days!!!
    Ladies, nothing looks worse than someone who looks like they dunked in a vat of red hair dye, etc…. Your hair in this before and after is nicely done, you look good both ways…BUT…. the softness in the after is very flattering to you. Your point of it’s not the color, but HOW you wear it….how true. I do not regret it a bit, as I see women look at me with JEALOUSY sometimes, that I am free of the race of faking it. I want authentic beauty. I am not 22. I am 55, and I feel great. I look great. so there!!! all you poor suckers sitting all day in the salon.

    • 4

      woo hoo! Susan, you made me laugh out loud – but you always seem to do that with me. I love it that you are a beautiful gray. It brings such a sense of freedom, doesn’t it?

  3. 5

    “Freedom’s just another word
    for nothin left to lose”

    or in this case:
    nothin left to pretend what you are not

    embrace the changes
    embrace your age, your time
    take your place in time…make it nice for yourself!!
    be confident and happy with your beauty you DO have, NOW!

    THAT will make you beautiful-

  4. 7
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  6. 10

    I just got most of the coffee brown color chopped off yesterday– I have a very short cut now. I got so tired of the endless touching up of temples only to see sparkles in a matter of days–I didn’t realize how damaged my hair had gotten until it fell into my lap at the salon. Now I’m hoping I’m a nice pale silver instead of the mouse color I was a few years back when I broke down and colored again. You look so beautiful platinum. I wonder if I should just bleach out my hair if it’s too drab, or is that just another damaging habit I’ll have to kick? I cannot go back to weekly root touch ups, for sure.

    • 11

      a gal after my own heart! I chopped mine off too. My hair didn’t look platinum at first – it was tabby cat gray and dark brown. ugly. But, as it grew, I got more and more platinum. So, this is where you need to be patient because it’s like watching grass grow. 😀

      If it turns out it’s still not the color that makes you sparkle, then you can safely go 2 shades lighter than your real color which hopefully is close to a blond so the roots aren’t as noticeable. A good colorist can help you if that’s the case!

  7. 12

    Thanks — Sounds kind of Zen, actually! Watch patiently as the shiny metal emerges from its dusty chrysalis.

    I have also been wondering if the mineral makeup that has stained my bathroom windowsill and grout might also have contributed to the drabness the last time…gotta get me some gray hair shampoo that isn’t Shimmer Lights–cannot stand the smell of that. I’m liking a moister gel/cream makeup now, so…

  8. 13
  9. 14

    You were lovely with dark hair but you are absolutely stunning with gray. If I can look only half as good as you do with my gray then I will be a very happy woman.

  10. 15
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  12. 17

    Your coloring just works so well with your hair. I wonder if that’s the point – our coloring changes to match our hair and we fight it, and fight it, and fight it, always unhappy.

    sigh. I have been going grey since my very very early 20’s. By 30 I was proclaimed by my hairdresser “pretty much fully grey”. Like another poster said previously, the grow out from the dye happens within a few days for me. My hair was almost black. I’ve been dying it this dark brown with highlights color for years and when I think about it, my kids have never seen my “natural” hair, and my husband hardly remembers it. I have great “WHITE” genes in my family, grandmothers on both side had gorgeous hair. I have ever reason to think maybe I would to. But yet, I have no idea why I continue to dye it.

  13. 18

    Teresa, honestly, you look younger and softer and lovelier in the after picture. For real. And when you said you were going gray, I wasn’t sure WHAT you were thinking, lol!! I thought it was going to age you. But it doesn’t. I love it. :-)

  14. 20
  15. 21

    I love the new website, and the new pic! The grey is beautiful on you – great cut and style too. You look fab!
    After taking your ‘Bootcamp class’, where I had so many grey roots, I decided to dye my hair with semi permanent dyes, and let it grow out for awhile longer while I used the semi. I just chopped off 6 inches. I am now waiting for all of my grey to grow out and then I’m going to just let the dye wash out for the last time and see how it looks. I’m hoping it will be white like my grandmothers but if not, I still think I’ll be able to live with it and hopefully love it like you do. I’ll keep you posted. Hope all is well with you!

  16. 23

    Wow . . your hair is so white and lovely and looks much better long. And I think sexy on a young woman. How does your hubby like you being all-white? Oh – you are not totally white everywhere? :)

  17. 25

    Reminds me of the Sex in the City episode where Samantha had the opposite problem :) and found a stray gray “down there”!

    What’s a woman to do?! . . . thank goodness the modern woman has evolved and is confident in how she looks naturally.

  18. 26

    So glad I found this. I have very dark brown eyes and was wondering if I could go gray successfully. I thought only light-eyed women would look good. Your eyes seem to be dark too, and you look beautiful.

  19. 27

    Thank you going natural hero.

    I am still coloring but with the very temporary rinses (applied by my stylist). I missed my last color and wowzers do I have a lot of white hairs. I figure in a year or so I can quit coloring altogether and have awesome white or mostly white hair. The temporary rinses only last 6 – 8 weeks on my hair. I was born with some white hairs so I will be a trip to see what I look like with a head full of them.

    The down side is that even with the coloring, at 49 I am already invisible. And I am still very actively working. In fact, I am planning a shift to a new industry in about 5 years. I dread the thought of having to color to get a job.

    But on the other hand, I secretly aspire to the Miranda Priestly look.

  20. 28

    My first visit to the site and WOW-great topic, thoughtful, intelligent, beautiful women! Advice please: I’ll be 59 next month and would love to go gray, but I’m afraid my skin tone won’t like it. I’m blond, blue-eyed, and colored my hair red for years which looked completely natural on me. I’ve always thought young-looking women with silver hair look gorgeous. Do you think there’s a gray for everyone? How do I find mine? BTW, Teresa, your transformation is STUNNING!

    • 29

      Katherine – thank you and I don’t think gray is for everyone. However, I do think it’s freeing in every way and that most women who do decide to take the plunge, enjoy it — not all though! I know some who go back to coloring. It really is a personal decision.

      As for your coloring, it sounds like gray (silver, platinum) would look fantastic on you. You won’t know what kind of gray you’ll have until you grow it out a bit. 😉

  21. 30

    Your long gray hair is really stunning. So nice to see a young woman embrace the gray and wear it with confidence. The jewelry/accessories give you a glamorous,classy, and sexy look. Love it!

  22. 31

    Gray actually is for everyone, but few know how to work with it. We often think it’s just a hair color change when it’s really a make-over. Makeup, clothing, accessories all have to be re-evaluated when we go grey.

    We want to use the same make-up and wear the same colors we’ve always worn which may not work with our new tress shade. But we blame it on our hair color.

    We never complained that Mother Nature messed up in giving us our first hair color. I’ve never heard any one say “Dang that Mother Nature for giving me red-honey-blonde-chestnut-black hair, it clashes with my skin tone.”

    It’s our own fear of change that makes us say “I’d love to stop coloring, but I’d be so washed out.” or “I don’t have (insert ideal grey shade) that she has, I could never look good in grey.”

    I can’t count how many times I’ve mumbled these words too. The truth was I was just scared. I still am. I haven’t colored in two months and some days I want to run to the drug store for a fix.

    Mother nature has the right grey for each of us gals.
    The key is learn how to style around your new look, ‘s’all. You may or may not have to switch to some different colors.

    Best wishes to everyone who’s “brave” or more likely fed up with coloring.

  23. 32

    I am so happy I found your site. I have (had) auburn hair that for years was coming in a very drab gray/brown so I kept coloring it auburn. It is now coming in almost all white so next month, right before my 49th B’day, I am going to dye it platinum and then will hopefully be able to stop coloring at some point after that. Your hair is beautiful and it is a fine inspiration to me.

  24. 34

    You look so much more chic and sophisticated with sparkling silver. I’ve also found that lighter hair has a softening effect on older women (not that you look old, quite the contrary!)

    I took the platinum plunge when I turned 50 two years ago. My hair had been slowly turning silver since my late 20s and I’d been using a semi-permanent light blonde color for years, so I was almost there anyway. (Original color was dark brown, many years ago,) My hair color now is much like yours, and I love it! It is below shoulder length and very striking.

    A word of caution, however. If you decide to go silver, you must be very careful to wear colors that don’t wash you out completely, as well as intensifying your makeup colors a little. If your skin, hair, and clothing are too muted, you risk appearing like a blank sheet of notebook paper!

    Not having to dye or touch up my hair all the time is such a freedom. I get more compliments than ever, and I would definitely recommend jettisoning the hair dye forever.

  25. 35
  26. 36

    Just had my 50th birthday in August and have been thinking of going natural. After reading your article I realized that seems to be the magical age for some to consider embracing the silver locks. I appreciate your site, as it inspires me all the more. Teresa, I love your silver hair. You look maaahvelous!!! Thank you

  27. 37

    love your hair…..will turn 60 next month..I have brown hair and eyes….hate having to color every month…..you really inspire me…..how did you being to go natural…would frosting help with transition?

    • 38

      Hi Melissa! There are tons of tricks to go gray gracefully. Frosting can help but – it depends on how dark your brown is. You can get it lightened up to two levels and then add some highlights to minimize the outgrowth. I ended up cutting my hair off. Not easy to do because I don’t like my hair short. Definitely check out http://www.goinggraylookinggreat.com/ — there is a great community forum there!

  28. 39

    Hi Teresa, I am so happy I found your post! My gray story is almost exactly the same as yours, starting graying about 19, and am now 41. It feels like I JUST colored my hair, and I already have awful roots, again! I’ve spent the past hour online trying to find support for letting my hair go gray (society and my sisters say I should, but really, do I have to?), and everything I found posted was by older women, until you. You have inspired me! I am sick of course hair that looks like straw with constant roots! I don’t want to spend the next 20 years coloring my hair. I may be only 41, but I’m ready to be done. You look so beautiful and natural in your after picture! Thank you for your post and inspiration!

    • 40

      Hi! Just found this article and was reading the posts. I am also tired of coloring. I just turned 43 and have to get my hair colored every 2-3 weeks. I am a brunette and i just can’t hide the gray hairs anymore. The gray is winning! I HATE going to the salon. Highlights have helped some but I am so very tired of it all. Just wondering, did you go through with no more coloring?

  29. 41
  30. 42

    Gray hair is in today. Go gray and don’t look back! You will get used to the double-takes and the comments about how striking it is on a 41 year old!

  31. 43
  32. 44

    Hi there,
    I’ve been reading all your comments about going gray. Well, I’m 47, very sporty and doing weightlifting 4 times per week. I started going gray after my husband left the family when I was 30! As I am a darkhaired and darkeyed “girl” I colored it regularly, I mean every 4 weeks, when my hairstylist advised me to put highlight in my hair. I said yes, let’s go for some highlights. As My hair is long and wavy it looked stunning. And guess what, after years of highlighting I went for a mixture between golden/honey/champagne hair color. It looks awesome, makes me look 10 years younger and well great! I still have it very long and smooth, naturally styled. Besides: My second husband is 8 years younger than me and nobody noticed the difference of age until we told them.
    So, I believe every women has to make a choice for what is best for her looks. I never felt better, blond hair makes you look like an angel, especially if it’s really healthy and shiny! I am not going gray in the near future.

  33. 45

    Hi Teresa: Well you’ve got me thinking. I am feeling imprisoned by the dye! My question is HOW? Did you just stop coloring cold turkey and live with a solid line between your grey and your old colored hair? Did you do low lights to blend it until the colored hair was grown out? Did you get a shorter look to expedite the length of time it took to grow it out? I’ll be honest I’m thrilled and terrified of the prospect and would love to do it gracefully so your (or anyone else’s) words of advice are oh so welcome.

  34. 46

    Muriel it is all a personal choice, however, I think 47 is the perfect time to go au naturale and let the gray grow out while you are young. See Teresa’s gorgeous platinum! Your darkhaired/dark eye complexion and long hair will make it even more stunning. Just my opinion.

  35. 47

    Hi to everyone who got the courage to let the silver threads in I have had mine for one year now after years of coulouring from blonde to brunette and I muvst say I feel so liberated and. A big thanks for the great ideals for what coulour to wear with my silvery blue tinge the hair dresses thought I had put a blue rinse in it nooo chance iam happy

  36. 48

    We loose pigment from our hair skin and eyes as we age, therefore our lighter hair should match skin and eyes therefore we should not go darker than how grey our hair is eg. a blonde or any other colour of the same depth would be fine.

  37. 49

    I started going gray at 15 with one particularly annoying skunk stripe from the left side of my head to the right. OF COURSE I colored that. But like another poster, my hair grew so quickly that soon coloring was an every week thing. Frankly…I don’t need strong chemicals that close to my brain every week. It has been all platinum for a long time…and hey…now I am an old fart (60) and it is down to my waist and platinum. I will color my hair when Emmy Lou Harris colors hers (ain’t gonna happen) and NO ONE says she looks old. No one says I do either. But even younger people of both genders do stop me and tell me how gorgeous my hair is. I choose to believe them!

  38. 50

    I am a 34 year old business owner in the fitness industry- specifically Zumba. I have a lot of gray in the front and I’m dying (pun intended) to let it grow out. Is 34 too young?

    • 51

      It really depends on the tone of your growth and how it looks with your skin. A great cut will make a difference. Let it grow and try it. If you hate it you can always go back to the bottle.

  39. 52

    I am 58, almost 59. Just had my hair cut real short and a few highlights put in to assist with the transition. I am very excited to see my new self. My two brothers have gorgeous white hair. And my 93 year old mother just stopped colouring her hair red — her hair is white, thick, curly and gorgeous. I wanted her to stop colouring a long time ago. I think watching her has made me want to do this now. You look much younger and really gorgeous and unique with your grey hair.

  40. 53

    You look great and you inspire me. I just turned 43 and until 6 weeks ago was dying my hair every two weeks. I’ve been thinking about stopping for a long time now but never had the courage. I finally hit a wall when I went to a salon and had my hair colored way too dark. I then had to return to get some highlights. It dried out and damaged my hair and for what? A two week grace period?. It was awful. I just got so tired of feeling bad about myself every time I saw that gray line down the middle of my scalp or a hair that somehow missed color coverage. I hate the smell, the sting, the hours in the chair or in my bathroom trying to cover up the grays! I think about that line in the movie Fatal Attraction when Glenn Clise tells Michael Douglas “I won’t be ignored!!” We’ll, my grays won’t be ignored and I don’t want to ignore them either:) I actually liked it when my hair started turning gray but everyone under the sun told me to dye it! 6 weeks since my last dye job. It’s like I’ve let the flood gates open and the gray is rushing in. But I’m happy about my decision! I just pray I don’t give up! Thank you for your inspirational story!

  41. 54

    I am 72 – much older than most of your other respondents. I have been trying to go gray from my natural dark brown for about 5 years. The front in almost white, but what dark hairs I have there look almost black. The back of my hair has little gray in it and also looks very dark. I want to be completely white-gray. How can I camouflage the dark hair and enhance the gray I already have without bleaching? I have always worn my hair in a short “Pixie” style which I like very much. I don’t have much of a root problem.

  42. 55

    Angie definitely not. It is much trendier not to mention striking for younger women to rock their natural gray. It is all about attitude.

  43. 56

    starting at 18 and for about 7 years, i colored my hair dark auburn. it was a case of rebellion at that time of my life. i am now 55 and have all dark grey hair with lots of silver, about half. i don’t love it but i don’t hate it.
    i’ve been considering going platinum just for the fun of it, but i am too shy for the attention that potentially could follow; coloring my hair would be an act of courage. :)
    you look very pretty no matter what color you have in your hair. both pix are lovely imo.
    it all really boils down to how you feel about it. have fun with life! color you hair or don’t! it matters not what others think!!! life is much too short to worry about what’s on the outside.
    “beauty is skin deep, ugly is to the bone” and “it’s what’s inside that counts”

  44. 57

    You look stunning!! I have been wanting to go grey for a while now I am 53 this year and my hair is dark brown ,and yes every two weeks I have to colour it.
    But I have come to the decision(which I’ve really thought about) I am going to shave it all off this year for children in need and start from beginning!! I’ve loads of hats etc and summer is coming also.
    So wish me luck I will send before and after pictures.
    It will be glad not to colour my hair every two weeks and having a itchy scalp.

  45. 58

    You look stunning!! I’m soooooo jealous I’ve been wanting to do mine for ages now! I have long dark hair and I’m so grey,I colour my hair every two weeks with itchy scalp and burning.
    I have come to the decision I’m going to shave off all my hair for children in need and start from the beginning and I won’t feel so bad!! Drastic! I know , but my scalp won’t take any more. Will show pictures of before and after.
    Godless ladies.Xxx

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