A couple of years ago, at the ripe young age of 43, I decided to grow out my grey hair. I got tired of the every few week hair coloring bill, and figured I could save the money and the chemicals and just own it.
I’m not saying it was an easy decision. Thanks to society, women with grey hair are considered “old,” unlike men with grey hair, who are considered “silver foxes.” And given that I do a fair amount of work in the public eye (related: have you seen my latest video?), I was worried that it might actually affect my income.
But I figured, I could always color it, so why not give it a try?
I learned a lot along the way, which I’m going to share with you here, just in case you’re considering growing out your grey hair. With so many of us skipping salon visits during the pandemic and spending waaaaay more time at home, I know lots of women are making the choice (yay!). It can be tough, however, so use these tips to make the process a little easier.
(And PS: I freaking LOVE my hair now. I really do).
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1. Talk to your hair stylist
Before you decide to just go cold turkey, there are a couple of options that can make the grow out way less painful. (Yes, I know “pain” is relative, but those two inch grey roots with dark hair is pretty rough – trust me). My own stylist started highlighting my hair when I made the decision, so by the time I had a few inches of roots, it was actually not that easy to tell the difference (and my natural color is dark brown). I didn’t need to go very often, so I wasn’t spending a ton of money, and it really worked well.
This is me about 8 months in!
You can also have your stylist dye your head grey, which you might have seen in a bunch of Instagram photos, but let me tell you, that’s freaking expensive, and very hard to maintain. It seems verrrry tempting though, as does going blonde (I even considered it), but again, it’s a lot of money and time to maintain.
2. Invest in a little root concealer
A good root concealer will go a really long way during those early days, when you’ve got an inch or so of grey. It would take a lot of spray to cover it completely, but a few spritzes can go a long way – if you’re going out to dinner or getting photos taken – and you just don’t want to have that in your photos.
Part of me just wants to tell you to say “eff” it because really, who cares about that? But, the other part of me (the part of me that totally did this), says just use it and make yourself feel more confident if that helps. (Full disclosure: The L’Oreal root concealer at the drug store works very well. I’m not a fan of the brush on ones, to be honest).
3. Play around with different hairstyles
I’ve had my hair very short pretty often in my life, so cutting it in a sort flapper-esque bob was not an issue for me. And I admit that I was tempted to cut it in a pixie a few times (and I know that many people do). Now’s the perfect time to play around with different haircuts, or if you’re not comfortable with shorter hair, try different kinds of hair accessories. Headbands, turbans, braids, barrettes… there are lots of ways to use accessories to style your hair in a way that make the grey not as pronounced. I was introduced to Chunks by an Instagram follower, and now I’m obsessed! I’ve also had good luck at Anthropologie as well, like the leather headband pictured above.
4. As your hair grows, invest in good hair products
I haven’t found that my grey hair is different in texture than my regular hair, but that’s not always the case, especially for your curly ladies. I heard from several women on Instagram that their greys felt more wiry. To avoid this (or at least, cut way back on it), you’ll want to keep your hair super hydrated.
I’ve found This Organic Girl to be a fantastic resource. I bought this polishing balm on her recommendation, and so far really like it. I also bought this purple shampoo and I’m obsessed. I didn’t notice by greys getting yellow or brassy, but I decided it was worth using anyway. I only wash my hair a couple of times a week, and so far, so good! (Also: I know it’s expensive, but I’ve had it for a few months now and it’s still going. Pretty awesome!)
Hair masks, leave-in conditioners, and just cutting back on heat tools can also help keep your grey hair in awesome shape.
5. Be patient!
Growing out your grey is a process. It just is. It’s going to take some time and just like growing out a haircut you don’t love, there will be awkward stages. What’s been cool is that I’ve only ever gotten nice comments, because I think now, especially with the pandemic, we all know that keeping up with society’s “rules” about how we should look is way too much work (and if I may, total BS), so when we see our fellow women growing out our hair, it feels like a burn the bra sort of moment.
Got more questions? Hit me up on Instagram, or leave me a comment here and I’ll do my best to answer it.