illustrator Aubrey Hirsch pictures an enviable transition
As a (former) blonde, I'd been convinced that letting my grey grow in would make me look completely washed out. And my long-time hair dresser (who just may have had a financial incentive) told me not to do it, and that I'd totally have to change my look, and start wearing bold colors to make up for my new, wan look. I did it anyway (and got a new hairdresser) and I love it. Obviously it's great to be done with the dyes and expense. But it turns out my hair isn't so much grey as it is silver, and the color is such a better fit for my complexion than the dyed blonde was. I can still wear pastels and they look just fine. Let's start a movement to refer to "going silver" instead of "going grey." PS - I just realized that I have to update my Substack photo!
Love this, and I commented the last gray post you shared. I have had every color hair of the rainbow over the decades, since I was 16. I stopped coloring my hair at 50, and it was the best decision I made. I am now 53. My husband encouraged me, saying, "you will look insanely sexy." Guess, what, he was right, ya'll! I get stopped on the street every. single. day. A barber ran out of his shop on Satruday and said "OMG, girl, you are fabulous with that hair!" I have long salt and pepper hair, with very white temples now, and I feel like a perimenopause sex goddess! GO FOR IT, you may be surprised!
I stopped having my grey covered during the pandemic. My hair grows fast, so it took very little time even though my hair is not short. I’ve gotten used to how it looks, but I can’t say I love it. I’m accepting it though. I really don’t want to go through the grow-out phase again.
The color itself is not bad on me. I’m maybe 30-40% grey? I’m fair-skinned, with cool undertones and blue-green eyes. Silver is a good metal on me. So it’s not an unpleasant color on me from a flattery standpoint. I get compliments.
However, I do miss my dark brown hair. I miss the contrast in my coloring. The texture of my natural hair is different - it doesn’t blow out straight as easily, and it’s not as shiny. But most of all, I do feel like it marks me firmly as “older.” I now look my age (58) and not a moment younger, and a lifetime of conditioning has trained me to value looking younger -- yes, I am fighting that attitude in my own head.
So I accept and appreciate the saved time and money, the possible health benefits, and self-acceptance of living a dye-free later phase of life.
I stopped dying my hair at age 48 because I was simply tired of doing so (I started going grey in my 20's––as did my mother and grandmother). My hair is now mostly white, yet people always think I'm YOUNGER than I am. How unexpected is that?!?! As to clothing...the only color that doesn't look good with my hair and complexion is black so I've switched (over the years) to grey and navy which both look smashing with white hair.
First heart of the day!
Completely understand and appreciate her point of view, but I'm not ready to go there yet. In fact, I'm dying mine later this morning. (Also, she didn't ditch the dye entirely, since she said she's experimenting with all kinds of colors.)
I don't think staying brunette makes me look younger; it makes me look healthy. Gray hair looks different on different people, depending on their complexions, and also depending on the color of the gray or white hair itself. Some women look gorgeous in it. I remember a woman at my gym years ago who had porcelain skin and the most beautiful masses of long, fluffy gray-white hair. She looked amazing. I asked her if it was natural or if she actually dyed it that way. She said people asked her that question all the time. All natural, she said.
My skin is sallow, and gray hair makes me look ill.
I think of hair dye the same way I think of makeup and clothing: I like it. It's pretty. It's fun. And it takes only a few minutes to do the roots, which is all I do. I get the salon treatment only once a year. I don't want to spend so much money regularly on the only thing they do differently, which is to cover every single hair on my head.
Anyway, we all know the drill: à chacun son goût!
Count me in as another who stopped dying during COVID lockdown and never went back. I also went from short to long hair and had my color chart done to adjust my wardrobe. I love it (most days). This whole grey hair = old societal dynamic has to change, and I feel like I need to send myself and my kids a better message. Silver hair is a color that is as legitimate as any other. I wear it proudly.
In the twilight of my days, you can bet your last dollar that I’ll be that same unapologetic redhead, as unwavering as the day I stepped into this mad circus of a world. This strawberry blonde mane of mine? It’s not merely a hue; it’s the pulsating heart of my very being, a radiant halo that dances to the rhythm of my every erratic step. It mirrors the zany twists of my persona, dovetails with the peculiarities of my being, and salutes my Irish blood.
This fiery crown atop my head is far more than mere threads of protein; it’s a loud, unyielding testament to my essence. To those misguided souls daring enough to suggest a shade alteration, heed this warning: You’re not just meddling with a few follicles. Oh no, you’re poking the bear, the very soul of a defiant, spirited, unmistakably Irish redhead.
Tread carefully, for you tread on my dreams.
I really appreciate this post. I started going gray when I was 14. I’m 27 now, and I’m about 30% gray (thought it looks like more since the grays are really concentrated in the front/near my face).
My biggest issue with my grays is more the TEXTURE than the color.
I’ve had a plenty of people my age (starting when it became noticeable at 16, to current day) tell me they wished their hair would have “cool silver” in it. Thought that usually changes when I let them feel my hair and they realize grays/silvers have a crazy texture to them
100% my story. ALSO ... I did it during Covid, the first insane lockdown. That eased the process.
I had an easy way to grow out the gray since I had chemo. It was one of the few plusses. No skunk line and I love the gray. And I’m so glad not to have to run to the salon every 4 weeks
I dyed my hair on September 10, 2001. I had just turned 30, I had gone through a devastating breakup, and I was on a road trip from Boston to Nashville to re-register my car (cheaper insurance if I kept it registered in Nashville). I dyed my hair purple in a hotel room in Maryland. I woke up the next morning, looked in the mirror, and questioned all my life choices. When I got into my car I turned on the radio instead of immediately playing my CDs. All radio stations were nothing but news of the tragedies unfolding that day.
When I got back to Boston a few days later I went to a nice salon and had them turn my hair back from purple to dark brown again. And I've never dyed my hair since. The silver streaks are there now, but I feel like I've earned them all.
I wish I could post a photo here to show you what I ended up with. Stripes! Super symmetrical stripes of dark brown & platinum silver. My hair is a long shag; I look like a geriatric rockstar, it's insane. Give it a shot because you never know what's going on under there.
So delightful! Thank you Aubrey and Val!
At 48, I'm seeing more and more greys come in...but have never dyed my hair and don't plan on doing so. I don't mind the look of grey hair and actually kind of like it. But similar to what Caroline commented below, I don't love the texture of my grey hairs (which wouldn't change with dyeing anyway). I welcome any advice around that and especially tips that are natural/non-toxic and uncomplicated.
Also, I totally get that the bigger point is to befriend all of it, texture included. I'm working on that part, but welcome tips all the same!
I stopped coloring my dk brown hair about 6 years ago for many of the reasons listed above. My daughter said I would hate it. I don't. I love it and all the shades from brown to silver, predominantly the latter. I've always had fair, sparse brows and lashes so daily make up was routine. I've kept it up. It helps. I also realize that some clothing colors are not flattering- lavender, for one. No big deal. A water filter in the shower helps maintain the silver color. And a good hairstyle earns me compliments! Great article and graphics!
To dye or not to dye? Not exactly Shakespeare, but the question does generate a lively conversation. Love Aubrey Hirsch’s delightful graphic adventures in “going silver.”
Would consider same, but previous attempts to do so did not “spark joy.”
Going silver is an issue for those of us with thinning hair. When your tresses are a lighter hue, your scalp is more visible. Color-treated roots work like camouflage. Hair color treatments/highlighting also swell up the hair shaft, making hair feel thicker.
Of course, attitude makes a difference. Over time, my dad’s naturally blonde hair gradually darkened to a dark ash blonde, and then began to go gray, then white. Instead of reaching for a box of “Just for Men,” my dad would blithely say, “My hair’s not gray; it’s silver blonde.” Is it true blondes have more fun? My dad always did! Thanks to you and Aubrey for a fabulous post!
I love how this information/opinion was presented in this way - thank you to Aubrey Hirsch! I have a box of deep brown dye in my bathroom, as my partner recently made more of a point of me being 60 (and he's 48 and also has grey BTW!!!). This resulted in my feeling a little insecure; however, the box continues to sit and I continue to contemplate whether to dye again or not. My sake?