My Transition To Silver
I never thought I would reach the point in my life that I let my hair go gray. Many factors led up to this point in my decision to finally free myself from dye and highlights and join the silver sisterhood. My natural color was brunette and I started dying my hair in my early twenties. The ritual began by experimenting with different brown colors and shades for fun then I eventually found it necessary to cover up the quickly emerging gray hairs that were taking over my head. For about 30 years, I colored at home with a one step process but in more recent years I had it professionally colored and highlighted at a salon.
Once my gray took over, the dye didn’t stick to the hair shaft as well as it did when I was younger. After about a month the rich color began to fade and look brassy. In addition, my hair grows fast and I was spraying my roots with temporary color at three weeks just to get me to week four when I could justify going back to the salon. At three weeks, my new growth looked white against my darker color and the demarcation line was very obvious.
During the last few years, I started to get more highlights to blend the color and soften the demarcation line. Eventually, I became more blonde – a color that did not really feel natural on me. I didn’t feel like myself when I looked in the mirror. The lighter color did help soften the demarcation line but it also began to fade shortly after the application, looking brassy and dry. I’m a curly girl and the dryness was affecting the texture of my hair. I was becoming progressively more frustrated with the whole coloring process.
Six months after turning the Big Six-O I decided to let my gray roots grow out. While my natural color was brunette, I had not seen “natural” in a very long time so I wasn’t really sure what shades of gray, white or brown were underneath the years of colored and highlighted hair. Once I made the decision to stop coloring, I cancelled my hair appointment and let the roots grow out for two months so I could see what color my hair actually is. I was surprised at how much natural dark color I still had! My “natural” color was more of a dark silver tone than I anticipated.
As I mentioned above, my hair is curly so I wear it long to weight the curls down a bit for better style control. The transition to gray is a long process and I don’t have the patience to wait the two to three years for the roots to grow out on their own, especially with long hair. I found a stylist who helped a friend change to silver with highlights and lowlights and I set up the appointment to start the transition.
I could have scheduled the appointment to sit in the chair for 12 hours for the quick and instant transformation but there was concern about frying my hair with all the chemicals needed for highlights and lowlights. We discussed the options and decided to transition in phases starting with heavy highlights for the “salt”. The “pepper” would be added with lowlights in two months to give my hair time to recover. This first phase still took about four hours in the chair because the stylist had to work carefully to highlight small sections to blend my gray for a natural look without touching my roots. I was very, very blonde after this. Again, not really feeling natural to me but she told me to trust the process so I tried to be patient while I was “blonde”.
Two months later I was ready for the next phase of the process where she whitened my “salt” a little more then “peppered” my hair with lowlights to blend the darker areas. After another four hours in the chair the big reveal showed my dark and silvery hair color and I could not even see the demarcation line at all! It was like artistic magic!
It’s only been about six months since I stopped coloring my roots so I’m still in transition and that does require maintenance such as toner to help get rid of any yellow or brassy tones while my lowlights and highlights grow out.
When I began this silver journey, many of my friends and relatives could not believe I was going to let my hair go gray! I was told I was “brave” or it’ll make me look “old”. I made this decision for many personal reasons but mainly because I was ready to accept turning sixty years old and don’t think the hair color is what makes someone “old”. The process was actually very liberating for me. I’m a very active person who stays current with styles, exercises regularly and maintains a healthy diet so I don’t think going silver ages someone. Gray or silver is just another hair color and I am super happy with my progress and results.
Thinking of going gray? There are several methods to transition including going cold turkey or blending the growth with highlights and lowlights like I did. There is a lot of information on the internet from other silver sisters which I found very helpful and also encouraging. Pinterest was a great resource for photos and suggestions. Do the research and find out what works for you if you decide to join this silver journey, too! If you have any questions please feel free to reach out!
Photo: Hair color transition from April 2022-April 2023