When It’s Time to Grow Out the Gray

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Last year about this time when I found out I was pregnant with Zeke, I knew that I may potentially be done with ever dyeing my hair again. I considered dyeing it with an ammonia-free dye after my first trimester when they say it's safe to do so, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I think I was tired… tired of dyeing it, tired of the fumes, tired of it fading within such a short time. To put it simply, I was over it. I started to question then whether or not I should grow out the gray.

A little back story on the gray…

My first gray hair showed up when I was 16. It held back, for the most part, until I reached my early 30's when I started dyeing. The dye would last only a few weeks; then the gray was back with a vengeance. For awhile, I had this skunk stripe goin' on; I'd sometimes try to cover it up with my eyeliner pencil (works like a charm, by the way), and every so often, I'd dye it again. At one point, I had a hairstylist tell me that if I continued dyeing it at home, my hair would eventually be the texture of a horse's mane. Call me vain, but I didn't care at the time… All I knew was that I didn't want a head full of gray.

Eventually while expecting Zeke, the gray grew out long enough that it was no longer just a few roots showing. It was literally taking over my world. 

I felt like the gray made me look tired and old. Ironically, that's when the compliments started to come. A friend told me the silvery color was beautiful, which was when I realized that it was quite silvery vs. a duller gray. Then my dad (who normally teased me about my gray hair) came along and shared my grandma's story with me and how she had a head full of white hair at my age (38). It's a true family trait, written in my DNA. And then there was Dan, who encouraged me time and again to keep the gray, telling me over and over how much he loved my silvery hair.

The wheels in my silver streaked head began to turn, and I began to think that maybe I was looking at this all wrong.

I still hadn't made a decision when I decided that I'd just find a good hairstylist and have her help me. And by help, I meant HELP! What do I do with this mess? I hadn't had a haircut in over a year, bless her heart. The day before my appointment, I was really trying to make up my mind… Do I dye it? Do I grow out the gray? Should I cut it short? What should I do? Laugh if you will, but it was a really serious thing for me to grow out the gray at this “young” an age.

It's a beautiful sisterhood thing, this whole grow out the gray process…

And that's when I found a whole sisterhood of silver sisters. One of the first sites I came upon was How Bourgeois. First of all, I was drawn in by her photo (she had a full head of gorgeous platinum hair); but then I began to read her posts about her own experience growing out the gray. As I Googled some more and read some more, I became more and more encouraged. Silver hair really is a beautiful thing, especially when it involves a person learning to accept and embrace themselves the way they are and the way God's made them, even if that plan involves the gift of getting your first gray hair at the ripe old age of 16.

I knew it was time to let my gray do its thing. It was time to embrace who I am, gray hair and all. It was more a heart thing than anything, this decision of mine.

The next day as I went to my salon appointment, I had to stop in and ask directions. The receptionist there, out of nowhere, just went on and on about how beautiful my silver streaks were. I hadn't even had it cut yet. And when I finally reached the salon and told my stylist that I wasn't going to be dyeing, she completely agreed with me, telling me that my gray was a silvery color that looked good with my face and complexion. I 'bout fell out of my chair when she said that. I'd NEVER had a stylist tell me to keep the gray; they'd ALWAYS tried to get me to dye it. She cut my hair in a style that works for me for awhile (just while I let the gray grow out) and encouraged me to keep going, that it'd only be a couple more cuts and we'd have it all grown out.Encouragement for anyone who might be considering or going thru the same "grow out the gray" process… My experience, my struggles, and why I chose to let the gray do its thing. Silver hair, here I come!

I've always believed that God cares about even the tiniest of things in our lives, but that day I went to the salon, it was almost as if He were speaking directly to me through those women and confirming that I'd made the right choice, that He cared about this tiny decision of mine.

A little encouragement for anyone else who might be considering or going thru the same “grow out the gray” process… 

I've had a few friends reach out with their own stories of dyeing for years and their fears of going gray. When it's time to let go, you'll know. Don't let fear stop you from being who you are, both inside and out. You're NOT ugly, old, and tired just because of a few gray hairs. If anything, you're on trend (did you know gray hair was trendy?). You've earned every single one of those gray hairs. I like to think with gray hair comes wisdom. If it's a family trait, embrace and carry that trait with pride.

When it's time, you'll have a peace about it, you'll accept it, and you won't look back.

Encouragement for anyone who might be considering or going thru the same "grow out the gray" process… My experience, my struggles, and why I chose to let the gray do its thing. Silver hair, here I come!

And a HUGE plus? You'll never have to dye again, meaning you'll likely save a ton of money.

My mission now: To tame these wiry grays and make them softer than ever. Stay tuned for more grow out the gray adventures!

If you've been thinking about jumping ship on dyeing, you've got this! Email me or leave me a comment. I'd love to encourage you on your journey to growing out your gray.


26 thoughts on “When It’s Time to Grow Out the Gray”

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sure by now you are more then comfortable with your end result. I’m 6mths in and trying to stay the course. I do like what I see so far it’s just taking some time. I find when I’m questioning my decision I jump onto Pinterest and read other experiences to keep me motivated to continue the journey. Thanks again for sharing your journey and providing motivation to people like me. 😊

    • Thank you, Carrie. I’m glad you’re enjoying the journey so far. Like you, when I start to question, I hop onto Pinterest or Google and find encouragement to stay the course. My gray is all grown out now, but there’ve still been times I’ve been tempted. I can’t imagine going back, though, so I’m gray for life.

  2. Hi Mel
    I am 45 and my daughter is getting married next month. I let my gray hair grow since day 1. NEVER DYED MY HAIR! My husband likes it. My daughter wants me to put my hair up for the wedding. I always had a short hair but I have let it grow since last July. I like how you said that God cares about the color of your hair too. It is true that our hair is numbered before Him. I am debating whether to hide some (not all) of my gray hair for the wedding and it feels like I am making the biggest decision of my life. Pray for me!

  3. I have just made the decision to stop dying and let my gray grow! I also got my 1st gray hair early like 18 years old! I am now 39 and I am guessing about 75% gray if not more.

    • Carrie, good for you! My head is looking pretty gray these days. I still have streaks, but it’s really white when I go out in the sunlight. So happy not to be dyeing anymore, though. It’s a load off!

  4. Ho Mel — I stumbled upon this article looking for ideas to grow out my gray. As it turns out, we have a lot in common! I’m also a blogger, homeschool mom, boy mom (just one though), former nurse, and I grew up just outside Ft. Smith, AR (I’m in KY now). Just wanted to say hey because Inthought that was cool. Thanks for blogging about your hair, too :)

  5. I have decided to let my hair go grey. After 15 years or so of coloring my hair, I am tired of the whole process. 6 months ago I had to start dying my hair every 3 weeks. Now having issues with the color fading quickly in some parts of my hair. I think I may be coloring it way too often. It is not worth the cost and time to color my hair anymore! I am hoping it is the right decision to let the grey come out. My husband and my daughter are encouraging me to do it. I’m ready!

    • Hi Lisa, you can do this. I started to have those same issues with the color not lasting as long, and my husband encouraged me to grow it out. So, I did… I won’t say I haven’t had moments of doubt when I’ve wanted to go back. But I never will. It’s taken awhile to grow this out, and it’s so worth it not having to dye all the time. Sending you much encouragement!

  6. I have just begun the process! It’s all I think about and wonder if I can really go grey!
    You’re pictures have encouraged me this week, but I have months to go!

  7. Hi mel i started to let my hair grow grey nearly 2 years ago still have loads to go its been slow but think it will b worth it good luck
    What is vinigar rinse please

    • Alice, mine has been a very slow process too… Still working on it! And the vinegar rinse? I’m not sure… Did I mention that in the post? Good luck to you too!

  8. Hey, Mel! I can’t believe I am just seeing this now. I’m struggling with the decision of whether or not to dye. I, too, am tired of the process but also feeling too young for the gray. For now, I’m letting it grow.

    • Gina, it’s such a hard decision, isn’t it? I struggled with it for a long time. My husband encouraged me not to dye it. I thought growing it out would be a much more traumatic process, but honestly, I’m kinda proud of my grays now that I’m in the middle of the process. And I LOVE not having to dye it.

  9. Girl, this is something I’m struggling with right now. Your hair looks good! Most of my family on my mom’s side have pre-mature gray. I’ve been dyeing my hair for years, but now I’m getting tired of it. Plus it feels like I have to dye it every couple of weeks just to keep up with it.

    • Oh Diane, I totally understand. I struggled for a long while with the decision and finally just said enough is enough. Thank you! That’s how I was feeling… The dye would just wear off so quickly! You’ll have to let me know if you decide to go for the gray.:)

  10. Hi Mel. You look great! I wen tthrough the same thing as you. I was in my late 40’s and got sick of dying my hair all the time only to have it look like straw in the end. I stopped and now have a full head of grey hair with silver streaks. And it is so much healthier than before, pluw it is very good for my pocket book. Btw, I use a v inegar rinse to take the wildness of it and it really works for me.


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