Beauty post! letting that hair go grey…

Oh, the angst of giving up hair dye and going naturally grey. The decision was easy – the execution was a pain!

I’ve colored my hair since my mid-thirties. With naturally black hair (from my Dad, with a bit of Native American on my Mom’s side), I didn’t get grey hair – I got white hair! And I colored it, even though I always disliked using hair dye. The smell, the time it took, and the feeling that I wasn’t doing my hair or scalp any favors.

However – vanity is a powerful persuader. And during my working years, grey hair on women was largely perceived as an indicator of age, not experience. So I kept it colored. In my fifties, I had it done professionally, every two weeks, and had dark blonde hair!

In June of 2016, I decided to go grey. And here’s a photographic progression of that little journey:

August – low point! 
That first step, getting rid of the dye load in my hair, way back in June, was critical. I didn’t want to have it stripped professionally. Or to use color removers from the pharmacy. So I did a couple of interesting shampoo sessions with a paste of Dawn dish washing detergent and plain old baking soda. With very long rinses to let the color escape from my hair. Amazing! 
After that, it was a matter of time and patience. My hair was short when I started – I only needed to grow it out about 2.5″ to do a total changeover. So I wore a lot of hats throughout the summer. My hair was distinctly yellowish, with a tinge of orange. Aaack! And I loved trimming it. Seeing the white start to predominate, after 3 months, was lovely.

By October, I was there. And I was also beginning to realize that my pretty white hair could be sabotaged and yellowed by things like mineral deposits from my hard water, colorants and additives in hair products, and even heat from a hair dryer or curling iron (it oxidizes minerals on the hair shaft => rusty hair). 

To share what’s worked for me:

I found a good residue-removing shampoo, one that I can afford – Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo (in supermarkets and pharmacies). And I use it once a week, or any time I notice dinginess in my hair color.

The rest of the time I use Shiny Silver Shampoo and Conditioner from One’n Only. For this one I have to go to Sally Beauty, but it’s close-by. And it’s sold all over the place on the web.

The last challenge – a styling product. I threw out all my hair gels, sprays, and mousses. They were good products but I could see the yellow the instant I used them. Still, I do like a little something to lift my hair. Enter Got2B Spiking Glue by Schwarzkopf. I can use a little, slightly wetted in my palm, or a lot, for that rocker hairdo. It’s great stuff and easy to find in the supermarket and pharmacy.  

And here’s a tip, for the occasional extreme maintenance requirement (and this works for yellowing beards and mustaches as well) – the hydrogen peroxide/baking soda hair mask. I didn’t even try it until all the dye was gone from my hair, because I was afraid it would make it freaky orange or Ryan Lochte green! but it’s benign on my hair now, and it’s very effective at removing discoloration and brightening the white and grey. I use this little formula from LiveStrong…

You can use this on your nails, to whiten them! Or as a toothpaste… Honestly, baking soda is amazing.

And how about white vinegar – I sometimes pour a solution of white vinegar and water over my hair as a final rinse. It dries with absolutely no odor, and it simply feels good.

Whew – that’s about it. I hoped you enjoyed this little foray into the world of beauty, maybe even picked up some ideas 🙂 And if you’re taking this step into natural hair, go strong!

Ciao! Coco

24 thoughts on “Beauty post! letting that hair go grey…

  1. I don't recommend going natural the way I did (chemotherapy), but seven years later I don't look back! I love my natural hair, which is white in front and goes to salt/pepper in back. I found that my wardrobe options actually increased. I can wear many more shades than when I dyed my hair (auburn). I do get it glazed every time I get a cut, and my hair stylist puts a tiny bit of lavender color in to keep the yellow away. She asked me the last time I was in if I liked it, and I didn't even have to think before answering a resounding “YES!”


  2. I LOVE your hair!! You were beautiful with dark hair, but even more so with your gorgeous silvery-white. Thank you for the baking soda/paste link. I want to try that. 🙂


  3. Your story could be my own. I, too, went gray a few years ago and I do not regret it one little bit. My hair is natural, free, and healthy. And, I am not subjecting myself to those harsh chemicals. Every time that I dyed my hair it gave me something of a sick headache. I am free, free, free!!! And, it feels great!
    After some time, that really dark dyed hair begins to appear just what it is–unnatural.
    One thing, though–my five year old grandson keeps asking me when I am going to die. He thinks that grey hair equals time to die. What a notion for a five year old!


  4. You have inspired me to “go gray”! I've been going gray since my late 20's and I've had it dyed every 6 weeks for almost 20 years! I have a hair appointment on Wednesday and I let my hairdresser know that I was growing out my gray hair. I hope that she will be supportive & that she continues to give me a great cut. You are in inspiration and I hope that my hair is half as beautiful as yours!


  5. I've developed an allergic reaction to hair color and shampoos: sores, stinging, tenderness. So now I'm going white or gray; I hate that white-roots, dark-ends look! Just have to live through it. I alternate among 3 different shampoos which seems to help with the allergic reactions.


  6. Your natural look is lovely and suits you. I've been going grey since my early 20's (now early 50's) and due to laziness I never coloured it. However, now that it is a bit longer (I have had short hair for years, it is now about chin length), I have the underlayers dyed pink or purple or blue. You don't notice at first, but if the wind blows my hair you get a peek. I feel such a rebel!! I use a shampoo for grey hair too – usually about once a week to keep the yellow at bay. Happy New Year!


  7. I've been meaning for sometime to tell you how gorgeous your hair is now that you've gone natural. It's wonderful of you to share your journey and tips. Have a great (and healthy!) new year!


  8. I love your white hair, it's absolutely beautiful on you! I do a vinegar rinse once a week too (apple cider)…it helps keep the PH balance for healthy hair! Very important for us african americans with natural hair. I also love the “Got2Be Glued” it's some amazing stuff! Thank you for the tip on the baking soda and peroxide, I'm going to try that on my nails…constant polish use has turned them a yellowish orange and I hate that! Happy New Year and I pray it's a great one for you!


  9. I have teal streak in my hair right now, but other than that, all natural. Grey hair just doesn't run in the family. I have very little, only a few glints here and there. Your hair is lovely on you. A good decision. I can only imagine the chemicals that leach into ones system from hair dyes.


  10. I agree that your hair looks great. This is very timely. Seems to be a lot of this going on. I too stopped coloring in May 2016. Still working out the process as I am also letting it grow out some. I have used Neutrogena for years (on occasion) to strip product out and start fresh. Some one else mentioned ShimmerLights by Clairol and I use it 1x weekly. Also use baking soda paste (with water). Was not aware of the hydro peroxide. Will have to try that also. I am also only washing every 2 – 3 days now. I like to keep my hair guessing…seems to act better that way. So many things I didn't know about letting your hair go 'natural'.


  11. You look great! When I let my hair go white, I found I could no longer wear my favorite colors (I'm an Autumn). Did you have that problem? I colored it again but have been talking to my stylist about my options to not ne glow in the dark white. Love your posts!


  12. Well, Coco, you must be psychic. I know you've been reading about my let-it-go-grey progression and I will be on the lookout for that Neutrogena shampoo. I was in a store earlier today looking at the stripper type shampoos and shampoos that have a tinge of violet colour to bring out the white (maybe later?) but decided against any of them. My hair is very porous so the colour seems to be leaching out by itself. I'll get there. I am getting the first 'reveal' haircut next week.


  13. I had my first gray/white hair at 12; had a streak of gray in my bangs in high school. My Mom had been silver gray as long as I could remember; her Mom, my grand, had been cotton white for as long as I could remember. In college, I “played” with coloring my hair and after a few times said, “forget it.” Too much trouble. I said, I love my Mom's and my Grand's hair so I will love mine too. During my early 30's my hair was true salt/pepper; by 40″s more salt than pepper. I worked downtown Dallas for over 30 years and would have strangers stop me on the street (even once in the Nieman Marcus flagship store) to say that my hair was beautiful and where did I have it done. I said, I do it myself and each then asked, No, who colors it for you? I simply smiled and said, “Mother Nature.” This is the real me! I'm mostly white now and I use that same shampoo most of the time. 🙂


  14. Oh, you look so lovely with your white hair. And thanks for sharing the journey. I inherited early white hair from my dad but kept the color on until I had reached my career goals. Going white was so freeing on every level and I (mostly) don't wish for anything else. You rock!


  15. My hair started going grey when I was in my 30s, so I've had plenty of time to get used to it. Nice surprise: I get more compliments on my grey hair than I ever did on my brown. I use a clairol shampoo called ShimmerLights once a week or so. Basically a very mild blue rinse, but it works on the yellow. Love your silver; very soft and elegant.


Thank you for stopping by! comments are welcome and appreciated - Coco

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