Aging Graycefully

I made a huge decision this summer: I, Holliday, at the age of 27, am going to stop dying my hair to cover up the grays.

I’m excited and nervous and have a lot of other emotions about it, but I’m doing it.

A hair over 3 years ago, I wrote a post about how much I hated dying my hair for root coverage purposes as I’ve been genetically gifted with early onset graying. Dying is expensive, time-consuming, unhealthy in many ways, and just overall a pain in the ass.

At the age of 15, a stylist at SuperCuts found my first full-blown gray/silver/white hair while giving me a cut. It was traumatizing and I had her pull it out because GET IT AWAY!!! I started dying my hair soon after and the frustrating cycle of frequent coloring began. I was hyper-aware of any shimmery non-brown hairs; I distinctly remember being alone in the bathroom at my community college a few times, close to the mirror, pulling out any visible gray hairs. I was, quite frankly, embarrassed and ashamed of them.

For the past few years, it’s gotten to the point of dying my roots every 4 weeks. I’ll usually visit a hair salon 2-3 times per year and use box dye during the weeks in between. As much as I love going to the salon (scalp massages are my ASMR, for real), a piece of me dies every time I give my credit card and hear the price of my color, wash, dry, and style. During the in-between, I get a box dye that is on sale, usually in medium brown, and spend an hour applying the dye, waiting for it to process, and washing it out.

Tom knows how annoyed I am at this process and has been telling me for awhile now that I should just let the gray grow. As a guy, he doesn’t care about gray hair as much as losing hair or finding that his hairline is receding.

I pushed the idea away until recently when I actually started researching going gray – I found a bunch of good blog posts, articles, videos, and super supportive social media accounts celebrating women going gray. Now, the majority of women within these groups and posts are at least 40, but there have been a few younger women like myself.

Two of the main things women have mentioned in their reasoning for waiting so long to let their natural color show are:

  1. I didn’t want to look old.
  2. I didn’t want to look haggard.

Why are both of these the first characteristics we think of when we are thinking of women with gray hair? When men have gray hair (George Clooney is the #1 example), we think of them as wise and powerful. We often call them “Silver Foxes” (go and Google “silver fox person”…notice what the top results are? men. no women). I don’t want to make this whole post about gender equality…I just had a whole discussion with Tom and our friend Tony about that, so that’s enough for me for one day, thanks.

So I’ve decided that I want to crush these stereotypes that we humans  (men and women alike) have given for graying females. I’m not going to fear looking old or haggard; I’m going to own looking different. I commented on a video I watched of a woman’s progression photos while growing her gray out (see list of resources below). She replied with a really sweet comment; I especially liked, “Today pretty young brunettes are two a penny…but beautiful girls with natural silver streaks in their hair are much more outstanding and rare!”

Youtube Comment

Besides that, young girls have started paying a fortune and ruining their hair to obtain a grayish silver color. That could be me for free AND with healthier hair! I’ve also found that most women who finally stop dying look younger than they did while they were dying! Maybe it’s the unnatural color, maybe they are generally happier and freer!

I’m only 4 weeks in which is when I would usually be putting on the gloves and applying dye to my hair. I catch myself thinking about how people will judge me and how weird my roots will look after a couple months and how easy it would be to go back to my “comfortable” zone of dying every month…but, instead, I’m going to take this one day at a time and continue to look to the positive people on the social media forums and groups for emotional support. I’ve bought a couple plain baseball caps as emergency cover-ups and I plan on getting some headbands to help when the roots are really bad.

These first few months will be the hardest (I’ve gathered from my research) but I’m excited when I think about the end result; I think I have some nice natural coloring underneath all the dye. Even just dying my hair one flat brown color has resulted in highlights, and I’m sure those are where the lightest whites are.

I hope to inspire other women to join in the “ditch the dye” movement like so many women have inspired me; if I’ve at least peaked your interest, check out these great resources that have eased my anxiety about diving in:

To conclude: I’m going to be a young, silver fox, dammit. Join me!

Sally Beauty haul

I have mixed feelings about hauls. I’ve watched plenty of them on YouTube and sometimes I barely pay attention to them. Usually it seems like the girl on the other side of the camera just wants to show off how much money she can blow on yet another high-end eye shadow pallette, skincare regimen, or bagful of clothing.

And with that being said, I’m going to be showing you what I bought from Sally Beauty! Haha I only spent like $50, so I’m not bragging. I promise.

To give you some background, I have stepped foot in Sally Beauty Supply maybe once before. I’ve heard great things but usually stick to drugstores to buy my makeup, haircare, and skincare. When I go somewhere like Sephora or Sally, I get super overwhelmed because, being the YouTube fanatic that I am, I’ve heard about how great so many things are so it’s difficult to narrow down my decisions to save myself from spending tons of money.

There are no Sally stores near me in NYC, although there are plenty of Sephoras. However, my main goal was to find hair coloring supplies that are not the box-dyes sold at Walgreens. I have been dying my hair for years, and I realized just how much the box dyes from Walmart were ruining the state of my hair. For the past year I’ve consistently been going to a hair salon to get my hair colored, but man, oh man, that gets expensive!

I looked up the necessary tools to do it at-home, decided on a color, and found a developer that would work well with what I want to accomplish. So while I was throwing those in my online cart, I explored a little more and picked up a few more things. So without further ado, here’s what I purchased from our gal pal Sal(ly)!

1. Clairol Professional Soy4Plex 20 Volume Pure White Creme Developer – $3.49. I watched a bunch of YouTube videos and read a few blog posts about which volume would be best for my situation – I have never dyed my hair at-home without an all-in-one box dye, so I wanted to make sure I did my research first. I would be coloring my roots brown so there was no need to get a heavy duty developer (higher volumes = higher lifting = lighter hair), but I do have quite stubborn gray hairs so I did need a little bit more oomph (10 would probably not do the job). 20 seemed the way to go.

2. Clairol Professional Soy4Plex Permanent Liquicolor in the color Lightest Gold Neutral Brown (5GN/35G) – $5.99. It took awhile to decide on a color to cover my roots as there are 65 colors to choose from. Seriously, I counted. I originally was going to go for Lightest Red Neutral Brown (5RN/75R), but figured that since my hair already picks up reds when I color it, why not go more brown?Hair coloring Clairol Professional Ion Brilliance

>>I used this with the developer three weeks ago to color my gray roots (you can read more about my hair here) and I’m in love. It does look very warm and reddish in certain lights (especially the one above our medicine cabinet in our very yellow bathroom) but in most lights it looks light brown and blends really well with the rest of my hair. I plan on writing a whole post about this experience, so be on the lookout!<<

3. Ion Color Brilliance Haircolor Mixing Bowl & Tint Brush – $2.59 & $1.59 respectively. These were essential for my first time at-home dying with my own developer and color. I’ve always just used the bottle that the box-dyes come in to apply my color, but I wanted to try using a bowl and brush. After using these on Sunday to cover my roots, I’m so happy with the brush and bowl method. Plus, they’re reusable, so they don’t create waste each time I color my hair, and it’s also a much cleaner application; I did not get dye on the floor and I felt like I had an even application because I wasn’t simply squirting a bunch of dye on my scalp.

4. Colortrak Tools Croc Clips – $8.99. I really just needed some good, strong clips for when I dye and style my hair. They’re great quality and came in a set of 4 and did what I bought them for!

Croc Clips

5. Tanwise Dark Bronzing Sunless Mousse – $12.99. I have never heard of this sunless tanning mousse but I figured I’d give it a go for the upcoming warmer weather. It’s not super expensive in comparison to other brands and it had pretty decent ratings. Because I’m so fair, I’m curious to see how “dark” and “bronze” it actually will be; hopefully it won’t be orange. I’ve gotten spray tans before and loved the results, but I hated how streaky and gross it started to look as the week went on. We shall see!

6. The Velvotan Original Pink Tanning Mitt – $5.99. I’ve heard nothing but good things about using tanning mitts when using sunless tanning mousse, so I wanted to try this with my mousse to get (potentially) the best possible outcome.

Tanwise and Velvotan

I spent a total of about $50 with shipping and such on these products, and so far I’m super happy with more than half of them! Good sign! Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products (especially the tanning mousse!) because I’m really curious to hear your thoughts, experiences, and opinions!