So it’s been officially two years since I stopped dying my hair. And I kinda can’t believe it. I remember the thoughts I had when I first decided to “go gray.” They were thoughts about settling, “less than”, acceptance, looking older and fear. I was consumed with how to cover up my grow out and make it super quiet. I didn’t want any attention about it and I didn’t want people to notice it. That being said, I didn’t even consider sharing my experience here on the blog. I honestly assumed this was something I would just do alone.
By: Lisa Fennessy
Then one day, about a month into my experience, I thought to myself; What if I shared my story? So I did. And it changed me forever.
What I learned was I was not alone. That my insecurities were powerful but not isolated. That the simple act of posting a picture of my grow out had the power to influence, gift confidence and ultimately change lives. Starting with my own.
Now? After two years of documenting my experience I am brimming with accomplishment and BOOYAH. My fear has transformed into pride. My insecurities into confidence. And my evasiveness into drive and passion.
I know now how powerful it is to see another woman owning it with gray hair. Seeing is believing and when we have role models we can lookup to in life whether it be in motherhood, work, friendship or other women we see living happily with gray hair; we somehow know we can do it too.
I didn’t realize how simple the equation was until now. I’ve spent the last two years chewing on all the issues that come up with going gray like:
- The gray hair double standard.
- My kids telling me they don’t like the “white one top.”
- Watching people’s eye gaze drift to my roots instead of my eyes.
- Wondering if I will be ugly.
- Doubting that I can really do it.
- Getting mad about other women and men telling me; It’s not a good idea.
I was looking for answers and trying to make sense of it all but in the end, it’s really quite simple. The answer is; role models. And I want to be here for the next woman who needs to see it to believe it. I want her to know that she can do it too. I want our daughters to not even have to blink at the idea of going gray. I want to normalize the aging process. And not only that, I want it to feel really good. And the best part about it is, it’s not about speeches or talks or posts or persuasion. It’s just about being.
So I am here as a friend, mentor and role model. Just as this community has been here for me. I would be remiss not to mention the role readers have played in my experience. Every time I offered up my biggest insecurities on a sliver platter through a video, a picture or a post – you all came back raging with support. Cheering me on. And encouraging me to keep going.
Your support has been a huge source of strength. I and I want you to know it really makes a difference. It turned what felt like a consolation into a celebration. And for that, I will forever be grateful.
If you are thinking about going gray, or currently going gray or have already gone gray – consider joining The Gray Book Facebook Group! Inspiration, community and support for going gray. Support is the key to success.
Like this? Here is more!
- 101 Ways to Respond to Rude Comments About Gray Hair
- Best Eyebrow Makeup for Gray Hair
- Growing Out Gray Hair: 10 Ways to Go Gray
- Going Gray: Why I Stopped Dying My Hair
- Going Gray: 3 Months And Counting
- Going Gray: 5 Months and Counting
- Going Gray: (at 40!) 8 Months and Counting
- Going Gray: It’s Been A Year!
- Going Gray: A Transformation both Inside and Out Video
- How to Go Gray: A Year In Review
- Real Life Inspiration for Going Gray
Common questions about going gray the final cut
It took abut about two years to grow my hair to my chin so I could cut it into a cut bob. See before and after pictures here.
The #1 thing that helped me go gray successfully was SUPPORT! Consider joining The Gray Book Facebook Group for inspiration, solidarity, support and encouragement along the way.
If you made the decision to go gray, it really helps to connect with other women who are doing the same. I have some resources listed here.
AprilApril 10, 2019
🙌 Yes! I tried at 39 to go gray and made it 6 months then caved and colored. Now at 45 I’m trying again and definitely more determined. And you are definitely inspiring me. Yes to all you have said in all your posts on this topic. Together in Gray Sisterhood!
LisaApril 11, 2019
We are in this together! You got this girl! xo
Irene SayeghApril 14, 2019
You look beautiful. Thank you for sharing this very emotional and huge experience with us. The bold lip color ties it in beautifully. I’m so happy for you and so proud of you. Congratulations!
LisaApril 14, 2019
Thank you so much Irene! xo
Gena JenningsApril 16, 2019
I am at the point I think I’m ready to let it go. My older sister says mine is Indian silver as our grandfather was Blackfoot Indian so i will just go with that. It’s not a salt and pepper or a gray, it’s more of a whitish silver. It’s also not course it’s soft. I relate to people focusing on ones head and not my eyes. Instead of having to say my eyes are up here im saying excuse me my eyes are down here lol. You look absolutely stunning! Thank you for being there for those of us starting our journey.
LisaApril 16, 2019
Your hair sounds beautiful Gena! Do it! xoxoxo
ChrisApril 16, 2019
Well, da-yum, you look amazing! Congrats! I am 67 with long, super thick, wavy hair that I’m still dyeing a reddish brown. It’s such a weird disconnect with my otherwise organic life! I am planning to start my journey this fall. Thanks for the inspiration and wish me luck!
LisaApril 17, 2019
Haha! I love this comment. Thanks Chris! Best of luck with your grow out. You will rock it! xo
AnnmarieJune 3, 2020
My hair is light blond. If I put in a silver toner (manic panic) could I let it grow out from there? Is it better to just let it grow out on its own ? So confused !!
LisaJune 3, 2020
Hi Annmarie! I hear you! It is confusing. I did nothing and just let my hair grow out. But several women talk about their varying experiences in The Gray Book Facebook private group on Facebook – come join us for inspiration! xo, Lisa
JJJuly 31, 2020
Lisa you look stunning! I’m 47 and ready to ditch going to the hairdresser to get my hair dyed (& save some money too!) – well Covid has certainly put a few women on that same trajectory!! I’m 3 months into my journey – some days I feel good about it, other days I think “what am I doing”! This week I went into my workplace (after working from home for 2 months) and told a male colleague that I’ve decided not to dye my hair anymore & he was very supportive (which was sweet). So guess that gave me some more confidence to keep going with my journey (mind you my partner is also supportive 🙂
I’m surprised it took you 2 years to grow out your hair fully (that’s a long time!). I may do a pixie cut to kind of get rid of all the dyed hair (still researching that option!).
Thanks for sharing your final “hair cut”, you’re an inspiration to us all!
LisaAugust 4, 2020
Hi JJ! I’m so glad you are enjoying your experience! It is nice when people start to compliment they grays – it totally helps build confidence. I wish I did a pixie just to say I did it. I think that’s a great idea. It took me two years because I wanted it below my chin but if you want it shorter than that, it won’t take as long! xo, Lisa
IrinaDecember 3, 2020
Hello, thank you for sharing!
I am 35 and have started going grey in my mid 20s, so I went from dying it box color black to blonde highlights…
Lol I also tried to grow mine out when Covid hit for about 4 months, buy couldn’t stand the look and gave in. I am now on the attempt #2 and hoping the last one, been 2 months and with all the tips I am determined this time!
You look beautiful and, confident
Thank you for being an inspiration! ❤❤❤
LisaDecember 4, 2020
YES GIRL! You’ve got this…sometimes it takes 2 or 3 attempts – that’s totally “normal”….I can tell you feel different this time and I have a feeing this time “is the one”!!! xo, Lisa
MirindaFebruary 6, 2021
Hi Lisa i just love youre grey hair 1 just want to know did you cut your hair in between the grey out grow or only in the end with the final cut.
LisaFebruary 9, 2021
Hi Mirinda! I kept cutting it throughout the grow out…every time I went to the salon, I would cut an inch or so and it felt so good…it was a super motivating thing to do for me ; ) xo, Lisa
AnnieFebruary 9, 2021
2/2020 I dyed my hair then Covid started taking hold and I couldn’t get a haircut until July. By that time, I decided to let it go and go gray. Unfortunately, my stylist took my hair from brown to platinum to “help” the line no be less noticeable. Platinum turned to brass so I’ve been having her add ash light brown, but she keeps doing underneath. I found someone who will only do the top layer avoiding the gray. Fingers crossed.
LisaFebruary 19, 2021
Hi Annie! Happens to the best of us ; ) It’s okay…you will get through this! Have you joined The Gray Book yet on Facebook? A ton of support there! Many women have going through something similar to this! xo, Lisa
LILY NAVASJuly 22, 2021
you look beautiful! I am 38 and started leaving my grey. I am 4 months in and it is so hard, I can relate to your story. After seeing this video it motivates me to keep going. Thank you!
LisaJuly 29, 2021
Keep going girl! You’ve got this. xoxo, Lisa
JillSeptember 24, 2021
Wow, you have inspired me to seriously consider going gray. I have deep brown hair. My mom went gray during COVID and she has the best gray hair color ever – so I am hoping mine will be similar. I have to know what lipstick you are wearing!!!
Lisa FennessySeptember 27, 2021
Hi Jill! I love that your mom decided to go gray during covid – so inspiring! This is KW Red. Be sure to let us know what you decide! xo, Lisa
TanyaMarch 28, 2022
Thanks to numerous Covid lockdowns, the inability to visit the salon gave me the push I needed to go natural. I am now 1.5 years into the journey and am so happy I didn’t give up. I love the freedom I have of not worrying about if my roots are showing! That bothered me more than all-over natural! I did cut my hair into a short bob to get rid of as much dyed hair as possible, which definitely helped. There are so many ideas out there now to help transition into going natural….have the conversation with your stylist! If they try to talk you out of it….they ain’t the right one for you! Be strong and confident in your decision!
Lisa JApril 14, 2022
I’m almost 59 and on my third or so time trying to just let it go. I’ve done real good and have worn a pixie for a couple of years now. I’ve had several good comments but feel like coloring again. I hope that will just pass quickly. Maybe after I get my hair trimmed it will.
Lisa FennessyApril 20, 2022
Hi Lisa! Are you 100% gray / natural right now? I love this comment so much because this is the beauty of going gray. YOU ARE IN CONTROL. If you want to dye your hair again girl, YOU DO YOU! Let us know what you decide ; ) xo, L