Embracing Your Gray Hair

Older woman with beautiful gray hair, cut in a chin-length bob
Image: AI illustration
For most women and men alike, finding your first gray hair may be a super scary experience. It is like someone just took time and zoomed you to grandparent status, even though you may only be in your twenties or thirties. You might think that you are prone to premature graying, while it is most common to find those first few gray strands around the age of thirty.
Turning thirty may be traumatic, but add gray hair to that and suddenly you feel like you're ready to go to a senior living center. There's a reason why hair color is a billion-dollar industry. Everyone is vying for eternal youth, and let us not just point the finger at women. Men have their own lines of hair color that extend to their facial hair, so we are all victims of vanity.
Yet, there comes a point where maybe you just don't care to color your hair anymore; the cost is too high, you have developed an allergy to all-over color or you are now simply embracing what I call "stress strands." If you choose to let your hair go natural, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that and in fact, people should admire your courage and ability to look beyond hair color. Plus, there are so many ways to rock gray hair nowadays and if you haven't noticed, people are spending a lot of money to achieve gray hair way before their time. It is now a fashion statement, so this may be just the right time to give it a go.
There are about five percent of the population who are severely allergic to hair dye. Much like a peanut or any food allergy, their face can swell and it can lead to hospitalization, necessitating emergency services. Blonde hair colors have high levels of peroxide while darker shades contain PPD or Paraphenylenediamine, a chemical that is the primary source of an allergic reaction. These can be minimal, like redness around the scalp and skin, but still obnoxious and painful nonetheless.
Young woman with gray hair cut into a bob and wearing a turtleneck
Image: AI illustration
It is also expensive to get your hair professionally colored every month, running around one hundred dollars for just a base color and that does not include the hair masks and styling products that get added on. And the time that is spent. Even at-home hair color treatments can take up to an hour and may require additional toning and work. So, it is understandable that you throw it all away and let your gray hairs show. But how does one go about doing this gracefully and naturally? Maybe you do not want the roots to be too noticeable, especially if you have dark hair?
The first thing that you will want to do is speak with a stylist about lightening your hair. If you already have blonde hair, this process should be fairly painless and easy as you can add a few highlights here and there as you are growing out your hair.
Beautiful older woman with gray hair in a pixie cut and wearing a satin blouse
Image: AI illustration
It is suggested that if your hair is very dark, you should consider lightening it up as much as you can tolerate so that the grays will blend just a bit more naturally. It is also suggested that you consider a new shorter hairstyle to allow for less growing-out time. But if you love your long locks, that's fine because you are already making a huge change and one step at a time might be better.
Your stylist will evaluate your hair and help you to find the best possible way to get you to the best shade of gray for your features. Keep in mind that it will not happen overnight. Hair grows a quarter to a half inch per month and, depending on your hair length, you will have to be patient for a few months.
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