Embracing Your Gray Hair

Man and woman with beautiful gray hair
Gray hair - Photo: Bigstock
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 and you may only be in your twenties or thirties. You might think that you are prone to premature grays, while it is most common to find those first few gray strands at around the age of thirty.
Turning thirty may be traumatic but add gray hair to that and suddenly you feel like you are ready to go a senior living center. There is a reason why hair color is a bazillion 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 extends to their facial hair. So, we are all victims of vanity.
Yet, there comes a point where maybe you just do not care to color your hair anymore; the cost is too much, 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 envy your bravery and ability to see beyond hair color. Plus, there are so many ways to rock gray hair nowadays and if you have yet to notice, 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 try.
Diane Keaton with gray hair
Diane Keaton - Photo: Eugene Powers/Shutterstock
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, causing emergency services to be put into place. Blonde hair colors have high levels of peroxide while darker shades contain PPD or Paraphenylenediamine, a chemical that is the main source for an allergic reaction. These can be minimal, like redness around the scalp and skin but still obnoxious and painful, nonetheless.
It is also expensive to get your hair professionally colored every single 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 shine through. But how does one go about doing this gracefully and naturally? Maybe you do not want the roots to be extremely prevalent, especially if you have dark hair?
Emmylou Harris with gray hair
Emmylou Harris - Photo: Debby Wong/Shutterstock
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.
It is suggested that if your hair is very dark, you should consider lightening it up as much as you can handle so that the grays will blend just a tad 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 gray for your features. Keep in mind that it will not happen overnight. Hair grows a quarter to half of an inch per month and, depending on your hair length, you will have to hold strong for a few months.