Stacy Robertson
Stacy Robertson
February 18, 2019 ·  4 min read

Going Gray Gracefully: Why I Stopped Coloring My Hair

Early graying is a cause of concern for a lot of people, especially women. We feel we have to keep up with this societal image of perfection, and gray hair isn’t normally included in the approved mix. Well, sorry to burst society’s bubble, gray hair is absolutely gorgeous. Rachel Jonat realized this at the age of 40.

She’d been dyeing her hair since she was twenty years old, and she just couldn’t do it any longer. Read more about early graying and bold women who took major pride in their silver streaks.

In a post published on her blog, The Minimalist Mom, Rachel talks about how she decided to make the bold decision [2]. Rachel had been dyeing her hair to mask the gray for twenty years. She first took them out by plucking, but when that didn’t seem to help, she started dying it three or four times a year.

“But around age 35, soon after the birth of my second child, the gray started coming in much faster.” Rachel wrote. “I’ve mostly been low maintenance with my hair so it started to bother me that I felt like I had to color my hair more frequently. I also changed my hair part because the gray was strongest on the right side of my head. About eight months ago I decided to stop coloring my hair. I would love to tell you it was a brave and intentional move to shirk off the patriarchy and the beauty industry. Or a nod to simplifying my life. Instead, it was pretty practical.”

Small town solidarity

Rachel admits that putting highlights in her hair discolored it, but right now, she couldn’t care less. She feels whole, renewed and happy with it. Even though 30% of her hair is colored gray, she loves all of it down to the last strand. Also, moving to a small town was a major booster for her confidence.

“When I first met these women or saw them around town I often did a double take,” Rachel stated. “They were young-ish but had these manes of silver and gray. I did not see a lot of women under fifty embracing their grays in Vancouver and I now realize it skewed how I saw silver hair.”

Like the old wives’ saying goes, ‘A woman’s hair is her crowning glory.’ A crown is much more glorifying with silver in it, don’t you think?

Rachel says that she read a book that also encouraged her to take pride in her gray hair. Written by Anne Kreamer, Going Gray: How to embrace your authentic self with Grace and style, changed Rachel’s ideas and convictions about gray hair [3]. She stopped thinking of it as something to be ashamed of, rather she embraced it for what it truly was: her lovely hair in its truest, most beautiful and most gorgeous form. The book comprises of memoirs from different women on their graying journey, and tips on how to go gray with flair and finesse.

Rachel went on to list the three foremost things she loves about her gray hair.

“The money savings. It was a considerable expense that is nice to remove from our budget; not worrying about my gray. Although I was coloring my hair, the gray was growing in fast; I feel like a rebel. Hahahaha. Yes, this feels like a bold choice for me. Why? Because most of my friends color their hair and if they don’t they aren’t yet going gray. So letting my hair go gray feels like the anti-establishment choice in my circle.”

Going gray is one thing, but staying gray is a completely different matter

This is Rachel’s second attempt at going gray, and she’s still not sure how long it will last. Nevertheless, she’s hoping it will be forever. She tried going gray a couple of years ago, but it only lasted for a few months. She just didn’t have the same drive and motivation she has now. She hopes she can keep it up this time.

“I don’t know if this is a permanent break-up with coloring my hair or a temporary one,” says Rachel. “I can recall my mom letting her hair go gray in her early 40s and a few years later she went back to coloring it and did so right until her late 60s. Who knows! For now, I’m enjoying seeing the change and looking forward to that time in the next two or three years (my hair is long) when I finally have all the dye out of my hair.”

Gray hair is a beautiful thing, and as C. Joybell C. wrote, it’s a gift from the moon. When she (the moon) laughs so hard, tears flow down from her eyes and onto the top of lucky heads.