My New Grey Color Scheme

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The new grey color scheme mentioned in the title of this post is not in my house, but on me!!!

Many of you have commented that you have seen my updated photo in my blog’s sidebar and on social media.  I am smiling big time because I am almost finished the transitioning process of going from coloring my hair to my natural grey – salt and pepper hair color.

Diane-Henkler-blogger My-Own-Style-Blog with natural grey hair

I can not tell you how liberating it feels and how happy I am about being, 99% done with the transition (still have a few areas of color left), but also being done with coloring my hair!!!

Some may not understand and think that having grey hair makes you look old, I am fine with that perspective as every one of us has different life experiences that form our opinions, but I feel better and younger now than I did 8 years ago when I started coloring my hair.  One of my favorite song lyrics rings true here: “Ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself.” – Ricky Nelson

If you are a long time reader then you may remember I did not color my hair in the early days of my blog. You can see it in this post: The Best Two DIY Projects I Ever Made

We all tend to go for certain colors and are more geared to warmer or cooler colors both in our interiors and the colors we wear.  I have always felt better around cool color tones and only like using warmer tones in the fall.

Cool colors just make me feel better, so imagine how I have felt the past 8 years when I looked in the mirror since I colored my hair a dark brown that always took on orange tones. I never felt quite right.

I have had grey – salt and pepper color hair since I was 40.  My twin sister and I have the same exact hair and dyed it back then for about 3 months trying to match our natural born color that was almost black.  Dying hair black looks way too severe, so my twin sis and I stopped dying our hair. We rocked our natural salt and pepper for about 10 years and then on a whim in our early 50’s we decided to color it again, just to see.

Transitioning From Coloring your hair to natural grey

I liked it for a few years until it became a chore and in the past few years, it became a burden. Life was beginning to revolve around dying my hair.  Having to color every two weeks and worse have to carry color crayons, root color spray and/or powder with me where ever I went so I could be sure to cover up the resistant grey’s on my temples, crown and white strip down the center of my head. At times I felt like I had on a toup′ee with gray hair popping out all over. Life is too short to have to worry about stuff like this.

I have been wanting to make the transition back to au natural for about 3 years now, but the transitioning process takes time and there are some awkward times you have to get through that made me keep putting it off.  I have many friends and my younger sister who rock their natural grey and I was really ready to go back to mine this past fall and decided I would just have to grin and bear it through the transition.

For any one interested in how long the transition took, I started last October.

Hair color transitioning story from dyed hair to natural grey.

Last fall when I made the decision to stop coloring my hair, my hairstylist added blond highlights to my hair so as the hair dye and the line between it and my natural hair color as it grew out would not be so severe.  It costs $170.00… cha-ching cha-ching and I was not happy at all with how it looked.

My hair was longer and I was trying to go with an inverted bob. It looked very nice for a few hours after I styled it for 20 minutes and used tons of hair spray to get it to hold. After a few hours though, all my efforts would go down the drain as my stick straight and heavy hair returned. It was way too time consuming to keep up.

How to transition from coloring your hair to natural grey.

So I had more blond highlights put in around Thanksgiving time…. cha-ching..cha-ching again.  In the morning right after I styled it,  it would look nice but soon would go flat, plus every time I saw a reflection of myself I would flinch as I have always liked to wear cooler colors and this new hair color was throwing not only my wardrobe color choices off, but my makeup colors, too.

How to make the transition from hair dye to grey easier.

After the holidays, Ed had a business trip in New York City and I went along. My sisters live in suburban Philadelphia and drove up to meet me for a day so we could hang out in NYC on a freezing cold day.

Tips on how to transition from hair dye to grey hair.

At this point in January, I had enough of the longer style and the highlights that were turning more orange by the day.  I was not going to pay $100+ again to have more added.

Seeing my identical twin sister that day, who had colored her hair the same time I started doing mine and was ahead of me on the transitioning process back to natural, helped me make the decision to just get my hair cut shorter to help ease the color transitioning awkwardness. I could just look at hers and know how mine would look. It is one of the advantages of being an identical twin. :-)

So after this trip I got my hair cut in a “Pixie” cut which removed 80% of the hair color and highlights. I have had short hair a few times before and was fine with my decision, but when I saw just how short my hairstylist cut it, I was in shock. I had no idea she was going to basically buzz it off.  YIKES!

Want to know just how short my hair was?  Read on…

Right after this hair cutting appointment, I went to my local Rite Aid to get a few things and I dropped one of my new pink gloves in the store and couldn’t find it. As I paid for my stuff, I asked the salesgirl if anyone finds a pink glove can you please keep it here and I will check the next time I come in.

The salesgirl patted my hand and said;

“Oh honey, lets go look for it. I know how forgetful you can be when you are undergoing chemo. You probably laid it down somewhere”

At first I didn’t realize why she was saying this to me until I realized it was my super short hair. OMG!!! I starting laughing and then quickly realized she was telling me this because she was a breast cancer survivor. I had to stop laughing and tell her that my hair was not this short from chemo, but that I just got it all cut off not even 15 minutes ago to remove the hair dye from it to make the color transition back to my natural color easier.  I added to say that I was sorry that she had to go through something so awful and was happy to see that she survived it all. She laughed at herself and ended up finding my pink glove. :-)

Having my hair that short made life really easy for a few weeks. Blow drying it and styling it took all of 1 minute. My hair grows fast so I was not too upset at the buzz cut. It is now longer and looks like the “pixie” cut that I thought I was going to get in the first place.

So the whole transition from colored hair to natural has taken about 6 months. If I got it all cut off back in October it would have cut the time in half.

Looking back on the whole process, I am happy that I tried out the highlights first as you just never know how you will look, but I know now that I like my natural color much better. I can now wear my favorite clear bright colors again and when I look in the mirror, I feel like my confident self again.

If you are going through this transition, have a friend who is or are thinking about doing it someday, I found this book very helpful with great tips and guidance for transitioning to grey hair.

Silver HairA Handbook to Say Goodbye to the Dye and Let Your Natural Hair Shine

Silver-Hair-Handbook

Now that my hair color is back to my natural color, I feel like myself again, I didn’t when I was coloring my hair. Since I feel so much better about myself, I have been able to exercise more and make the time to eat better.  I have lost 15 pounds during the transition. My decision to go back to my natural hair color has been a win/win all around for me.

With my new short “Do” and no hair color to worry about getting faded in the sun or from too many washings.  I also know I will enjoy getting my hair wet in the lake this summer.  Even if I have somewhere to go afterwards, washing and styling it takes only a few minutes.  More time for fun and living life to the fullest.

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76 Comments

  1. Diane,

    I love your new “style” and color. I am a cancer survivor of 9 years. And after I got through all the surgeries, etc. I told my husband that this will be the new me…..grey. I was just so thankful to have some hair that I stopped all that nonsense and have never looked back. My natural hair matches me……as we age our skin tones change, our eyebrows change, everything changes. My hair color now matches all of that and like you, I love to wear vibrant colors in the cooler shades. Honey…..I rock it and so will you! I do my eyes up, really nice lip gloss, very classic makeup and the compliments keep coming. I am comfortable in my skin. I recently made another change regarding my hair and it has also been liberating. I have always had alot of body that at times would be wavy. I am now taking care of my hair the “curly girl method” and it has been amazing. The curls keep bouncing out! I am loving it and plan on simply enjoying myself because I am alive! God bless you Diane…..real good!!! :-)

    1. Let’s all just be realistic – we’re not fooling anyone. Here is the wisdom of our sisterhood: 1. be thankful for life and for having hair 2. your coloring changes as you get older and your natural color will make it all harmonious 3. all those chemicals are getting absorbed into your skin like a sponge. Would you drink it? We slather lotions on our skin, hoping they will get absorbed and then don’t consider the chemicals we’re pouring on our heads. Illogical.

      When I was working I took a lunch hour to sit outside at the Stanford Mall (Palo Alto, California) and watch all the rich ladies shop. Here’s what I observed: the gals who exuded physical fitness, flexibility and classic clothing and make up looked fabulous. They also kept their accessories to a couple statement pieces. Skin care, exercise and a positive attitude – those are my priorities now.

  2. I normally dont add comments to blogs, but i have been a reader for a while now. You are rocking the new cut and color. You have a beautiful smile and are radiant.

    1. you look wonderful !!
      du siehst ganz wunderbar aus !! ich habe auch graue haare und ich finde dass sie passen immer besser zu unserer natürliche hautfarbe !!
      ich hoffe du kannst deutsch verstehen. wenn nicht,sag mir bescheid und ich werde probieren auf englisch zu schreiben, ok ?