This is the third and final post in a short series on why I chose to go gray. Read the first and second posts, if you haven't already.

I always said I'd never do it. Hair color was fake, and I like keeping it real. I don't wear tons of make-up. Don't paint my nails. And doggone it, I was not going to color my hair.

Then came the gray. Tons of it--entirely too much of it--at far too young an age. And I felt like a hag. At 34. So I did what I had to do. I changed my mind and, with my sister guiding me on the phone for moral support, I poured a bottle of Loreal over my head for the first time.

For fourteen years, I covered. But eventually the gray outnumbered and overcame my ability to keep up with it. Just eight days after coloring, a silver tinge stubbornly appeared at my part. Frantic to keep the evidence concealed, I began coloring my hair every 3 weeks. Then every 2-1/2 weeks.

And then I realized it just wasn't worth it any longer. Covering the premature gray hair I inherited from both sides of my family began to feel like a prison sentence. An expensive, stinky, messy cover up.

So, last August I made the bold decision to stop coloring my hair. For many months I endured tell-tale roots, and then on March 31st, unable to tolerate the half-and-half look any longer, I chopped it all off.

Let me just say that going short and gray was a real shocker for me. Initially, I gasped every time I passed a mirror. Thankfully my hair has grown a bit.

And now, I look like this:

Like it or loathe it, it's the real me.

One of the best things about going gray has been the support and compliments from my family and friends. (My husband thinks I'm hot.)

But it hasn't been easy. I live in Florida, where gray hair abounds. Sometimes I feel like I'm just another gray haired woman in a sea of silver heads.

I've also discovered I'm far more vain than I ever realized. Letting go of my light reddish brown hair has been hard. Being mistaken for someone's grandma, even harder. Yes, I realize that I'm a grandma, but I'm a young grandma, and I was never thus accused before. Can you say adjustment?

My favorite part about going gray has been learning to accept myself as I am. It's a work in progress, as it is for all women in a youth crazed, beauty driven culture. But I've received many whispered comments expressing admiration. Apparently a lot of women have taken courage from my decision, and if I've helped even one of them realize that gray can be beautiful, then I suppose that's progress. For all of us.


Melanie said...

I'm just wondering if this bold move has filtered over into any other area of your life?

Also, when you were the other color, it was a warm color. Now it looks more on the "cool" spectrum.
Have you noticed that you are wearing different colors in your clothing since going au natural?

Looks great, Julie!

Karen said...

I love that picture! You are still a cutie, no matter what. In some cultures gray is a sign of wisdom and all that stuff. But me, I say, I've earned every one of them. :P

Diane said...

The gray is becoming on you,definitely. On some it is harsh. I think I am more critical of myself than I realize, but little by little it is coming out. :O)

Terri Tiffany said...

Oh you look wonderful! It's a pretty color! I know how you feel about the grey in Florida. Just this morning, I decided I needed to get used to all the older white haired people around me everywhere I go. I've fought it for nine years and that's just what Florida is. But with you going grey early, it will remind me that not everyone is older than me just because of their hair color.

Celestina Marie said...

Hi Julie, I am standing and applauding you in your decision.
Loved this real story about a real women. YOU LOOK GORGEOUS!!
I color mine, and not ready for the gray direction, but when I am I know it will be an adjustment too.

So nice to meet you and thank you for stopping by and your kind comment. I have so enjoyed my visit here on your lovely blog and now I am a happy follower.

Have a wonderful evening.
Blessings, Celestina Marie

Cheryl Barker said...

You look great, Julie!

One of my grandmothers didn't go gray until very late in life & I seem to have inherited that from her. I definitely have quite a bit of gray scattered throughout, but since I've been able to go this long without coloring my hair, I'm hoping I can hang in there & just let it all happen naturally at this point. Hopefully mine will look as pretty as yours!

kathy taylor said...

Gray and gorgeous!

prashant said...

I love it!!!
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Sandra Heska King said...


Makes me contemplate giving up the bottle. I think the hardest part would be those in between days, the waiting days.

My hairdresser says I'm 3/4 gray, though, so maybe I'd be two-toned for a long time--or have to open a bottle of gray.

I did give up acrylic nails. :)

Oh, to be real.

BTW, you are absolutely beautiful!!

And an inspiration.

achildoftheking said...

You look great Julie. Thanks for sharing.

GardenOfDaisies said...

YAY! I love your hair!! I have had gray hair for several years , and although I do still add thin stipes of highlights, I do not try to cover the gray at all. I want it to show. My children gave me those gray hairs and I am proud to have them. :-)

mariel said...

you are naturally beautiful! my mom cut herself off the bottle a few years ago and has not turned back since...she, too, looks beautiful gray! Gray hair is a grown of the aged! It demonstrates wisdom and godliness!

Katie said...

I think you are beautiful!!

Ginny said...

Oh, Julie, you look lovely! I, too, decided to go gray. I was doing pretty good until my granddaughter said one morning as I got out of the shower, "Nana! your hair is turning white!" That did it, I caved. It has been over 7 weeks since I did that. However, I too, cut my hair really short and it helps you deal with the gray coming in...to be continued...

Tonya said...

Who says that gray isn't beautiful? Our society has such a limited view of beauty. I think you look great!

Debra@CommonGround said...

I think you look darling, Julie. And if this is something you felt you needed to do, then Praise the Lord, you're doing the right thing!
Love your outlook on life!

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

wow... As I was reading, I was looking again at your profile picture, wanting to visualize you with gray hair... but unexpectedly I scrolled to your new picture...and what a pleasant surprise! You look gorgeous! I'm 45 and just started my fight against gray hair... but reading your post teaches me a good lesson.

Thanks for visiting and following my blog.



Anonymous said...

Way to go! I went grey over the last 7-8 months & love it. Lots of people tried to talk my out of it, saying it would make me look old (I'm 51), but I listened to my heart, got a sassy short cut & never felt more beautiful. I think you look great too!

Tea with Tiffany said...

I love this post and your beautiful, natural hair. My mentor went gray too recently and I'm in awe of her beauty. Her hair is prettier now. Truly. And to think she spent all that time and money to change it. I see the same beauty in you with this change. Praise God for your courage to be YOU. You look marvelous!

One Happy Campa said...

Absolutely Beautiful! Your gray is VERY becoming and you look so lovely.
Happy Monday!

Anonymous said...

I am a young 33 with 6 or maybe 7 grays at the top of my hair. I am a dark brown natural. Ever since I been getting these things I say to my self I HAVE FINALLY LEARNED SOMETHING. I have colored my hair a time or two but it is not my practice. I dont wear much make up and I dont paint my nails. I definately understand where you were and now you know where I AM! Thank you for encouraging to grow gray gracefully --I pray I make it and that I dont fall for the BEAUTY crazy :0P

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