If you were to name the first signs of aging, you’d probably say “saggy skin, wrinkles, and, of course, gray hair.” And though going silver is a totally normal process, most of us are terrified of how we’ll look and what other people will say about it. However, those women who’ve decided to go gray can prove that the problem is not just about your age, it’s about your self-love and self-esteem. Because graying can happen to you at any given time and any age.
Bright Side put together 19 stories of brave women who’ve decided to ditch their hair dye and embrace their gray as it is.
19. Mindy, 38
“My silver to me means embracing the aging process. It’s not for everyone, and that’s totally okay. I have a lot of silver and wanted to see what would happen if I stopped trying to hide it and, instead, tried to use plant-based products to enhance it. That was almost 2 years ago and my hair, and confidence, have never been better.”
18. Beth, 51
“I had been coloring my hair for fun and dramatic effect since I was 16. When I started to go gray, coloring my hair stopped being ‘fun.’ It felt like I was hiding something that I was supposed to be ashamed of.
About 5 years ago, I decided to go gray. All on its own, my hair became what I’d been trying to achieve for years through dyes — dynamic, unique, and vibrant. It feels so good to just be myself.”
17. Pilar, 48
“One year ago I embarked on this journey: the journey toward natural hair. I had no idea what to expect, both in terms of outcome and of the journey itself. Some of my friends almost begged me to go back to color, since apparently I was about to commit the unforgivable crime of looking older.
I may look older now, but I have rarely been as happy with myself as a whole as during this transition so far. I have learned to love me for who I am and just the way I am, and I owe it to my hair. I often hear that it’s just hair, but the truth is that there is more than just hair involved.”
16. Mireya, 48
“My first gray hair memory was when I was 7 years old. I remember being at school, I had long hair, and it caught my attention. I yanked it out, but never really thought much of it because I thought it was normal; both my parents have always had grey since my earliest childhood memories.
It wasn’t until I got married and I had my second child at 22 that I started to go salt and pepper. One day, my female boss was leaning over from behind as I sat at my desk, and she made a comment, ‘Oh my goodness, for such a young woman, you sure have lots of grey!’ I felt so embarrassed and ashamed, I did not want to be considered old!
So from the age of approximately 24 I started to dye my hair dark brown. I did this until I was 41 years old. Then I made a bet with myself... I would go cold turkey for 12 months and see what was really growing underneath the dye. I have been dye-free for 6 years now. I love me and my hair. I feel more vibrant and beautiful today... more than I ever did than when I dyed it.”
15. Maria, 61
“This journey is not just about embracing the outward woman but also making peace with the inner woman. It’s about knowing we are wonderfully and fearfully made. And since it’s a privilege to grow older, we should wear our silver as a crown of honor. I believe confidence and self-acceptance are what truly make a woman beautiful... at any age! Rock your silver crown sisters and sparkle on!”
14. Juliana, 33
“I got married last year. I had people saying, ‘You should dye your hair for your wedding. You’ll regret it. You’re going to look so old!.’ I could not be happier about the fact that I was myself on my wedding day!”
13. Marina, 27
“I can remember being in 7th grade during a school ‘break’ in the courtyard and my best friend grasping the top of my head and exclaiming, ‘You have a gray hair!’ She affectionately termed this my unicorn hair, and we watched as the year went on and more and more unicorn hair appeared on my head.
By the time I was 16, I had more unicorn hair than I could pull out or hide by changing my part, and I began coloring it on a monthly basis. This continued for 6 years until sometime in 2015 when I began thinking, what if I just let it go, quit spending so much money and time on covering my gray, and just let it go.
I am 27 years old today, and I’ve sported a full head of gray hair for going on 4 years! I can’t count how many people stop me on a daily basis to talk about my hair — it is the ultimate icebreaker. I’ve turned so many strangers into friends — young/old, male/female... you name it. My heart feels so full when someone tells me I’ve inspired them to embrace their natural beauty, as well — whatever it may be!”
12. Erica, 41
“I was unsure at first as the silver slowly began taking over my head. I had been covering my grey for the last 20 years and it was as if I was seeing the real me for the first time in a long time. But day after day, as I told myself to just let it go and not to run off to the salon, something began to happen. Each silver strand I saw claim its place, gave me so much more of an appreciation for my hair.
I love my grey now and can never imagine hiding it again. I also love how it can empower other women to release their sparkle as well. In the end it’s all about doing what you feel best about, dye or no dye.”
11. Lori, 46
“In choosing to embrace my grey, I was able to show my teenage daughter and her friends that women can age gracefully — and with confidence. Because true beauty lies in being able to not only accept, but also to celebrate, our uniqueness.”
10. Anne, 34
“I feel more confident since I decided to let my grey shine. I dyed my hair a while ago and immediately regretted doing it. It was like I’d washed my identity away. While I’m still learning to deal with the new texture, I love seeing my tinsel tresses in the mirror!”
9. Greta, 23
“This is my hair! It was difficult to accept at 13, but at 23, I love it!”
8. Amy, 33
“I started going gray at 19, but always colored my hair — especially when I was at cosmetology school and working as a hairstylist for 6 years. I’ve had every hair color in the book. I used to give my mother a hard time about her natural silver. As a hairstylist, I found myself loving and drooling over naturally silver hair.
Eventually I started helping my clients grow out their natural silver. I started noticing how people looked at my mom and her striking white hair when she walked into a room. People constantly tell me my mom is so beautiful. I decided I wanted to grow mine out too. I get more compliments about my natural silver hair now than I ever did when I abused it with harsh chemicals.”
7. Paula, 35
“I feel safe to show my gray hair. The example of so many women of different ages and cultures is a great encouragement in this transitional phase.”
6. Betsabé, 33
“My mom, my aunt, cousins, myself... anyone with my grandmother’s lineage has had early grays and I finally stopped dyeing mine. It has been the best decision of my life. At first my grandmother criticized me but I said this was us. This was our hair. She finally stopped dyeing this year. I’m 33 and she’s 78.”
5. Jodie, 47
“I was born with 1 grey hair. By the time I was a teenager I had grey hair in the front and black/brown hair in the back. I used to dye it constantly until I reached 40. Then it was like a light bulb went off. I suddenly didn’t care what anyone thought of me. I danced at parties for the first time in my life, I didn’t care if I was overweight. I didn’t care if my hair was grey/white. I embraced me. I stopped dyeing my hair.
My only regret was waiting so long. I have had strangers come up to me on the street asking about my hair. I have even had random strangers start stroking my hair, like they’re mesmerized. My hair is white in the front and salt and pepper in the back. And I would not have it any other way.”
4. Joni, 51
“I was definitely afraid to go grey. I put it off for several years until I just decided to go for it and deal with the uncomfortableness of making a change that would take months and months. Years ago, a therapist I was seeing for depression and social anxiety said something like. ‘Fake it ’til you make it.’ I wasn’t really buying it at the time, but I have found that it definitely worked for me transitioning to grey.
During this process there are so many times when I just acted like my hair was completely grey and pretended my hair didn’t look strange — that there was no demarcation line. I walk around really feeling that self-confidence. I think I’ve gotten to the point now −12 months in — where I’m owning it and have a better level of confidence.”
3. Lhin, 37
“I have had gray hair since I was in high school. 4 years ago, I decided to let my gray hair grow out and embrace my natural color. Despite some mean comments from neighbors, I didn’t care and went on with my daily life. Nowadays, I am asked by people all the time, ‘Where do I get my hair done!?’ They love it and want to have this color too.
I love my hair and I feel blessed that I embrace it and let this color become me. I am happy to see this ‘grombre’ on ladies out there. I want to give a shout out to anyone who is struggling with a similar story like me: Keep being yourself and embrace it. Because you are absolutely beautiful in your own way!”
2. Amanda, 29
“Uniqueness is a gift, and it is one that I’m happy to receive from my late father. It’s taken a great deal of patience to love my hair the way I do now, but the wait was worth it! At 29 years young, I’m happy to serve as an example that a lack of pigmentation does not define your age or place in life.”
1. Dani, 28
“I started getting grey hairs at 18 years old, and I was taught to be ashamed of them. I started fighting against them — my hairdressers appointments went from every 8 weeks to 6 to 4, and even then I noticed silvery roots atop my dark brown locks in every photo taken of me for the last 10 years.
It got to the point that I couldn’t afford the maintenance so, through necessity, I had to embrace them. But that’s when my whole perspective transformed. I wasn’t prepared for how liberating it would feel to be able to sweep my hair back and not be frozen in self-loathing because of my roots. That feeling has completely vanished and in its place is self-acceptance, love, and pride.
I have found it so exciting to discover what my natural hair looks like and — especially when it’s shimmering in the sunshine — I can’t believe how lucky I am to have naturally silver, unicorn hair!”
Do you feel inspired after reading these stories? Then join the #grombre movement on Instagram and don’t forget to share this article with your friends!