Lessons From A Year Of Growing Gray Hair




“You’re going to look like shit.”

That’s how my formerly favorite French hairdresser responded when I excitedly told him that I was ready to hop on board the silver sister bandwagon and grow my hair out gray.

That was 12 months ago and as I sat in that chair I did two things.

Number #1 – I decided that I would fire this hairdresser and never put up with hairdresser peer pressure again.


Number #2 – I buckled up for a bumpy ride. I had no idea that my decision to grow my hair out gray would be something that would piss people off.

I really didn’t intend to chronicle my experience of growing out my hair gray. But that day was a moment of the “You can’t do this’s and that’s” that we are faced with when we are at midlife and I found it incredibly symbolic. I mean how many times have we heard garbage like we can’t wear sleeveless because of our supposed bat wing arms (in Australia they call it “tuck shop arms” – a barb at the older women who work in school cafeterias). And to address that, I’m sorry but for those of us that have been physically active all our lives, this might not even be a sore point. Or what about that we won’t even want to have sex after a certain age. I’ve had nice orgasms this week, thank you very much!

So this one, where someone told me that I couldn’t go gray finally brought one of those “can’t do this and that’s” home. And so, the journalist in me said “document”.

For the past twelve months I’ve been putting my learnings on YouTube. Here are all the video from start to finish.
#1 Let The Grays Begin

#2 Sh*t People Say When You Grow Gray Hair 

#3 Self Acceptance While Growing Out Gray Hair

#4 Gray Hair – Coping With Opinions of Others

#5 Makin’ Like Clooney When You Grow Gray Hair 

#6 Rock Your Gray Roots When You’re Out On The Town

#7 What If Growing My Hair Out Gray Makes Me Look Old?

#8 Gray Hair: Dealing With Wobbly Moments

#9 Exploring Color When You Grow Gray Hair

#10 Gray Hair: Activate Your Inner Badass

#11 Going Gray: A Love Letter To Under 40’s

#12 Things My Ex-Hairdresser Taught Me About Growing Gray Hair

#13 What If Your Gray Hair Doesn’t Look “Good Enough”?

#14 Gray Hair: What You Need To Know About Haircuts 

#15 Gray Hair: Do You Have To Be Brave When You Ditch The Dye?

And in the podcast above, I share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned. Like I say in the episode, it’s taking such a long time for this all to unfold that it will probably be another year of documenting before I fully understand exactly what I’ve done.

All I know is that I feel good. I feel pretty. I feel challenged. And all of that is okay.

Oh, and that hairdresser? He doesn’t work there anymore and wherever he is, I wish him well.

Need some advice about a midlife issues? Want me to research something you’re confused about? Ask me! All you have to do is leave a message – keep it to about one minute maximum – and if possible, I will include it in an upcoming episode. You have the choice to leave an email address and if you do and your question is used in the podcast, I’ll send you a digital copy of my book Be Your Own Change Guru: The Ultimate Women’s Guide For Thriving At Midlife.

So, with that in mind – got a question? What is on your mind and how can I help you? Record your message now.

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The Change Guru 2.0 is a new weekly podcast on iTunes dedicated to all things over 40. These are candid, unscripted chats, often solo, sometimes with guests, where I share what’s on my mind. Every episode is loaded with tips and inspiration to make your life rock.

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So – back to this week’s podcast – Are you doing the gray hair thing? What lesson can you pass on about it?

Leave a comment below.

20 thoughts on “Lessons From A Year Of Growing Gray Hair

  1. This is absolutely hysterical. I heard the same from several hairdressers. It won’t be a pretty gray, you will regret it…on and on and on…I have never been happier and have never looked back!! Great post!!

    • Hey Cindy

      Thanks for reading and so great you are loving your decision – I totally agree and still marvel how this isn’t something that the majority of hairdressers are into. One day!


  2. I started growing out my hair 2 yr ago and I have never regretted it . At first I heard , your so brave- I could never do it – now I get so many compliments! Not only from my age group (im 57), but many young 20 somethings! Many have said they wish they had my color! And my hair stylist loves my hair color and agrees she would not want to color it and mess it up!

    • Hey Shirley

      It’s funny what a big deal we can make out of this eh? I really don’t think twice about it anymore and like you, love it and can’t imagine dipping back into dye!



  3. I started going gray in my 20’s. Of course, I colored it, and continued to do so until starting the growing out process about 10 years ago. I am 62. Best thing I ever did. My hairdresser was supportive, and advised me to do heavy blonde highlighting to make the transition less noticeable. Being me, I figured “more is more” so I did more highlighting myself . . enter “trailer trash blonde phase”. LOL. It was a rough two years after that, but now I actually have people tell me “your hair is gorgeous/fabulous/stunning”. The natural curl helps. I still constantly have thoughts of coloring again as yes, it does make me look older but the compliments keep me going. I won’t go back. That’s what wigs are for! #silverfoxes!

    • Hey AnneMarie – Thanks for sharing your story. Amazing the adventure our hair – and color- takes us on. Love that you’re rocking your silver!


  4. Starting on my journey of letting my natural gray shine through! I am 4 weeks in! I loved your insights on the process. When I told my sister she told me I was too young to go gray! I am 56 and have been coloring my hair for 20 years. I can’t wait to see what happens. My husband is very supportive! Let the graying begin!!

  5. Loved what I have read so far! Can’t wait to listen to the podcasts. I decided not to color my hair and started turning grey in my 40s. Now 53. The things people say are incredible. I despise going into salons as I always leave feeling like a failure and a disappointment. I was getting my hair trimmed at a barber! Yes my hair makes me look older but hey I am older. I am okay with my mortality I want to know who determined that being older was a bad thing. Wouldn’t trade the life wisdom I gained for that young body again. In some ways my decision made me stronger to swim against the flow but I do struggle at times when I am vulnerable. Thanks for your comments!

    • Hey Margie – Thanks for your message. Keep on looking for a salon that supports you. I have great places that I go to now and the stylists there are 100% on board with what I’m doing. They’re out there!! Be sure to follow me on FB http://www.facebook.com/thechangeguru.net as I talk a lot there about the inner beauty that we can develop- it definitely helps!

      Hugs x

  6. Amen! It was so great reading this. I am 33 and decided I was done with dye. (I’ve had grey since my early 20s.) I am shocked by the negative reactions. “Why would you do that? You’re too young.” “You’ll look old.” “What did your husband say?” Oh that last one really pissed me off. I need my husband’s damn permission? I don’t understand why it bothers other people so much. I am liking my salt and pepper 🙂

    • Hey Lilac- Yay- You rock. Seriously, you have an amazing life ahead of you because you know your own mind! Big hugs and thank you for being YOU x Sue

  7. Proud of you for letting your gray shine through! My aunt went totally white at 30 yrs of age. She always said… “Don’t ever color your hair”. And I never did. Have been graying naturally over the last 20 years ~ I am now 58 ~ although I have had a shorty short cut all these years. Started letting my hair grow this spring since it has gone almost completely white. It is healthy and thick and I get compliments on it all the time. You will never be sorry for going natural ~ just think of all the time and money you will save by NOT coloring your hair! Congrats on a very good decision!!

  8. I am so happy I found you! I love that there are so many others in the same situation. I’m 47 and really really want to stop coloring! I came close a few months ago but chickened out. I’m not sure what the exact hold up is. My fiancé is all for it so that’s not the issue. I think it’s mostly because we both LOVE my long hair, yet I think it would just be so much easier to just chop it off and start fresh. I just can’t bring myself to do that. I’ve been going gray since I was 17 and I’m beyond tired of coloring. I know it won’t take long because by week 4 I have a beautiful 2 inch silver/white part and throughout. Any advice on letting go and keeping it long is greatly encouraged!

    Mindy ❤️

    • Hey Mindy! Nice connecting. Re the hold up, you MUST do this when you’re ready. Just keep it in your mind and there will come a time where you think, yep, I’m ready to jump, but until then, be kind to yourself and do whatever you need to do to feel beautiful – including coloring your hair – I have NOTHING against that, its just not for me, but I also did this when I was ready. Re cutting hair – If you’ve seen my videos you’d see there was only one time where I cut my hair. It was more like a big trim and still relatively long. You definitely don’t need to cut it. Just put it up on days where its not working for you and just accept that there are gonna be some days where you’ll have a wobble. They pass. You might want to check out my book “Gray Hair Adventure” on Amazon. It helps you put a bigger, picture perspective on this experience so you can get through the times where it’s rocky. Good luck! x Sue

  9. Hallo, I am Miep, 59 and and living in Belgium. 12 months ago I started to let my hear go grey, well rather white, and loving it every minute of it. Many people were against it, I dyed it blond for over more than 20 years, so, the transition was not so hard. I had a hearcut and now most of the blond is gone and it is shoulder lenght. But I have still some centimeters to go and then I will let t grow long again 😃. My husband (8 years younger than me) was at first against the whole idea but now he says that it is not so bad as he thougt it would be and he is getting used to it. 👍👍👍 to all the women who are going to the same stage. Loved your video’s !

    • Hey Miep! Thats awesome. I think sometimes it just takes a while for people to get used to the idea of something that we’ve thought a lot longer about. I’ll bet your husband will dig it the more that times go on. Big hugs to you x Sue

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