Gray hair, don’t care: how going gray has boosted my confidence

It wasn’t that long ago that when a woman openly let her hair go gray, it was perceived as a radical act. Or else, a sign of having given up. I’d like to think that’s changing. As more of us decide to go au naturel with our hair color, it becomes just one in a myriad of choices we make about our appearance, and how we present ourselves in the world.

Growing out my gray hair

Today I’m joining up with three fabulous bloggers to talk about going gray: the process and the maintenance of gray hair. Be sure to check out all of the links at the bottom of this post. And keep reading to see my gray hair progression and tips!

How it started…

I’d been coloring my hair since my late 20’s. Not to cover gray, but because I felt my natural color was a bit drab, and wanted to have some fun with it. Mostly some shade of red until my early 50’s, when I decided to try going blonde. I really liked it, and stayed with various shades of blonde up until last year.

I kept coloring even through the pandemic, having masked, outdoor color touch-up sessions with Brian whenever it felt safe enough to do so. I’d toyed with letting my natural color grow out a few times. But I was worried that it would still be mostly the drab “dishwater” color I’d started dyeing to hide.

Growing out gray hair: be prepared that the color may not be evenly gray.
January 2022

In January of 2022, a few weeks after my last color appointment, I noticed that the roots in front were looking pretty…bright. So I decided to let it grow out to “see what’s under there.” And I kept my hair in a short, layered cut for the next few months to abbreviate and facilitate the gray hair grow-out process.

Susan B's gray hair grow out. Here it is as the 5-month mark.
May 2022

At the 5-month mark, I had about 2″ of my natural color, which turned out to be a mix of “white” (more platinum blonde in my case) and a slightly salt-and-pepper mix of my natural taupe-ish color and gray strands.

I was pretty lucky, in that my natural colors weren’t in high contrast to the hair color we’d been using. (And a few strategic highlights at the beginning of the process helped blend the line of demarcation.)

How it’s going: happily gray!

Susan B. headshot Sept 22
September 2022

By September, my natural color had fully grown in, and none of the colored sections remained.

Yes you CAN wear a French bob over 60! Susan B. has a layered version, perfect for fine hair.
Le “bob!”

Toward the end of October, I decided to try a layered French Bob, which I’ve kept a version of ever since.

Susan B. with gray hair cut in a layered bob, wears an orange shirt and gold jewelry.
And the current version…the color seems to change depending on the light
Susan B's layered gray bob, right side.
Susan B's layered gray bob, left side.

What has surprised me most…

When I first decided to go gray, a few people cautioned me that it would be “aging.” Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but either way, I don’t care.

I don’t care because for the first time since I can remember, I’m truly happy with my hair! It feels great, and I love how it looks.

I love the brightness of the gray, and the interesting depth created by the lighter and darker bits. I love not having to worry about my roots. (And yes, I love that I’m saving money on hair maintenance.) And there’s a certain confidence that comes with feeling like my authentic self, which was an unexpected bonus.

I’ve always had fine, straight, thin hair, and haven’t noticed much of a change in texture since going gray. It does get a little more wavy when it’s more humid, but that’s about it. And no, going gray hasn’t changed my seasonal color palette. You can read more about that in my post, “Color FAQ: answering the top 3 questions people ask me about color analysis.

Of course, the decision whether or not to color one’s hair is a very personal one, and should be made on the basis of what makes each person feel most comfortable and confident.

My (low-maintenance) gray hair care routine

I’ve always been rather low-maintenance when it comes to my my hair. Because it’s fine and thin, I’ve never really been able to grow my hair much past chin length without it starting to get weighed down and looking lank. Here are the products I’m currently using and liking.


  • I’ve switched from products for dyed color preservation to those that are supposed to thicken my hair. Twice weekly I use the Keratase Densifique Shampoo & Conditioner.
  • Once a week (at most) I’ll use a purple shampoo, which does brighten up the lighter gray areas. (But no more than that, or my hair starts to look too “steely.”) I’ll follow that with the Keratase conditioner.


  • I find that most styling products tend to weigh my hair down, so the only one I use (maybe twice per week on shampoo days) is this bumble & bumble Surf Spray, which seems to add some body and volume without stiffness or weight. Usually I just spray a little in and massage through before drying.
  • This dryer, oh man! It’s been worth every penny. It’s really quiet, and even on the lowest heat setting dries my hair fast without drying it out. (I usually dry the ends first and then scrunch/tousle while the roots are still damp and let air dry.)

Inside out…

I started taking these supplements for thinning hair as part of a clinical trial my dermatologist was running. It was a double-blind trial, and the first six months I was in the placebo group. As soon as I was switched to the real product for the second six months, I noticed changes within weeks. (At first with nails and brow growth, and then later my hair felt slightly thicker and stronger.) So I’ve continued to take them.

More gray hair tips from my blogger friends…

I always get great recommendations and tips from my blogger friends, so can’t wait to see what they’ve shared!

Four bloggers on gray hair: going gray and maintaining it.

Please do go visit these other fabulous blogs for more tips on going gray, and gray hair maintenance!

Cindy Hattersley Design-Cindy Hattersley
Silver is the New Blonde-Jan Correll
State of Gray-Gray Maher

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    1. To Susan! Your hair looks gorgeous. The picture of your hair when you started looks just like mine now. Did you try using a toner shampoo while you were growing out the blonde?

  1. You rock the gray Susan! I started my gray transition after my daughter married and I retired as a middle school teacher. I love my gray — it’s easy and my hair is healthier. I do have my eyebrows tinted every 6 weeks or so.

  2. Yes! I love this post. I stopped coloring my hair at 46 after coloring for 21 years (and I was completely gray well before 46). Looking at photos of myself over the years, I feel my gray looks so much better than my colored hair did.

    I agree that coloring or not is a personal choice, but I’m happy it’s becoming less strange when you don’t want to.

  3. Thanks for sharing! I love the Sept 2022 pic of you. Love that cut and those colors (cream? And green) on you.
    I am aging into what we used to call a Montreal summer color hair. In Montreal in the summer, seemingly without anyone saying this in any format, suddenly everyone had a color section of hair, in a contrasting color—green, pink, purple!
    I have hair that is about 3 1/2 feet long, used to be uniform auburn, and the bottom, oldest section is still auburn. All the new growth at the top is more and more a mix of salt and pepper and auburn. And the new sprouts at the hairline are white!
    Sometimes I add rosemary to my shampoo and conditioner to bring out the darker highlights. Moisturizing seems to be the challenge as I age. I’ve added using a gel. I’ve always used organic products and never colored it. So I’m staying with letting nature change it.
    You and the others who shared pics are an inspiration for this transition.

  4. Susan — Your silvery hair looks lovely! Re the hair supplements: I notice they contain a high level of biotin, which can affect some lab tests, including blood tests for thyroid and heart problems. Might be a good idea to let your doctor know about the supplements if you have blood work scheduled.

    1. Thank-you for mentioning this. As well, in post menopausal women Biotin can cause severe heart palpitations. Since hair supplements often target women of a certain age, I look forward to the day when a safe and effective alternative to Biotin is found.

    2. Thanks, C.D. Yes, my endocrinologist has me stop taking the biotin for several days before my blood tests.

  5. I decided that I was tried of coloring my hair every month and after two weeks seeing the gray popping out again. My hair is short so it did not take too long. My hairdresser who cut and colored my hair helped to do this quickly. Three very short cuts within six months . She told me to mix a little purple shampoo into my regular shampoo and to mix purple conditioner. I use a heat spray when I dry my hair to prevent yellowing.
    This is what I have been doing and I have never had more compliments on hair as I do now. My color is a mixture of silver gray and brown. Silvery gray in the front and the colors in the back. The color goes better with my fair complexion. This change has been so good !!!

  6. As an autumn, gray is not my friend, at least in clothing. Makes me look very washed out. Still coloring at age 65. Maybe some day ?? The $$ savings would be nice. When I had my colors done a few years back, the woman told me that autumns are usually the last to let go of coloring their hair.

    1. At 75 I am still very happily coloring my hair!!! It makes me feel (and look) great. Don’t know when or if I will ever give it up!

  7. Susan you look amazing with grey/silver and your cut is super. I think the secret to looking good while transitioning is a great cut maybe a few low/hi lights and makeup. I’m a high contrast person with the Cruella DeVille silver & black hair…I need at the very least, lipstick in a bright colour to off set the lesser contrast of the silver near my face or I just look haggard. I haven’t coloured in years so all the white is at the front but less than 50% at the back. I just had my hair cut into a modern choppy graduated bob that has gone quite curly with the humidity but looks adorable….ladies put your $$ into a great stylist and you’ll never regret going grey! And don’t forget your lipstick!!

  8. Susan, I adore your gray hair. The gal that did my curtains etc., when I was still doing design work had hair just like yours. She used to get ticked off at people who thought her hair was gray (as she was a platinum blonde). I kept telling her I don’t think you will notice the difference if you leave it alone. Sure enough, she had beautiful hair just like yours. I am going to check out a few of your products. I am always on the hunt for new ones!
    P.S I don’t think it is aging at all!

  9. Your hair looks great! I have never colored my hair, so it’s not an issue for me, but I’m glad to see that more women are embracing gray hair and the freedom from expensive coloring treatments. Older women can look fabulous and still look like older women! It’s great that we have more choices now whether we dye our hair or not. I’m glad you found your perfect ‘do.

  10. Susan, your hair looks fabulous! I love the color, and I especially love the cut. I’m going to show my hairdresser your pictures.

  11. I stopped coloring my heair about 5 years ago and it has been so liberating!! I had reached the point of needing to touchup my roots every 10-14 days which was not tolerable. Thankfully, mine is a very sparkly silver color and I receive more compliments now that I did during the 5 years prior to going natural. Love yours too!

  12. LOVE your hair the beautiful gray it’s become!
    Thank you! You gave me the courage to grow out my gray and with the help of my hair stylist, I am loving my gray, too!
    It’s been a little harder for me since I choose to grow out my bangs at the same time. I see you have bangs with your bob. I am still deciding on bangs or not, what are your thoughts?
    Either way, you look lovely! Thanks again for sharing!

  13. My hair started graying in my early 20’s and I was coloring it by my mid twenties. I always said I’d stop coloring it when I turned 60. I started a few months before and I have never regretted it. I am pure white and it was a PITA to keep the color up. I have gotten a lot of complements and people have said I look younger than I am. I’m 73 now and still love it and how easy it is keep up. A great hairdresser certainly helps. Mine is fabulous and I love what yours has done with your hair. Best haircut you’ve had since I started following you.
    I am taking oral Minoxidal for hair loss and there is hair growth after 3 months. I hope that your treatment is successful.

  14. Hi Susan -I think your hair looks fabulous. And especially appreciate you affirming that this is such an individual choice. As I’m constantly reminding my friend “Hair is not a feminist issue – choice is”.

  15. I’ve always thought it’s hairstyle, not color, that’s aging and both your cut and color are spot on. How great to be happy with your authentic self!

  16. I love your gray hair! I think you look fabulous and the gray/platinum color makes your clothing colors pop even more.
    I stopped coloring about 12 years ago. I’m 70 now and still waiting for that bright color you have. Mine is still fairly dark with streaks of brighter silver. But it’s unique to me and I love it.
    Someone mentioned not being able to go gray as an autumn. I’m an autumn and still wear that palette but now choose more of the brighter shades. I find I need color in my face so a little lipstick and blush really help. But this was the case for me even when coloring my hair.

  17. My hair is purple and teal right now (I was blonde, then enhanced blonde, then auburn for about 20 years, and since 2020, purple and teal). I deliberately let my hair fade this spring so that I could spend less time getting it bleached out and it was such a weird NON-color – someone described it as taupe. Maybe that’s mousy brown, I don’t know. But it’s gross. So, for the time being, it’s purple and teal. 😀

  18. Susan! Great post with your progress shots! I was too chicken to do it like that and it took me years. I love your cut too – I would love to have the confidence to chop mine off. It’s so chic! And yeah – I want that dryer. So good.

  19. Just this morning I was thinking about my decision to stop coloring my hair and go grey. From the moment I made up my mind I’ve never looked back. The day my stylist snipped off the last of my colored hair felt like a celebration. I was FREE and I was ME, for better or worse. Like you, Susan, I don’t care if it ages me. I feel authentically myself and, frankly, badass. This is what 65 looks like, y’all! My hair is in great condition, hair appointments take less than 30 minutes and cost a fraction of what they used to cost (my sweet stylist was excited as I when I decided to stop coloring). Going grey (or white) is about more than hair or style or fashion – it’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced and hard to put into words. It’s something we only get to do as we age and that’s special in itself. Thanks for posting today, Susan.

  20. Loved your post and we had similar stories that we both went Blonde first. I also noticed that you like the surf spray, too. Love it! Especially for the beach. Silver looks beautiful on you

  21. I went gray 2.5 years ago and now my color/cut look very similar to yours. I have a very white streak in the front which I like very much. Thanks for showing us your natural side!

  22. Your hair looks beautiful. I read iver the comments, and I have to add a comment about my choice to color my hair. I just turned 70, and I like the way I look with my hair blond. My gray, unfortunately, is not very pretty. The word that caught my attention was “authentic.” I feel that I do present my authentic self by being faithful to my beliefs and values regardless of the color of my hair.

  23. Bumble and Bumble has a new product out this summer which is designed specifically for people like you and me: its called “Don’t Blow it” and it adds body to those of us with fine hair that is air-dried (of course you can use a blower, but many of us don’t want to). After scrunching less than a teaspoon through my damp hair, it doesn’t seem like you have added anything, but the effect of the extra body lasts all day and keeps it from going flat. It seems to work much better than any spray in product and its been a really boost in our unsually hot summer. (Available at Sephora and Ulta stores as well as online)
    (my hair has been its natural silver color since I was in my fifties. It caused a lot of comment back then, now the comments are all compliments)

  24. Love hearing your story! I am considering going gray at some point so I am saving this post. Love the French bob!

  25. I love your color…your grey is very pretty and the cut is wonderful…I use the MoroccanOil Purple shampoo and it keeps my grey from getting that yellow tinge I was so worried about…

  26. It looks great!

    The product I love is a gloss that gives my hair the shine that grey hair is often lacking. Lasts until the next appointment – a great investment.

    The only colour palette change I found was that I can now wear black – before it was strictly navy.

  27. I’ve gone au natural, too, with my hair. I love it so much and wish I’d started years sooner. I have a few different colors going on, on this head, and get so many compliments, with people thinking I’ve low-lighted, or high-lighted it. I have longer coarse wavy/soft curly hair and mine has thinned, has a tendency to feel really dry without proper care, and the actual texture has gotten finer on most of it. I have committed to the Innersense brand after lots of reading, online, about safer products (I’ve had lots of scalp discomfort, itching, and some hair loss, previously), as well as following Consciously Curly, on FB. There is no way I’d go back to coloring and am loving the much smaller salon charges, as I pay for a curly cut every 2-3 months. I am amazed that, almost every time I am out in the community or at appointments, someone is bound to comment on how they like my hair. Yours looks wonderful on you-both the color and cut. You look energized, pretty, and just as you were meant to be! I think the cut, style, as well as accessorizing with your eyeglasses and clothes that fit your personality and color profile just make it all work great! It’s so freeing!

  28. I think that they only possible response to being told that going grey is ageing is: well observed. Having spent quite a bit of time regarding women of my age and their hair choices (mine is to go grey) I conclude that the mis-match between hair and face is often a mistake. Mostly I keep my views to myself because a lot of people don’t want to believe that well-cared for grey hair looks magnificent and tired, thinning bleached hair often…does not. I am more perplexed by people who decide to colour their hair pink or purple as they age. But, you know…in the scheme of things…

  29. Love your silver. My natural color is similar. Did it awhile ago and never looked back. Never realized how much the dye dried out my hair. All those hours and dollars at the hair salon was worth it to me at the time but those days and dyes have gone!

  30. I found my first gray when I was 18 ( ironically on the day I met my husband) and, by the time we married four and a half years later, I had a small grey streak. I used semi-permanent color for a while to turn the streak into a golden highlight. When I wnet natural for a while in the 80’s, it looked like the frosting that was popular then. When a young man at work mistook my husband’s picture for a son’s, I started coloring it an ashier version of my natural reddish brown. That worked until I was a SAHM with my daughter when the coloring appointments were inconvenient and expensive. When the shop moved too far to be convenient, I colored it myself with mixed results. The color was very unstable and I looked brassy a lot of the time. (I’m a Winter with pale rosy skin tone.) I gave up coloring when the color applied only two days before turned orange after a short visit to the playground. I decided to go natural when I was 40 and it has become a pretty silver white. Purple shampoo keeps the yellow away. The only problem with goining naturally grey has arisen while job hunting in my 50’s and 60’s. It’s hard enough to be an older woman in the job market and I saw blatant dsicrimination, mostly from younger women.