Growing out your Natural Gray Hair … An Update & Some Tips

January 20, 2020

In the beginning of December, I decided to try to join the #ditchthedye movement and transition to my natural hair color.  It’s been an interesting process, with some ups and downs for sure.  And I’m just sharing my journey with my readers!



So in case you missed it, I did some transitional coloring in the beginning of December. But I just went back to the salon this week and decided to skip another transitional dye job, just get a trim …  and … see what happens!  I’m so curious to see what color my hair is now.  How gray is it?  How does the gray mix with my dark ashy blond?  Is it pretty? What’s the texture like now with the gray strands?  So the only way to really tell what I’ve got going on is to stop the dye … and wait.  And wait some more. And I’m not going to lie, it’s going to be awkward.  (I reserve the right to ditch the whole idea and do Lord-knows-what with it!)



Here’s a picture of the situation right now.  The hair closest to my part is my real color, the brownish shade right next to it is the semi-permanent dye from the low lights still fading out, and of course the rest is my platinum bleached hair.

how to grow out your natural gray hair


By the way, I’ve gotten mixed reactions for doing this.  I’m getting a lot of support, but also a fair number of women have questioned why in the world I would want to go gray (or gray-ish or “gronde” … or whatever it’s going to be).  It definitely seems to be an issue that divides opinions.  (But you know I’m not afraid of that. After all, I’ve taken the disco collar plunge!).  Another reaction I get is women seeming to feel like they have to explain their decision to cover their gray to me. For goodness sake, I’m all about women doing whatever makes them feel great!

Tips & Ideas

My stylist (Keara at Do or Dye Salon for those of you in San Jose) recommended Celeb Luxury Colorditioner to help with the transition. I’m using it once a week on my bleached areas to tone the platinum blond to a bit more gray. It makes my hair super soft, so I’m loving it just as a conditioner too. It comes in a variety of colors … including some wild ones!  Though I’ve been tempted to play around with some crazy color in the past, I’m feeling drawn to a decidedly more simple aesthetic right now.

Found it several places (at different prices):

Another helpful tip, if you usually do a straight part, try a messy side part instead.  This will make the colors look more blended together with the line of demarcation looking less defined.

And … I’ve been starting to pull out my hats! I have some cute ones that I never wear and what a great time to play around with them! And of course it will be fun to have a good excuse to shop for some fun new ones!

How about cutting my hair? Some people have mentioned this would be the ideal time to try a pixie cut!  I’m not quite up for that, though I adore it on others!  Would you do a pixie? Maybe when the new growth is long enough for a bob, I might chop it off!  By the way, the internet says that hair grows about a 1/2 inch per month.  Which means I’m only about 16 months away from a bob.  Oh my gosh, I never should’ve done the math!  That thought is dismal and might make me change my mind! LOL!  Right now my plan is to wait two months so that I have enough growth to really be able to see the color and texture.  And then it will be time to make some decisions!

Most importantly … whatever you have going on, rock it with confidence!  Seriously you can pull off just about anything with a sassy attitude! Am I right?!

(Taking photos from a distance really helps too! 😁)

Fun & Fashion,

Dawn Lucy


About the blog: Fashion Should Be Fun is ME talking to YOU, other middle-aged women who are over 40, but not over fashion.  We still want to look beautiful and stylish.  We still want to have fun with trends.  And we don’t need anyone giving us rules, because we’re all different. This is a place for me to share my love of fashion with you, including style ideas, tips, trends, and inspiration. I know how liking the way we look can translate into confidence and energy. I know we have so much life left to live and so much adventure ahead of us. Let’s show the world you’re never too old to have fun and be fierce.



  • Reply Sandra G January 20, 2020 at 4:30 pm

    I’d be going blonde to hide the grey. Then two appointments where I asked them to just put highlights and let the rest do what it wants. In June, my last colour, they did a bit of blending just to break up the line. It worked well. Oddly, nobody seems to notice and I’ve had more compliments on the colour since I stopped colouring. It suits me better than the blonde too. I’ll be happy to get rid of the ends, but no pixie for me. I did do the bob to get rid of the worst of the bleached ends. No regrets. Wish I’d done this five years ago.

    • Reply Dawn Lucy January 20, 2020 at 4:51 pm

      Yeah, I hear you, Hon. Do you have a instagram account we can follow to see your transition? I’d love to follow along! And I need the moral support! :). I love hearing that you’re super happy with your choice!

  • Reply Jill James January 20, 2020 at 8:50 pm

    I too am in the early days of growing out my colour and embracing the natural. This is my third attempt , hopefully this time I will have the much needed patience, especially after reading about the growth pattern. Best of luck to you.

    • Reply Dawn Lucy January 21, 2020 at 3:55 am

      Oh Jill, I get it. Mine is at such an awkward stage right now. It looks like I’ve just been too lazy to get to the salon! But … I promised myself at least 2 more months of sticking it out before I change my mind. I just joined a FB group called Gray & Proud and there’s lots of support and so many photos are absolutely GORGEOUS and 100% natural and dye-free gray hair that it’s keeping me inspired. For now anyway!! Let me know if you want the link to the group! OXOX

  • Reply Nancy January 21, 2020 at 11:49 pm

    It s not for me! I Just hop over to my Hair dresser every six weeks and work my glitters away! I just don t like the messy look it gives me when I don t! Also I don t think grey looks good on me but for some women it works just fine! Good luck with your hair!

    • Reply Dawn Lucy January 22, 2020 at 12:25 pm

      For sure everyone is different! I’m thinking the gray will look really good with my coloring. Of course in my mind’s eye my natural gray is gorgeous! Fingers crossed that’s the way it really goes!

  • Reply Lise January 23, 2020 at 8:27 am

    I read (and saw examples) somewhere that wearing a head band/alice band (not sure what it is known as in the US) really helps with breaking up the solid skunk line – when you push it back off your forehead. I think this works once you have quite a few cms of the natural color growth. It sure looked like a fairly good idea and a quick sort of fix in the pics. I tried to grow mine out 2 winters ago (I have dyed dark brown hair) and three months in I could not take it. I also realised that my fair skin looks super washed out against pale gray (my natural hair is very light but not quite white). It seemed to age me a lot. I am 54 next month and I think I am going to hang on to the hair dye at least until I am 60. I would love to end the hassle of dying the roots every 3 or so weeks but I don’t think it looks better on my skin one and light eyes.

    • Reply Dawn Lucy January 23, 2020 at 9:23 am

      If my natural color doesn’t look good on me, I’m definitely going back to dying. I totally get that! But I did notice with my blond hair that the cooler tones looked better on me, so fingers crossed gray will be fabulous! I’m totally going to look into headbands! Thanks for the fun tip! OXOX

    • Reply Lee Rosenthall January 24, 2020 at 2:10 pm

      Lise, I just had my roots touched up yesterday, after finally giving up trying to let the natural color take over for several months. I recalled my saying I’d try again when I turned 60 – well, I turn 60 in six months, and my hairdresser and I just agreed I’d try again when I turn 70!

      It’s such a tough decision, but I just feel so much more MYSELF with brown hair. (I have fair skin and dark eyes). I’m not trying to fool anybody, but I’m also not trying to look as old as possible.

      One tip I’d recommend if you’re trying to ease out a darker color is to get some of that Joan Rivers touch-up powder (it’s meant for concealing thinning areas, kind of like a good eyebrow powder), and use it around your part and along your visible hairline. I find that as long as my scalp appears relatively dark, the lighter, grey hair isn’t nearly as noticeable. (Look at all the women sporting platinum blonde hair with intentionally dark roots!) The brush works great for applying the color on the scalp, but if you want to use it to cover the grey hair (not its intended purpose), try applying it with a good paper towel (e.g., Bounty brand), or something with a rougher texture, to get it to work. Some people just use brown eye shadow and a cotton ball, but I feel like this Joan Rivers product stays put better and doesn’t run in the rain. You can order it through Amazon or Soft Surroundings.

      Good luck and keep us posted!

      • Reply Dawn Lucy January 26, 2020 at 7:22 am

        Aww thanks for the fun tips! And yeah, my mother always said she just wouldn’t feel like herself without brown hair. Maybe it’s a bit easier for blondes since the color change isn’t as severe. Believe me, Lady … if mine isn’t pretty, I’m all about going back to dye! I’m in let’s wait and see mode! Thanks so much for stopping by!!

      • Reply Lise January 27, 2020 at 4:08 am

        I hear you Lee 🙂

        • Reply Dawn Lucy January 27, 2020 at 12:19 pm


  • Reply Heather January 24, 2020 at 7:39 am

    Yay for you! I’m at almost two years of the same transition. It’s been a mostly positive experience. For those of us who have lighter hair, it seems to be a relatively forgiving process. I’ve noticed my skin tone changing, too, so the gray/white looks more natural anyway. It’s so true that the right shampoo and conditioner help blend the color and the texture! The rose oil from Trader Joe’s is amazing (and cheap!) at taming the fly-aways, when applied sparingly before blow-drying. I follow amanda.obrennan on instagram. She inspired me to do more buns/messy-buns/pony tails, as it’s kind of fun that the hair in the bun is a different color than the hair closer to the scalp – almost like it’s intentional in a funky way. Good luck! And yes, we can always go back to color – but if we’re considering change, the only way to know for sure is to try it out!

    • Reply Dawn Lucy January 26, 2020 at 7:27 am

      Love your enthusiasm, Heather! I’m going to look up Amanda for some inspiration! I’m all about those messy buns and ponies! Are you on IG? I’ll follow you too! I’d love to see what yours is looking like at 2 years! Thanks so much for dropping by!!

  • Reply Eileen January 24, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    I tried to let my natural grey grow out, mine is only on the top, and a yellowed grey tone, I have cool pink skin, so I decided to wait longer, as my pixie cut makes me look like I have a small beret on my head. Your hair style may be easier, good luck!

    • Reply Dawn Lucy January 26, 2020 at 7:20 am

      Thanks for the luck! It will be an adventure! Yeah, we all need to wait until the time is right for us. Right now staring at my new growth, I’m actually disappointed that it’s not more gray! But really it’s too soon to tell. Just need to wait .. sigh! 😀 . Thanks so much for stopping by!!

  • Reply Roxie January 25, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    Wow. Thanks for your blog. My bff just retired at 60 due to Parkinson and because money will be tight and the Parkinson gone for a really short hair cut and is growing out her coloring. She is over 50 % grey and still looking good. She had brownish. Now on the other I am a curly redhead. Long hair too. Can’t swing the short hair but can swing the longer bob. I would love to give up coloring. You have convince me to talk to my hairdresser this week for my cut and color

    • Reply Dawn Lucy January 26, 2020 at 7:17 am

      How exciting! Keep us posted! It’s a process, but I keep seeing women on FB and IG with all natural hair and the color is SO gorgeous! I would pay big bucks for hair that color … and it’s their natural shade!! Just hoping my real color is half as pretty! By the way, I’ve seen some curly hair ladies growing theirs out and I think it looks prettier in the in-between stage than straight hair, because the demarcation line is … well … curly!! Do you subscribe to my newsletter? I just sent out a link to a FB going gray support group. It’s such a fun and sweet group. Lots of hair-spiration!! 😀

  • Reply Linda Cassidy January 27, 2020 at 6:55 am

    I have been debating the natural as well to test the grey. So I went as close to my natural as I think and now we shall see what happens. I am not sure why everyone feels the need to express an opinion and make a statement about hair. Similar to touching a pregnant womens belly, because you can se it it ives them more rights???

    • Reply Dawn Lucy January 27, 2020 at 12:21 pm

      Right? Why is it anyone’s business anyway? People are so funny. Keep me posted! If haven’t seen much of your natural hair for years like me, it’s really quite an adventure waiting to see what shows up! LOL. Great to hear from you, Linda! OXOX

  • Reply Tara February 5, 2020 at 9:46 am

    Love that you’re doing this! When I transitioned to my natural color, I was going from a dark brown color to gray. Cutting it all off to a pixie was the fastest/easiest way for me to transition because it was so obvious! It’s interesting that you’re getting mixed comments. Overall, I got a lot of “good for you!” and maybe I just ignored the others. Mostly other women would be like, “I just can’t do it” and I’d shrug. I could always dye it back, right? Now that I’m fully gray and on the younger side (45), I only get compliments. I’m loving the length it is now that I’ve grown out the pixie.

    • Reply Dawn Lucy February 6, 2020 at 9:40 am

      I love hearing successful transition stories! If you want, leave an Instagram handle so we can see what it looks like! Some days the only thing keeping me going is seeing how AMAZING most women look with their real color!!

  • Reply Babs February 27, 2020 at 6:33 am

    I’ve started the transition to my natural color early last year as I was getting tired of getting (and paying for) foils every 7-8 weeks. I did a few highlights in August just before my step-daughters wedding to look my best for her special day. Since then no more color. I’m a natural blonde, and my roots are blending in pretty well, they are more “dishwater” blonde with some gray. My mom had they same hair at this age and she just let it go gray naturally, and the color was beautiful on her skin tone. I use a purple shampoo to cut the brassiness when it appears on my previous highlights. That calms down the yellow to help blend in new growth. I avoid a straight part, which for me makes styling easier! So far I’m happy with the color, and luckily, I don’t have drastic color differences at the roots. Good luck in your transition!

    • Reply Dawn Lucy February 27, 2020 at 8:53 am

      Yes, doing a messy side part helps a lot right now! Thanks so much for the encouragement. I can’t wait to see what it will look like when it’s all grown out! And yes to purple shampoo … I had it for my bleached hair so I’ve just kept using it for the new gray.

  • Reply Deanna April 26, 2021 at 8:22 pm

    I love the gray look! I don’t have gray hair yet, but my hair color was a boring mousy brown, so I’ve dyed it since college. I lived in a sunny climate for a few years and realized that my hair bleached so much that it wasn’t worth fighting it with hair dye, so I rocked really awkward naturally sun-bleached hair for a few years, and then when I moved back north, just never started dyeing again. And now people tell me they love my color, which I guess has been dubbed “mushroom.” But honestly, I love being natural after years of coloring, and I think your new natural look is great!!

    • Reply Dawn Lucy April 27, 2021 at 8:54 am

      Thanks so much! I’ve been told my have a mushroom color too, with the gray too though of course! I’ve been told that mushroom … light cool brown … is really IN! Lucky us!! 😀

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