52 CommentsAgeing/Aging, Hair, Life

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On Oct, 9, 2012, I wrote about kicking the hair dyeing habit and letting it go natural. Well, it’s May 2013 now and the last bit of synthetic colour was applied one year ago! I have cut it twice; four inches in the fall and five inches the other day, in order to speed up the transition. Let me tell you, that was difficult because like Sampson, long hair gives me strength. It’s my “security blanket”.

Without further ado, here are the results:

The “Old Grey Mare” lives!

[Photos taken May 7, 2013]

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waist length grey hair
Waist length in back, before haircut, May 2013

[Originally published on Oct. 9, 2012]

Thanks to us, the Baby Boomers, there are some new catch phrases being flung about. Who hasn’t heard “40 is the new 30”, or “50 is the new 40”? So, it follows that we’ll be hearing “60 is the new 50” (or optimistically even, 40), yes? 😉 I’m certainly gung-ho about those! My new favourite? “Grey is the new blonde”. Yes, indeed. After dyeing my hair for over 40 years, I am finally FED UP with the whole thing! You really do become a slave to it; every 4-6 weeks, without fail, otherwise those dreaded grey roots become oh so visible. You know what? NOW is the time to embrace one’s “greyness” and revel in the independence. Liberation from the drudgery and mess!


A few months ago, I blogged about letting my hair grow long and I’m still doing that.

Long Hair and the “Mature” Woman

It’s about the same length now (to the waist, in back) as it was in my hippie heyday. A friend of mine said she saw me out walking the dogs recently and couldn’t believe how long it was. I told her of my plans and she actually said “well, don’t let it grow TOO long“. “Why not?”, I asked. “You don’t want to look like some weird old lady, do you?” she quipped. This truly made me laugh. I’ve never been one to care what other people thought and personally, I REALLY like it! Might get a little trim, just to get rid of the dead ends, but, the long hair STAYS! As for the grey, it’s coming in a lovely shade of silvery white in the front and blending in nicely with the remaining blonde. (Still quite dark in the back – oh well.) It may take two or three years to get rid of all the synthetic colour, ( I don’t cut it often), but, I’m hoping it will look like the photo up top, eventually. [Note: the original image shown was a stock photo. I have since replaced it with one of my own.]

So, are you embracing your advancing age, or fighting it?


ageing is mind over matter

© D.D.B. 2012-2015

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Debbie D.
Canine Innkeeper in suburban Toronto, Canada, known as "The Doglady". Writer/website owner, photographer, animal lover, music fanatic, inveterate traveller. History, literature and cinema buff. Eternal "hippie/rockchick". Binational, German/Canadian and multilingual. Looking for the next adventure!
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  1. Nice post Debbie. As we age the melanin which give our hair its color will diminish over time and as the hair strand loses the melanin the hair strand becomes transparent and over time the more transparent hairs you have give the appearance of gray against your darker hair. There are many views as to why this happens and like anything as we age it becomes more difficult for our bodies to produce the vital nutrients that were so readily present when we were younger.

    1. Hello Anna; Yes, I’m familiar with the reasons for hair turning grey as we age. Usually, people who comment on old posts are spammers, but your site looks legit and I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt. 🙂 Just wondering where you came across this post? Thanks for dropping in.

      1. I was looking for a personal stories about hair greying (it became personal for me too) … google brought me here. Thank you for your time.

        1. My pleasure. 🙂 Nice to know this website is so visible on Google. I get more compliments on my hair now than I did before and am so happy to be free of that dyeing drudgery.

  2. I have recently started colouring my red hair since it was getting quite greyish and making me feel so old. I resisted for a long time but finally gave in. I like it, especially since my choir director who is also a red head gave me good advice on the shade. She told me to use light brown shades as the red will come through naturally which is so true. If I’d used a red shade, it probably would look very unnatural and fake. I just started doing it and I think it makes me look younger. Now if only I could get something that easy for the wrinkles and extra weight. LOL!

    I imagine I’ll get tired of doing it though as the years pass and I’ll opt for the grey look just like you have done. My mom is 83 and her red hair is completely white now.

    I like your long hair and it’s a lovely shade of grey. If you’ve got it, flaunt it, I always say! You are an original, Debbie and I like how you don’t worry about what others think. You go, Girl!

    1. Hi Cathy; From the photos I’ve seen, your hair looks good. I dyed mine red for decades, but as you said, the grey became too pronounced, so then I switched to a much lighter strawberry blond shade. Basically, I just got tired of the drudgery and took a chance that the natural look would turn out well, which it did! Thanks for the kind words. My hair is the only feature people compliment me on anymore, speaking of extra weight and wrinkles. 😉 You should do whatever you like. Some women dye their hair all their lives. Have a good week. 🙂

  3. Thanks Debbie for selecting this post for the Archives. I can very well relate to your experience regarding coloring of the hair. I am seventy nine. Till I was sixty, i used to color my hair. They were quite long then. Then I stopped and got them cut.Now my hair is ‘salt and pepper’, but more salt. I love this stage. I used to be quite tense.Now that I am experiencing this stage, I am enjoying it.

    1. I know what you mean. Usha! 🙂 I stopped colouring my hair at the age of 57 and it was SO liberating!. After all those years, it had become total drudgery. Now my hair is also much healthier. Thank you for responding to my post.

  4. I just turned 51 and am also thinking along the same lines 🙂 My hair roots need a touch up every month, sometimes twice and I am feeling the frustration and pressure to cover the grey ends, not to mention the cost of getting it done professionally. Will let you know when I decide to go natural, hopefully soon.

    1. Professional hair colouring is very expensive and I wouldn’t want to do that, for sure. I always did it myself, but got tired of the drudgery. 🙂 My hair is much healthier now, too. If you’re ready to this, just go for it, Sulekha!

  5. Your awesome Debbie. Im learning it the hard way. When I began greying I started colouring and now am losing it. The lengyh and texture are lost.

    1. That’s too bad! 🙁 Hope your hair recovers. I didn’t lose any, but the ends got very dry and brittle, splitting all the time. It’s much healthier now.

  6. I haven’t yet heard “Grey is the new blonde” – interesting! I too have been thinking seriously about letting my hair go after having coloured it for a few years in reddish tones, first orangey-red which ‘popped out’ my blue eyes, and then burgundy red most recently. Since I just became a ‘young senior’ chronologically, I think this is as good a time as any! 😉 <3

    1. I dyed my hair auburn for many years, fluctuating from dark to light. Then I switched to strawberry blonde, trying to keep the grey roots at bay. Finally, I said “what the hell for?” 😀 Life is too short to spend all that time with hair dye every 4-6 weeks. If you’re ready, then just go for it, Elly. Cheers!

  7. I think we all have to make the transition and the more easily we embrace it the happier it will be I guess…Glad you chose to go natural…

    1. Yes, I am very happy to be freed from that colouring routine. 🙂 Every four to six weeks and it took almost two hours! 😛 Fortunately, the natural colour turned out well for me. Thanks for visiting.

  8. I think it’s beautiful, Debbie. And I love that you are part of the trend. Bravo!

    Mine is really gray on top and near my face, but at the nape of my neck, it’s as dark as ever. ~sigh~ I have a cowlick at the center of my hairline, and for some reason, it has remained dark, too. Gives me a weird streaked affect. I had an aunt (my dad’s sister) recently pass away, 95 years old, and she had the same dark streak at the top of her hairline. All of her hair was beaitiful silver except for that streak. I guess I inherited the hair graying traits from my dad’s side. My mom had fewer grays when she passed away at 83 years old, than I have now.

    I’ve never colored my hair, and I was never much to wear makeup either. So I always knew that I’d not fight the gray when the time came. But, I must admit, sometimes I miss looking in the mirror and seeing my dark brown hair staring back at me. 🙂

    Mine is down to my butt again. Time for another round of locks of love. They don’t use gray hair for wigs, but they do sell it to help defray the cost of making the wigs for children. 🙂

    1. Thanks Teresa! 🙂
      Interesting about the dark streak. I have one in front as well, but not so obvious; it seems to blend in. A reverse “Lily Munster” effect. LOL My father was totally white/silver at 23 and I started seeing grey roots at 25, so obviously, that’s where it came from. My mother didn’t have ANY grey at all until she was in her late 50s and still doesn’t have that much at 89. Sometimes I miss the strawberry blonde L’Oreal colour, (it’s still visible at the ends), but not the drudgery of having to redo it every 6-8 weeks! Great idea to use your hair for charity. Something to consider for next time, although, I won’t be cutting off nearly as much. You were one of my main inspirations for letting it go grey and grow longer. Have a good weekend!

  9. Hi Debbie–as you know, I agree totally with you. ;D By the way, your hair is now the same color as mine, although mine is slightly longer. I braid it after washing it, which gives it a good curl, without the expense of perming it. I use a little mousse and it stays curly-wavy until the next time I wash it. YEA!!!! I’m proud of you.

    1. Hi Mary; I still have synthetic “strawberry blonde” at the ends. but that is fading and the recent removal of 5 inches (didn’t enjoy that!) helps to speed things along. Great tip about braiding it and using mousse. I usually just wash and go, or add a few velcro rollers in front. Must try your suggestion; thanks! I’m proud of myself too! 😀

  10. I think in Canada and USA lots of women have long open hair, grey or other hair style. Here not so many, though two colleges have also long greyish hair. It also depends on the hair structure. I could not wear long hair without perm. I dont want perm anymore, so for me it is easier to cut it when it comes out to long. Dont want greasy spaghetti hair. I have to wash my hair nearly every day, dont have the time for longer hair., I m becoming grey too, but only on the top of the hair line and only infront, not in the back. So I only color this part at the moment, but my hair looks like I have highlights which are not colored, only by nature and in summer I look more blonde than usual and not by l Oreal – I may come back to the topic in 5 years – then my hair changed again. But I know I wont get dry and thick hair – I have much hair but very very straight and it just look greasy when I dont cut it reuglary. So see it all depends on how the structure of hair looks.

    1. Yes; everybody is different. My hair used to get greasy, but not anymore. Thanks for visiting, Bettina. 🙂

  11. Hi Debbie,

    I think your hair is looking lovely the way it is. 🙂

    Speaking of myself, I’ve dark brown hair that are going grey now. I prefer not using any dyes or trying anything on my hair because they all do have chemicals and we really don’t know the right ones to use or not use. Instead, I use Henna (I wonder if you’ve heard of it), which is a natural dye and it adds a nice tinge to my hair too.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂

    1. Thanks Harleena. I agree with you about the chemicals; they really did dry out my hair and it’s much healthier now. Henna would give your hair reddish highlights, yes? I have heard of it, going back to ancient times, but, it’s not widely used here. I believe Lucille Ball did use it and her hair was a bright shade of red. Appreciate the comments. 🙂

      1. Yes, it does add a little reddish tinge, though nowadays you get the black henna leaves too that you can mix with the normal ones, which turn out to be the color of my hair. Ancient as it might sound, it still is the most natural way to keep your hair colored and healthier too 🙂

        We do have the usual dyes in the market and parlors, but again, a lot depends on all the stuff they contain, which can damage you hair. That’s my main reason not to use any of them. Either ways, as soon as I get enough grey hair, I’d prefer stop coloring them and aging gracefully – love the silver streaks 🙂

        1. I didn’t know there were black ones, as well. Sounds good and definitely better than chemicals. Silver streaks look great – like something a hairdresser would do. 🙂 My hair started going white/silver when I was 25 but I always hid it with hair dye, until last year. Free at last! 😉

    1. Hi Jen! Nice to see you here. 🙂 Hope you’re having a good week. Guess what? We are going to see Ozzy and Black Sabbath in August. Should be a blast! 😀

  12. Oh my! Debbie your hair looks beautiful!! So thick and such a great color. Honestly, it doesn’t look grey to me but a very white blonde. Love it! I’ve been procrastinating coloring but for some reason, my hair is getting blonder all over. I can’t stand it so I made an appt for Saturday…cut and color or maybe highlights. Can’t stand the length anymore! Eeek! Yours rocks gf!

    1. Thanks, Bren. 🙂 You’re a natural redhead, aren’t you? Love that! Looks like your hair is curly too? That wouldn’t be conducive to growing it long, so I can understand your preference. My father had white/silver hair at 23 and I started getting it at 25, but chose to dye it most of my life, (and always shades of red; lastly strawberry blonde). The drudgery just got to me last year and I said “screw it”! Glad it turned out okay. Thanks for dropping by and have a great rest of the week.

      1. Actually a strawberry blonde and the curl is a perm. I’m feeling like doing something crazy with it this weekend. Oh my, watch out!

  13. I love the color of your hair. Very pretty. I have always had my hair short since I was really young. It was long in kindergarten but I hated it, hated having it washed, and hated my mom trying to fight the rats nests. LOL

    1. Thanks Kathy. 🙂 We all have our own styles. Mine has always been long and I feel naked when it’s too short. LOL

  14. Hi Debbie

    There was a day that they said if you get over a certain age you need to have your hair short! I remember thinking my power is in my locks. Hate short hair, well at least on me, each to their own. I need to go back in and get a good layered cut as it gives my hair body. I did get a really good cut in 86 and since have tried to keep it about the middle of my back or a smidge shorter depending on what they understood as 2 inches! My hair is naturally very dark and my skin very light, so it kind of made me look sickly. So I did start coloring for about 25 years. Gave up on that when it turned a little gray as it lightened up the hair color and made me not look so anemic. But my hair is mostly dark with a bit of gray hairs. I have no intention of coloring again. Now if the wrinkles would go away that would be much better!

    I agree gray is better than the constant drag of having to color, besides you can only hide your age so long and then people will notice, so what is the point.


    1. I’ve always had long hair too, Mary. Just cut it now to speed up the transition process, but it will grow back. Grey is actually “in” now, thanks to us Baby Boomers and I’m happy about that! 🙂 Wrinkles are another issue altogether. LOL I was “blessed” with oily skin, so don’t have too many. It’s a trade off with the blemishes though. Thanks for your insights!

  15. I love the look Debbie and look forward to the day I don’t have to color but being brunette is a bit trickier, no? Maybe I should start to go lighter now and over the years it will look more natural 🙂

    1. Yes, it is easier when you’re blonde and fair-skinned. Friend of mine had almost black hair and she’s doing what you suggested; gradually going lighter and lighter. She’s dark blonde at this stage and it looks good. Thanks for dropping by, Lisa. 🙂

  16. Natural rocks! I see a lot of younger people with platinum -grey-ish colored hair these days. You have that naturally, which is awesome! I am a colored blonde but my roots tend to turn yellow from sun and water quickly, and the hair-ends always look a little dry and bleached. That’s the curse of the colored blondes! 🙂

    1. Yes, I got lucky! LOL Actually, my hair started turning grey at 25, but, I have always dyed it and was also blonde the last several years. It was dry too, but, getting healthier now. Thanks for dropping by Dana. 🙂

  17. I do prefer the natural look. My hair is black – now getting steadily grey and I plan to let it be. I’m growing my hair too, but I’m afraid the rising heat might tempt me to chop it off! It’s presently too short to tie and long enough to irritate! 😉

    1. I think it’s more difficult for brunettes to go grey, so kudos to you, Corinne! 🙂 I imagine your heat is much more oppressive than ours and we only have it for a couple of months at the most, so long hair could be a bother then. I’ve always had long hair, so am used to it. It’s so liberating to no longer be a slave to that bottle. LOL Thanks for reading.

  18. Good stuff Deb. Way to be a leader! I thought about doing the same but my hubby said he didn’t want to be with an old lady…. Hehehe Says he who is gray and 66 years old. What nerve that took. If I thought mine would be even I would do the same, but for now I guess I will wait. But it sure looks good on you!

    1. Thanks, Norma! 🙂 I think the transition was easier for me, being fair-skinned and blonde. There’s still quite a bit of synthetic colour left, especially in back, but at least the front turned out well. Appreciate the comments.

  19. Seems I just can’t tear myself away this morning! Third cup of coffee [not expresso, of course–normal, north-american-type coffee]! There is some slight advantage in being one’s own boss!
    Colour versus no colour. I really can’t remember what my original colour was [maybe you can remember better than me!], but one thing I do know is that with light colours my skin turns green!!!!! literally! so I am stuck with dark colours for now….all the shades of dark reds, violets, prune, etc.
    I occasionally think of leaving the club, especially since with dark colours, the roots show up after a mere two week period! but then, I remember my experiments with lighter colours and for now give up any thought of going gray.
    As for long hair, I’d love it, if it wasn’t so …so…so ……… thinned out? is that comprehensible?
    So, I am stuck with short, dark, coloured hair! The one positive thing is that being short, it doesn’t take long to colour! LOL

    Ciao amica mia!

    1. Yes, I can understand that with olive skin and dark hair, turning grey would not be so wonderful. Easy transition for me, being blonde and fair-skinned. As for the long hair, I got lucky in that department, because it’s also thick. 🙂 Thanks for visiting!

      P.S. Nice website you have for your school.

  20. Good for you! I’m liking my long hair,( its past my waist now) don’t have to go in for trims all the time, can actually cut it myself.

    I think it is easier to go grey being blonde than it would be being a brunette.

    I love the color of the lady’s hair in first the photo. I have considered doing mine to get rid of the darker blonde and go all grey.

    1. You have beautiful hair, Linda! 🙂 Yes, it’s definitely easier to make the transition when you’re blonde. I have a dark-haired friend who is slowly colouring her hair lighter and lighter, to go grey gracefully. I’m hoping my hair will eventually look like that photo too. For now, it’s multi-coloured. LOL

  21. Hi Debbie,

    I’m very fortunate I guess… I’m in my mid 50’s now and still only have a couple strands of grey. You can’t see them but I can of course.

    I’ve never died my hair, ever. I have gotten a few highlights maybe twice now just for something different but no one noticed so I’ll probably just scratch that now.

    I do know though that once the grey really starts coming I will die it. Not because I’m ashamed of looking old but because I have a feeling it’s not going to look to cool on me. I could be wrong I don’t know. Like I said, I have no grey yet so I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

    I’m sure your hair is beautiful and I’m with you. To hell with what others think. As long as I’m happy with who I am and what I look like then that’s all that really matters.


    1. Hello Adrienne; Thanks for reading my post! 🙂 Going by your photo, I see you’re a brunette and I completely understand that you may not like the look of grey. Most of my brunette friends feel the same way. Easier for a fair-skinned blonde to make that transition.

      After 6 months, my hair sort of looks like this now:

  22. I am fighting old age like a warrior, lol. Dyeing hair does suck but I do it myself so it’s not bad.

    1. I usually did it myself too, Vickie, but, it came to a point where it just became too much drudgery. I felt the same way as you do now, for years, but, the recent stress and turmoil in my life has changed my perspective. It’s probably easier to go grey when you have blonde hair and the requisite fair complexion, as I do. Would be a MUCH starker contrast for dark brunettes, like you. I understand. 🙂

  23. Right on, Deb. Fighting Mother Nature too hard, leaves you looking like you’ve done battle. I’ve played around with coloring my hair for fun. I’m starting to get gray’s here and there, but I haven’t done a thing to my hair in well over 6 months, and doing just fine with it.

    1. I agree, G, but, two or three years ago, my answer would have been different. I think all the recent stress and turmoil have had a positive effect on my attitude.

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