Overcoming Skunk Hair: One Reader’s Transitional Journey to Gray

Transitioning to gray is a difficult task. Some women use color to camoflauge and blend in new gray hair, others just go for it. This is one reader’s story:
I’m a 50 something Asian-American women that has been coloring my hair since my thirties. I would spend exorbitant amounts of money and time here in the S.F. Bay Area to upkeep my hair. The 6 weeks between touch-ups became 4, then 3. I found myself scrutinizing overly dark dye jobs on women of a certain age. I didn’t like what I was seeing. I had toyed with the idea for years but finally made a steadfast decision in March of this year.

Collaborating with my stylist who blinked only slightly at the substantial loss of income, we embarked on a journey together. An amazing amount of support ensued from friends and family, many jealous of their own perceived lack of courageousness.

We utilized low lights to ease in the initial outgrowth as well as temporary allover coloring if a special event arose during this painful time. I used Prell (I know…) & high quality conditioners (products with Argan oil are a miracle) to help wash out the remaining color.

It’s still a journey but I’m almost there w/o nearly the trauma I envisioned and this is coming from someone with black hair. It’s looking more salt and pepper by the month. A good stylist, a great cut (can’t overemphasize this) and an open mind helped me through the dog days of skunkdom with no regrets. It became a valuable education for my youthful stylist seeing as how a trend may be emerging and she will be well positioned with tips and techniques for other Boomers ready to go for it. P.S. I’m also thinking of of low lighting again once all the gray grows in. My stylist will be very happy!

– Heather

Do you have a gray story you’d like to share?  Please email us at goinggray at goinggrayblog.com

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  1. Kristin says

    I made the jump from long flowing dark brown skunk hair to grey quickly and painlessly.
    After watching the thin grey line get wider and wider, after trying to fit yet another salon visit into the budget, after trying to downplay the skunk line with the do-it-yourself comb-in hair dye, after having my self-esteem drop, drop, drop each time looking in the mirror, I warned my husband that I was going to cut all the brown out, go short, so short to be almost a crew cut. I had had it with the constant stress my hair was giving me.
    I facebook'd my stylist, letting him know why I had made the appointment, preparing him as well as me what was going to happen that day. And when I sat down in that chair, his couldn't quite believe what I wanted, but he was supportive. My hair had become shorter and shorter, but was still below my shoulders, framing my face softly with its long layers. I like that part of my hair. Josh was kind, he turned me away from the mirror as he worked, and light heartedly joked with me, sharing gossip and keeping my spirits up. It was a shock to see my hair au naturel, it was much darker than I had thought, and so incredibly short. He had left the colour on the tips of my short bangs to soften the look, but the rest was gone. What a difference!
    And I loved it!! I felt so much lighter, freer, all that stress was just gone, gone!! Running my hands through my hair, it wasn't long enough to pass over my fingers. The top stayed spikey and defiant, the sides stayed in place with just a bit of gel…..
    My husband teared up when he saw me that first time. Even though he had been warned what I was going to do, it was such a shock to him. He had always loved my long hair – and big boobs. Ass, at least he still had m'boobs. I felt great, and he got used to it.
    Just over two years later, I have had varying degrees of short hair, trying to find that perfect length for me. I had thought I would go back to long hair, but not only does short hair suit me ( Mom was right!), I love that it washes & dries quickly, stays in place with a bit of product, and takes nothing out of my incredibly tight budget.
    More and more women are going grey. I hold myself up strait and tall, proud to be one of them.

  2. Denise says

    I too, found myself at a crossroads. Do I commit to coloring my hair, along with all the unpleasant aspects? Or, do I reclaim my personal power as a wise woman? After a bit of soul searching, I decided to go with my intuition. I rushed out on a blustery autumn morning and visited a hair salon. Fortunately, my stylist was in her late forties and could easily relate. She completely understood my desire to embrace my gray. After about 15 minutes, my shoulder length salt and pepper turned into a dazzling silver bob. I felt energized and confident, ready to take on the world. No looking back now. This is truly my "crowning" glory and I feel perfectly centered within myself.


  1. […] Do prepare for a long transition.  Our readers have reported that it takes anywhere from four to eight months to go from coloring your hair to a natural state of gray.  If you have longer hair, it might take longer.  If you do decide to go gray, be prepared to be patient. […]

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