Going Gray Under 40: Becki Carr

going gray under 40We get many, many emails from those of you going gray under 40. You are in good company!! Here is Becki Carr’s Story:

I started dying my hair around 16 just for fun, and it was a different color every 6 months. I tried everything from hydrogen peroxide to Glintz to professional coloring. At 24, I decided to go back to my natural color, at which point I discovered I’d gone gray. I didn’t have the courage to let it grow out and see just exactly how MUCH gray I had, so I went right back to dying it.

On a promise to my ever-tolerant boyfriend (now fiancé) who loves the gray, on my 31st birthday I started growing it out to see what it would look like. To my surprise, it was a pretty cool salt-and-pepper silvery shade, but now I had two-tone hair. I didn’t want to chop it off, so just before my 32nd birthday, my stylist did a full foil of bleach to get out most of the brown dye, leaving half the strands untouched. She then covered my entire head of hair with silver toner. The problem was that now the bleached part was lighter than my natural color, so I was two-tone again but my roots were darker, and everyone thought I had gone blonde.

At this point, I almost gave up and decided to just go back to dying my hair all one color, but I realized I was sick of adjusting to expectations and wanted to grow out a full head of naturally colored gray hair; I wanted to be proud of my natural color and to inspire other young women to do the same. I’ve been seeing an increasing number of young women growing out their grays, but until finding Going Grey, I could not find any useful information out there for anyone under 40 (or really under 50) about the process. Natural gray will never be fully accepted in the under-40-set if women keep dying their grays out of embarrassment or in an effort to look “normal.”

In order to transition to gray without cutting all of my hair off, my stylist and I came up with a plan to use foil to protect some of the natural hair, and to dye the rest with a shade as close to my natural dark brown as possible. Each time I go back, she leaves a little bit more hair gray. The strands all blend together, so when the gray grows out, there is not one line around my head that shows my roots. I’m happy with the way I look now, and I take care of my hair by using as-close-to-natural-as-possible products to keep the grays smooth. I can’t wait to finally be a full “silver fox” one day.

Like what you just read?
Join our community
and get our free ebook
"15 Fabulous Tips for Rocking the Silver or Gray" 


  1. Linda Hause says

    Seeing your photo was déjà vu. My spouse took a picture of me years ago when I was around your age and the resemblance is uncanny, even down to the prominence of the gray front and center. In those years, a frequent question was "who does your highlights" Except for a brief fling with being a blond (in my late fifties), I have retained my natural color. I'm still not a full silver fox, but I'm well on my way and very comfortable with my appearance. Be proud and don't believe those who equate gray with looking old or unappealing.
    Linda Hause

  2. says

    I used to say, "If I had hair like Jamie Lee Curtis, I would let mine go natural gray too." The irony is, I have no clue what my natural hair color is. The thought of going "two-toned" was unbearable to me so I just got a wig. It was fun to shop for it (and I will probably get another for fun). By the end of the summer, I will be able to debut my REAL look. I'm getting excited for that reveal. I will be finally free of that dreaded need to recolor!
    A co-worker said, "It's a woman's prerogative to change her hair." Alleluia!!! If I'm in the mood for color, I can just put on a wig!

  3. Claudia says

    Hi, you look beautiful, I have decided to go gray I´m 36 and my hair is sort of two tones but more like silver, I´m in the process of letting my hair grow but sometimes I´m embarrased and I feel like I´m going to dye again then I remember the messy horrible scene and the chemical damage and that keeps me from doing it again, I hope acomplish my goal soon.

    Greetings from Mexico
    God Bless!!

  4. Lisa says

    I started going gray at 16. Colored from that point on. I have super thick hair, so it it quite an expensive process. Last year (now age 40) I decided to stop. I'm not going to lie-it has not been easy. I have multi-colored hair. I have it nearly half grown out in gray. Coworkers are less than appropriate with their comments. I have yet to decide if I am making the right choice…but I just can't afford to color anymore.

  5. Angela says

    I hit 40 a year ago and fell in love with myself! I let go of all the young girl drama, started running 5Ks, eating right, letting my gray flag fly….the whole wonderful self-discovery process.

    Then I found out I was pregnant in May! (my son is 12) Oh. My. Goodness. I'm still letting my gray grow out (hubby gets mopey when I talk of cutting my long hair off…so i have massive two tone hair. There's no hiding what I did. But I am generous in "trimming the ends" ha! and My gray is about bob length) I'm just tired of the looks at my hair…my belly….my hair. And I dread the "Oh, your granddaughter is so cute" comments. Thanks for the encouragement! xox

  6. texas girl says

    torn between letting it grow or continue coloring it….but i’m also looking for comeback remarks when (rude) friends/acquaintances/coworkers tell me “Oh,you have a lot of gray….” OR “wow, I didn’t know you had so much gray hair” or my favorite “Why don’t you color your hair? you look old” btw, I’m 38. What should i say??

  7. Looking4Courage2goGray says

    I’m 34 and I have nice thick black hair but it started to go gray a few years ago and my sister was like oh you got start covering your roots…and so it began. At first l colored it every couple of months but now the grays show even faster. I find myself being embarrassed when ppl notice my gray hair growing in and I’m tired of feeling that way. I want to get the courage to grow it in and since I have jet black hair I asked for my hairdressers help and she basically told me gray hair is not for everyone and steered me away from going that way. So now I’ve got to do it on my own…*sigh* wish me luck!

  8. Jenn says

    I’m under 40 and have been going gray since i was in my early 20s. I’m glad to see other women who are embracing their hair as it is. I’m done hiding it. I’m done worrying about what everyone else thinks of it. It’s been liberating letting it all come in.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *