I had quite a day the other day.  I was introduced to The Silver Sisterhood.

It started with a late night Facebook chat with a dear friend who I’ve known since high school days, who lives on the opposite side of the planet to me.  I was bemoaning my gray roots, and how I’d let them go for 2 months, but was totally fed up of recolouring them. Betsy agreed wholeheartedly with me, and we both confided that we’d been thinking about ditching the dye.

I have naturally dark brown hair, but started going gray at the age of 17, so I’ve been colouring my hair for that long.  I turn 50 in a few months, so that’s 33 years of hair dye! I’ve done probably ⅔ of the dye jobs myself, for cost reasons, so, let’s do the maths here.  33 years X a minimum of 10 times per year, at approximately $15 a pop. That works out at around $5000. Add in the times I had it professionally done, and that would probably add on another $3000 – $4000.  

Let’s look at the time I’ve spent.  It takes around 3 hours start to finish for my hair, so again, we’re looking at close to 1000 hours or 41 days spent just colouring my own hair.  This is also not including the salon jobs.

Hair dye

The day after this chat I decided to hop online and do some research and just see what would be involved in “transitioning” to natural gray.  Wow. I was totally unprepared for the sheer volume of information and stories out there.

It seems there are 3 main ways to do this – either chop it all off, have a salon colour expert supervise the colour change with highlights / lowlights and other treatments, or just bite the bullet and just stop colouring, and just deal with the stripe as it slowly advances downwards.

The middle option simply isn’t one I can go with, both for financial reasons and because I know my hair is already in pretty bad condition, so it’s either bite the bullet or the Big Chop.

I was pretty sure I’d go for the extreme cut, as the colour difference between my brunette lengths and pure white roots is kinda crazy noticeable.  I’ve had a pixie cut a few times over the years, and while it’s not my favourite look, it was ok. I’ll also have the benefit of lopping off all the brittle, damaged, dye-tortured bits!

The next stage is to actually decide whether to actually go ahead with it or not.  I was really surprised at how big of a decision this was, when I started giving it serious thought.

I’m just used to being a brunette.  I’ve never even gone blonde, so have absolutely no idea what lighter hair will look like on me.  And then there’s the age factor. I’ve never “felt” my age, but am starting to realise that most of us never do, thankfully.  I’ve never really been the safe, conservative type – I’m jeans, casual, silly.  I wonder if having gray hair will affect that.  I’m thinking that how I feel about myself won’t and shouldn’t change just because of my hair!

Longer hair

So here’s the big question – will it make me look older?  I honestly don’t know. I’m thinking it probably will in some ways, but then again – what’s wrong with looking my age?  I earned this age, damn it! These wrinkles, droopy bits and gray hairs are a part of me, they are my experiences, my everything.

I’m also single, and have been, for the most part, for many years now.  What about dating? Men my age already seem to gravitate towards women 20 years my junior (that’s a whole other rant!).  What chance have I got meeting a man even close to my own age if I’m all gray? To be honest, I don’t put much (if any) time into even attempting dating, so I’m not sure why I’m worried about this, but it is a niggling doubt.

Armed with some information, but more questions than answers, I decided to turn to Instagram.  The accounts I follow on there, as Alive In The Middle are mostly other women around my age, many of them who also blog about midlife issues, so I thought who better to pose the question to?

I was simply blown away by the responses, and I am not exaggerating when I say this.  I put up a very simple post:

To gray or not to gray silver sisters

And asked my Insta Tribe to share their tips and experiences, good and bad.

And oh, did they share!  Below are just a few examples of the incredibly supportive replies I got, and I felt so part of something!  I’m a bit of a loner usually, so to see these words of support from women over the world was simply amazing!

Silver sister replies

I also put up the question on my Facebook page and, once again, was blown away by the positive comments from friends and family.  

So… I’m doing it.

And I’m doing it in the most dramatic and drastic way possible! I’m shaving my hair basically all off.  Once I decided I’d go for it, I also realised that this week is The World’s Greatest Shave, which raises funds for leukaemia research and support.  This is clearly meant to be.

I’ve registered with the charity and have raised $350 so far in sponsorship, a friend’s husband is going to break out his clippers tomorrow evening, and I’m going from below-shoulders brunette to a #3 clipper cut.  If you’d also like to help raise funds for an amazing cause, just click on the image below and it will take you to my sponsorship page.

World's Greatest Shave

I’ll definitely be posing pics, and my highly-amused teenaged daughter will be capturing it all on video, possibly live on Facebook – YIKES!

So, wish me luck, and to all the Silver Sisters out there online who have encouraged and inspired me to go for it – THANK YOU!

As always, shares and Pins are most appreciated, and here’s a Pinterest ready pin all set to go!  If you’re also contemplating embracing the gray, or have already done it, please share your story in the comments below!

Love & Light,