Some women are paying a lot of money for what you can have naturally.

By Patricia S. York
June 06, 2017
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Some of you may remember this slogan for a woman’s hair coloring product: “The closer he gets, the better you look.” This implied that gray hair was unattractive and undesirable. For generations, women have been dying their hair at the very first appearance of gray—perhaps they don’t like the shade of gray that is growing in, or they think it makes them look old, or they simply enjoy the hair color of their youth. As long as you are happy with your hair, dye it, cut it, and wear it however you want. Ask your hairdresser and she will tell you, however, that there is a growing trend with women to go natural. No longer do we believe that silver hair “ages you.” Unhealthy hair, a bad haircut, a bad dye job—these things will age you. A headful of healthy, vibrant salt and pepper or snowy white hair is as beautiful and eye-catching as a stunning redhead or brilliant blonde. And yet another trend is younger women paying big bucks to have their hair dyed—you guessed it—gray. You can have it for free.

Have you thought about going natural? Perhaps you are tired of the hours spent in the chair at the beauty parlor, or you would like to save the money you spend every four-to-six weeks at appointments, or you worry about the chemicals that keep getting slathered on your head. Have you taken a good look at other women in your family who have “gone natural” and proudly display a gorgeous head of gray, and wondered if you might not carry those same genes. For women who want to transition to gray, it might be a long process growing out the color, but it is well worth the effort and you can make it happen.

Talk to your stylist and get his/her honest opinion. Do your gray roots look more yellow than shimmery silver? If so, what can be done about that? How will this natural color look next to your complexion? Will you need to change your makeup colors? Going natural is a process and you have to be patient with it. Your stylist may suggest cutting your hair shorter in a layered style, so the line between the dyed hair color and the new natural won’t be so severe. Don’t worry if you want to keep your hair longer, though, you can add either highlights or lowlights to help blend the new growth with the existing dyed color. There will be some awkward times during the transition phase, and you may often just want to throw your hair up in a bun or wear a baseball hat! Just stick to your guns and keep going. If your hair is in the midst of this awkward transition period and you have a special event to attend, you may opt for a semi-permanent color, such as Clairol Professional Beautiful Collection, $8.00, that washes out after 12 shampoos.

As the natural gray grows in, it will be easier to see how much is gray and if there is an underlying color. Special shampoos, sometimes called purple shampoos, can help even out the tone, cancel, out brassiness or yellowness, and bring out the brighter and whiter part of natural gray or silver. Drybar’s Blond Ale, $27.00, is really nice, and another is Paul Mitchell's Blonde Platinum Blonde Shampoo, $13.50. Both of these special shampoos should only be used once or twice a week, or else your hair will then take on a blue or violet undertone. Now wouldn’t that be awkward!

Going natural may also alter the texture of your hair—some women report their hair is finer, while others report their hair gets dry and wiry. You will probably have to adjust your conditioning routine and find a different volumizer, but with trial and error, you will find the one that works best for your beautiful head of gray hair.

WATCH: What You Can Learn From 8 Women Who Embrace Gray Hair

If you try to go natural and decide you don’t like it, you can always color your hair again and give it another try in a few more years. Whatever you do with your head of hair, whether you color it or go natural, just be sure and keep it healthy.

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