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Mail Bag: Growing Out Gray

· Embracing colorless hair ·

November 12, 2017 12 Comments

I think we may need a hair update – curious to what your plans are, since I need to do something with mine and looking for ideas.

I started going gray at 17. I know this because I pulled a hair a few years later (in 1995) and, based on a growth rate of 1/2 inch/month, it had lost its color three years earlier. On my father’s side of the family, it was not uncommon to go gray in one’s 20s.

I started coloring my hair for fun, not to cover gray. I’d always thought of myself as a redheaded soul and began dyeing my hair auburn for self-expression in my 20s. Aside from a few forays into blonde and brunette, I was red until 39, when I bleached it and went pink. Pink, it turns out, is a great transition color to gray.

My first, good, look at the gray was as I was growing out a half-shaved head.

I decided to grow out my natural, silver color just as it was becoming trendy to bleach and then dye one’s hair gray. The thing is . . . that look is trendy when you see the contrast between youthful face and icy hair. It’s not so avant garde on a 40+ year-old-woman. Still, regardless of of trends and ageism, I’ve decided to grow out my gray. (Independently, my sister, two years younger than myself, decided to do the same, at about the same time.)

While I am embracing a mature color, I am, paradoxically, growing out my locks to a length traditionally reserved for the young. I love to braid and twist and pile long hair and haven’t had a chance to do so since I cut it short in 2012. I’m already loving the way my white temple streaks look when pulled back into a french braid.

I’m a little concerned that I won’t be able to achieve the length I’d like without breakage. During college, I grew my (nearly virgin) hair down to my waist. Later, though, it would break and thin not much past my shoulders. I don’t know how much of that was due to dye, diet, products or extreme physical training. I’ve made changes on all four fronts, so I am hopeful that it will grow at least long enough for some fun styling.

You can see how ragged my ends looked last time I grew my hair long.

It’s just long enough now to french braid. I haven’t had a cut since the end of June and don’t plan on even a trim until February. I intend to keep long, sideswept bangs, but to otherwise let it go.

November 13, 2017

Kasmira Kit


  1. Lorena

    November 14, 2017

    I aspire to letting my grey out.. i love to see it on others but to think of the long process makes me keep on dying it…

    • Kasmira Kit

      November 14, 2017

      I’ve seen women transition with highlights and some wear gray hairpieces to help them through. There are lots of options. And there’s always “grin and bear it.”

  2. ceeamm

    November 14, 2017

    I love your hair in any shade !

    • Kasmira Kit

      November 14, 2017

      It is awfully fun to experiment with color.

  3. Ramona Black

    November 16, 2017

    I had to bleach it blonde and grow it out for a year but it was worth it for the platinum!

    • Kasmira Kit

      November 16, 2017


  4. Maria

    November 19, 2017

    I’ve tried but end up exasperated and go back to red (RED!). I keep it short, so it should be easier than for those with longer hair. But the reflection of the gray person who looks back at me is just not me, yet. Love it on others though!

    • Kasmira Kit

      November 19, 2017

      No judgments here! I think you should wear the color that makes you happy.

  5. ~J

    November 20, 2017

    Thanks for the update! I think your hair looks great! I’m in the same boat as Lorena, and my grays seem to have a different texture, which makes styling a little more challenging. They are sort of wiry and stick out at odd angles from the rest of my curls. Dye makes them lay smoother and fall inline better.

    • Kasmira Kit

      November 20, 2017

      I find mine are also a different texture, but I’ve been dealing with them so long that I don’t notice too much.

  6. c

    November 22, 2017

    I am much older than you and have long hair. There was a NYT letter/editorial a few years back about how women “of a certain age” are advised to cut their hair short. It gave rise to hundreds of comments.

    • Kasmira Kit

      November 23, 2017

      I bet it did! I will cut it short again if it thins, but, as long as I have medium density, I will try to grow it long.

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