Yesterday I went shopping and then for lunch with my friend Susan. As usual we caught up on our news, we talked about family, and what we’ve been reading, and about our hair. And about how we are both in, well, a good hair place.
Susan’s hair is a lovely salt and pepper. Grey mixed with streaks of darker grey, and others of soft white. As I am wont to do, I commented on her hair when she was in the middle of a story. She was telling me about her son or maybe it was her granddaughter, and I interrupted with: “By the way, your hair is looking amazing.” Then I proceded to comment on how great her navy sweater looked with her purple and pink scarf … and how they both looked so good with her salt and pepper hair.
I might not have said all that in the same breath, but I said it over the course of the conversation. At some point I laughed and apologized for making so many comments on what she was wearing. And for analysing the way the purple and fuchsia in her scarf complimented the white highlights in her hair. She chuckled and said she was used to it, meaning she was used to me waxing lyrical about the detail of colour and outfits. Ha. She knows me so well, people.
Then we got into a saga about colours and which colours we can and can’t wear. Susan told the story about a jumper and blouse that her aunt made for her before she headed off to boarding school in grade thirteen. And how the golds and tans always looked dreadful on her. She’d wear her outfit and people would ask if she was feeling okay. Similarly with a green (I think it was) dress when she was first teaching. She said she never really understood why until she had her colours done years later and found out she was a “winter” and warm colours were an anathema to her. And still are.
It’s funny how when I see Susan after an absence of a few months, like yesterday, I am always struck by how much I like her hair now that she no longer colours it. I mean, she hasn’t coloured her hair in years. But when I encountered her unexpectedly in Nordstrom yesterday… we were both early for our lunch reservation… a part of my memory must have been expecting her hair to still be dark brown. Not that I didn’t think her dark hair looked good, just that it looks so very good now.
Susan is definitely in a good hair place. And, you know, so am I.
Back in March 2020, after what seemed like a million years of colouring my hair, with a labour intensive (for Carmen anyway) combination of base colour, highlights, and lowlights, a ton of hours in Carmen’s chair, and a lot of money spent, I stopped covering my grey. Actually it was the lock-down of 2020 that forced my hand. As it did for many of us.
I was shocked when the colour started to grow out and I saw, when my roots were long enough to really get a good look at them, that I would be white-haired when it was all over. Not grey. Not salt and pepper like Susan. Totally and completely white. Like my grandmother Burpee who had snowy white hair. Once I could push my bangs off my face, cover the faded blond and brown with my cupped hands, and see the effect of the silver against my skin, I started to fall in love with the colour. Or lack thereof.
I documented the whole process here and here on my blog. The good, the bad, and the ugly hair days throughout that very long spring of 2020.
After the dyed colour was all gone…. another few months after my first post-colour cut… Carmen and I began to talk of putting a few lowlights in the front for more definition. We experimented. The first try was too dark. The second too light and not visible enough. The third try was the charm. It took a while because the lowlights had to grow out and be cut off completely each time to avoid covering colour with colour.
I quite like the look of a bit of colour in the front. Not too much, and not too widespread. I want most of my hair to be snowy white. Like my grandmother. By the beginning of 2022 we’d got it right.
I’m currently trying to decide if I want to redo the lowlights in the front. Carmen and I discussed it when I had my hair cut on Wednesday. Should I or shouldn’t I? I don’t know yet. I don’t want anything wild. No pinks or blues. That’s just not me. But I might opt for the same shade we did last time. Or I may not.
The texture of my hair has changed since I stopped having it coloured. While the colour was growing out it was curlier than ever. Almost unmanageable when we were camping during the spring of 2020. But now it’s more silky, seems finer in texture, and doesn’t have as much curl as it used to have. I had to stop using my leave-in conditioner after years and years of needing the extra conditioning to control the frizz. Now the conditioner just makes my hair flat. This week I asked Carmen to go very short and more choppy.
I love the cut. I love the colour. Or lack thereof. In fact I’m very happy with my hair overall. I am definitely in a good hair place.
Lots and lots of women on social media have recorded their hair journey from colour to no colour. And they all look great with grey or white hair. They seem happy with their choice to stop colouring. I guess they’re in a good hair place too.
But what I have noticed is that many, many of these women are in their forties or fifties, some are even in their thirties. Some of them are former models. Fewer of them are my age or older. I’m not sure why that is. And I’m wondering if we might try to shift the balance a bit.
I’d like to write post about you, my friends. About your hair journey. And show that you are in a good hair place now that you’ve stopped colouring your hair.
So I want you to send me a photo of yourself. Make sure we can see your hair in the shot. And if you don’t mind, tell us a bit about your hair story. Perhaps you might share your age (if you don’t mind), how you made the decision to stop colouring your hair, or maybe you never started at all. Include as much or as little detail as you want. If you have them include before and after photos, during photos, or just a photo of you with your au natural hair. If you want to weigh in on why you prefer to keep colouring and include a photo to support that, go for it.
I’ll put all the photos and stories into a post. A post about the hair stories of the High Heels in the Wilderness community. If I get a lot of photos and stories, I’ll do more than one post.
You can email me at this address. Please try to have the pictures to me by March 4. Then I’ll publish the post the next Saturday. That gives you lots of time to take a photo that makes you happy.
I’ve always been interested in, maybe even a little obsessed by, hair. Usually it’s my own hair story I talk about. So I’m super excited to be able to see and read about your hair journeys.
P.S. I’ve listed below the hair care products I use now that my hair is white and more finely textured. I have provided links when I could find them. Some of the products are only sold in salons. Where a link is provided, it is an affiliate link. If you make a purchase after clicking my link, I will earn a small commission which helps to pay for the blog.
Goldwell Silver shampoo to keep the white white. KMS Hair Play: Sea Salt spray for a grittier texture because my hair is so soft now. I apply this before blow drying. Goldwell Ultra Volume Double Boost for some extra lift and volume when my hair begins to grow out and gets flat. Apply before blowdrying. Goldwell Creative Texture Unlimitor 4, styling paste. For styling after drying. Use sparingly. Helps make hair look more “piecey” and textured, and not poofy.
P.P.S. Here are the links to the IG accounts shown above: Let’s Go Grey, She Got a Wild Hair, Jenny Paulina Silver Sister, and Grece Ghanem. You can find lots more on IG if you search #whitehair.
55 thoughts on “A Good Hair Place”
Hi Sue … great post! I have always thought that your hair looks great … coloured and grey! As long as I’ve known you it’s been so well cut and stylish … Carmen obviously totally understands what suits you and what you like as well as being an exceptional hair dresser!
Such a great idea to bring together other people’s stories and experiences as they decide to stop colouring their hair.
From my own perspective, I probably didn’t appreciate my hair colour ( auburn) until my 50’s and now in my 60’s I feel blessed and totally surprised ( shocked but appreciative really) that it’s kept its colour. My mum was a sort of salt and pepper brown in her 40s and I imagined I’d be the same.
Looking forward to the post Sue and I hope you’re having a lovely weekend.
My grandmother had red hair and she didn’t lose the red until very late. Her hair wasn’t white until she was in her seventies… over the years it just went lighter and lighter red. Your auburn hair is lovely, Rosie.
Thanks Sue … so interesting to hear about your grandmothers hair. That’s exactly how my hair is going … a lighter shade and more golden red. Also like yours, it’s finer now and less thick and “bushy” than it used to be.
Love your hair and your style…btw…the new green coat is SO fabulous. Any chance you can share the accts. of the 4 women you follow who have gone grey? So difficult to find others stylish like you. Thanks.
Thanks, Nancy. I made sure the names of the four IG accounts were clearly visible in the photo, so people could search them out on IG. But when I saw your comment I went back in and added links at the end of the post. 🙂
I think you look great with your hair all white. I’m almost all white now with a bit of steel grey at the back and I’m loving it. I was originally a dark brunette and still coloured my hair till I had to undergo 5 months of chemo and was bald for 6 months. It started to grow in white one year ago, and I searched for hair inspiration on the “silver sisters” sites, but as you mentioned, they were all much younger (I’m 69). I’ll pull together some photos and email you.
I think it’s great that you’ve given us a platform so we can inspire each other and share journeys.
Thanks, Yvonne. I think we all need to inspire each other, as you say. And share our stories and our photos… that are not all filtered and airbrushed. 🙂
Sue – the link to your email address doesn’t open. Can you send me an email? Thanks, Yvonne
Your hair is utterly stunning! The green coat has an amazing texture close-up
I’m still dying my hair,very close to platinum-so,I guess there won’t be a great difference. I have only a couple of white locks but I don’t like the combination with my natural honey blond hair,so I’ll wait for more white to let it grow. Looking forward to more hair stories here
I love your blonde hair, Dottoressa.
You are definitely in a good hair place (Carmen does a great job!).
I’m one of those who has never coloured (in fact, my entire beauty routine has pretty much always consisted of a bit of mascara and that’s it). I’ve hit my early to mid-fifties and although I have some grey, my hairdresser says it’s not much. I’ve never had great hair. It’s fine, but I do have a lot of it; mid-brown. A rude hairdresser once gasped and said it was going to be wiry when grey, and that seems to be somewhat true in places! I’m wondering at this point if I might be like my grandfather, who, even at ninety, had mostly brown hair with a little grey interspersed. My mother, on the other hand, who was a beautiful strawberry blonde, has the loveliest silver hair that people thought she must have touched up in a salon. She too, however, never coloured and never wore much makeup. Oh well – we can’t change the genetic lottery.
Will enjoy seeing this post! I’m always curious about people’s hair journeys. I usually find that women look better with their natural hair than with coloured hair, especially after a certain age, but that’s just my opinion. Women should do what makes them feel beautiful..
PS Another May baby here.
I’ll look forward to seeing this post!
*that people *think* she must have touched up at a salon (my mother is still very much alive and well!)
We certainly can’t change that genetic lottery. Neither of my sisters’ hair went grey like my mum’s. I had strawberry blonde hair as a child like my mum’s oldest sister who died very young. The resemblance was so striking that it freaked me out a little as a teenager when I grew close to the age she died. You should send a photo along, Stephanie, to represent the younger readers. Include a shot of your mum and her beautiful white hair, maybe? Or not…. whatever you’re comfortable with…. no pressure. 🙂
Hi Sue, Lovely to hear about your family. I can see how that resemblance would freak you out a little bit as a young person. It’s funny how similar we become to members of our family as we age, too – or at least we see it more readily.
In principle I wouldn’t mind sharing a photo, but I generally try to keep few of those in circulation. I’ll think about it. My mom unfortunately is very much camera shy, and so that is a no-go.
No worries Stephanie. And no pressure. You have to do what feels right for you.
I am too shy to share photos. My hair is fine and as a child my mom always kept my hair short. My hair was blond as child, getting slightly darker as I got older. Probably in my 20’s I started highlighting about twice a year or less. My mom did it for me at home with the cap until I was about 40 and started having professional highlights. I like to change my hair style, but it has never been longer than shoulder length. During the pandemic my hair grew longer than it had ever been. I wanted to change hair stylists for several reasons and when I finally decided to get my hair trimmed, I went to someone new. Over the past year I grew out my bangs but my hair is still long, for me. The color is now light brown, with a little gray, and I am really enjoying it. Sometimes I felt my old stylist overdid the highlights and I was too blonde. Now I feel more like myself. I am currently overdue for a haircut and will probably go a few inches shorter with a shortish bob the next time. I generally let my hair air dry and since I am not blow-drying, or washing it daily my hair feels healthier.
My mom colored her when she started going gray. Her natural color was a medium brown, but as she got older her hair color got lighter and lighter. Her hair was blonde, but as I used to tell her, not a color found in nature. When she got sick and stopped coloring, her hair turned white. I thought it looked so pretty and that is how I like to remember my older mother.
I love your white hair; it really suits you. I like that it is now common to see gray and white hair on young-looking women. Tammy’s Ageless Beauty is a you tube channel with a woman with really long hair who is going gray.
I look forward to your future post.
Oh, I remember the home colour kits using the cap. My sisters would streak each other’s hair using that method. It was not always foolproof. I remember an “accident” that had one sister very upset with the result.
You have gorgeous white hair and the cut looks wonderful on you. I see you are definitely getting some wear out of your green coat, I love it. I always look forward to your posts.
Thanks, Valerie. I am surprised that I love my green coat with so many different types of outfits.
Sue, you look amazing with your hair colour and I love the style. The only time I like my hair is when I’ve managed to blow dry every curl and wave out of it! Although I am 72..also a ‘May’ baby, I’ve very little grey hair, it’s mousy which I absolutely hate. I get high lights every couple of months and this lightens it up. I’ve thick hair and it tends to be dry so I get it cut every 4-5 weeks. I shall try to find out how to send you a photo of myself..this may be a challenge.
Thanks, Lynne. I get my hair cut every five weeks too. And it’s so wonderful to be able to stretch that to six if I need to and not be worried about roots.
Yes, your hair is wonderful! The cut is so becoming and I love the color. I stopped coloring my hair almost 6 years ago but I did not turn completely gray or white. I still have some dark blonde strands mixed in the white and gray. I’m okay with it and my hair feels good after years of highlights and bleach.
Thanks, Linda. It does feel good to be without all the chemicals, doesn’t it?
I really like the color of your hair and the style, that is why I decided to follow you on Instagram and also read your blog.
I have hair pretty close to your color. If I get brave I will send a picture. I did have lowlights put in the front for years but they wouldn’t stay in because of the white hair. I just didn’t want to look washed out and old.
My mother died quite young so I don’t know what her hair looked like as she grew older. I was on my own journey.
Anyway I love your hair and the cut. I especially like the picture of you in the green coat. The hair and the color in the coat are striking.
I’m going to look into the products because I’m always looking for something that will work better for me. Also I am 72 and don’t color my hair anymore. I love how much money and time I’m saving.
Thanks, Paula. My mother’s hair journey was so different from my own. She had dark brown hair and went grey bit by bit in her fifties. She still had some colour and was salt and pepper in her sixties. Not me… I was full on white under all my colour for years before I stopped colouring. At least according to Carmen.
I am in the happy place of having lots of friends who are now grey and I love the diversity of the outcomes, from total white, to a rather entrancing silver grey with white streaks at the front. One friend decided in 2020 that enough was enough and the result is a fabulously sleek and shiny metallic grey. I remain pale grey at the front, dark at the back, rather wiry and totally unbiddable so kept short and sort of pixie-ish. I always loved my dark, straight and shiny hair that sat beautifully in a bob, didn’t give me any teenage troubles but which I was incapable of styling in any way whatsoever due to an inability to do things backwards eg in a mirror. My daughter inherited my dark hair, but thicker and is a whiz at all kinds of fandangling with curling irons etc. I will admit to great relief at never giving my head more than a few seconds each day.
I have friends who have never mastered the blow-dryer or the flattening iron. That’s why short is so lovely. I have to blow-dry about three strands. 🙂
Oh how I covet that green coat!
Your hair looks amazing – both the cut and color. I wouldn’t add low-lights.
Like you, I stopped coloring my hair during the pandemic and am so happy I did. My hair wasn’t taking color well and I had to color it every 3 to 4 weeks or it would get terribly brassy. I also think it aged me because it was so clearly colored. It looks so much prettier and healthier now. I think a great cut is the key to going gray or silver or white at any age (I’m 66).
That’s one reason why I stopped colouring. To me it was aging to have roots showing. And they appeared so quickly that I spent half the month trying to minimize the roots and only half the time liking my colour. I hope you send us a picture of your new pandemic locks, Leslie.
I love your hair au naturel! You are definitely in a good hair place, which I’ve unfortunately never really inhabited. My hair is baby-fine and there’s not a whole lot of it, especially as I get older. I abandoned highlights/lowlights during the pandemic, and it was a fairly seamless transition with my light brown natural colour gradually becoming more silver. My struggle has been with the advice I read some time ago: that if your hair colour says “old,” your style should say “current.” The latter is hard for me to achieve with my thin, fine hair not leaving a lot of style options. But I despaired of my limited style choices long before I went grey.
Your idea of having readers contribute pictures is wonderful! I’m not sure if I’ll be brave enough to join in, but it will make a very interesting post!
Fine hair is challenging isn’t it? I hope you summon up the courage to send a photo, Denise. But I’ll understand if you’re not comfortable doing so.
Love the cut and colour of your hair. I would leave it as it is. Mine is also now non-coloured thanks to covid and I would be more than happy if it turned silver as my mother’s did. Unfortunately I’m stuck with a mixture of salt and pepper with good sprinkling of mouse but I feel comfortable with it. It has also become quite curly especially in damp weather.
It’s funny how the texture changes along with the colour isn’t it?
I love the way your hair looks.
Your hair journey could be mine although I have been grey for a long time – I welcomed turning grey in my 50s after a life time of dying, highlighting, tinting, streaking, straightening etc. Having curly hair has been a challenge: when young in the 1960s I used jumbo style rollers in a shower cap/dryer arrangement before I could be seen in public; in the 70s I went for a kind of Afro hair do; in the 80s I gelled and pulled my hair into place (with varying degrees of success) and in the 90s it was blow drying at the hairdresser (and velcro rollers at home on the off times). All this time my hair was very thick and wayward until I hit my late 60s.
If I could just let my hair go curly I would, but it goes to frizz and resembles a merino sheep. A memorable hairdresser from long ago told me I had “collapsible curl” which I think means the curl doesn’t last but lapses into wrinkles. When he was my hair dresser people would ask who cut my hair and request his phone number.
Now I get my grey/white hair blow dried most fortnights to give me some kind of volume and shape, and my lovely hairdresser uses tongs to iron out the “creases”. Arthritis in my hands has put paid to using a hair dryer so it’s velcro rollers in the off week – some things never change.
Rain and humidity are the enemy of certain types of curly hair and I used to fret about the kinks which would ensue, now I don’t mind because at last I have accepted my thinning grey curly hair.
On reading your blog Sue, I think that you and I have similar type of hair! In the late 60s I used to put a cut nylon stocking on my hair when I had washed it to make it as straight as possible! It stayed straight for a few hours and bounced back into waves and curled very quickly!
The things we did before straightening irons existed… and before blow dryers existed. I remember taping mine down in the front to have straight bangs… for like an hour. Ha.
I did the afro thing in the seventies as well, Sue, and even occasionally in the eighties. I still remember one fellow I was dating barely recognized me the one night I let my hair go curly. My sister who had long straight hair in the sixties also slept on huge rollers at night so she’d have some curl in the morning. I even remember her using the tins that frozen orange juice came in as rollers.
I hope you will leave your lovely locks as is. I know variety is the spice of life but your resourcefulness certainly can indulge that need in many other creative ways besides reverting to even a subtle hair color change. It really is just perfect in its natural state. How many women will ever enjoy the fun of having a totally white topknot?
Greetings from Ecuador
Thanks, Elaine. I do like my white hair but I am in need of a bit of a change, I think.
P.S. I hope life in Equador is still good. 🙂
I know very few people who are totally satisfied with their hair . Years ago mine was my pride & joy . Long , shiny & straight as was the fashion in the 1960s – dark with a chestnut tinge . The odd grey hair appeared in my 20s when I began to wear it shorter & I was colouring with gentle products by my 40s . During lockdown it seemed pointless to faff around , at such expense , when I wasn’t even going anywhere & to be honest I didn’t feel coloured hair suited my skin any longer . Plus my younger sister had already taken the plunge & it really flattered her . My end result is very pale grey with slightly deeper grey streaks here & there , getting a little darker at the back . I’m very happy with the colour but wish it was thicker & had more body . It’s very dry , soft & easily flops these days . I love your style but I haven’t got your rounded face & need a little more ‘tousled softness ‘ . I can handle the blow drying to get it right but after a rainy , blowy dog walk , tousled softness becomes a mess . Products help but it’s a never ending quest for the perfect one that provides body without weighing down & dulling the shine . I’ve learnt not to care about it looking perfect all the time as long as I can sort myself when necessary .
Your lovely coat looks very tactile . If I were sat next to you I’d have to resist the urge to stroke it like a furry animal . Yes , that would be creepy 😲
Oh my, I would have envied you your silky locks back in the day, Wendy. I battled frizz and hair bumps for so many years and with my very round face felt like Little Orphan Annie most of the time. Ha.
You look lovely, the choppiness in the front looks fabulous! With the exception of bloggers and Instagram peeps, almost everyone I know who has gone gray seems to have given up. Many of these people don’t wear makeup or care about their clothes. I’m glad to see ladies like you really rockin their gray hair, and I wish I could see it in real life. I just want people to care about their appearance, the whole world looks so depressed! I am ten years younger than you and just can’t quit coloring yet. My stylist said I have very little gray and I really don’t want dishwater blonde either. My mom is 76 and still gets hers colored, she says she will never stop-lol! I enjoy all your posts so much!
I felt very strongly about making sure my makeup and the colours of clothes I wore complimented my white hair. Because it’s important to me. But I was not ready to go natural when I was your age either. You have to be ready. One of my older sisters let her pixie cut go salt and pepper and it looks great on her… she has dark eyes and complexion. My other older sister at age 74 has a blond bob and is not yet ready to go full on grey. Partly because she’s not all grey yet. We’re all different. Send me your photo, Jill, to represent the other side of the equation.
I have been white or as my Stylist calls it “platinum” for years. I used to get streaks and in my 30’s, he was putting in less and less streaks. My hair was turning the colour of the streaks, so we let it go and voila. I frequently get compliments on both the colour and style which is a very short pixie cut right now. I have used ‘Oribe’ products for years. They have a silver shampoo and conditioner that I love as well as a pomade to create texture. I am so glad you are in a good hair place Sue, the colour or lack there of, really does suit you. Carmen, is an excellent Stylist.
Silver white hair does look very platinum doesn’t it? My only resemblance to Jayne Mansfield. Ha.
I love your hair! I don’t think that you need lowlights, but if you think that you would enjoy them, you look good with them too. I particularly like the cut that Carmen gave you with the touch of choppiness. I’m especially interested, because I let my very short hair grow out over the last many months (avoiding the salon and a possible encounter with Covid), but I’m currently getting over Covid, which I caught in spite of all of my precautions. And my hair is driving me crazy! When I am over Covid, I need to find someone who can give me a lively cut. I need something that feels fun.
I’ll try and find photos of my going gray process. I wrote about it on my own blog a while ago and have a bunch of photos.
Your green coat was the best purchase. It looks so good with your hair and your skin tone.
Sorry to hear that you’re suffering from Covid, Dottie. Hope you feel better soon. That new haircut will help when you get it, I’m sure. Always works for me.
Your hair is beautiful without colouring! I kind of think nature knows what is best for us.
I have never coloured mine…with four young children when I started going grey I did not have the resources to make it a priority. It is curly (frizzy) and for about 15 years I’ve been straightening it with heating tools. Today I had my hairdresser give me a cut that would work with the curls. Interestingly, I’ve always fussed more about the style than the colour.
I sympathize with the curl battle. I battled mine for decades. You’re lucky to work with a hairdresser who knows how to work with curls. They don’t all.
I also have noticed that women younger than 60 were driving the natural color trend. Very very few of my friends are interested in this perhaps because as we get more senior we see so many ways we are unattractively aging that our hair color is something we can easily control. I have been dithering around this decision for over a year and get little if any encouragement from friends and family. I’m 74, if not now, when?
My sister is the same age as you. And is also struggling with what to do. Sometimes I think the longer we wait the harder it is to make the leap.
I don’t often comment here, but I do love this post. I am in my mid 60s and my hair has gray highlights here and there but is still mostly a dark ash brown. I am ready for it to go gray, and have been for a while. My grandmothers both went gray young, in their 30s, but my mother’s hair didn’t begin to turn until her early 60s. When I had breast cancer two years ago, and my hair all fell out I hoped it would come back gray, but it seems to have come back slightly darker (not my eyebrows alas, which are pale gray). When I tried on wigs, all the brunette wigs were too warm or too deep for me, so we went with a salt and pepper mix. In fact every gray wig I tried looked great with my pale skin, only making me wish for gray hair even more. Oh well.
Most of the women I know who have gone gray are younger than me, a few older women stopped during Covid and have not gone back. I tend to think the gray suits them.
Thank you Mardel. I know several women who have gone grey recently. Many of them, like me, used lockdown as their beginning. And all of them are happy with their choice. At least most days. 🙂
Hi Sue, I noted that your hair is looking totally fabulous. The lightness lights up your face in a youthful way. No need for lowlights in my humble opinion. My hair is natural silver and I sometimes itch to do something to it but it turns out it is never as good as the natural colour. Sometimes nature knows best 🙂 Lise
Thanks, Lise. I may still do a few lowlights. Then be grateful when they grow out. Ha.