The 6 Stages of Going Gray

Denial, anger, and fear are just a few of the stages that ultimately lead to freedom and total empowerment.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.
silhouette of woman holding skirt of dress. going gray. silver hair. anger. denial. confidence. fear. ownership. sadness. transition.

My genetics blessed me with very thick curly hair which I fought tooth and nail as a young girl.  It wasn’t until I graduated from college that I finally embraced my locks and learned to appreciate their low maintenance, signature style.  My genetics also, eh-hem, blessed me with gray hair at a very young age.

I found my first gray hair at age 19 and that’s when the journey began.

Here are the 6 stages of going gray:

  1. Denial.  At first, the gray didn’t really bother me.  It was an opportunity to play with color and have some fun with my hair.  For many years I visited the salon every 6 weeks and actually looked forward to it.  It was like a spa treatment, a gift I gave myself.  Then at about 36-years-old my visits to the salon shortened to every 4 weeks. Over the next 10 years, my grays seemed to progress at lightning speed.  Roots were popping up a couple of weeks after my salon visits until finally, I found myself at the color bar every 17-19 days!  
  2. Anger.  Every 17-19 days, really?  I started to get mad.  I was now a working Mom so my time was limited.  Somehow I finagled my schedule to fit in the color bar in between meetings, conference calls, and the bus stop.  I stressed about fitting it in, stressed about not fitting it in, and stressed about my roots.  Before long, the roots were popping up a few days after my salon visit.  And then, I became really mad.  What was once a choice, was now a chore.  
  3. Contemplation.  I started thinking about the idea of letting it go early in 2017.  As a yogi, I was always working on letting things go but somehow, I just wasn’t ready to embrace my glorious grays.  I bought Lorraine Massey’s book, Silver Hair, and suddenly became inspired that I could go gray gracefully and still look and feel beautiful. By the end of 2017, I decided, it was time!
  4. Fear.  With the help of my very supportive and talented hair stylist, Traci, we devised a plan and the transition began.  At first, I was excited, but as my silver locks started to express themselves, the excitement turned to fear.  “What will people think?”  “Will I look old?”  “Are other parents in my son’s class going to think I’m his grandmother?”  
  5. Sadness.  By the end of 2018, my transition was about 85% complete.  One day, I looked in the mirror and noticed how totally gray it was and I almost cried.  I was grieving what it used to look like, what I used to look like.  I was grieving my younger self.
  6. Ownership.  I’m about 95% through the transition.  It’s no longer a shock to me or people close to me. I can’t say that I have completely accepted it, but every day brings me a little closer.

My goal in this transition is not only to bring more simplicity into my life but also to empower other women, like you, to embrace your gorgeous grays and feel confident and beautiful in the process.

I’d love to know your thoughts about going gray.  Would you ever do it?  Do you know someone else who has? Leave a comment below.

Photo by Max Hofstetter on Unsplash

    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Mature woman with gray hair wearing jacket

    The Glory of Going Gray

    by Yuliya Bobrovska

    Katie Emery: “Limit the use of hot tools”

    by Jilea Hemmings

    What I Learned from Shaving My Head

    by Claire Lautier

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.