Going Gray Looking Great

Posted on April 20th, 2010 by Gina

It is my job to observe beauty on your behalf, so I report to you that I have seen two friends recently who suddenly decided to let their hair grow gray and both of them look fabulous.  But it’s not a small decision to just quit coloring your hair, now is it?  How does a person with dark hair suddenly just go white?  Well, they can’t, is the short answer, but there are a number of ways to do it without looking ridiculous, and help is at your fingertips.   Diana Lewis Jewell has written a book and created a website – Going Gray Looking Great – for women who wants to embrace their white.  She answered a few questions for me about my observations:

1)  It seems to me that more women are opting to let their hair go gray than say, 10 years ago.  Is that true, and if so, why?

Try five years ago!  Ten years ago, we had trailblazers. Now we have real women, from all walks of life, saying enough is enough. And it’s a global phenomenon. We have women in 84 countries logging into www.goinggraylookinggreat.com They’re not just aging boomers. Women are choosing this option in their early 30’s as well. They just don’t want the chemicals. When we did a survey on the site, we found out that women do this for a variety of reasons. The biggest one is authenticity – natural beauty is becoming a trend in its own right. Then we get into things like freedom from roots and scheduling hair appointments around their lives. Health and condition of the hair factors into it, too. Interestingly, the last reason was the high cost of coloring.

2)  Your book and website devote a lot time to transitioning.  What is the first piece of information you give to someone who has made the decision to stop coloring?

The first piece of advice always depends on the color of hair they start out with. Vibrant-to-dark redheads have a difficult transition. They have to soften the color, bring it down a notch. Brunettes and darker have a tough time with an obviously white skunk stripe. That’s when highlights help. The idea is always to reduce the contrast as much as possible. Natural blondes have an easier time of it, but not bleached blondes. Remember, all your hair doesn’t turn gray at once. You still might have dark roots, and the bleached blonde ends will oxidize and get brassy. So, yes, there are lots of strategies involved, including going cold turkey. Once some women are done with color, they’re done. Still, there are things to ease you through: toners, glazes, root touch ups, temporary rinses. After that, we move into hair styling. Layers work. Zigzag parts. Pulling your hair back at the sides to reveal the new growth. We discuss these daily on the site. Women are always looking for the speed bullet. Everyone wants a magic potion; so they’re fully colored one day, gray the next. Even your salon won’t do that. Maybe you can find one that will bleach your hair all the way out and apply a silver toner. But you’re still stuck on the color merry-go-round. Transitioning serves a purpose. If only to give yourself time to get used to the “new” you.

3) What is the most common problem with women who have decided to go gray?

That’s an easy one – Impatience! The first inch is truly exciting. The second and third, not so much. That’s when women begin to have doubts. Happens every time. They wonder what they’re doing; their friends wonder what they’re doing. The most important thing to know is that you can’t tell what “final” shade of silver you’ll end up with when you’re going through the calico stage. Because your “other” colors, real or not, reflect on your silvers. So whether you trim the ends off gradually, or go for the big whack, you have to get all that other color gone before your true shade emerges. If they can just get over this hump, they’re good to go.

There is a whole community of women on Diana’s website ready to share their observations as well:


You can buy her book there, too!

11 Comments on “Going Gray Looking Great”

  1. Maria DEP

    I began the “silver” journey eight months ago and am almost there…one more trim and all the former dye will be gone. I purchased a lovely wig to wear during all the awkward stages…and for days when the weather is not cooperating with my natural hair….I love my silver/grey wig. So, what has been revealed thus far is very similar to the silver/grey combo in the wig…shiny new virgin hair…so soft and fine…I trim my own hair and have shaped it like the wig’s hair style. People actually follow me around in shops until they get up the nerve to ask where “do you get your hair done…it is absolutely beautiful.” To which I respond “not out of a box anymore.” I embraced my silver/grey dome and am looking forward to it growing longer so I can fully debut it. Also, I find that doors are held for me more frequently…I get called “Dear” a great deal….and younger men tend to flirt with me without fear of reprisal. I have no winkles to speak of and my haircut is very youthful…..who knew?

  2. Martha

    Hola soy Martha, soy del Ecuador y viendo la revista Prevention de febrero en español, yo creía que era la de marzo y me doy cuenta que aquí llega atrazada la revista, jejeje. Les cuento que vi el reportaje en la pag. 32, “BELLAS EN PLATA” y me cayo como anillo al dedo, ya que desde meses vengo pensando como dejarme de pintar y como me veré canosa, ya que una vez quise dejármelo crecer no mas y no falto que me criticaran diciéndome que se me veía muy vieja! jejeje

    Así que viendo este reportaje tan lindo de las canas plateadas, voy a dejármelo crecer para darle a mis canas el plateado, ojalá que la chica que siempre me tinturaba el cabello muy lindo pueda adquirir la experiencia en las canitas.

    Gracias por tan bello reportaje, fue el empuje para tomar mi decisión ahora.

    Machala-El Oro-Ecuador

  3. sarah

    What a great message to be giving. Now
    I know this is a silly question but I’m going to ask it anyway…. As one of the select few who want it all immediately – is there anything that encourages your hair to go grey? I have a few stringy greys and want more. I’m going to google but will put it out here too in case someone knows of anything that will achieve the impossible!

  4. Marjjorie Shapiro

    You’e website has been a godsend to me. For years I’d been wanting to get off the color merry- go round but stupidly felt too self conscious to go through the transisitioning stage. I half jokingly told my husband, who is 100% supportive, that I would stay in seclusion for the year while my faded phony brown hair grows out. When he goes out about town, undoubtedly he would run into friends and aquantances who would ask about me. They would say something like, “How’s Margie, we haven’t seen her in a while.” I told him that he should reply, “oh don’t worry about her, she’s fine, she’s NOT DYING.” Well now I parade around proudly with hair the color of a calico cat and thank you for helping me find the courage to do so. I figure that with a short haircut I should be a full fledged silver sister by spring ready to proudly march in the Gay Pride Parade.

  5. Nina

    I have been transitioning for 3 months now and am just hitting that awful time – I have dark colored hair and really lovely silver natural hair – the contrast, skunk stripe, is causing constant re thinking. Luckily, my boyfriend has begged me to let it come in natural. He really likes it. It also helps that I have a friend who has the most amazing silver hair I have ever seen – it is truly traffic stopping gorgeous. She inspires me. This transitioning takes tons of patience – something I am in short supply of. I visit the Going Gray Looking Great web site at least once a day : ) The support is immeasurable. Thanks so much.

  6. Karen

    It’s nice to see some positive feedback about going natural – and for many of us – that means gray. Transition was definitely the hardest part and I sure wish I would have found Diana’s site earlier in my decision – but that said, I did find it in time. Not only were my last few weeks easier, they became fun too. I actually found myself inpatient for that last ‘cut’. Now that the website GoingGrayLookingGreat.com has been discovered, more and more women are doing a FAR better job than I did of chronicling their transition. I didn’t take enough photos because I didn’t like what I saw in the pictures. With all the support and encouragement I received through GGLG I wished I had more to share – if only to show ‘that this too shall pass!.

    I owe a great big Thank You to Diana Jewell – for her site, and for helping me find lots of new Silver Sisters.♥

  7. Shereen

    Diana’s site helped me get through the long year and a half it took to grow out the old hair color. I love my silver hair and it’s so much healthier now. I think a lot of women would be absolutely beautiful with gray hair and I hope they find Diana’s site too.

  8. louann

    i really enjoyed your site and especially your article on my fave gray guru…it’s nice to see some positives out there in the great beyond…your site like diana’s reaches way out there…(hopefully the volcanic ash isn’t getting in the way ; ) !! ) as far as the gray hair scene…you never know until you try it!!!

  9. Barbara

    Bravo, Gina! Thank you for this article.

    I’ve been at this transitioning thing for about a decade – did it a section at a time. I’m all grown in now and admire my patience that I didn’t know I had.

    Diana’s book and website are invaluable. Get it and go there!

  10. Butterfly

    Going Gray Looking Great is a must have book for any women whether she is thinking about giving up the dye today or maybe just someday. It is full of wonderful information. The website is also a great community of women who are there to support each other.

  11. Goldie

    Great site, Gina!! Thank you for your observation on behalf of a former Oprah Blond (Yup, had an Oprah makeover and she made me blond!) and now a natural silver!

    Discovering Diana’s book and website was a lifeline for me. This silver revolution went from trailblazers to full-blown trend over the past few years. Diana put her finger on the pulse of this trend before anyone even knew it exsisted.

    Now that the hair is out from underneath the hair dye, it’s a trend that is here to stay!
    Thanks again for the for the kind words and interview on behalf of all silver sisters everywhere!
    (You can read my transition from Oprah Blond to Silver Sensation on the Going Gray, Looking Great website.)

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