Why I stopped coloring my hair

August 2, 2023

No, not me, but I like this “almost grey” stage.

I had beautiful brunette hair once….and then I started coloring it.  First, highlights. And then my hair got lighter and lighter. Dyeing my hair became an every four or five week thing. I took it for granted.

But now I wonder how healthy it is to put chemicals –hair color–on our heads. It can’t be good for us. Should I stop coloring my hair?

Yes. I should. So, I’ve been letting my hair grow out.

I stopped coloring my hair about 10 months ago. Right now, I’d say close to 60% of my growth is uncolored. In some places, seven or more inches so far. It’s a bit of an experiment and I’m reserving the right to color again if I don’t like it.

My temples are a beautiful shade of silver grey, which I’d love as a total color. And it’s growing out that way, except for the back, which is a bit more salt and pepper. Salt and pepper is not a look I like. But I’m liking the grey.


This would be a great outcome.

During the first months of the pandemic, I didn’t visit the salon and so my grey became more and more visible. Had I just let it alone, I’d already be done with the experiment. But no, I went back to coloring my hair. And now, I’ve had to start the growing out process again.

What was I thinking?

I love the silver hair of the woman on the left. Of course, she’s gorgeous. But her hair color looks great. I’d love if I went completely grey like that. I’m close, but not there yet.

If I don’t like it, I know strategically placed highlights are a way to have some color without a whole mess of dye on my scalp.. The thing is, I’m conflicted. If my goal is to stop using chemicals on my hair, why would I do even that? We’ll see.

As I keep watch on my grey growth,  I’ve noticed the first evidence of facial wrinkles on my cheeks. Lucky genetically, my skin has not aged as much as many of my peers. And now that I see a bit of slackness and the first few neck wrinkles, I have to face the fact that I am almost 72.

UPDATE: At my annual physical last month, my doctor, with whom I have had a really good and friendly relationship for the past 13 years, told me I should go back to my highlighted blonde–“You’re so youthful and that grey is so aging! At 72, you can pass for 60 –great skin, youthful attitude…I vote for coloring your hair again.” When I told my sister-in-love about it, she confessed that she agreed. My husband, on the other hand, likes it. But I am taking medical advice seriously <grin> and considering going back to the color before I go to the Formula 1 race in Vegas.

Life is such an interesting journey, is it not?

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20 comments on “Why I stopped coloring my hair
  1. MK says:

    I just turned 60 and have been naturally grey for at least 10 years. I was like you, coloring every 4-5 weeks & I got tired of it. I don’t feel old, I feel bold. It takes something inside a person to deliberately flaunt societal conventions. For me, it was “This is my authentic self. You don’t like it, too bad.” And I still get people thinking I’m younger than my real age. A lot of that comes with how you act, not just how you look.

    • Yes, true. I keep looking at it and I don’t think it’s all that aging. But we’ll see. I still have too much blonde showing in front to really get hold of what it looks like.

  2. adela says:

    For what it’s worth, I l-o-v-e, love the salt and pepper look. I wish I had that option. I’m the same age as you, with pretty good skin and a youthful attitutude, too. I’m a natural redhead, and henna helped with the transition. I am almost entirely white now.

    You might want to try Henna from Rainbow Research. Rainbow’s henna comes in a lot of different colors and even a clear, which tames those wirey whites.

    I first learned about henna for a hair treatment from an Egyptian woman. She had very dark hair with some white. The henna didn’t show on her dark hair at all, but it turned the white a beautiful copper.

  3. Laurie Stone says:

    I’ve tried several times to go gray. I even bought a gray wig to try on and see how I look. I have to admit, I like my brown color best. Gray washes me out, although some women (like Ali) look beautiful. Maybe someday. Sounds freeing.

  4. Haralee Weintraub says:

    You are beautiful no matter! After I lost all my hair with Chemo 3 years ago it came back silver and white and I love it. Young women ask me if it is natural or do I color it. Among the 20-30 year olds evidently grayish hair is a thing !

  5. DJ says:

    I’m flabbergasted that a doctor would say that. And besides, what’s wrong with being 72 AND looking (and acting) like a “fabulous” 72 year old. Most other cultures value age. Let’s be real, nobody “passes” for 12 years younger just by hair color. We sometimes trick ourselves into wanting to see that but everyone knows. Nothing sadder than anyone over 65, man or woman, coloring their hair and trying to turn back the clock.

    • I think there are many things sadder. Like 73 million people voting for a moron. Or people thinking a criminal should be president.Antisemitism. Fascism. Mass murders. Insurrections. Or poverty, hunger and discrimination. Those things are sad. What people do to look or feel younger doesn’t even rate on that scale.

  6. Diane says:

    I treasure every grey hair. I’ve earned them!

  7. Alana says:

    I turned grey in my 40’s. I dyed my hair close to my natural brunette and eventually, on the advice of my stylist (who I have been going to for some 25 years) went blonde. Then one day she asked me if I would consider going grey. Said my natural grey was beautiful. I did and I’ve never looked back. Nothing wrong with you coloring for special occasions. Whatever makes you feel special is my philosophy.

  8. Jennifer says:

    I went full grey for about 3 years by growing my grey out for about 3 to 4 inches and then getting a short haircut. At first, it felt fun. But then I’d look at myself and saw an old person in the mirror, and I started “feeling” like an old person. Even the fun colors of pink, blue, and purple, only felt fun for a little bit. After three years, during the pandemic, I started with box coloring before finally going back to a salon.

    As for the chemicals. One solution is highlighted. My sister had to go to highlights only because she developed a sensitivity to the dye on her skin. Because they use foil, all the chemicals are on the foil and do not touch your scalp. Of course, they penetrate the hair but you still get less.

  9. MaryAnn D says:

    I stopped coloring my hair at 70, I had to go every three weeks because the grey roots were obvious. There are a lot of hair care products that help the grey sparkle and shine which is important. A good haircut is absolutely critical and changing the color palette of your makeup makes a big difference. Check out SilverSisters on YouTube

  10. Lauren says:

    I just can’t do it. I was considering going grey and a friend said to me “what would your mother say about you with grey hair?” I thought for moment and replied ” I know for a fact she would say “what the hell are you thinking? It looks awful! (in her voice)” My friend said “I think you have your answer.”

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