Transition to Gray Hair, Mission Accomplished

Remember when I said gray was not my colour? Well, it is now. I had been thinking about reverting to my natural colour (actually a pretty, silvery gray) for a while. I’m not sure if this is because I was getting close to the 60 milestone, or because I had been colouring it for close to 30 years, or a bit of both. My gray hair started coming in at the age of 14! In my twenties, people thought I had streaked my hair, as the silver was face-framing and (so I was told) quite pretty. By thirty I had more gray than dark brown. This is my transition to gray hair story!

DIY Dyed Hair for Years

After several years of experimenting with store-bought, boxed hair dye, I discovered a way to create my own recipe from esalon and must admit I did love their product. I got the perfect reddish brown shade I was aiming for, without the orangey glow that often comes with a red tone.

Biting the Silver Bullet with Platinum Streaks

In early 2020 I bit the bullet, the silver bullet that is. I had my hairdresser match my silvery roots to silver (platinum she called it) streaks amongst the reddish brown I have been dying it for years. She (and I) was quite pleased with the results and the fact that the colour came out of the streaks enough to make them silver and not yellow.

Pre-Treatment for Transition to Gray Hair

The early success could have been a result of the pre-treatment I tried at home. I googled at home remedies to remove permanent hair colour and tried a concoction three times. It did remove some colour (I could see a difference) but not quite enough for my liking. I used a mixture of baking soda and crushed vitamin C tablets mixed with Head and Shoulders shampoo.

Early Results

Whatever the reason it worked, it was a shock when I looked in the mirror at the salon, but once it was blown dry I loved it. It will make growing out the silver much easier and less obvious than sporting a white, skunk-like stripe every three weeks.

If you live in the Ottawa area, go visit Michelle at Mancini Hair Studio in Kanata’s Hazeldean Mall.

transition to gray hair

One Year Later

A year later and my hair is totally white, it was pretty much so by July. My hair grows very fast; I have been cutting it myself since that last salon visit. Luckily I have a bit of wave in my hair so it is very forgiving when I mess up with the scissors and thinning shears.

I must admit, I do like the fuss-free white look, even without makeup on to brighten my complexion. I cannot remember the last time I wore makeup; this pandemic has really shortened my morning routine. Shower, a dab of leave-on conditioner, tousle and done. The gray hair has grown on me, literally, in more ways than one. No more worrying about trying to disguise the white roots that always seemed to grow in so fast.

transition to gray hair

Most of my grandkids have forgotten the red-brown look, or in the case of our pandemic-born grandson, never knew it. My three-year-old granddaughter saw an old picture of me the other day and said “who’s that?” My seven-year-old granddaughter does remember the old me, but recently asked “why would you dye your hair?” Two of the boys are much too young to remember and the four-year-old could care less. At least he hasn’t mentioned it.

Conclusions on my Transition to Gray Hair

The transition to gray hair is still new to me; every time I see a reflection or picture of myself I am taken aback at how much I look like my father. Which is a good thing as I miss him and my mother so much. I hope you are smiling down at the new me, Dad.

Every woman friend or family member I have since run into love it too. My husband, not so much. I knew he wouldn’t…he is, you know, a creature of habit kind of guy. He cannot figure out why anyone would want to go gray. That’s probably because he has very little of it himself. Two of my three sons were ambivalent, the youngest loves it. Go figure.

Gray is not my color

Gray is not my color.  My hair started to turn gray when I was just 14 years old, yes 14!  The boys in my classes at school used to fight to sit behind me so they could pull out the strands of gray from my very long hair. Good thing I have always had lots of hair.

By the time I was 30, my hair was very gray. This picture of me and my siblings was taken when I was 34; I’m the sister with the gray hair…


….even though I am the youngest sister and second youngest sibling.  Very annoying, even though I knew it was hereditary; my father was totally white by 30.

When it was streaky gray (like the picture) people actually asked if I had it colored that way.  It did kind of frame my face I guess.  The straw that broke the camel’s (gray) back came later that year (still 34) when my eldest son started junior kindergarten.  For a Hallowe’en party in his classroom, I dressed up as Snow White.  When I took my wig off at the end of the day, one of the children said “that must be Matthew’s grandmother, she has white hair”   That was when I decided that gray is not my color.

So, for years (twenty some now) I have tried various colors on my hair.   I have always admired red hair on other girls, and because my dark brown hair always had natural reddish highlights in the summer, I have always aimed for reddish brown.  The problem is with so much gray, the reddish brown sometimes comes out orange and I HATE orange.  Even at expensive salons my hair would come out too orangy/coppery for my liking.

The solution?  I finally discovered how to get the color I want by combining two shades.  Yes, DIY haircolor.  I do it myself, saving myself lots of money and the annoyance of paying for the wrong color.  I start with a medium dark brown on the roots, then spread the rest of that color throughout my hair, then add a reddish brown in streaks on top of the medium brown, avoiding the roots.  This phote was taken in the summer when my hair is always lightened by the sun, but you get the picture…



Over the years I have tried many DIY hair color products too.  My choice these days is Belle Color by Garnier, in shades 50 (medium brown) and 65 (chestnut brown)…


It reminds me of a commercial (I cannot remember which one) where Penelope Cruz proclaimed (with her sultry, sexy accent) “the color I want is the color is get”

I love these Garnier products because they make my hair silky smooth (others leave it coarse and tangly) even before I condition it.  Each box of hair color includes a pouch of conditioner that contains argan oil, a well-known miraculous treatment for hair…



The Garnier products are creamy (not drippy) and offer 100% gray coverage.  They also have an almost pleasant smell, unlike others that reek.  My color lasts three to four weeks before those returning gray roots are too obvious to hide.  It is so unfair that dark roots look much better than white ones and are even quite fashionable (apparently)

These Garnier products can be purchased online through Amazon here:



So, if gray is not your color either, try your hand at your own conconction of color!