Well, it's been just about 4 months since I decided I'm going to go gray. The options for that seem to be: a.) cold turkey, no color, not highlights, just let it go, b.) shave your hair off and let it grow back it's natural color, gray and all, or c.) add highlights and low-lights as it grows out to break up the demarcation between colored and natural hair. I'm going with c.
I don't think my grow-out was looking too horrible, but figured that's probably a better time to do something about it than when it looks like crap. So, I went to Stephanie at Heads You Win for a trim and some low-lights to blend in the demarcation between colored hair and natural hair. (She recommended just low-lights for my hair.)
Here's what it looked like before and after. Don't mind the wild-hair in the before. I washed it and let it dry naturally. I get "big hair" when I do that. Stephanie uses good products, then after my cut, takes her time blow drying and straightening--things I'll never do, so my hair only looks as smooth and straight as it does in the after pictures when I come home from the salon.
|Top row: hair at 4 mos, pre-cut and lowlighting|
Bottom row: hair at 4 mos with a cut, styling, and lowlights added
to break-up the grow-out line.
The low-lights let my natural color (about 50% gray, 50% dark brown) continue to come in, but blend some brown across the line between gray/brown and red hair. The gray is still there, but looks less like I forgot to color my hair. Stephanie used a temporary (semi-permanent) color--that means it didn't strip away any color from the cuticle to permanently change it. Over time, it's going to fade, but slowly so more and more of my natural color will come through making the change look...well, natural. I'll probably have to do this a couple more times during this process.
Stephanie just finished going through this with another client who took a year to grow her color out, and still has about an inch of colored hair at the very bottom, but it's blended into the gray using this same process. She loves her new look, and I think it's helped Stephanie to come around a bit (at first, I think she was baffled by my decision since I do enjoy being a red-head. I'm sure I'm going to enjoy having a gray palette to play with, too.) She did tell me, as have others and everything I've read online, that there's going to come a time in a couple months when it's just ugly and there's not much to be done for that except expect it and last it out. I'm prepared.
And excited for the change, too! There's a lot of change I'm resistant to, but hair color and style changes don't fall in that category!
Here's a month-by-month look so far:
|No gray in here!|
|Gray at 2 mos (with big-frizzy hair from letting it air dry!)|
|3 mos--it looks worse from the top!|
|3 mos--not sooo bad from the side...sort of...|
|Me at 22 or so. That's what color used |
to be under there!