I’m Sorry, I Couldn’t Stop Myself: Fifty Shades of Gray

So you may have noticed I am growing my hair out. See? This is me:


It could probably use some general haircuttiness, but it’s not getting any anytime soon, so instead it just looks a little bedraggled in the back and I continue to grow it out.  Some of my best friends are a little bedraggled in the back so it’s ok.

I am also working on a combination of products for maximum hair boofiness, as we discussed before, but because everyone wants to charge lots and lots of money for hair boofing products, I have not assembled all of them yet.  It’s a work in progress.  Anyway, it does seem to be increasing in volume the more I grow it out.  For awhile contrary to common sense the longer it got, the flatter it got, so I am very impressed with myself that I finally made it past that weird “it’s so flat now I need to cut it I hate this short hair I need to grow it out” cycle I was in for ten years. Every rose has its thorn.  Or so they say.


The thing is my stupid hair has turned gray. Well, gray ish.  Some of it is gray. And while I always thought I would be the kind of person who would embrace gray hair! I’d be a silver fox! I’d be the next Geraldine Ferraro! Somone buy  me a tie neck blouse! it turns out that I only felt that way until my hair actually started going grey, a few years ago, and what it looked like was less “silver fox” and more “the hair of Tired Sadness.” I do not want the Hair of Tired Sadness, so I dyed it.

HOWEVER.  The first thing I used was that Natural Instincts stuff? I love that stuff.  It isn’t super duper harsh on my hair, I like the colors, and I like how shiny it makes my  hair.  Short of the hair of Bridget Bardot, I really just want nice shiny dark brown hair with a sort of cool blackish undertone (as opposed to a warm reddish undertone.) Unfortunately, though, it did not cover the gray in my hair worth a damn, and when it washed out, whatever gray it did cover came uncovered in about three minutes.

So then I used this permanent Garnier Hair Business.  It covered gray like nobody’s business, but in the process, because life is full of pain, it destroyed my hair.  The day after I used it, I essentially had bangs because so much of my hair broke off.  Did not like. Do not want wispy broken off hair all over my face.

So….my question for you – internet hair ladies – is what do I use on my hair to grayify it? Will it help immensely if I have someone else do it for me, even though it costs a shocking amount of money I don’t want to spend? Should I use the Natural Stuff but leave it on twice as long? Should I use a different kind of permanent hair stuff?

Help please! And thank you.  And I apologize again for the title. (Whatever. You loved it.)


18 Responses

  1. I think esalon.com might be worth checking out. I would try it but they rejected me based on the mess that is my hair history.

  2. I did notice your hair was getting longer! I like it longer!

    I haven’t colored my hair in about 8 years, but when I did I really liked the Feria line by L’Oreal. I especially liked the conditioner that comes with- helped a lot with potential damage.

  3. Awhile back after a color mishap, I swore never to color my own hair again. And yes it does cost an arm and a leg, but I think it’s kept my hair from getting damaged too. I go to an Aveda salon, so not sure if that is a factor or not, but you might give it a try just to see how you like it. And depending on how quickly your hair grows, the root touch-ups shouldn’t be TOO expensive.

  4. So I have been going gray since I was fifteen, and I have been through the gamut of hair color. I had it done professionally once, and instead of dark brown, it was raven black and I had color all over my ears/ neck/ forehead. now I only color at home.
    I have done everything from Colorsilk to John Frieda, and by far, my favorite is Feria. I have been using Ruby Rush to maintain the auburn I love. I love that they include a shampoo instead of just a conditioner, and the color boost seems to help. I color about once every six weeks.
    now. my secret tricks: put vaseline on your ears and forehead or anyplace you may drip. it keeps the dye from staining your skin. my hair is very course, so I also keep the dye on twice the length of time. (when I am bleaching, no less than ninety minutes. when putting in manic panic pink, no less than three hours.) if they’re is any lightening going on, I also wrap it in plastic wrap; the heat makes it work better.
    I also use color safe shampoo and conditioner, and try to deep condition a few times a month. In addition, I use a leave in conditioner, and let my hair air dry when possible.
    ok. I am done. hope t was at least a little helpful!

  5. When it comes to hair, my motto is, “Take that shit to the professionals.” It costs a lot, but you wear your hair everyday. Every. Day. It’s worth the change.

  6. I like the Natural Instincts as well, and for me they cover my grey for about 3 weeks, which is nice but not long enough. So I started using that same brand, but the permanent color, Nice N Easy. When I tried other brands they didn’t leave my hair as smooth and conditioned. So I stick with Clairol products.
    The advice above to use vaseline on the ears, forehead, etc, is something I just learned recently … wish I had known about that years ago!

  7. I colored my own 4 times before I said F’ it and started paying someone. The difference is drastic! My hair is shiny and happy, not a funny color of brittle straw. And the salon stuff covers better, imo.

  8. I’ve been going grey since I was 18 so I’ve been coloring my hair for 20 years now – wow! I do occasionally get it done professionally when I feel like getting something fancy done like highlights and lowlights. I usually go to an Aveda salon. The thing is though, I don’t find that salon color really lasts any longer than doing it at home. So to save money, more often than not, I color at home. I don’t really have a brand preference, but I do really like the new “foam” consistency that a lot of the brands have come out with. I find it a lot easier to really cover my hair. Now, my secret is, in order to not destroy my hair, I touch up my hair line and part every two weeks with Nice and Easy root touch up. By doing this, I only really have to do an all-over hair color like every 3 or 4 months or so. I feel like it spares my hair from a lot of damage. Hope this info helps!

  9. I am going gray, but only in one area–skunk forehead stripe. I am surprisingly okay with this, but probably only until I start looking like my husband’s Older Lover.

    I do, however, have LOTS of experience with at-home hair dye, as my parents have JET BLACK HAIR. And are in their seventies.

    My advice is: salon, because their hair color is, uh, obvious and not great.

    And if you cannot afford salon, Nice n’ Easy. My parents have tried every single one, and Nice n’ Easy is the best (I am not saying it is GOOD, I am saying it is the best).

    Also, yes to the Vaseline trick, which sounds like something an Older Lover would say.

  10. I have no idea if you’re even a little bit interested in hearing about henna, but it works for me, is all-natural, and my hair is actually in better condition now than when I started using henna a couple of years ago. If you ever consider it, research it first because henna (and other natural colorants) work differently than other hair dyes. I have found Hennaforhair.com to be very helpful.

  11. I have been regularly coloring my hair for about 3 years now (I’m 40 ). I spend (relatively) a lot of money to have it done professionally. It is really the only personal beauty upkeep that I spend money on. I have it colored every 8 weeks, with root touch ups at 4 weeks.

    It is SO WORTH IT to me to spend the money. I hate, hate, hate the gray on myself. I live the color, my hairdresser does a beautiful job, & my hair is in great shape. End of story.

  12. Oh man, I’ve been going grey since I was 25 (am 38 now) so I’ve tried everything.

    I loved Garnier permanent hair colour (very nourishing) but now I use a Loreal 10-minute permanent hair colour (as good but quicker – I have twins – no time to faff around).

  13. I go through phases of professional and store bought dye. I’m on a professional phase right now because I ended up with tricolored hair awhile ago. I also am more likely to spend an hour and half in a salon than the same time on my hair at home. Too much to do at home. So my roots were getting really bad between dyes. When dying my hair at home I buy it from Sally’s beauty supply. It’s the best, longest lasting, non damaging I’ve found. It is also cheap which I need because I have to use three bottles if dying my whole head due to my massive amount of hair.

  14. I have most of my life colored my hair. Same as my mother my hair started to grow grey very early in my twenties. I have done both, colored by myself at home and some years I went to Aveda (and loved it). The staff at Aveda when they have professional service can give you a really good advice what to do with your hair. In my case they let me try a mix of permanent color and tone color. It was great. Because the color will stay long but when grow out it will not be a hard grey to black Brown contrast. And they also have natural colored shampoo and so on. Its very expensive but in these times I was really deep happy with my hair and I could affort it so why not. But the last two years I tried just to be grey and see if I like it or not. Plus I was tired of coloring. I really like it to be a young grey haired woman now 🙂

  15. I see that Erica mentioned this already, but I *just* stumbled across this article and remembered your post: http://www.haircolorforwomen.com/breakthrough-hair-color-system-your-salon-doesnt-want-you-to-know-about-e/

  16. L’Oreal Superior Preference, Medium Brown. I swear by this stuff. It gives great grey coverage and my hair feels / looks good as well. The medium brown color gives a nice dark, but not too dark tone without getting into reds or ashy undertones.

  17. I am a fan of Perfect 10 (clairol?), which seems to be discontinued in my area but still available at Ulta. For me, it covers better than any other home product I’ve tried (and I’ve tried most of them). I have mixed feelings about salon color. I think it looks better, but I am not always convinced that it covers better than the $10 at home job. And it is so.much.money. That said, I agree with the poster above – your hair is one of those things you can’t avoid. I’d kind of rather have amazing hair than not, cost be damned.

  18. I have been going grey since my early 20’s. Maybe earlier (I have been dyeing my hair forever). I am now about 40% grey. When I get to 75-80% grey I’m going to embrace it like mad, but right now it’s just… ick. I am a huge fan of Perfect 10! I try other ones and always go back to that one. I am just a weeee bit too cheap to go to a salon. This is $15 (I am in Canada). It’s 10 minutes leave on time (and I apply it in about 10 minutes now). I can do it after the kiddo is in bed. I use Moroccan Oil on my hair also, which seems to fight the crazy intense dry state my hair naturally lives in and the hair colouring damage. My advice, if you are going lighter ALWAYS a salon. High-lights or low-lights? Salon. Same colour or darker? Home is just fine.

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