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Nine Women on Going Gray

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Nine Women on Going Gray

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9 Women on Going Gray

9 Women on Going Gray

“When I was 16, a kid in my math class shouted out, ‘Hey, you have gray hair!’” says Cup of Jo reader Kate. From then on, she dyed her hair every two weeks — until she was 34, welcomed a newborn, and struggled with the upkeep. Now she loves the color: “The other night, my four-year-old said, ‘Mama, I hope I have gray hair one day because it’s beautiful.’ Breaking down beauty norms for my daughter, could it get better than that?”

Here, eight more Cup of Jo readers tell us about embracing their grays…

9 Women on Going Gray

“My hair started turning gray when I was 12. 12! My older sister has the same timeline — it’s just who we are. I dyed it for the first and last time when I was 18. The grays came back with a vengeance, and I’m so low maintenance that I decided to just roll with it! Now it’s almost fully white in a way that still manages to surprise me. (New friends sometimes think it’s blonde.) But I’ve fully leaned in — it’s part of what makes me me.” — Amanda

9 Women on Going Gray

“Where I live in the Netherlands, no one comments on my hair, but when I traveled to India for a family event, many people talked about it. Do you know what I told a relative who implied I wasn’t coloring my hair because of cost? I said, ‘I paid to get gray streaks, they’re very trendy and very expensive!’” — Shweta

9 Women on Going Gray

“I was going to the salon every couple weeks, waiting for the blonde to sink in, only to have stripes of silver show through days later. ‘Color-resistant gray’ was the diagnosis. So, I cut my hair into a pixie and found the most startling natural ‘highlights’ in silver, salt and pepper, and dark gray. People often ask me, ‘Do you color your hair to get it to look like that?’” — Nona

9 Women on Going Gray

“I come from a culture of women who dyed their hair no matter what: ‘dejarse las canas significa descuido’ (‘gray hair equals neglect’) is what I heard whenever a woman had visible roots. But then, on Instagram, I found a movement of women of all ages leaving their hair natural. My hairdresser gave me subtle gray highlights to make the transition smoother. My hair makes me feel as true to myself as I’ve ever been.” — María

9 Women on Going Gray

“I stopped dyeing my hair two years ago, after we moved from London to Tanzania. I was inspired by a woman I met here who was embracing her gray. Those early months were hard! Looking in the mirror and seeing gray was a struggle, but then I turned 50 and decided I didn’t want to feel shame about visibly aging. There are still tough days, but more often than not, I’m enjoying this new evolution.” — Cheryl

9 Women on Going Gray

“I am an arborist, which is a male-dominated field, and I think I now get more respect leading workshops. It’s a relief to present a little older and embrace the freedom of being myself.” — Pamela

9 Women on Going Gray

“Gray is just a hair color like any other. I’m learning, over and over, that hair doesn’t have anything to do with your value as a human — it’s just hair. I’ve also stopped using the term ‘prematurely gray,’ since most of my friends in their thirties also have grays. There’s nothing premature about it — maybe we’re just done hiding.” — Ruth

9 Women on Going Gray

“What I love most about my gray hair is that it’s a beautiful way of marking time as I grow older. Instead of a hard line between dyed and undyed hair, I see filaments of silver that grow denser at my roots.” — Erica

9 Women on Going Gray

When did you first notice gray hair? How do you feel about going gray?

P.S. Libby DeLana’s beauty uniform, Cheryl Sparks’s week of outfits, and four more women on going gray.

(Opening photo by Chrissy Blake.)



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