Today we introduce you to Elaine Lascher, one of the members of the 40+Style Club. She will be sharing her personal highs and lows as she transitions from colored hair to natural gray n our new series, Journey Into Gray.

If not now…when?

“Let go of that which no longer serves,” said my yoga teacher to our group of 40 students one Monday morning in Sedona, Arizona. I have heard those words often and now that I’m 65 they make a lot of sense to me.

At this age I want a simpler life and have taken steps to get rid of household things and clothes that don’t fit or flatter my shape. I am discovering a personal style that is more in line with my goals of staying healthy and fit, traveling and doing things that I love with friends and family.

But then there was this hair problem

I have used single process color on my fine, straight hair since the 1980s and it has been a great ride. But a few years ago I noticed the texture and color of my hair was beginning to change. Instead of dark roots around my face, the growth was lighter. The same held true for the top and visible sections on the nape of my neck. I knew it was time to do something.  

For years I’ve admired friends and acquaintances whose hair had turned a beautiful silver or salt and pepper color. My favorite gray style icons include Dame Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, Christine Lagarde and women from the fashion world like Yasmina Rossi, Linda Wright, Cindy Joseph and Eileen Fisher.

gray inspiration Christine Lagarde | $0plusstyle.com

I began reading articles about women who took the leap from processed hair color to natural gray but when I broached the subject with my colorist she said, “not yet”. Soon after she closed her shop unexpectedly and moved away.

I spend the winter months in Arizona so I discussed the topic with my Sedona colorist, Wendy Rella, and she was game to help me with the transition. Wendy recommended moving from the single process color to highlights at first to keep a layer of color on top and near my face while allowing the roots to grow underneath. Later as the natural growth increased I would let go of the highlighting process. Not a complicated thing at all!

Between appointments with Wendy I researched haircuts and transition strategies online and created a Pinterest Board for haircuts I liked with pins of stylish women with natural hair color and light complexions, like mine.

The process led me to three conclusions:

  1. I’m 65. If now is not the right time to transition to grey, when is?
  2. During spring and summer I wear hats to keep the sun at bay, a convenient way to disguise the new growth during awkward stages.
  3. The current trend in hair color is lots of tones and textures so my multi-tonal transition would look less obvious as other women opt for this trendy look. After all, I still want to look trendy too!

On my next visit to Wendy I asked her to cut my hair in an inverted bob style to get rid of a lot of the single process color. She agreed, gave me a wonderful cut and then highlighted the top and hairline using foils so I would be less aware of the change that was taking place underneath.

new highlights soften the gray roots | 40plusstyle.com

The journey has begun.

I love my new haircut. It is easy to manage and maintain and can be dressed up by adding some beachy waves with the curling iron. I have received many compliments from people who notice the new haircut but so far not the gray growth that is starting to emerge.

summer waves and a new haircut as Elaine transitions to gray hair | 40plusstyle.com

The online community at 40+Style has also been very supportive which encourages me to go forward confidently. So far I am comfortable with my decision and although I may have some difficult moments along the way, I look forward to the transition with a sense of adventure–and letting go of the artificial hair color that no longer serves me.

Are  you considering going gray?

You may like to read our previous article to gray or not to gray to join the discussion.

We will continue to follow Elaine through her journey into grey. Sign up for our email newsletter to make sure you don’t miss it. If you like to share your images of transitioning into gray, feel feel to send them to us at support [at] 40plusstyle.com and we may them with the next article.

What do you think of Elaine’s transition to gray look?

how to transition to grey hair | 4oplusstyle.com