Considering Going Gray? Here's One Woman's 20-Month Photolog of Doing Just That

Sharon Mirador was 17 when she found her first silver hair, which she immediately plucked out. After she had her first child, the incoming grays had far outpaced what she could pluck, and she started dying her hair. “Eventually, it became obvious to me that, at some point, I would have to stop doing this to my hair,” she says.

And so, at the end of 2020, Mirador decided to ditch the dye for good and document the process for her now thousands of Instagram followers. “I realized that for years, I had spent so much time trying to look the way society expects women to look, rather than just accepting myself for who I am,” she tells us. “This journey has turned into so much more than hair color. It’s become a journey of rediscovering me.”

She takes us through a part of that journey ahead.

13 Women, From Their 20s to Their 70s, On How They Handled Going Gray

Stop Dying Roots Feb 2021

February 2021

“Here I am at 14 weeks dye-free. At this point, I’m just trying to make it through each day, as I just look like someone who missed a couple of appointments at the salon. I avoid mirrors because my brain has been so trained to see those roots as bad.

I utilize headbands and wear my hair up a lot, so I won't be tempted to color the roots. I also started using purple shampoo to help brighten my incoming grays and try to limit using heat on my hair, as I’m noticing years of dye and bleach (for highlights) have left it quite fragile.”

Stop Dying Roots April 2021

April 2021

“I’ve made it to the five-month mark of not dying my hair. The contrast of my dyed hair and my natural hair is stark, but I’m enjoying seeing what’s emerging from my head naturally. I’m still feeling very self-conscious and wear hats a lot. Each week, I just keep pushing through knowing that the only way to be completely dye-free is to simply continue to let it grow.”

Stop Dying Roots June 2021

June 2021

“Six months dye free! My hair now looks a little less like I missed a few appointments and more intentional. I’m still quite self-conscious and I notice people looking at my hair when I’m out in public—sometimes they even ask about it and I have to explain that I decided not to dye my hair and was letting it grow out.

I’m starting to see what other silver sisters before me referred to as my ‘silver pattern,’ and I’m intrigued to see what mine may eventually look like. Headbands and updos aren't as crucial at this stage, but they’re still being used. I’m also seeing a lot of new hair growth and know now that the constant hair dyeing was likely the cause of the excess hair shedding I experienced over the years.”

Stop Dying Roots Oct 2021

October 2021

“Eleven months dye-free. I’m starting to feel confident about my hair and the way it looks even though I know I have a way to go before all the hair dye grows out. I’m starting to see that gray hair didn't make me look ‘old’ or like I had ‘let myself go.’ Instead, when I look in the mirror, I think ‘there you are.’

Also, at this point, the hair dye has faded A LOT, which really helped soften my line of demarcation and actually helped it all blend in better. Other people ask me if I had the color lifted (which can be done) but I never did, because again, my hair was so fragile.”

what happens if you stop dying your roots dec2021

December 2021

“I’ve made it to 13 months of being dye-free. My silver pattern has fully emerged, and I am loving it! I occasionally straighten my hair to see how much growth there is. At this point, I estimate I’m a third of the way done with my grow out.

Lots of people are asking if I’m planning a big chop, but I always knew from the start that I would just let it grow out with trims along the way. I’m doing my best to take the best care of my hair I possibly can by using products that are free of parabens, sulfates and silicones.”

Stop Dying Roots Jan 2022

January 2022

“Fourteen months dye-free. This photo really shows how much new growth I have had since I started this journey. My scalp and hair are the healthiest they have ever been, and I am feeling confident about the color (or multiple colors) I have.

I also would like to point out that I never knew I had naturally wavy hair until I ditched the dye and started letting it dry naturally. I always assumed I had dry, frizzy hair, but it turns out that I actually had natural waves that just needed some TLC.”

what happens if you stop dying your roots feb2022

February 2022

“Fifteen months dye-free. I took this photo right after having a few inches cut off. It's starting to become a bit harder to tell where the new growth ends and the hair dye starts, but I like the way it looks, even with all the colors going on.

My hair is getting stronger and healthier, and I have started using a curling iron often to define my natural waves. I am actually enjoying my hair, rather than obsessing over the grays and feeling the freedom of no longer having to worry about roots coming in. Again, the self-acceptance part of this journey was unexpected, but it’s a fabulous bonus.”

Stop Dying Roots May 2022

May 2022

“Eighteen months dye-free. I’m feeling very happy with my decision to ditch the dye. I have gained healthier, thicker hair, as well as more confidence and appreciation for the blessing of aging. I no longer view the word ‘old’ as something ugly or not valuable, but instead, see it as part of the journey of aging.

Gray hair is normal at every age, and I wish I had embraced it when I was in my 20s, rather than putting chemicals on my head for so many years. Coloring my hair every few weeks grew tiresome, and I hate to think about the time and money invested there, but what's done is done. I’m moving onward.”

Stop Dying Roots July 2022

July 2022

“I’ve made it to 20 months of being dye-free. I believe I am about two thirds done with my grow out by now. Maybe by early 2023 all the hair dye will be gone? I am currently in a phase of ‘I will get there when I get there,’ and no longer really concern myself with any sort of timeline.

Over the past 20 months, I have been so fortunate to have connected with many other women through social media (#silversisters) from all over the world who have either gone gray before me or are currently growing their hair out. These ladies gave and continue to give me so much inspiration and support; I only hope I have done the same for others.

For anyone who is considering ditching the dye, my advice is always the same: It's not an easy journey, but it's definitely worth it! Be sure you take pictures of your progress so you can see how far you have come on the days you feel discouraged or question your decision. And if you decide it's not for you, that's OK! Hair dye is always available. You do you, for you, and do whatever makes you feel most confident and beautiful.”

Jenny Jin Headshot Vertical 2023

Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...