It’s been a slow, steady process and one I’ve avoided like the plague I don’t know why. It started out with one silver hair popping out of nowhere in my mid 30’s. Starring at myself in the mirror horrified at the discovery, I plugged out the little intruder in a flash, as if that would have stopped the cascade of little silvery white hairs popping here and there slowly but steadily ever since.
Like all or most women in modern day societies, I would spend countless hours and copious amounts of money at coloring them, in an attempt at permanently erasing them from my head and my calendar — as if time came in a bottle bought at the supermarket or nicely applied by a hair stylist.
Inevitably with every stop at the hair salon my hair got more damaged, dryer and frizzier, so I would spend more money and time trying to repair it, in an endless cycle of nonsense. Why on earth do we put ourselves through all this?…
I colored my hair for the last time in March 2015. Not that I had planned doing it, it was the last time I had thought about it. On April 1st, 2015 after the passing of my beloved daughter, when my world came crashing down shattering in billion pieces, the last thing in my mind was how I looked or if my roots were showing.
Months went by without me popping my head at the hair salon or even thinking about coloring those white hairs at home as I had done plenty of times before. My roots showed more and more as time went by. Completely oblivious and immersed in my sorrow I didn’t even bothered looking at myself in the mirror… until that one day, almost a year later. That’s when I noticed I had so many silvery white hairs all over my head I had no idea were even there! When did that happen? When did I get so… old?!…
Pissed at the entire universe, broken and sad I headed to my hair dresser and told her “cut it all off!”, not quite Britney Spears style but close. I was having a melt down, as it was expected. I walked out with barely an inch of hair in my head. My youngest son was horrified; my husband laughed as he remembered when we met some 20-something years ago, I had the same short hairstyle, minus the little “tail” that was in fashion in the late 80’s beginning of 90’s; my oldest son Carlos couldn’t believe what I had done with my long hair, since his was and still is long and gorgeous!
But me? I was ok. I had gotten rid of a horrendous color separation and for the first time I think, in my life I had one less thing to worry about, my religious monthly stop at the hair salon. Boy that felt so good!
Little by little my hair grew and the few silvery white hairs turned into platinum strands as more friends joined them. After spending enormous amounts of money trying — unsuccessfully! — to get those so pretty platinum highlights at the salon, now I have them for free and free of harmful chemicals. It’s a good thing the look is in fashion these days though.
My hair color is naturally ashy blonde yet the contrast is not as pronounced as someone with black hair. Although I do believe no matter what the natural hair color is, these silvery strands do look good on everyone.
So go ahead! If you have them embrace them!
What’s white hair and why do we get it as we age?
White hair is nothing more than hair without pigmentation. The human body has millions of hair follicles or small sacs lining the skin. The follicles generate and grow hair and color in the form of pigment cells that contain melanin, the same pigment found in our skin. Over time, hair follicles lose pigment cells, resulting in white hair. Vitamin deficiencies can also cause hair to turn white prematurely. Particularly deficiencies of vitamin B-6, B-12, biotin, vitamin D, or vitamin E can contribute to premature graying. (1, 2)
A study in the journal Development published in 2015 reported its findings in vitamin D-3, vitamin B-12, and copper deficiency and their connection to graying hair. According to research, when the cause of white hairs (lack of pigmentation) is due to nutritional deficiencies, color can return with vitamin supplementation. (3)
Other factors like medical conditions, smoking, genetics, oxidative stress, stress, and chemical hair dying (yes, the same ones applied to cover white hairs!) can contribute to hair going white sooner than expected and not do to aging alone. (4, 5, 6)
How to transition from colored to natural hair.
There isn’t one size fits all type of formula to transition from colored to natural hair. Usually letting it grow to a length that feels comfortable cutting off the colored parts works quite well, yet it can be intimidating, especially if the color change is too dramatic. To soften the transition ombre coloring can help.
An even more dramatic approach to letting your natural hair grow while getting rid of all the colored hair would be to shave the hair off completely, but I reckon this extreme measure is not for everyone. Some of us just can’t pull off a shaved head. But if you do look good or aren’t afraid of a shaved head, go for it!
Whatever method you choose to transition to your natural hair is up to you. The end result is always a positive one! More money in your bank. No more monthly visits to the hair stylist, which also translates in less driving and less CO2 gasses and pollution. No more exposure to harmful chemicals and offensive fumes, and no more expensive products to try and fix damaged hair. And who doesn’t want a head filled with healthy good looking natural hair?
Maintaining natural uncolored white hair.
White hair can be thicker, dryer and coarser than natural hair requiring some extra care. The quality of the products and quality of the ingredients in the hair products selection is extremely important.
.. Avoid products filled with synthetic ingredients like Parabens, Phthalates, Mineral oil, PEG-Polyethylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol (PG), Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), DEA (Diethanolamine), MEA (momoethanolamine), and TEA (Triethanolamine), Imdiazolidinyl Urea and DMDM Hydantoin, Silicone and the like, and favor products formulated with as much natural ingredients as possible.
.. Aim for styling products, shampoos and conditioners containing avocado oil, argan oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, extra virgin olive oil, shea butter or a combination of these as they impart luster and softness nourishing the hair, scalp and hair follicles in the process.
.. Say goodbye to hair sprays and replace them with serums and oils formulated with natural ingredients.
.. Minimize the use of hair dryers, curling irons and straighteners. If you need to blow dry, curl or straighten your hair choose a lower heat setting. The hotter it is the more damage the hair receives. If you need a hot setting, make sure to apply a good product to protect the hair and minimize the time your hair is in contact with the hot element.
.. Instead of using shampoos containing surfactants like SLS or SLES which could wreak havoc on hair and scalp, look for more natural ones like True Castile Liquid Soap, which can be safely used as a substitute to shampoo, or look for shampoos containing instead coconut derived surfactants like Cocamidopropyl betaine and similar which are gentler to the scalp and hair.
The Products I Use
I’m somewhat low maintenance when it comes to my hair. I don’t like to use the hairdryer and only use it occasionally during the colder winter days to avoid walking out with a wet head in -20 degrees weather. I do not brush my hair ever (I think I own only 1 hairbrush and it was my daughter’s). To to brush it I use my fingers after shampooing and voilà. I don’t use styling hair products mostly because I don’t style my hair at all and hate the stiffness these products impart on the hair. I don’t like fancy hairdos or haircuts, and I don’t curl or straighten my hair either. When it comes to hair I’m very free spirited and prefer wearing it as natural as possible. Free flowing, shiny healthy hair looks the best no matter the type of hair or color. I wear my hair lose, in a simple haircut, mostly air-dried, which creates the waves so many pay so much to get at the salon.
I do wash my hair everyday and the only product in my shower is By Valenti Organics True Castile – Sapone d’Oliva Liquid Soap because it’s mild for my type of hair and does a great job at keeping it clean without drying it or leaving it greasy, plus no harmful chemicals to worry about.
I do apply one of By Valenti Organics All Over Oils when my hair gets a bit on the rebel side, and I truly prefer our By Valenti Organics Garden of Roses All Over Oil, as it contains nourishing vegetable oils in a well balanced formula aimed at restoring, moisturizing and soothing every part of the body including hair. Just a few drops, rub hands together and apply sparingly where/when needed and done, no more frizzy hair, plus it smells divine!
At the end of the day we are all constantly evolving.
Part of this evolution is learning to embrace and love the new us that comes with every stage in life, and that means loving and embracing the good and the bad, while making it work for ourselves in the best possible ways.
It has taken me a while to embrace this new me I admit, between struggles and trepidation. I’m turning 51 in 3 days – and yes! that’s me on the picture up there! – and just now I’ve started to accept this awesome new body and these cool new strands.
Enjoy the changes ladies! I know I am! xoxo