I have some feelings about gray hair - Sarah Mae
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I have some feelings about gray hair

I feel like I should tell you that I have decided to grow my hair out.

And by “grow my hair out” I mean the gray parts, which apparently are at 50%.

50 freaking % of my hair is gray.

I know, you think I’m crazy. I think I’m crazy too.

But I do have a reason and it all began last week in Portland.

My literary agent’s wife was going to be picking me up from the airport, and you know how you have a picture in your mind about how someone is going to look? Well I pictured her as a blonde. I don’t know why, I just did. So when she picked me up I noticed that she wasn’t a blonde, but rather a gray; her hair was ALL gray. And you know what my first thought was? “Why?! Why does she have gray hair? Doesn’t know about hair salons? She’s beautiful, why has she let herself go?”

Yep, those were my first thoughts. I know, gross. But that’s what they were.

Now, you know how when something is not what you seemed and then you have some thoughts and then you become obsessed and neurotic with said thoughts and become obnoxious to other people about them? Yea, that was me with her and the gray hair situation. I couldn’t get it off my mind. And, because I obviously can’t help myself, I asked her about her gray hair. I asked her when she grew it out and why. She told me she grew her out when she was 45, and she said it like it was no thing, like gray hair was normal. Which we all know IS NOT NORMAL unless you’re 60 or 80. Everyone dyes their hair, and by everyone of course I mean women because men don’t seem to have to/want to. Whatever. Anyway, back to this beautiful woman with gray hair who was totally confident, and obviously totally crazy.

But she wasn’t. She wasn’t crazy.

And I couldn’t stop thinking about gray hair and why my immediate thoughts about gray hair were always mixed with “letting yourself go” and “old” and “I’m not going down like that.” I was so judgy about women who had gray hair. I mean, I’m paying nearly $120 every two-three months to take care of business because of the 50% situation.

I started talking to her more about her gray hair, and I’m pretty certain I got quite annoying because at one point, while we were cutting vegetables, I said, “I’m making a much bigger deal about this than it is, aren’t I?” And she just said, “Yes.”

I was making a big deal out of gray hair. Why? I asked God, and of course, when you ask God about a thing He may answer the thing in a way you weren’t prepared for. And that’s just what a happened as I was standing and taking in the worship music on a Sunday morning in Portland.

You are afraid.

You are afraid if you have gray hair you won’t be desired anymore.

You won’t be taken seriously.

No one will want to work with you.

You will be embarrassed.

You will look old and like you let yourself go.

At the heart of it all, you’re afraid of not being wanted.

But the thing is, you already are.

And there it was, fear of not being wanted and the truth that I already am.

In that moment of realization I also felt an intimate voice in my spirit letting me know there was freedom either way, freedom to dye my hair or let it grow out. But perhaps, if I let it grow out, I might find a deeper identity in Christ instead of in how I looked and how deeply I listened to and relied on my fears.

I’ve decided on door number two.

I’m going for it.

Now, you should know that I’m still going to pluck my chin hairs, and I still want to look nice, and wear makeup, and maybe even put on some false eye lashes sometimes. But my hair? It will be 50% gray. So if you see me in person, just know I won’t look like my pictures online. The lovely blondish-brown will be gone. But hopefully you’ll see something that wasn’t there before. Perhaps you’ll see a woman a little freer in who she is in Christ, confident in His love for her and that being wanted by Him is, truly, enough.

With love and a root line, Sarah Mae

A gray head is a crown of glory;
It is found in the way of righteousness.

Proverbs 16:31

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  • Patty

    I envy those women who have beautiful MANAGEABLE gray hair! Gray hairs have their own mind! They do what they want and I have not found any way or any thing that can control them. They’re like pubic hair! I think if I grew mine out, I’d look like Albert Einstein, however, I’d never be mistaken for him….I have a better mustache!
    Good luck! Keep us posted! 🙂

  • Claresa

    You are awesome, no matter what color hair you have! I am so excited to see your transition! I love seeing gray hair and a cute, stylish haircut. I think it looks so beautiful. Would you believe there’s been a trend where older teens and women in their 20s go gray and silver on purpose?

  • Laila

    I needed this! I have been gray since I was 17 and fast forward I’m 35 and have decided that I’m tired of spending money on hair dye. There’s something so beautiful about embracing my hair as it grows out of my head. Letting go of all my fears of what people will think of me and loving my hair as it is. I recently got gray braids and have gotten so many comments on it. I love it! Cheers to your journey!

  • Rebecca LeCompte

    Thank you! I quit coloring my hair seven years ago (when I was 41) at my husband’s request. He wanted me be natural looking. I have had several people criticize my choice, but it really is so freeing to just let God’s choices for me be seen. I love it and will never go back. I applaud your choice, friend!

  • Katie D. Anderson

    Okay, I wrote to a little bit on your Instagram, but YES, I have just done this for the same reasons and YES, it’s SCARY AS HECK at times. But it’s also kinda badass. And you will love that aspect of it. Shoot, I had to verify my email and now I can’t remember what else I wanted to say but one thing is for sure. You will have lots of blogging material. Like I said, I wanted to video talk about it a lot in the beginning and so I made several Facebook vids showing the process. Oh yes! I did this cool thing to start the growth so it didn’t look half gray, half dyed. I dyed my part. Just the one inch part. I describe in a video how to do. I used a technique I found online and it helped tremendously. I might try to tag you in it.

    • mgoldthorpe08

      Is it called Smudging? I was going to mention that technique as it does help get the natural process be less intimidating. Congrats on letting go of your fears, Sarah Mae!!!

      • Katie D. Anderson

        No. Its where u just dye your part – like a 2 inch section of hair. Then when you part your hair, it looks like your old dyed self while the gray grows out secretly underneath it for months. Google Debbie Arndt’s YouTube videos about it

  • Katie A.

    Way to go! Think of all the great stuff you can do with the money you save too! I started going grey when I was 22. My family has a lot of premature grey in it, so I never related it to age. I did however relate it to the, “letting yourself go” But now I’m forty eight. I’m a musical performer so I will color my hair for shows as presentation is part of the job, it is part of my costume. But the rest of the time, I’m over it. This is me and I live a healthy productive adventurous life. My hair does not define me. It is life changing not to be focused on keeping up appearances. You can always color it when ever you want but you have the freedom to not do it. It’s your choice, not a social requirement. Congratulations on finding your true beautiful self!

  • Melissa Miller Perkins

    You are beautiful no matter what color your hair. Thank you for being honest so that you can encourage others. Personally, I feel like I have earned each of my grey hairs and they are a sign of the journey I have taken.

  • Jessica

    My mom (who is on the other side of 50) is way over 50% grey and still colors her hair. I’ve asked why and she says she’s just not ready yet. I wonder how much longer it will be until she’s ready. She only has 12+ grandkids. I’m 27, fresh 27. I’ve noticed more grey in my hair and I’m good. I guess I’m one of those weird people who find grey/white hair beautiful. That coupled with my detest of what coloring my hair does to my hair has me A-Ok with going grey (or white) whenever it happens. Either way it’s all good in the hood. Congrats on going for it! 🙂

  • Meg

    This is beautiful way to attack our fears head-on. I love that you’re facing this even though you’re afraid. It wouldn’t be bravery if you weren’t scared. I believe you can do this, and you will feel so much stronger and closer to God through this journey. You go, girl!

  • KBa22

    Proverbs 16:31 is what got me through the process of going gray two years ago. I found my first gray hairs in high school and by college I had to start coloring regularly. By my first child, at the age of 26, I was nearly all gray. At the age of 47 I decided to stop fighting God and genetics. I asked my husband if he could live with a gray-haired wife and he said “whatever makes you happy.” So, I quit coloring cold turkey, chopped my hair really short, and began wearing hats. Six months later I had a mop of healthy (non-crunchy from too many colorings) head of hair and I’ve never regretted it! My family was very supportive, but I was also surprised at how often complete strangers would voice their support too. I think you’ll look even more beautiful in your crown of glory.

  • Susan Akula

    My hair has been gray for a long time, but you really got me when you said “fear of not being wanted and the truth that I already am”. Don’t we all struggle with that? God has been showing me recently how much I fear being left or rejected and how I need not fear such a thing because he will never, never, never leave or reject me. Thanks for this blog. Embrace your gray and especially embrace God and his never-ending love.

  • Beth Gardner Tessier

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b12b329497cc407806e389d082540e1ba90a9135624827b4d7b7b352f8c3bd48.jpg I went gray 15 months ago! BEST DECISION EVER. Check out the group Gray and Proud on Facebook… It was a lifesaver for me. Your feelings are definitely valid and normal. I’m going to be 43 this July. Going natural (gray) is counter cultural FOR SURE! Congrats on your journey. I learned a lot about myself, my faith, and my circle of friends during this journey. ❤️

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Beautiful!

    • Lori Cochran

      So pretty!

  • Paige Brown

    My hair has been turning white since I was 14. I’m 36 now and stopped using dye 3 years ago. I’m WAY over 50% and I absolutely love it. My hair has never been healthier and looks great (if I do say so myself). Go for it. The grow out can be a pain, but it’s totally worth it.

  • Rachel Quebedeaux

    I don’t color my hair, but I take after my mom. She is 71 and 50% gray. Plus all the young girls are dying their hair that silver color, so I say go for it…

  • Tammi Keller Soles

    I’m 4 months into my transition. I cut my hair from close to shoulder length to a very short pixie at 8 weeks to get rid of all the color. I was dyeing my hair every 3-4 weeks!! This has been so liberating on so many different levels! Prayers for strength and courage on your journey!!

  • Debra Rhoades

    I am a hair stylist….And I have colored my hair since 4 ever…lol
    I got a wild hair about letting my hair go gray like I see in the roots when it is calling my name.I tried it about two inches and my husband didn’t like it, and I was feeling too washed out!
    I’m free to color, hilite, cut whatever…we love the color contrast of coloring! ! 🙂 Good article..

  • Terri Torrez

    I’m 46 and grew out my gray a year and a half ago. I’d been coloring since my early 30s so had no idea what to expect. Turns out I have less gray than I expected, more red (my regular color is dark brown) and a great silver streak in my bangs. I love it and I’ve never looked back. Less hassle and less expense. I recently switched to a blue shampoo to keep the silver shiny but otherwise I wouldn’t change a thing.

  • Brenda Jacobson

    Sarah Mae, you are hilarious! I love your tender heart. You make me smile. From the woman in Portland with the gray hair.

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Thanks for being gracious as I was neurotic! 🙂

  • Charley Gee

    Grayish-purplish blonde hair is so “in” right now it would be super-easy to color it one last time and grow it out without a complicated hairline. But I understand your heart behind growing it out and I commend you for hearing the Spirit’s gentle words.

  • ladygray4

    BTW, 60 isn’t exactly elderly. I’m 63, my hair is almost snow white, and has been gray since I was in my 40s. If there’s any form of discrimination that’s still acceptable, it’s discrimination against what people perceive as ‘the elderly”. Rock that gray hair! It’s what God gave you, and HE thinks it looks great on you!!

  • tia foster

    Lord help me. I have dark, dark, dark brown hair. Almost black. And blue eyes. I don’t look like my mother who is brown haired and hazel eyed, who left when I was born. I didn’t ever really know who I looked like because I had never met my birth father. I just knew I didn’t look like my grandparents, who raised me. If you’re in that situation, you always question your features, and inevitably your worth in the long run. By 25, I had to dye the top of my hair…it was white. By 27, I had found a half-sister by my father who was getting married. Of course she wanted me there, only when I got there I wasn’t wanted by our father. Again. I still remember seeing him. I walked right past him, and instantly all of the questions I had about my appearance were answered. Only he was white haired. I expected to see the black hair in the photos and in the mirror that I had seen. I will be 45 next week, and I’ve gone from the “root touchup” kits being more than enough to one full bottle being less than enough. I’m scared. Not gonna lie. I don’t want to look like him. I don’t want to look in the mirror and see him all over again. Who knew that hair color could do that to you? I feel like I really need to just go blonde and become an entirely new person. I mean Gwen Stefani does it. And half black and half blonde is fashionable. For 20 somethings.

  • Lee

    I call those hairs my “platinum blondes” and I rock it 🙂

  • Kara Shepherd

    I’m 43 and quit coloring my hair four years ago. It was rather….shocking when it all grew in. Now it’s long, I instruct people to call it silver, and I’m mostly liking it. I’m excited to see your updates!!

  • Heather Alexander

    At 51 years old, I’m 80-90% gray…and this year I stopped dying it. I love it. I used to think quite a bit about my hair…Does the gray show? Can I wear my hair this way or that way or has my hair grown out too much? Is it time to dye my hair again already? Now, I don’t think about it a bit…I just wash it and dry it and go. I can wear it any way I want. Liberating is an understatement. And the compliments roll in…

  • Suzanne Smith

    Thank you for sharing. I’m mid-40’s and haven’t coloured my hair in over 8 years – and have just let God’s natural highlights show (currently salt & pepper stage). I stopped because I was pregnant and just couldn’t afford it. One of my friends (a few younger than me) challenged me, when she said she stopped colouring hers, because she knew her true value lay not in her looks and that her husband loved her not for her hair colour but for who she was in Christ. I had an interesting conversation with friends on the weekend about colouring; they suggested I should colour mine again but made me laugh, when they then finished by saying “but gray looks good on you”.

  • Marlene Atkinson

    Horray for GRAY! Was 60 when my daughter got married and after wedding I stunned EVERYONE, including myself, by letting my “blond” hair grow out…has taken a year and a half and my husband loves it, our kids love it, and I love it!! Little salt and pepper….get complimented all the time. Had to change make up a bit, make sure I have on lipstick and changed to dark blue eyeglass frames. Best thing I’ve done in a long time!!!

  • https://classicallyprinted.patternbyetsy.com/ Classically

    I’ve been thinking of doing the same myself. I have no idea the percentage of gray, but you’ve given me inspiration to give it a try. Thanks!

  • Lori Cochran

    I stopped coloring my hair 5 ye https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/984c8c8f34a75f985ba1dc0c4f5199a047f8655a3be8bfc999c12fcd9b53f934.jpg ars ago. I’m 34 and I’m more that 50% gray. I get complements all the time and people ask me who does my hair. I also felt a conviction to stop coloring my hair and I’m glad I stopped. I haven’t regretted it yet.

  • Cheryn Archer

    I love this. I once saw a middle aged woman in Wal-Mart with iron gray hair that was long and stylishly cut. I want to be like her. She hadn’t let herself go at all, she was beautiful and I admire her!

  • Melissa Vines

    I love this! After years of coloring my hair I decided to go back to my natural dark brown hair only to find a year later that I am going gray! Now that I’m longer coloring I have seriously contemplated just letting it do what it wants to do and what God designed it to do! Thanks for the encouragement!

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