Silver Hair Chronicles: ‘Opinions of others have never been a deciding factor for me’

Jennifer Johnson
[Photo via Jennifer Lee]

Welcome to the Silver Hair Chronicles, a bi-weekly feature where we highlight women who have made the bold choice to ditch the dye and rock their silvers.

In this installment of Silver Hair Chronicles we have stunning Ohioan Jennifer Lee,  a.k.a. Jens_Going_Gray.zy. After dyeing her grays for 20 years, 2020 was the year Jennifer decided to let her natural silvers shine through.

The timing couldn’t have been better. The coronavirus pandemic soon closed salons everywhere, plus no one was going anywhere anyway.

Her 12.5k followers lavish her photos with thousands of likes each. Tune in on her Instagram every Friday to discover fun facts about Jennifer, including that she’s a relative of Joan of Arc, the stories behind her multiple tattoos, and lots more.

I caught up with Jennifer to find out more about her and gray hair journey, check it out below.

What’s your name, where do you live, what do you do, and (optional) what’s your age?

“My name is Jennifer and I am 48 years old. I live in the same little town that my husband and I grew up in, in Northeast Ohio. I am an elementary school librarian, yogi wannabe and nature lover.”

When did you start going gray?

“I found my first gray in my late teens and I continued to pluck them out until I started covering them with dye in my late 20’s. So I had colored my hair for about 20 years.”
When did you stop dyeing your hair? 
“I decided on my 48th birthday (the end of January 2020) that I was done dyeing my hair. I had tossed this idea around for a couple years and for whatever reason, the time felt right.”

Was if difficult at first to see yourself with white hair?

“My timing was impeccable!! It was just time to color my hair again when we went into lockdown for the pandemic. So it was easier for me to let it be whatever it wanted to be.”
Do friends/family/strangers have opinions about your transition?
“My friends and family have been so supportive. My husband has been telling me to do this for years!”

How do you respond to unwelcome comments?

“Truthfully, I have only received a handful of negative comments… all from strangers on social media. They are entitled to their opinions and it does not weigh on me. Opinions of others have never been a deciding factor for me. #youdoyou”

How has going gray changed the way you feel about yourself?

“I have found a freedom that I never could have imagined and I have embraced all the stages of this transition. I feel more confident than I probably ever have. I feel truer and more authentic. It has been a game changer.”

What advice would you give someone who’s considering going gray?

“Go for it! Gray is a beautiful color that has so many shades and highlights. I have found that women you have embraced their nature colors actually look younger than they do with the harsh dyes.”

Was if difficult at first to see yourself with white hair?

“My timing was impeccable!! It was just time to color my hair again when we went into lockdown for the pandemic. So it was easier for me to let it be whatever it wanted to be.”
Do friends/family/strangers have opinions about your transition?
“My friends and family have been so supportive. My husband has been telling me to do this for years!”

How do you respond to unwelcome comments?

“Truthfully, I have only received a handful of negative comments… all from strangers on social media. They are entitled to their opinions and it does not weigh on me. Opinions of others have never been a deciding factor for me. #youdoyou”

How has going gray changed the way you feel about yourself?

“I have found a freedom that I never could have imagined and I have embraced all the stages of this transition. I feel more confident than I probably ever have. I feel truer and more authentic. It has been a game changer.”

What advice would you give someone who’s considering going gray?

“Go for it! Gray is a beautiful color that has so many shades and highlights. I have found that women you have embraced their nature colors actually look younger than they do with the harsh dyes.”

What’s been the most surprising thing about going gray?

“The amazing support and encouragement from fellow silver women. We call ourselves the #silversisters and they are a group of phenomenal women!”
I love your tattoos! When did you get them, and are there stories behind them?
“I have several tattoos, all have meaning to them. My favorite is my raven on my back, he represents my spirit animal. I also love my little maple leaf on my arm. I got it while on vacation in Vermont. Vermont is known for its maple syrup and Vermont is my favorite state… so that’s the story behind that one.”

What’s been the most surprising thing about going gray?

“The amazing support and encouragement from fellow silver women. We call ourselves the #silversisters and they are a group of phenomenal women!”
I love your tattoos! When did you get them, and are there stories behind them?
“I have several tattoos, all have meaning to them. My favorite is my raven on my back, he represents my spirit animal. I also love my little maple leaf on my arm. I got it while on vacation in Vermont. Vermont is known for its maple syrup and Vermont is my favorite state… so that’s the story behind that one.”
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