Silver Hair Chronicles: ‘I noticed my first gray hair at 13’

growing out white hair
Photo via Frankie

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.

This week we chat with Francesca, of Ontario, Canada, who noticed her first gray hair when she was only 13 years old. So it’s no surprise that at her hair is almost completely white at 36.

She may be a baby compared to some of us, but she’s blazing the way for anyone who’s thinking about saying sayonara to hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars spent at the salon.

Going gray at a young age runs in the family, and ditching the dye is also a family affair: Frankie, as her Instagram followers know her, and her mother stopped dying about two years ago, and her sister followed suit a year and a half later.

Her relaxed approach to hair and life in general has caught the eye of more than 17k Instagram followers and growing. I caught up with Frankie  to find out more about her and gray hair journey.

When did you start coloring your hair?
“I began coloring my hair at 14, mostly for fun. By my 20s I felt the need to colour my hair to hide the white roots. I colored my hair for 20 years.”

When did you stop coloring it and why?

“I was tired of the roots, the money spent, the time spent. I saw others online with natural hair and I wondered if I would like it on myself. I figured there is no way to know unless I gave it a chance. I decided if I did not like it, I could easily dye it again. That was 2 years ago, and I never went back to hair dye!”

Was if difficult to see yourself with white hair?

“It was difficult before I made the decision to embrace it. I had anxiety as my roots would begin to show. That could occur as early as a week after dyeing my hair and I would wait at least 6 weeks before returning to the salon. I was barely ever happy with my hair! Once I made the shift in my mind and made peace with having grey hair my anxiety was replaced with love and confidence. I couldn’t wait for it to grow in and wanted it to grow faster!”

Do friends/family/strangers have opinions about your transition?

“Lots! Some do not share their opinions. The most feedback I get is through my Instagram account where I have been sharing my hair journey. The feedback there has been 99% positive. I mostly get positive reactions to my hair and if I get any negative ones I ignore them. Most of the negative comments from friends and family were at the beginning of the journey which do make you question if you should go forward. I didn’t listen to them when they told me it may age me or that I wouldn’t like it.”

How do you respond to unwelcome comments?

“If it is online, I simply delete the comment and go on with my life. If it is in person I may reply with something like ‘your opinion of me is none of my business’ or something along those lines.”

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

“It has given me more confidence in all aspects of my life. Once you choose to love yourself the way you are, something shifts inside. You suddenly care less about what others think and what society claims are beauty norms. I look in the mirror and still see myself, the new improved me!”

Do you think that white hair affects the way you’re treated in the workplace by colleagues or your bosses? 

“In my case, not one bit. If anything, I may have helped to inspire a few others at my work place to also ditch the dye.”

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

“Try hard to ignore any negative comments around you and focus on your goal.”

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

“I expected wiry, unruly, rough. I was surprised it is healthier, softer and smoother. I was also surprised that it is very curly, I never had the curls with dyed hair!”

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