“My entire life, having gray hair meant that I was beautiful. It made me unique.” (Photo: Shutterstock)
Most women start going gray in their 30s. But that’s not what happened to Ty Alexander, a New York City-based blogger who began noticing grays when she was just 14 years old. While many girls that age would freak, Ty accepted her fate—and even embraced it. That’s because she knew it was coming since her mom, dad, and many of her aunts went gray when they were young, too. By the time she was in her mid-20s, the now-38-year-old was more than half gray.
“My mom was really pretty and had long hair—everyone loved her hair,” says Ty. “So naturally, I wanted to be like my mom. I never thought of going gray as a bad thing. Growing up, I never associated it with being old. We were just the family who had gray hair.”
That being said, there are plenty of challenges that come with having gray hair—from a lack of products on the market to the eye roll-worthy comments people make. Here, Ty opens up about how dye almost ruined her hair, why she loves her pale hue, and more.
What It’s Like to Care for Gray Hair
“The biggest challenge is that gray hair has no pigment in it,” says Ty, who explains that a lot of products have a purple tint (to help counteract brassiness), which can actually deposit color onto the hair. And although she wears her hair natural, Ty straightens it with a flat iron quite often, which can lead to discoloration.
“Sometimes, [the mix of] products and heat will turn the gray a yellowish color,” she says. To prevent this, Ty washes her strands every two weeks with a combo of conditioner, peroxide, and water. “This strips my hair completely of all the impurities and product buildup,” she says.
How Dyeing Her Hair Almost Ruined It
Although Ty never had a problem accepting her gray hair, she DIY dyed it in her teen years through her mid-20s. “I did it to be cool, [and] it was very easy for me to have highlights,” she says. “Because my hair was already gray, if I dyed it brown, I would have blonde highlights. I didn’t have to get my hair bleached.”
But since her hair grew super fast, Ty had to color her roots every week and a half. “It was just a hassle,” says Ty, adding that her hair eventually started falling out from coloring it so frequently. So she switched to using a black rinse (which is temporary and non-damaging) to keep her hair one color while it grew back in, which took about a year. By the time she was 25, Ty was sporting her gray ‘do full-time.
The Annoying Question People Ask Her Every Day
Seen on models walking down the runway and on celebs, silver hair is a trend these days, so most people assume that Ty’s is dyed. “There’s really not a day that goes by that people don’t ask me if I dyed my hair, which is ridiculous,” says Ty. “The gray is dispersed all throughout my hair, and the side of my head has been shaved for five years, so the gray is growing out of my head.”
What She Hopes Her Blog Will Do
Ty, a beauty and lifestyle writer, started her blog Gorgeous in Grey in 2011. “I named my blog after my hair, and people became kind of obsessed with my hair,” she says. “People would say, 'Oh my god, you look so young and you’re embracing it.’ [But] my entire life, having gray hair meant that I was beautiful. It made me unique, and it gave me something more than the next girl had at 14.”
Ty hopes that through reading her blog, other women can learn to embrace their hair, too. “I know that going gray is a very bold move, and I do understand that gray hair can age some women. So I’m definitely not the person who says it’s for everybody. I just want women everywhere to feel beautiful, whether they dye their hair or decide to go gray.”
More from Women’s Health:
The 5 Biggest Lies You’ve Been Told About Your Hair
The Best Celeb Hair Transformations: Brunette to Blonde Edition
5 Reasons Your Hair Color Didn’t Turn Out Like You Wanted It To