2 years dye free – best decision EVER!

Let me set the stage here……nope this was not a “COVID made me do it” situation.

Luckily for me I pulled the dye free band-aid off 9 months prior to the first lockdown, so I was already in that awkward grow out stage and appreciating the silver lining of my all day. everyday “stay at home” messy bun.

I started dyeing my hair in high school, that’s when it was for fun. Add some red, add some highlights, all the things. I had a crazy time my junior year in college, when it was supposed to be a dark brown, but it came out Elvira black. So then came the color correction, which gave me the end result of almost orphan Annie orange…..college was fun! :)

Fast forward to my twenties, I’m married, working, trying to be a grown-up. And I’ve got silver hairs  popping up in my crown. So I returned to my trusty box dye to go back to my natural share of brown. Easy peezy! I could get by with a home box dye every 2-3 months. Remember, I’m a broke, just graduated, just married…..nobody has the $$ for salon hair color.

This became my life. But as the years went by, more and more gray roots started popping in. So my 2 months became 6 weeks, and then 4 weeks and come around 35 years old…..I had a full on gray skunk stripe just 2 weeks after my dye. So I would rock a pulled back bun for a week or two trying to hold out to the 4 week re-dye.

2017 (I’m 41 years old) was my year from “hell”. No need for the details……but there was lot of time for life reflection.

2018 – still dyeing my hair at home religiously at the 3-4 weeks mark. I’ve mastered the root dye only, looks great for a couple weeks. But OMG, my long hair is super crunchy. Years and years of box dye can’t be undone. No matter how many hair mask treatments you try.

2019 – I’ve got a Pinterest board FULL of silver hair transition inspiration. I’m thinking about doing it…..but really I’m only 43? Do I really want to be the mom with gray hair?

6/23/19 – My last box dye at home. I didn’t know at the time it was my last dye. I was going on vacation the next week

 I wanted fresh, no gray roots hair. After I came home from vacation, and the skunk grow out came yet again as it had hundred time before – this time I said NOPE! I’m DONE!  And so began the clock on growing out my silver.

Yup, I call it SILVER!

In Sept 2019, I did go to my salon (this was not a job for at home) and had some transition highlights put in. The super harsh line between old color & silver roots was intense. She didn’t touch my “virgin hair”, it was all about blending down the new silver into the old color. This looked good for awhile, but honestly for it to work correctly a gray toner needed to be put on those highlights every 2-3 months she said…..and I wasn’t down with that. So I took my softened grow out line and set-out to just grow it out!

Don’t get me wrong – there were MANY days this wasn’t easy. I had days I wanted to dye. I had days I wanted to bob cut, even pixie cut….but I had learned years ago those styles aren’t flattering to my round face.

Here’s a little timeline during the grow out. October 2019, Jan 2020, June 2020, Sept 2020.


Every month the SILVER got longer and longer.

It’s fascinating to see my natural color again after 25 years behind box dye.

This is my most recent gray hair transition photo. Taken just last week, June 2021, the morning before my son’s high school graduation party! Yup! I’m the SILVER mom! And a Clemson MOM to boot. GO TIGERS!

And I LOVE it!

The natural color is wild. Highlights and tones you could NEVER get at a salon. My crown is 27 shades of silver & pepper. And the bottom 1/2 of my hair is still my natural dark brown. It’s just crazy!

Funny story -I’m at a birthday BBQ a few weeks back…..tons of people I don’t know. Lots of 20 somethings there. Two different occasions, a 20 something came up and told me they love my dye job & color. HA! If you are a slave to the box dye and looking for a silver friend. I’m happy to be her!

Happy SILVER friends! Embrace the freedom.


Kari aka Tiger Lily




5 replies
  1. Charlotte Jorgensen
    Charlotte Jorgensen says:

    Your natural color is very pretty!! I’m 14 weeks into letting mine go back to gray/brawn. I hope it is as pretty as yours. The gal that does my hair wanted me to put highlights in but I dont think so.
    Merry Christmas

    • Kari Chamberlin
      Kari Chamberlin says:

      Thank you! Congrats on your decision to go silver…..you will be so happy in the end. Stick to your guns about no highlighting….it’s not the prettiest transition, but it so freeing when you can cut away ALL the color and not have to start the clock over again when the highlighted area.

  2. Amanda C
    Amanda C says:

    Your silver hair is absolutely gorgeous! I know it couldn’t have been easy, but it looks like it was worth the effort! I’m 36 and have already started to see lots of gray hair coming in. Because of my strawberry blonde hair it’s not super noticeable but I’ve already decided that I’m not going to dye it. I’ve honestly never dyed my hair and I just know I wouldn’t want to deal with the hassle. I’m a very low maintenance gal when it comes to makeup and hair products. I’m more of a wash, air dry, and up in a ponytail so it’s out of my way kinda girl. There is no way I could put up with dying it every few weeks.

    • Kari Chamberlin
      Kari Chamberlin says:

      Thanks so much! Not easy, but I’m loving it more and more each day. Just embrace the silver sparkle that is coming into your strawberry blonde…..it’s going to be fabulous! I’ve got the best purple shampoo recommendation when you have more sparkle than strawberry LOL :)

  3. Kristy Rohm
    Kristy Rohm says:

    Hi Cari….I just happened to see that you have a blog and boy was I ever slapped across the face by your post on hair dye! I’ve been salon dyeing mine for many many years but I’m so tired of every 5 weeks paying out that money. So we are going on a cruise at the end of July and that will be my last dye. My hairdresser is going to try and make the transition. Less painful but I’m not so sure. Thanks for the blog post to make me feel beautiful!


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