When I decided to stop dying my graying hair 15 years ago I had no idea I would be distinguishing myself as a woman of courage in the eyes of my peers.
I am surprised and somewhat amused by other people’s reactions to my gray hair. At least once a week a perfect stranger walks up to me on the street and congratulates me on my hair color. They say things like:
“it is so beautiful”
“you are so brave”
“it looks gorgeous”
“I am so inspired”
“Was it difficult to do?”
One woman even asked if I “dyed it”
Do I accept all the physical changes of ageing? Well, I have to be honest …in case any of my friends are reading this blog.
Some days, the good days, I am quite accepting but others I moan at the cellulite and flinch when I see the bags under my eyes. But when it comes to hair I have come to a place of acceptance assisted by some very heavy practical issues:
• I save approximately $1000 a year which would be spent on salon coloring. I will not go to a hairdresser who suggests dying my hair. I have a lot of other things I can do with that $1000.
• My father turned white in his twenties. I got those genes. My first gray rogue hairs showed up at 21 so I have had a long time to get used to this changing palette on my head.
• Silver hair has forced me into a whole new color theme for my closet and new makeup. OK I am shallow but now I have an excuse to shop and to give away some great clothes to Urban Possibilities
• It’s popular to “go gray” now, why not join the crowd. Bring on the silver foxes! Check out Going Gray Looking Great
I am proud to be “a little old gray haired lady” I like to think that I can I role model what life 50+ can be by wearing my natural color so if you want to join me here are my tips for the journey to the silver crown.
Use Good Shampoo and Conditioner
I have not found a change in texture though I know some people say gray hair can be more course. To keep my hair soft I use a good quality conditioner and don’t do what I do , do what I say…deep condition with a home product or at the salon every few months
Work through the Stages to Silver.
You can go “cold turkey” I did not have the guts for that and my mother was really on my case about my premature graying so here is what I did to make the transition a little easier:
1. I started out dirty blond with a few grays tucked in but mostly unseen
2. Then went streaked blond to blend in the gray when it was more abundant.
3. As the gray increased I went to the salon and had my hair backlit. I had at least 4 colors going in my hair at the same time. But it worked, it looked very natural and all the while the gray was growing.
4. When my temples went white I took the leap and stopped dying.
That was 15 years ago. I forgot to mark it on the calendar. If I had only known it would be the day my courage began…I would have marked it.
How to Keep the Silver from Tarnishing
This does not involve wearing plastic bag on your head.
The secret is blue shampoo that keeps the gray silvery and protects from the brassiness that sun can cause. E.g. Blue Malva by Aveda or Clairol Shimmer Lights.
These shampoos are specially made for gray / white hair and you leave them on for 1 minute or so…not too long or you end up looking like a blue haired granny (not that there is anything wrong with that) .
I also use a sun screen for hair called Miss Oops Block Your Locks to give extra sun protection.
Now What about the Brows?
I get mine dyed. I resisted this for a long time and then I did it once and I was hooked. No, I am not a hypocrite I just need to have a facial expression and penciled in brows make me shutter. It only costs $10. and you just get it done when you get your hair trimmed every 6-8 weeks.
Other body hair areas? You are on your own ladies… do what you need to do.
Dress for Silver Success
I have a whole new wardrobe in gray tones. I have found that gray looks great with gray also blue but that may be an eye color issue. Short skirts and high fashion look great with gray hair. When you are gray haired and keep on top of the styles and/ or boldly display your own style it becomes a very interesting look. I think people look and go “oh she is old but wow she looks great’ …Now that is my favorite message to send.
I think natural hair color can help women look better.
For the record I do not equate younger and better. Yes, gray hair may signal a “certain age” but what is attractive about a woman who is obviously fighting her age e.g. dyed hair which is unnatural looking, drastic face lifts, lip plumbs or brow lifts which result in a permanent pout or shocked affect. I think there is nothing more beautiful than an older woman, gray at the temples ,wrinkled and maybe even a little bent but clearly confident and comfortable in her own skin. Have you ever noticed the radiance in the eyes of such a woman shining under her platinum crown?
I will miss the compliments on the street but I look forward to a time when gray hair is as natural as blonde on a beach in Santa Monica in August!
To Fabulousness Ladies!