Prepare yourself. I am about to shock you. You might want to sit down.
I decided to stop coloring my hair. Translation: I decided to let myself go gray.
Don't worry, though. It'll take me a minute. Actually, the whole process will take about a year to grow out all the henna'd hair and reveal my real hair. It took about 10 years to make the decision, though, so one year isn't so bad. That's right, folks. I've been thinking about letting my gray hair show for about 10 years (I've been going gray much longer than that). For 10 years, I have been coloring my hair to make other people happy, when deep down, I wanted to leave it alone. To top it all off, my skin tone is changing as I age. The warm auburn red that used to look good is suddenly too dark, too warm and washes me out too much. My roots show up every two weeks whether I have time to color or not. When my gray roots started peeking through this time, I just couldn't bring myself to color it anymore.
I know this decision will shake some people. I'm always amazed at how attached other people are to my hair. Every time I've hinted at letting my gray hair show, I have encountered shock and horror -- usually accompanied by a wailing cry of, "You can't do that!!!!"
So this time, I didn't tell anyone but my immediate family. Then I started the process of transitioning to gray hair. In another post, I will tell more about what I did to lift some of the henna from my hair so I would be sporting ombré weirdness as my hair grows out rather than skunk-striped-roots weirdness. But for now, I will answer my critics and leave you with some great links for staying stylish while you go gray.
To the Gray Hair Critics:
1. Don't tell me I'm too young to have gray hair. When I was graying at 20, you might have had a point. At 45, I am decidedly NOT too young. My gray hair is right on time.
2. Slapping fake color on my hair isn't deluding anyone into thinking I'm 20. Just like the guy with the comb-over isn't fooling anyone, people know I'm not in college anymore. They don't even wonder.
3. Why, exactly, is it so wrong for me to look old? I am old (as in, older than 20, the only socially acceptable age for a woman to be). I'm just looking my age, honey. I'm okay with that. And let's face it. The hair color you are so attached to me wearing isn't making me look young, anyway.
4. Don't be threatened by this. My gray hair won't make you look any older. I promise.
5. "But if you let yourself go gray, your hair will be wirey and unmanageable." Of all the arguments against going gray, this one makes the least sense to me. I'm already gray under all that henna. Any texture changes are already happening. My hair texture isn't going to magically change just because you can see my real hair color. If anything, stopping the hair color madness is likely to mean the hair is healthier, especially if you use chemical color.
6. My decision to go gray doesn't mean I think you should go gray. This is a personal choice, not a moral decree.
7. If I don't like it, I can always go back to coloring. If you don't like it, well... Maybe you'll get used to it.
8. I am sorry that you will have to look at me while I endure a year-long ugly duckling phase. Why don't I make it up to you by buying myself a cute hat?
Here are some great gray hair links. You'll feel much better about all of this once you see these:
A Story of a Girl Going Gray A chronicle in pictures of one woman's grow out phase. When you see the before and after on this woman, you will never be able to say gray hair makes you look older. She looks decidedly younger and fresher with gray hair than with brown. Wow.
Grey Is Okay This lovely lady from Ireland looks amazing. Scroll down the page to see her before with brown hair. She looks so.much.better with gray hair. Amazing.
Revolution Gray Pretty much everything you need to know about going gray with style. Lots of befores and afters. Lots of tips.
Tonight, I will be going to church with gray roots and much lighter hair (because I lifted as much of the henna as I possibly could -- more on that later.). I figure the entire church will probably pass out. I'll prop them up in their seats. Eventually everyone will get used to this, right?
I think I'm all done shocking you now. I'll try to post something a little more normal next time.
Have a great day!
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