There’s a new book on the market, “Going Gray – What I Learned about Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity, and Everything Else That Really Matters,” by Anne Kreamer. At 49, Kreamer made the decision to stop coloring her hair and set out to discover the practical implications of going gray. Would men still find her attractive? Would her gray hair be a handicap in the job market?
This is a very timely issue for me. My mother’s hair started turning white at a very young age and I definitely have her genes. When I began to go gray some years ago, I started coloring my hair. It’s not something I liked doing – I just felt I was too young to have gray hair, so every three weeks I cracked open another box of hair color and spent two hours applying the messy cream, waiting for the color to take, and shampooing out the glop. That was fine, until I quit my job and headed off to backpack around the world for six months. When my roots started to show I was in Bangkok. In a country of black-haired people, I was lucky enough to find a salon that had blond hair color available, although they had only five shades from which to choose. I picked the shade that looked closest to my color and sat down in the chair. An hour later I had two-tone hair.
That’s when I decided to go back to my natural color. It was just too much of a hassle to try to keep up with hair coloring while I was traveling to remote places, and, frankly, I was just tired of doing it. Not to mention that I’d been coloring so long that I was curious to find out what color my hair really was. If it was anything like my Mom’s hair I’d be perfectly happy, since I always thought her hair was beautiful once she stopped coloring. Plus, I had the perfect opportunity to let my hair grow out. I was far away from home, meeting people whom I would never see again, so who cared if my hair was four different colors for the next seven months?
Soon, my real color began to emerge and, as I suspected, my hair was just like my Mom’s – snow white in the front and on both sides, becoming salt-and-pepper on top and gradually darker toward the nape of my neck. It’s been an empowering experience and one I highly recommend for all women going gray. What’s wrong with gray hair, anyway? I really like it. It feels natural. I actually think it’s kinda sexy and maybe men do too, because I’ve been asked out by two different men during the past two days. In my previous life as a blond I hadn’t been asked on a date even once over the past five or six years. Who says blondes have more fun!
4 thoughts on “Going Gray”
I “discovered” your blog a few weeks ago now. Your dreams were so familiar to me that I was almost shocked. Since then, I’ve been reading back over the years to see just how you managed to get to be where you are now, to see if I could pick up any tips, or if a bit of your courage might rub off!
I had already got it into my head that I might be able to make something of my blog, which was (and still is) feeble, but growing, and I was researching when I came across yours. I’ve looked at so many now that I am a bit dizzy with it all, but one of things which delights me about yours is that you aren’t doing a hard sell on anything. Sure, you have advertisers and tips etc, but you aren’t pushing them so much that it turns me off, which I have found with a couple of others which appealed. That is no way the best thing about it for me. I love your style and I thrill reading about the places you have visited, but mostly that you are exuding an attitude (well, in more ways than one, actually) which I hope I have embraced of late – life is the journey, so that, no matter where you are, you should always look around you with the eyes of a traveller.
Then, in looking back over your early posts I found this one, and I couldn’t believe it! Only in the last couple of days have I decided to let my grey hairs go on display. Frankly, having lost my job in January, it was the cost which first made me stop and think. Then I peered in the mirror, the roots are overdue by about two weeks now, and imagined what I would look like, and found that I didn’t at all mind what my imagination saw. In fact, it led me to a whole, new image of myself in my head, and it was one I liked. Maybe it is just time. No doubt, like you I will record the decision and map its progress, but you have resolved any lingering doubt I had! I was most certainly meant to read this post today!
I have no idea whether you will ever see this, given that the post is from so long ago. Hope so, because I would like you to know that you are an inspiration – a compliment I am sure you get a lot – in more ways than one!……..and a big thank you!
Hi islandmomma: Yes, I see all comments, regardless of how old the post, and I can tell you that yours means a great deal to me. This blog is hard work with very little money in return, but I love what I do so I persevere. Once in a while, someone like you comes along and makes my day – makes me think it is all worthwhile because I have struck a chord with someone and maybe even helped in some small way. Since I wrote that post, I did let my hair grow out to my natural color, which was white in the front and salt and pepper in the back. Little by little I am losing the rest of the dark and turning all silver. I absolutely love it! I don’t think it makes me look old at all. On the contrary, I think the phony blonde probably made me look older. So go for it – you will love not having to mess with coloring any longer. And best of luck figuring out where to take your life from here. Just go deep inside and ask yourself what it is you love to do and then pursue that with complete faith that it will work out. Thank you for being my inspiration today!
You look wonderful!
This is so bizarre! For the past few years I have been plucking those grays! The way I look at, “God must have meant us to pluck them or they wouldn’t stand straight up and ask for it!” I have had my share of coloring and highlighting, and have made a pact with myself to not pluck until 2008 — small steps 🙂
Your hair looks fantastic and healthy – a reflection of YOU!