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!