The white hairs on my head have been popping up consistently since Thanksgiving in 2010. My first reaction to those first white hairs was to pull them out and pretend as though they never existed. I was committed to my bottled hair colour at that time and I didn’t give it a second thought. As a person living with an auto-immune dis-ease, I’ve taken a greater interest in the products I use and how they affect my health now and in the future, I decided to stop colouring my hair. If you are committed to to your colour routine, keep on truckin! My full disclosure is that I did colour my hair for 25 years. Clearly I’m not against hair dye. It may or may not be hazardous to your health, I can’t say for sure. But it’s just not for me anymore and I’m committed to doing what I can to be and to manage my condition without medication. And another thing to note; from the picture, you can’t even see my natural hightlights. They are there – at least 15% of my head is white amoung the light brown strands. That out of the way, if you are gray-curious, then read on!
When I first chopped off all the dyed hair, it wasn’t such a big deal when it was GI Jane short. But as I started to grow it, they started coming in rebelliously wild and without regard for the order my hair has maintained for 42 years. Even though there aren’t really noticeable at this point, I started worrying about the impact on my career. In an industry like mine, looking “youthful” is important as I’m my own business card. I started researching the topic. Not surprisingly, the world seems to be against women ditching dye. From companies making billions of dollars on artificial hair colour to our own conditioning about looking a certain way, it was pretty abysmal.
And then I discovered Susan Paget’s Gray Hair Adventure. This is where she chronicles her process of growing out her natural hair with humour. compassion and optimism. From there I discovered a few groups on Facebook that were gray positive, though I never posted because as you can see, I haven’t attained silver fox status yet!
During these first steps of my own gray hair adventure, here is what I’ve learned so far:
Change is good, especially when it comes to style. I’m not wearing the same clothes as I did when I was 20, so why sport the same hairstyle? Having silver streaks means a haircut that suits the look. That doesn’t mean I currently have to get my grandmother’s haircut.
Gray hairs need love. The days of using the cheap conditioner are over. Gray hair needs quality products, a weekly mask and Moroccan Oil slathered on every day. Those hairs are wild and wiry because they are moisture starved. Those of us who coloured in the past had a layer of silicon coating each strand which also helped keep them slippery and compliant thanks to the little packet of conditioner in each box of hair dye.
I’m the only person who notices [or cares about] my hair. Everyone I’ve lamented to about this change my hair is going through normally looks at my head and then gives me a confused look as to what I’m so worried about.
My hair is just one aspect of my overall look. I forget this sometimes. Getting in those workouts and maintain a fit body, having a good haircut, having eyebrows groomed, these are all things that are way more important than a hair colour. In fact, many women colour their hair with the ideas that it’s “good enough” for self- care. If you’re out of shape and are wearing tattered clothes, who cares if you’ve got perfectly coloured hair.
I’m going to avoid maintaining gray roots. I had that moment when you see that first centimeter of regrowth. I was always extremely meticulous about roots, mostly because in my younger days I favoured jet black hair and my light brown roots were very noticeable. From what I’ve read, the gray hair seems to come in faster and more furious and getting to the salon or having my head in a sink every 2-3 weeks is something I refuse to do. Even worse, is the two-tone hair that people sport when growing out the gray. No thank you. I’ll just let it all come in naturally.
I won’t regret it. Everyone who writes about their decision to stop dying has the single and shared regret of “I wish I’d done this sooner”. I won’t have that regret because sooner is now.
If I colour my hair again, I’d hope it’s to enhance what I’ve currently got going on. One product I like is Surya which is a natural henna product that has a “Silver Fox” colour. I’m not sure what it’ll look like in 10 years – maybe I won’t have pearly white or stunning silver. I take things day by day and for now, I’m having fun seeing my natural hair for the first time in over two decades before it’s gone for good!