I’ve been thinking about this topic for some time as gray hair has been my constant companion for many, many years. In fact I can give you the exact date I found my first gray hair. I doubt there are many who can say that! After all, it’s not usually something we record in our journals.
I was just 19 years old!
May 17, 1972. I was getting ready to go to the hospital to give birth to my second child. (Yes, you read that correctly. I started very young!)
I found a gray hair, or maybe even more than one! I don’t remember how many I discovered on that fateful day; only, that on the day of my second child’s birth I had found some gray hair. Fortunately, that was not an omen of what was to come with this child!
My mother had some gray in her hair at that time, but she was SO. MUCH. OLDER. than I was. She didn’t gray exceptionally young. So why was I? It wasn’t fair! As it turned out one of my two younger sisters also went gray younger than would be expected. So I’m thinking, somewhere in the DNA this was a foregone conclusion.
My mother became of age in a time where only women with “questionable” characters dyed their hair. At least that’s how she told it. I honestly cannot remember any of the women in my mother’s circle with dyed hair. Out of a total of 18 aunts only 2 colored their hair. Seeing women with graying hair was normal when I was growing up. Today, not so much!
When my mother-in-law was in her mid-60’s and I was in my mid-30’s I had more gray hair than she did. And she didn’t color her hair either. Nature was kind to her, in that respect.
Over the years I dabbled with bottles of hair color. But I just dabbled. I’d dye my hair, cover the gray and within 4 weeks I’d have roots showing. I’d get frustrated with how quickly my hair grew and decide to just let it all grow out. I mean doing what was required to keep the “skunk” look at bay was just too much bother for me, not to mention the expense.
At 43 and pregnant with baby number 7 I looked in the mirror, saw all that gray hair and thought, this gray hair has to go. I mean I would be giving birth and breastfeeding an infant! I looked like a grandma! (Actually, I was a grandma … of 2!) I colored my hair during my pregnancy and until shortly after Anna was born and then came to my senses. Fortunately, my hair was short and it didn’t take long to leave the “skunk” look behind and have my natural hair color again.
About 8 years ago my hair stylist suggested I get my hair low-lighted. You know, streaks of dark, my “natural” color. But I found that that was not much different. I still had roots before you could turn around. Big mistake! And talk about the expense! No. I wasn’t willing to spend that kind of money on an ongoing basis. I was never happier than when it was all grown out and I had my own lovely gray hair again.
Yes, ladies. I like my gray hair. I am comfortable with it. This is part of who I am. I’ve had complete strangers stop me and compliment me on the color of my hair.
“Did you dye your hair that color? It’s so pretty!”
“No. This is compliments of Mother Nature.”
I used to think, way back in my younger days that gray hair ages a woman. At least that’s what I was indoctrinated to believe by the manufacturers of hair dye. No, it’s not our hair that makes us look old. It’s our skin! Haven’t you seen older women, with wrinkled faces and dark hair without even a hint of gray? Does it look even remotely natural or complimentary? They aren’t kidding anyone, except maybe themselves. And I tend to think the natural, gray hair softens the wrinkles of time.
I’ve noticed lately a number of women who are obviously growing out their hair color and allowing their natural gray a chance to shine. I talked with a friend at church recently and commented on the fact that I thought her gray hair was lovely. Her “secondary” color was still obvious on the ends but most of her hair was a beautiful, glossy gray. She told me I was her inspiration for discontinuing coloring her hair! How nice. I had no idea since we had never discussed it previously.
I read recently that gray hair is in style today, even trendy. I guess I was ahead of my time. Even celebrities are going gray with personal pride and without apology. Check out this Pinterest page of gray haired beauties.
I found this great blog, How Bourgeois written by Lauren, a very lovely, gray haired beauty.
She has a separate tab at the top of her blog with pages devoted entirely to growing out and caring for gray hair. There is a lot of encouragement and information there for anyone willing to let their natural color shine. Check it out!
Recently, I had a conversation with my 22 year old daughter. She has natural blonde hair. She told me she has no intention of covering gray hair when it shows itself. She intends to care for her natural hair and take it as it comes. How nice for her! She will save herself a lot of expense and frustration over the coming years.
How nice to be comfortable with yourself.
I mean, that’s real freedom, isn’t it?