Well, I’ve gone and done it. Said sayonara, adios, and au revoir to hair color. *Gulp* After 20 years of chemical help to maintain my brunette locks, transitioning to my natural gray was not a flip decision. The following facts gave me serious pause:
- My husband, who is 7 years my senior, has not one single gray hair. I will look like his mother, not his wife.
- An insidious double standard deems men with gray hair distinguished, while women with gray hair just look old. Should I ever want/need to re-enter the professional workplace, brunette trumps gray.
- I will look much older. Am I ready to embrace my silver self?
So I deliberated. For three dang years! And finally, these facts won out:
- I had to color my hair every three weeks, and it started looking bad after two weeks. I was losing the war on gray.
- My hairdresser is sweet, but I was spending way too much quality time and money with her.
- I’m never going back to the professional workplace. And I’m cool with that.
- I came of age in the “Sweet Honesty” era, when natural was beautiful. Truth be told, my inner hippie has been clamoring to be free. Time to let the old gal out.
- I have stunning friends who have embraced their natural silver. They inspire me. (Here’s looking at you, Mel.)
One night I stayed up till the wee hours of the morning watching YouTube videos on how to transition to gray. Turns out, there is no easy way. Figures. Here are the options:
- Whack off all your hair and let it grow back. Your natural locks will be glorious, but you’ll look like heck for many months.
- Do an all-over bleach job. You’ll get a lighter color, but maybe not the natural look you wanted. It’s a shocking change and REALLY hard on your hair.
- Let it grow, and minimize the “skunk” look as much as possible with highlights and lowlights. It’s painfully slow (1-2 years), but this was definitely the best option for me.
April 7th was my last color, so I’m almost 3 months in. Here’s the progression so far, easier to see with my hair pulled back.
I have about an inch of gray/silver. My hairdresser did highlights to subtly lighten the overall color, hoping to make the contrast less obvious.
Once I made up my mind, I warned my family and friends that my hair was going to look progressively awful for at least a year and begged for their support and understanding. They were cool. In addition to gaining support, being transparent about my decision made it more difficult to change my mind!
I’ve purchased several hats and headbands for when the skunk effect really hits, but so far, I’m pretty okay with my new look. I’ll be posting updates periodically, in case my journey is helpful to anyone contemplating the same decision. For those who’ve gone before, please share your tips and tricks!
Thanks for coming along with me!