Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Grey is the New Blonde

I’ve reached a crossroads in my life. Yes, folks, at the ripe old age of approximately 45-1/2, grey hair is taking over my head. And so I have a decision to make. To dye or not to dye. Or, perhaps it’s to be (grey) or not to be (grey). Of the decisions to be made in adulthood, this one is particularly vexing.

While growing up, I watched my mom change hair colors and styles on a regular basis. It got to the point that I never really knew what color her hair was supposed to be. Today, she has the most beautiful white hair you can imagine. When I was younger, I made this goofy promise to myself to be true to my own color. I didn’t want to be a slave to the colorist or walk around with a color that just wasn’t quite right...or natural. Like my father, I didn’t fall victim to grey hair until later than most of my friends, so it was easy for me to say I wouldn’t color my hair. Now, it appears that the time to follow through with my promises is at hand. Within the past year, I have sprouted an impressive crop of grey hair that is not going away anytime soon. And as much as I like to blame my children for my grey hairs, my kids haven’t been that bad recently to attribute this all to them. No, it’s just Father Time catching up with me once and for all.

I’ve asked opinions of several people. My husband firmly says that he doesn’t care. I’m not sure if it’s that he doesn’t care or if he decided that this question was akin to “Does this make me look fat?” Always the diplomat, he has planted himself firmly in the camp of those with no opinion whatsoever. Big help that is.

Surprisingly, my daughter has voted an absolute no on me coloring the grey away. It’s surprising because she has just recently discovered the joys of hair highlighting and the compliments that come with that change. Still, she has no interest in having a mom battling aging with little or no success.

I’m pretty sure that my friends would say that I should color away the grey because that is what most of them do. I respect them for that decision, but I’m not sure it’s right for me. I’ve rationalized to myself that grey hair is a badge of honor. I realize it’s more biological than it is a testament to trials and errors, but I like to think that with grey hair comes wisdom. That is likely not to be true, but it’s a nice theory, don’t you think?

The other thing that I’m factoring into my decision is the fact that even if I dyed my grey away, I would still look 45+ years old. I’m no Demi Moore or Sheryl Crow, so the likelihood of somebody saying: “You couldn’t possibly have a child in college already!” is between slim and none. I won’t be fooling anyone soon, and I’m good with that. I’m as vain as the next person, but I’m also a realist at heart. Which is why my grey hair and I are probably companions on my journey to an AARP membership and that’s OK.

After all, the newest American Idol is a grey guy, so perhaps it will be the hottest new trend. Or maybe, just maybe, greys have more fun. Hey, why not?!


At 9:34 AM , Blogger srp said...

Well, as one who has colored for many years.... started the gray thing in the 30's, I might see what a really, really good hairstylist said. After all these years I finally found one here in Virginia who has magic in her fingers. She can feel your hair texture and know what cut and what color would look best for that hair. It is truly amazing.

If my gray were like a neighbor's I had in Mississippi I would keep it. Her hair turned a gorgeous silver white when she was 30. But mine seems to be concentrated around the front and is that yucky salt and pepper garbage that probably won't ever go completely white... at least I may not live long enough for it to do so... so I color.

How's that for a long answer non-answer? BTW, here from Michele.

At 9:42 AM , Blogger Parrothead Dad said...


I am growing old gracefully! Can't avoid it, and won't be able to hide it for long anyway. But I am a guy, and we have an easier time of it I think. I have six kids, so my humility has gone the way of the wind. Do what you want (for once)!

Be sure to visit my blog:

At 10:33 AM , Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Au Natural is my motto...Our genes seem to determine the color of our hair pretty much, except for certain exceptions, of course....My vote is to let your hair go wherever it is going. I think the natural look is always more appealing..but that's me....Whatever you do, you should be happy with yourself...that's what matters.

At 10:34 AM , Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Drat! I forgot to say I'm here from Michele today...Sorry! (lol)

At 5:38 PM , Blogger kenju said...

Funny you should bring this up now, when I am trying to decide if I want to quit coloring my hair after 15+ years of enduring the long appointments and expense of salon coloring. The main reason I started coloring in the first place was I didn't like the texture of the hair that was turning gray. It was unruly and stuck up all over my head. My stylist said the only way to control it was to color it, so I did. I am now old enough that I am not fooling anyone either - so I am considering stopping. My husband and children do not want me to stop - so we will see who wins out....LOL. Good luck with your decision. Michele sent me. P.S. If you color it yourself, it will be dull and have one color all over your head - so salon color is the only way to go. I know people who say that they have never colored their hair. but it is so obvious (especially so in photos) that they do it themselves (and badly).

At 5:43 PM , Anonymous Grins said...

First before I forget, here via Michele again. Secondly this is such a personal decision really. I'm amazed you haven't had to deal with it until 45. I'm 40 and my colorist has been earning money from me for several years now. First with rinses and then with something a bit less temporary. Coloring doesn't have the stigma it once did and I don't really care who knows I color my grays away. But neither do I think you should think twice about letting the grays be on display if it is what you really want. As long as your cut suits you it doesn't matter if you dye it kool-aid pink really. Have fun, it is only hair and will grow out right? And good news, it will grow back to the gray even if you do play with the color a bit.

At 7:09 PM , Blogger Juliabohemian said...

I think grey is nice. Seeing women constantly dying their gray hair is rather disconcerting. It's a paint to maintain, for sure. Perhaps you could blend some color into it to give it a more artsy look.

If you are a blonde, use an ash colored blonde as highlights.

At 7:16 PM , Blogger Dara said...

The bottom line is what you feel like when you look in the mirror. If you feel like YOU - there's your answer! Coloring adds the expense of money and time, but it could be worth it in the long run. Here today from Michele's!

At 9:28 PM , Blogger Sandy said...

I have no useful life experience or real valuable input. At 33, anything I say is just a gal who has made a promise as you once did.

However, I personally think that a certain point, trying to deny there is an aging process makes one look older than he/she is.

But ask me that again in another 10 years or so. ;)

Here via Michele's tonight.

At 7:01 AM , Blogger kenju said...

Michele sent me back today, Karen. I remember saying when I was a teenager that I would never color my hair; that it is always so obvious that it is dyed. Of course, that changed for me when I saw what I looked like with gray. I would like to have all white hair though, so I may stop coloring and see what color my natural hair is now.

At 9:05 AM , Blogger Sandy J said...

I am so tempted to stop highlighting my hair to see if possibly it would be a pretty gray, but haven't found the courage yet. It is so not fair that men can look absolutely awesome with gray and not all women can. I think if you do decide to try it, it doesn' hurt, it doesn't bleed and it will always grow out.

Thanks for visiting my blog today!

At 9:56 PM , Blogger Jess Riley said...

Oh man, I'm only 31 and the WHITE hairs are popping up. I wish I could say "Go gray & natural!" and really mean it, but I'd be lying through my yellowed-with-age teeth.

At 10:05 PM , Blogger Rene said...

I've been a slave to the colorist for more years than I can count. I'm not sure what my natural color is but I know it is shot with a great deal of gray. I imagine I will be one of those carrot topped old ladies you see going to bingo.

If you like the gray, keep it. It would certainly be better on your hair.

At 1:47 AM , Blogger Malinda777 said...

You are beautiful, and life is unfolding just as it should.

Gray is distinguished, and is a sign of character. Enjoy it :)

Here from Michele

At 8:23 AM , Blogger SB said...

Clairol 5RB, right here, baby!!
I am 37 and I have colored my hair since I was (gasp) 19.....(different colors for different stages in life...)

I say go gray. I still have preschoolers, so I want to look like a preschooler's mom for a few more years so I cling to the bottle...

But you're right about men looking hot. I mean, look at Anderson Cooper. I heard he's gay (who cares) but he looks GREAT with grey hair. Men have it easy. They have to shave much and they go gray and they're "distinguished and manly..."


At 9:11 AM , Blogger Noblese said...

I would also say go for the grey. In my opinion it's a sign of strength and also sticking to ones personality. I admire that in women who leave their hair un-coloured.

At 9:15 AM , Blogger Zephra said...

My grey is by no means a beautiful silvery/white combo. It looks awful and I color it because I am only 31. I should not be this grey already. But if you like the way it looks I say leave it. It will certainly be easier and cheaper for you.

At 9:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I started turning grey in my early twenties. Needless to say I started coloring my hair at an early age. I am soon to be 52 years old. At least once a decade I have gotten a wild hair and have attempted to let my 100% head full of silver hair grow out....what stops me now is that I have an 11 year old daughter and I don't want people to mistake me for her grandmother when we are shopping at the Limited Too!!! If not for that I would let my silver shine!

At 10:30 PM , Blogger margalit said...

I stopped cold turkey about a year and a half ago. I just cut off another 5 inches of dyed hair with probably 3 or 4 more inches to go. The weird thing is, my hair in the front is gray to the shoulders, but in the back it's hardly gray at all, more of a bit of grey thrown in for kicks. I don't think I'll be all over gray for a long time.


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