It’s 1980-something. I’m standing in my bathroom, in the bright, 100-watt light, looking in the mirror on the medicine cabinet, when a couple gray hairs get my attention.
“So what,” I say to myself, “There are at least a hundred thousand more that are still black.”
It’s actually quite fascinating; a sign of being a real woman in her late twenties. (That feeling does not last, but we’ll get to that later.)
Now in my thirties, I see a few more; though, less than 10. And because I color my hair when the mood strikes, the grays are hardly noticeable.
Three kids are carried and born (not at the same time). I’m now 42. Show Time! It’s the warm up act though, featuring about 20 gray hairs. No need to panic; my look is still somewhat youthful, and there are no major lines or sagging. The emphasis on my hair is more about length and style, as opposed to the gray strands. It’s very short and kind of cute, after having been long and on my back when child number one was born.
The coloring is routine now. I’ve bought into the compliments on my sun-kissed brown hair and what the experts say - that lightening the hair gives a softer look.
The kids are getting older. My identity is gradually becoming “a woman who is a mother,” instead of "a mother.” I’m letting my hair grow… which has a side effect… a part forming on top… signs of a future skunk look… Roots! Ahhhhhh!
This image was found via a Google search on "gray roots."
“Oh no! I can’t count the grays anymore. There must be at least 50.”
(Years later, I will realize that 50 is nothing.)
And as I let the bangs grow out to be able to have a ponytail, little strands of “them” appear on my hairline.
“Why are ‘they’ living around my face instead of at the rear of my head?”
Soooo, it’s time for a trip to Sally’s. My tool of choice - Cover Gray - a tube of crayon-like substance that looks like lipstick. Such a nice little tool.
But what really makes me happy, happy, happy - is Garnier Nutrisse # 63, Brown Sugar. When I have about 3 quarters of an inch of new growth, I break out the box and get busy. Mix, apply, wait a half hour, shower and rinse, step out, face the mirror, pull the wrapped towel from my head, and Voila! I can almost cry. I marvel and think, “This is one of mankind’s greatest inventions.”
So why do I feel this way? Is it because Mom colors her hair and Granny colored hers until she was about 93 years old? Is it in my blood?
Why do so many of us color our hair? Is it simply a matter of not wanting to look old? I was well into my adult years before I realized that all blonde women were not really blonde. Recently, a girlfriend told me that being blonde is preferred because when her grays come in, they blend better.
“Oh yeah,” I replied to this revelation.
Most of my friends are over-45 and started coloring, tinting, highlighting, streaking, etc. before the grays began to appear, as part of their beauty routine. Now they consider it a necessity. A couple of my lucky, over-45 friends are not graying.
My younger, under-45 friends are having fun doing what we used to do; experimenting with color. Enjoy it while it lasts, Girls.
People have colored their hair for centuries; maybe since the beginning of time. Age is surely a reason for doing so. Do occupation, income, personality, residence, culture, and comparison to others also have an influence on the decision to color or not to color?
How do others see us? Based on TV shows and magazine articles featuring makeovers, color gets the sign of approval. However, a friend once mentioned that she doesn’t want too much color because she’d feel that she has “young hair” on an “old face.”
Hmmm… Good point.
Seriously… My experience with hair coloring might appear to have a high priority. Okay… it does… for now.
However, it does not reflect my opinion of what you should do with your hair. I’ve seen the loveliest of gray, white, silver, and salt & pepper hair. When I think back to what I said at the beginning – it really does seem to be more about cut and style that matters. Or is it?
These images were found via a Google search on "gray hair."
So what do you think, Girls? And GUYS, too. The store shelves are filled with Grecian Formula and Just For Men.