Deciding to Go Gray: Is There a Silver Lining?

Going gray can be a beautiful thing!

To go gray, or not to go gray… that is the question. And is there a silver lining to the answer?

“I’ve always said that gray hair looks good on everybody but yourself. To me, it makes me look old.” ~ Kenny Rogers

I have colored my hair since I was in high school. At first it was just for fun: a little Sun-In here, a few highlights there (until Sun-In turned my hair a bright orange… and those goofy caps where the hairdresser had to pull tiny strands through the little holes all over your head became… well, just goofy.) When I started finding gray hairs in my thirties, I used grocery store boxes, lemon juice concoctions and pricey salon services. By my forties, I began all-over coloring in earnest. I liked experimenting with my hair, and seeing what I looked like as a redhead or a brunette, when my natural hair color was a dark blonde.

Now in my fifties, keeping the “skunk stripe” at bay has required a trip to the salon every three weeks! While I don’t think my hair clashes yet with my face, I have grown tired of spending a couple of hours every three weeks essentially trying covering up the person I am becoming. In other words, if being gray is inevitable, is it better to keep fighting it or just learn to accept it and maybe even love it?

“I want to be who I am now. I rock my gray hair because it is a blessing. I colored mine for many years, but I’ve gotten compliments from so many men and women about being brave enough to sport the gray. I even wear it on the cover of my record. I am comfortable in my skin and I want listeners to feel that as well.” ~ Regina Belle

I started planning for this change because I wanted it to be gradual and to not have super-obvious roots. (And all along the way, I have maintained the right to go back to full color if I don’t like it.) But the process I chose has been gradual and easy. I started by lightening my hair to a more platinum shade very gradually for a few months each time I had the roots touched up. At the same time, maybe every other month, my stylist added platinum highlights. Now I could see what it would look like, too, because it was so light in areas that i could imagine it silver. I was getting lots of compliments, and actually began looking forward to the change. Apparently my old color really didn’t match my face as well as I thought it did!

After a couple of months, I stopped using permanent color and started using a platinum toner all over. Then just a purple shampoo to help blend in where the roots have grown out. With about two inches of outgrowth now, it is pretty well blended. I will continue to get highlights ( I think) every three months or so until it is fully grown out. I am excited to see the finished product!

The silver lining to all this? It feels good to just relax into being me. And if I end up looking like the woman in this picture, I will be just as happy, too!