My Fifty Shades Of Grey

Going grey is a life-changing decision that takes lots of planning and commitment, but well worth the effort.

My decision to go grey was a no brainer. It was getting there that was the problem.

Several years ago I explored how I would look with grey hair by letting the color I had been paying for every month grow out a little. It was not a fruitful experiment. My natural color at that time was many different shades of grey, from black all the way to some white strands thrown in for good measure…not a good look for me.

My mother was completely white-haired by the time I was a teenager. It was unusual to see a fairly young woman with white hair, but it suited her. After a few attempts at being a bottle blonde, she had decided to stick with her natural color. She was lucky. It looked good and didn’t cost anything.

After my first discouraging attempt at trying to get a glimpse at how I would look with grey hair, I reluctantly went back to getting my hair colored once a month, and highlighted a few times a year. An expensive and time consuming commitment that I was not happy with, but I felt I had no choice. My natural hair color was not cooperating.

Ah, what price is vanity? A lot, actually. American women spend hundred of dollars and countless hours at beauty salons and on hair products. Even the do-it yourself hair coloring options are pricey and time consuming. As for time, I would be in the beauty salon for at least 1½ to 2 hours. Time I could have spent doing lots more fun, or at least, productive things.

I soon fell back into the once a month hair salon routine, resigned to the fact that I was stuck in a prison of my own making. Occasionally I would fantasize about freedom from the boredom of that salon chair, but I would quickly remember how awful my partly grown out grey hair looked. Then I would go back to trying to shut out the senseless babble of several women’s voices competing for attention by looking at another magazine about people I neither knew, nor cared to know.

This torture went on for another few years, until I retired and started thinking about what things I could eliminate from my “hate to do” list.

Guess what immediately came to the top of my list? You got it….the dreaded and hated monthly hair salon visit.

Now that I wasn’t working I decided I had to give the hair growing out experiment enough time to really evaluate the color. It would take at least a month to get a decent glimpse of what lay beneath the blonde highlighted brown hair that had lived on my head for so many years.

 It didn’t take long for the grey to start to show, but I couldn’t tell right away how even or uneven the new color was. I would have to let it grow some more.

There I was, every day, with the hand mirror, trying to see what was going on at the back of my head. I felt like a contortionist. It’s a wonder I didn’t hurt myself. The color still looked patchy to me, so I decided to get a really short haircut to try and minimize the transition, because no matter what color it was, I was determined to grow it out.

Much to my surprise, my hair color turned out to be a lovely blend of grey and silver. Granted, it was dark at my neckline, but that was okay. I rarely looked there anyway.

I have continued to keep my hair short and I love my new look and the freedom it gives me.

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Lauren S June 19, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Great article - I'm a fellow embrase the grey person When I was 16 or 17 I started dying my hair. It had been light blond up until that point but was turning into a color that I could only describe as dirty dishwater. I hated it. I lightened it back up to what it had been a couple of years before. Between 16ish and 32 it had been so many colors as my moods changed. Blond, dark brown, even one ill fated attempt at very dark brown. I never let my natural roots show much so I honestly had no idea what color it really was. About two years ago I decided enough was enough. I had spent so much time coloring it, and a lot of money even though I did it at home. I started letting it grow out. Turns out now my natural color is some mix of blond and brown with a healthy dose of grey. I've cut it short twice while growing the color out, and I can honestly say I'm happy with it. It's totally different then what I would have guessed my natural hair was, and my hair is slowly getting thicker and softer. I've even noticed that I lose less hair in the shower now too. I'm vowing to embrace the grey. I may be getting it young but in the end...it's me. Plus I think Mother Nature might be pretty good at figuring out which hair color looks best with my skin tone. I think I looks less washed out now that I'm back to my natural color.
Cheryl Russell June 21, 2012 at 01:45 AM
The most freeing thing I have ever done was to let my hair go "au natural". :-) My family thinks I'm crazy and I should color it but I am happy with the real me now! I feel empowered just being what nature gave me. Thanks for sharing your story.
Luanne DeMatto June 22, 2012 at 01:37 AM
I love grey hair, it looks great on many people. Personally I started getting grey very early, a streak of grey at 16 and gradually greyer over the years. I really like the way it looked streaked, BUT, when I started looking like my "father" I knew I had to dye it :):) I actually use a rinse, not dye, so it still has a greyish feature and doesn't ruin my hair. I encourage people to embrace their grey hair, it's beautiful! Great story!
Patricia Marr June 22, 2012 at 04:51 PM
"Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness" Proverbs 16:31 Thanks for embracing your crown!
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