I’ve been going gray since I was 24.
The shock came on an Easter morning. I had just washed my hair and was blow drying, getting ready for church. Something glisteny (that’s a word as of now) caught my attention in the glare of the bathroom lights. I dove in after it like I’d just discovered fleas.
I could not believe my eyes and immediately ripped it out. I was quite sure it was a freakish anomaly and now that it had been annihilated, I could proceed with my youth.
The thought did occur to me that three more gray hairs were supposed to take its place. Just an old wives tale, I reassured myself, and proceeded to kiss Denial right on the lips.
But those old wives are much maligned and they get even by being right.
Consequently, I began a serious relationship with “Sun-In.”
Now, in case you’ve never used this fine product, I should explain that Sun-In is supposed to make your hair look like you’ve spent a scintillating summer frolicking in dazzling light rays. It’s designed to impart the color of young locks and lend highlights and streaks to your carefree, tousled hair. You exude an aura of babe-a-liciousness. And it does that about as effectively as an orange spray tan resembles softly burnished skin, fresh from tropical beaches.
I’m pretty sure the look I affected was closer to the Straw Man (Scarecrow) in the Wizard of Oz. But not as attractive. My boyfriend du jour summed it up with “What did you do to your hair?” Well, I recaptured my youth (as a hay stack), thank you very much.
A few years and job promotions later, I was in the luxurious financial position to have my hair foiled fairly regularly. This is achieved by taking small strands of hair, brushing them with a bleaching agent, wrapping each piece in tin foil, and not stopping until you resemble an aluminum Christmas tree. The general effect is a masking of your gray and it works well until you have so much gray mixed in with the blonde that it looks like you’re having a May/December relationship with yourself.
This would hide the whole mess, I figured. (Well, except during outgrowth periods which consumed 9/10ths of the period between coloring and recoloring.) So I went lighter. And the lighter was so light it matched my nearly white hair which was good for outgrowth but then, what was the point of coloring? And if I was going to have nearly white hair, why not have white hair? Well, I reasoned, because I was a blonde at heart. I was born a tow-head – yes, almost white, but with golden highlights. And I was always a blonde, even when it darkened as I got older. It made sense then to move away from gray/white and back toward more golden shades. And everyone was fooled and thought I actually looked 13 even though I was 45.
And then one morning, about six months ago, I asked Grizzly what he would think if I raised the white flag over my white hair. He said surrender was decidedly French but he’d love me anyway. Maybe more, if I came with a side of fries.
So I grew out. And not just horizontally.
It is a fascinating occupation to watch your actual, real, bonafide, genuine hair color appear. My blonde had become pretty light again so it wasn’t striking, but it was noticeable. My hairdresser friends said blend it. I said no. It would only delay what I was trying to achieve: the unvarnished truth of my real hair color. And with each haircut, more silvery white appeared and the blonde tips were fading and disappearing. I currently lack one hair cut being completely done. (Pictures will follow when I am.)
And what do I think?
I am trying to figure out why I waited so long. It’s deliciously freeing. As I suspected, it’s decidedly silver, almost white. I don’t recognize myself in photos. I sometimes think I look like I overdid it in the coloring department. Then I remember: that IS my color. I can’t quite get over myself yet but I’m starting to actually love it.
I’m a tow head again just like when I was a mere infant - minus the golden highlights, sun-suit, and the diaper. I don’t think the golden highlights or the sun-suit will ever make a reappearance.
Let’s hope the same holds true on the diaper.