Apr 15, 2015

Oh No! A Gray Hair!

Do you say "gray" or "grey"? Hmmm.... Both spellings are correct. In American English "gray" is most often used. In all other English speaking countries "grey" is more common. Well, since I'm an American, I guess I'm going with "gray" (in more ways than one). OK. Now that we have that little grammatical point cleared up I will continue...

I've been thinking about this topic for some time as gray hair has been my constant companion for many, many years. In fact I can give you the exact date I found my first gray hair. I doubt there are many who can say that! After all, it's not usually something we record in our journals.

I was just 19 years old!

May 17, 1972.  I was getting ready to go to the hospital to give birth to my second child. (Yes, you read that correctly. I started very young!)

I found a gray hair, or maybe even more than one! I don't remember how many I discovered on that fateful day; only, that on the day of my second child's birth I had found some gray hair. Fortunately, that was not an omen of what was to come with this child!

My mother had some gray in her hair at that time, but she was SO. MUCH. OLDER. than I was. She didn't gray exceptionally young. So why was I? It wasn't fair! As it turned out one of my two younger sisters also went gray younger than would be expected. So I'm thinking, somewhere in the DNA this was a foregone conclusion.

My mother became of age in a time where only women with "questionable" characters dyed their hair. At least that's how she told it. I honestly cannot remember any of the women in my mother's circle with dyed hair. Out of a total of 18 aunts only 2 colored their hair. Seeing women with graying hair was normal when I was growing up. Today, not so much!

When my mother-in-law was in her mid-60's and I was in my mid-30's I had more gray hair than she did. And she didn't color her hair either. Nature was kind to her, in that respect. 

Over the years I dabbled with bottles of hair color. But I just dabbled. I'd dye my hair, cover the gray and within 4 weeks I'd have roots showing. I'd get frustrated with how quickly my hair grew and decide to just let it all grow out. I mean doing what was required to keep the "skunk" look at bay was just too much bother for me, not to mention the expense.

At 43 and pregnant with baby number 7 I looked in the mirror, saw all that gray hair and thought, this gray hair has to go. I mean I would be giving birth and breastfeeding an infant! I looked like a grandma! (Actually, I was a grandma ... of 2!) I colored my hair during my pregnancy and until shortly after Anna was born and then came to my senses.  Fortunately, my hair was short and it didn't take long to leave the "skunk" look behind and have my natural hair color again.

About 8 years ago my hair stylist suggested I get my hair low-lighted. You know, streaks of dark, my "natural" color. But I found that that was not much different. I still had roots before you could turn around. Big mistake! And talk about the expense! No. I wasn't willing to spend that kind of money on an ongoing basis. I was never happier than when it was all grown out and I had my own lovely gray hair again.

Yes, ladies. I like my gray hair. I am comfortable with it. This is part of who I am.  I've had complete strangers stop me and compliment me on the color of my hair.

"Did you dye your hair that color? It's so pretty!"

"No. This is compliments of Mother Nature."

Not really braggin'... just sayin'.

I used to think, way back in my younger days that gray hair ages a woman. At least that's what I was indoctrinated to believe by the manufacturers of hair dye. No, it's not our hair that makes us look old. It's our skin! Haven't you seen older women, with wrinkled faces and dark hair without even a hint of gray? Does it look even remotely natural or complimentary? They aren't kidding anyone, except maybe themselves. And I tend to think the natural, gray hair softens the wrinkles of time.

I've noticed lately a number of women who are obviously growing out their hair color and allowing their natural gray a chance to shine. I talked with a friend at church recently and commented on the fact that I thought her gray hair was lovely. Her "secondary" color was still obvious on the ends but most of her hair was a beautiful, glossy gray. She told me I was her inspiration for discontinuing coloring her hair! How nice. I had no idea since we had never discussed it previously.

I read recently that gray hair is in style today, even trendy. I guess I was ahead of my time. Even celebrities are going gray with personal pride and without apology. Check out this Pinterest page of gray haired beauties.

I found this great blog, How Bourgeois written by Lauren, a very lovely, gray haired beauty.

She has a separate tab at the top of her blog with pages devoted entirely to growing out and caring for gray hair. There is a lot of encouragement and information there for anyone willing to let their natural color shine. Check it out!

Recently, I had a conversation with my 22 year old daughter. She has natural blonde hair. She told me she has no intention of covering gray hair when it shows itself. She intends to care for her natural hair and take it as it comes. How nice for her! She will save herself a lot of expense and frustration over the coming years.

How nice to be comfortable with yourself.

I mean, that's real freedom, isn't it?


  1. I'm -or was- brunette. I have had strikes of gray since my thirties. I went almost two years without dying it, and I felt old. I did. Nobody told me one thing or another. My dh is always fine with everything I decide for my hair... I started back to dying it. I do admire much those of you who let the gray hair shine, though.

  2. Hi Silvia....I hope you don't feel any judgment for dying your hair! LOL That was not my intention. I just wanted to talk about my adventures with gray hair and hopefully give others the idea that allowing the natural color to show can be liberating! And save lots of $$ as well! Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I've grown up with women who held a belief that dying your hair is the *thing* you do...whether it's grey or not. (And apparently I've got the other English spelling in my head- had to scroll up to see which I did.) I haven't dyed my hair in close to 4 years but used to all the time; mostly bleached. My mother and sisters each got bits of grey early, in their teen years. I apparently was resistant until the last few years, in my mid-thirties. Grey sparkles; I like it :) What I do not like is the difference in texture!
    When I was young I swore I wasn't going to cover my grey. I'm living up to that now. But I'm tempted often to dye it again. I'm with you, though, in that the cost and upkeep aren't worth it to me. Also, with my fine thin hair, dying damages it too badly to have nice dyed hair.
    Thanks for sharing Lauren's blog; I've seen it via a pinterest board that a lady at our church pinned. She's very grey but still looks so young! :)

  4. On Lauen's blog she has a tab with all sorts of recommendations of products for gray hair.

    I know what you mean about the difference in texture that often accompanies gray hair. Lauren and I had several email exchanges about the products she recommends and I am looking forward to trying out something new, which is why I'm looking forward to that amazon order TODAY...hopefully.

    Thanks for stopping by!!

  5. I'm back with a second comment, lol. I'm going gray again, but this time something tells me it's for good. I'm loving it right now, I wish it was already all gray and long, sigh, I'm going to have to wait my time, but I'll appreciate it even more, I think, when it's all natural.

  6. I got my first grey hair this year, I'm 36 years old. Many women are dying their hair but I refuse. I've always had my natural colour and will always have. I found your blog very interesting to read! I totally agree with you.
    Have a nice day, Sigrid

  7. It's always great to meet another woman who is "comfortable" with gray, or at least willing to become comfortable with it. It goes against the youth driven culture, like somehow or another gray hair means you are old and feeble! Ha! My aching joints and wrinkles testify to my age way more so than the color of my hair!


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