A History of Gray

Thanks for joining me on my journey as I chronicle my transition from brunette to silver, gray, salt n’pepper and everywhere in between!  There will certainly be more to come throughout this un-coloring process.

Do I really have to wait until I am 70 to let my silver show?  To own my gray?  This is a question I have been asking myself for at least 10+ years.  Occasionally, I would see images in print ads of striking women with silver hair and think I want to do that one day.  Did they look old?   NO.  Did they look wise, empowered and free?   YES!    Occasionally, I would mention to a friend, co-worker or family member…maybe I should let me hair go gray and stop coloring it.  The response was everything short of shock, dismay,  and usually included…when?  why?  you are too young for that!  But your hair is so thick and beautiful and coloring it can’t be that bad?  So back to the bottle I would go.

The grays first appeared in my late teens.  My natural hair color was a dark brown and down to my waist.  I recall being at the gym I worked at and the front desk girl caught a glimpse of some gray hairs.  She started digging through my hair and pulling them out.  There were dozens of them, the length of my hair…gray hair down to my waist…at 18.  I didn’t think much of it at the time and figured oh well…at least I have enough hair!  By my early to mid-twenties I was having my hair colored every 3 months or so – solely to cover the gray hair.  By my early 30’s every 4-6 weeks.  And now, every 2 weeks I touch up my roots…it’s been at least 10 years now.  I am 45 (46 this June).

I plan my root touch ups and full dye jobs around every vacation, business trip, trade show, work meeting, wedding, party and special event.  It’s become mentally draining to keep up with doing this every 2 weeks.  I am not someone that would be doing this otherwise except for the constant onslaught of gray hair peeking through at the temples and the part in my hair.  I also do this myself….because who has resources (time, patience and money) to sit in the salon chair every 2 weeks!  I don’t.  I’ve colored my roots while exercising,  cooking dinner,  talking on the phone, watching TV, meditating, doing homework with the kids,  while on work conference calls and I’m sorry to admit…even driving the kids to morning carpool with goop in my hair.  Cause multi-tasking is the only way to stay sane and survive root touch ups every two weeks!  And the absolute horror when I stretch out a dye job an extra week or so because I am trying to touch-up as close to a trip or event as possible.

I’ve tried most of the temp root touch up sticks, sprays, wands, etc…  and they are sufficient…until you run your fingers through your hair and have black fingertips, or you put your sunglasses on your head then back onto your face leaving dark brown marks on the ridge of your nose that you don’t notice until after a business meeting, or you spray your roots prior to putting on make-up and then smudge hair color all over your face when you powder your forehead.

Yes, I am incredibly grateful for my long, strong and very thick mane of hair.  I have always taken the attitude that there is a trade-off.   I have friends that cannot grow their hair past their shoulders – but they have not a touch of gray.  I very often wish I didn’t have to color my hair while feeling trapped by my genetics.  I remember my aunt coming to stay with us for a weekend when she was young, before she had kids.  I found a box of blue/black hair dye in the cabinet to be used during her stay with us.  It’s genetic.  It’s all in the family.  My 10 year old and 16 year old daughters both have a patch threaded with gray streaks as long as their hair…which is also down to their waists.  I haven’t pointed this out to them yet, in time I will.

Recently, the love of my life, has been noticing my frustration around these constant touch ups and trying to fit them in before travel, meetings, events, etc…  For 6 months he has been saying let it go.  I will still love you.  I am too far into this to care about your looks, my love is deeper than the color of your hair.  I’ve been listening, but fearful of taking that next step.  Will I look older?  Will he still be attracted to me and think I am sexy?  Will my 10 year old’s classmates think I am her grandmother?  Will my teenage daughter’s friends no longer believe I am the cool mom?

All this is still swirling in my head.  But I have booked the first of many salon appointments to begin the process of highlighting and stripping the dozens of years of chocolate brown color from my waist length mane.

2 thoughts on “A History of Gray

    1. Thank you sister dear! I have had the urge to put words to paper for a long time. I have thought about diet, nutrition, fitness, relationships – so many topics. Why I chose this damn gray hair transition to write about is beyond me…but I am committed to doing this! Maybe so that someone holds me accountable and I don’t chicken out 😉


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