Many women never face the dilemma of trying to decide when the time is right for gray hair. Because their hair just does its thing. There’s that first little gray hair, SPROING, that pops up like an errant coil, which has most certainly transported itself from the nether regions to the top of your head, and you see it curling into midair, messing up an otherwise perfectly good hair day. Ack. Pluck. The minute you pluck, the gray hairs multiple like rabbits because the next time you squint into the mirror, they’re all over your head and you’re not yet 30.
Lots of women just shrug their shoulders and get on with life, letting their hair do whatever it chooses and adjusting to it. I envy those women. I’ve never belonged to those ranks. You can bet the first sign of gray hair, I turned to one of my best friends, Clairol in a box, and never looked back.
There was a guy on some chat board years ago who jumped into the middle of an online discussion about coloring your hair. He declared with great certainty that his grandmother, who hailed from Spain, had obviously been blessed such strong bloodlines or hereditary that her hair remained black as coal to the day she she died in her 90s. Another woman on the board scoffed at the notion and informed the guy that despite his beliefs, his grandmother colored her hair. Very sad frowny-face. That was like telling a kid there is no Santa Claus. Some things people just don’t need to know. It’s cruel.
Today, I am left looking at other older women, like Emmylou Harris, 68, with her head of shiny white hair. She is beautiful. Emmylou went gray a long time ago. She embraced it. Or, look at Judy Collins, age 71, and still playing on tour, lots of long, white hair. Enormously talented and gorgeous. We last saw her perform at the Crest Theatre in downtown Sacramento about a year ago. Having gray hair doesn’t mean you have to cut it off and wear it short.
I think there comes a point when you say to yourself that you’d rather be more real. Or, maybe you just get tired of having your roots colored all the time. Our friend, author Eileen Rendahl from Davis, wrote Do Me, Do My Roots, about 3 sisters, promoted by the cutline: never let them see your gray. We all make our own individual choices, and it’s OK.
I leave you with this, one day the thought will hit almost all of us. The thought of: what if I didn’t color my hair? What would happen if I let it grow out to its natural state? Long, curly, spirals of silver. Well, I’m not going to do that. Because that requires a lot of patience and downtime, looking, well, downright weird. Looking like you forgot to fix your hair. Or, you’re demented.
But I have been blonde off and on over the years — as evidenced by the photo at the top of this page, which was taken right after a hair appointment, when they supplied goofy glamour shots with your bleach job, so 1990s. This is how I know my hair will strip. Then, I can add a silver toner. Which means don’t be astonished when one day I march into the room and you don’t recognize me. Besides, if I don’t like it, I can always add a reverse skunk streak.