How To Grow in Gray Hair as Painlessly as Possible
Growing out years of dark, dyed hair to let your natural hair color grow in – gray or otherwise is not easy. It takes patience, perseverance and just plain guts.
I started dying my hair when I was 19 and had a few wild white hairs, not many but too many for me. I dyed my hair dark colors to match what I thought was my natural color – brown, chocolate, burgundy, auburn, and even an auburn that looked purple under the light. I remember thinking – I will always dye my hair. Why have gray hair when you can buy hair color for ten bucks?
Maybe in my seventies, maybe…
When I turned 50, I decided to leave the dyeing to the professionals. My home hair coloring sessions were just not cutting it. My hair was lighter on top and so dark on the ends even though I only “touched up my roots”. How about going lighter, blonde so the gray isn’t as noticeable? Maybe I could spread out my appointments? I started the process of going lighter by getting highlights, lowlights and gradually lightening my base color. Why couldn’t I walk in with dark hair and walk out with platinum blonde hair? You see it all the time on make-over shows. Just not possible for me. It took over 6 months to become somewhat blonde.
I HATED it. I HATED it throughout the whole process, every step of the way. Every time I walked past the mirror I was startled. I felt as if someone was following me. After about two years, I went back to the dark color. I was me again. My best friend told me I was back to normal, she also told me I was “mean” when I was blonde. Who would believe that 2 of my 3 children are blonde?
So here we were again, every 4 weeks like clockwork. I scheduled my entire life around those hair appointments. I moved from Pennsylvania to New Jersey and drove the 2 hours there and back just for my hair appointments. I finally found a great hair stylist in New Jersey less than 2 miles from my house. Incredibly, she gets me. Until….
When I turned 55, I realized that I only like my hair 2 out of every 4 weeks. The insanity of scheduling my life and all holidays around my hair appointments sunk in. I started to entertain the idea of letting my hair grow in. My skunk line roots seemed to be stark white against the dark dyed hair. How gray am I?
By now I have a great, and regular relationship with my hair stylist. So of coarse I was apprehensive about telling her. Well… Jen, my hair stylist, was not happy. She and her coworker said I would hate it. Eventually I convinced her that this wasn’t an impulsive desire, that I had been thinking about it for awhile. She agreed to work with me through the process but denied my request to cut my hair short. First of all, she doesn’t like to cut hair short and second, she thought it would be too many changes at the same time.
Letting your hair grow out naturally is not for the faint of heart. As you can see, it can be quite unsightly, at times downright ugly.
It looked like I was going bald! Someone who knew me asked if I was going through “treatment?” Can you imagine?
After about 4 months, I had had it. My curiosity was overwhelming. I started to cut hairs on the line between black and white. I started in the front and just cut some of it, stopping myself before it was too late. Finally, Jen cut my hair really short. Hair grows, it’s not the end of the world. Short hair is so easy. A few seconds with the hair dryer and poof – you’re done.
It’s been 2 years now and I’m still getting used to it. I’m letting it grow and am committed to being open to possibilities for my hair as well as my life.