It was over a year ago that I decided to go grey. It was a tough choice because I actually loved my blonde highlights. But the 'high' I got from my color was short lived. I needed a new fix every couple of months. Then I started reading about all of these beautiful women who were going grey. "Grey is the new blonde!" was their battle cry. So I decided to try it. I had nothing to lose but a $150 dollar hair salon bill... and my ego.
I soon discovered that going grey from bleached blonde is difficult on so many levels. It's time consuming and emotionally taxing. It had taken months to grow my hair out, and I didn't want to cut it under any circumstance.
I was left with two options:
A. having skunk-like grey roots;
B. trying to apply a rinse that was close to my natural color and allowing the grey to fade in more gradually.
I chose the latter. However, since my hairdresser had never actually seen my natural color in it's entirety, she took a guess based on what she saw on my roots and put a VERY dark rinse on my head. EGAD! Now my hair was Black! I hated it! Talk about a blow to the ego! I felt uglier and more unattractive than I had ever felt in my entire life. I felt like I looked like a gypsy! Not a real gypsy...one of those spooky ones you see in movies driving around in a horse drawn wagon full of tapestries and a crystal ball!
"It's cute!" said my hairdresser.(They always say that, don't they?) "It'll lighten up in a week or so..."
Well it wasn't cute and it didn't lighten up. After waiting four long weeks for the rinse to fade; I went back and demanded that my hairdresser DO SOMETHING! So she put some taffy colored highlights in it to lighten up the overall look. This felt like a devastating setback. Here I had wanted to stop highlighting my hair; and now I was highlighting it so that I could stand the grow-out process! And though it looked a little better; by now my hair was so over-processed that the ends soon turned an awful coppery color and were coarse as straw. I didn't take a photograph of this stage of the process--it but trust me--it wasn't good!
Finally, in total frustration I went to another hairdresser and told her to whack it off. I had managed to grow the grey out to about three inches, so I figured a really short cut would rid me of all of the crazy, fried-out colors on my head. Which was hard because all I really really wanted was long, lush grey hair.
So here I am a year later with my salt-and-pepper grey hair. Do I love it? No. But I don't hate it either. Here are a few words of wisdom I can offer if you are contemplating going grey:
*If you're currently sporting a color that is drastically different than your natural one--the process will be harder than you think. Much harder.
*Even if you don't think you are particularly fussy or vain about your looks; this process will humble you. You will learn things about your self-image you never knew before. (Face it; you ARE somewhat vain about your looks or you wouldn't be coloring your hair in the first place!)
*And when you go through a rough patch where you feel really-really unattractive; you will have gained some hard-won empathy for women who, for whatever reason have never, ever felt attractive.
*You might not be naturally as grey as you think. My hair has sort of a grey sheen to it in the light; especially on top, but the back is still pretty dark; which I'm told is common. If you are planning on becoming an instant silver fox; you could be in for disappointment.
*You will love, love, love not having to make appointments for root touch-ups every 8-10 weeks. And when you go in for a haircut; the $35 or $40 you spend will seem like pennies compared to what you coughed up to keep your color going.
*Some colors that used to look great on you may not work anymore. And you may find that you look absolutely stunning in colors you used to avoid.
*Your husband/boyfriend/children/coworkers/friends may not like it. And they will tell you so. Be forewarned!
*You just might begin to feel more authentic. More like YOU. More happy in your own skin. More happy with your own age.
*Or, you may not be able to deal with what sometimes feels as a shocking 'instant aging process.' You may want to go back to coloring for a few years. Or forever.
*The truth is, you are beautiful. Blonde hair, black hair, red, brown, auburn, or grey hair. Remember that.
Personally speaking--though my hair isn't exactly what I hoped for (I really want that striking all-silvery look)--for now I'm staying the course. I say 'for now' because I'm not totally convinced that I can hold out for my desired color to come in gradually. I'm accustomed to the instant gratification that comes in a peroxide bottle! This takes time and patience. So I ignore the L'Oreal commercials and remind myself that the question is; would I rather feel more authentic and relaxed about this aging process; or will I fight it tooth and nail; dependent upon a bottle of peroxide to maintain my youth?
On the other hand, don't we women depend on a whole arsenal of little bottles in our war against aging, of which peroxide is just one? Our moisturizers are called age-defying; and our foundations promise to reduce fine lines in just days! And since I'm not walking away from my make-up; I'm certainly not judging anybody--including myself--for coloring her hair!
All I know for sure is this; Every day I wake up with a few more of those beautiful silver hairs and in time I will most certainly become a 'silver fox.'
Patience my dear...patience!