Welcome friends...thanks for coming by. We're seeking beauty in all of creation... in our faith and our families; our art and our music; our crafts and kitchens, and even in our own backyard. We'll share a poem or a recipe, a picture or a memory; maybe a dream of how we wish our life could be. And though we acknowledge that the world can be harsh, we're keeping it pleasant in our little corner; endeavoring to keep the words from the Book of all Books: ...Whatsoever things are lovely; think on these things.

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Photo: Bee and thistle: Taken high in the Cascade Mountains where there is a bee buzzing on every thistle. by Debora Rorvig

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Road to Grey: Act Three

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!  




Bookie said...

Your end result so far is pretty darned perky. Sure not a Granny Gray! Last year with the itch, I stopped coloring out of necessity. I have long hair and it looked so dowdy because as you point out I now had gray roots with dark down my shoulders. Ghastly. Soon I returned to color and felt better. I know someoday soon I will have to throw in the towel on color and that will mean, like you, I have to do some seriouos chopping. But for the moment I am trying to enjoy the last of these darker years and will celebrate, I hope, the gray when it becomes the new me. You have done very well and I love your attitude!

Elephant's Child said...

I liked all the versions you showed us. The smiles did it for me.
I haven't coloured my hair (except for going blue for a party). It has been a long slow process but there is finally more salt than pepper in my mop.

Lovella ♥ said...

Ah.. I think about this so often. One year I'll take the plunge. I am pretty sure I have a silver streak through the front and like you, darker at the back. I think you look lovely and really appreciated your insights to the whole process.

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

I think your "crown of glory" is great! In fact I think having your hair very sassy short short so the silver would dominate would be striking! One tip that you might want to think about is how glasses frame colors work with hair color. As I went from natural blond to white I found natural color frames were less wow than bright colored frames. I went with red, I have read natural brunettes rock vibrant blue colored frames stunningly.

Debora said...

Thanks for your kind comments everyone! And yes, I will be changing my frames in September when my insurance allows. Blue will definitely be an option I will explore!

farmlady said...

I think you look great. I thought I left a comment about this. I did read this post before and loved the photos.
I still have blond streaks but my grey is there too and I earned every one of those grey hairs. I'm proud of them. It's kind of a rite of passage to let the grey hair show but it's a good thing. If it doesn't work... go back to color, but I suspect, after a year or more, that you won't.
Good girl!!!


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