At forty-three, I have white and silver hair, with touches of brunette still remaining. Eight months ago, I decided to let my natural color be what everyone could see. It’s been an incredible, liberating choice.
To go from full brunette to silvery-white brunette was no small thing. There were assumptions, fears, and wonderings. There was the hurdle of common thought that said if you go gray, you'll go from younger to older in an instant. What does that mean, exactly? Will I look old? Will I look frumpy? Will I have to change my style and preferred color of clothing? Will I have to wear more make-up? Was I ready to go with such a drastic change in such a public way? What if I didn't like it? The reality that the end of the endeavor was a complete unkown was certainly cause for trepidation.
Still, it was something that I'd been considering for quite some time. I started graying at 23, and began using full-coverage hair color at age 30. By my late thirties, it was necessary to color the new growth every three weeks just to keep up with the coverage on my fast-growing hair. By 40, when I realized how white my hair was, I began to contemplate going natural. The idea first sparked at a middle school track meet in a nearby town. I was waiting in the bleachers for the races to begin when I saw a woman, who was about my age, walk past. Her hair was white and silver and had touches of deep brunette. It was stunning. She was stunning. And in that moment I was taken with the idea that silver-white hair could be beautiful on younger women.
As time went on the idea persisted. But, aside from the mental and emotional journey of the decision, there was the practical side that needed to be sorted out as well. How, exactly, does one gracefully go from having colored hair to natural hair, anyway?
After reading everything I could find on the subject, I decided to keep the process simple and easy. Although I didn't want to display the dreaded skunk stripe, I also didn't want to mess with applying temporary color to my roots following every washing. And I just couldn't see myself going permanently blonde on my way to gray, as some brunette women successfully do. Thankfully, I was able to grow out my natural hair over seven months in an inconspicuous, yet attractive way.
I simply wore my hair up in a clip and covered my roots with head bands and scarves. Sometimes, I'd wear my hair down and cover it with a hat. In the beginning, last spring, a single head band covered what needed covering. As my hair grew over the summer, I used two head bands for a wider width. I also used these wider bands, tied, with the tails hanging down my back. By fall, I had to use a Buff or a hat. When my natural growth was long enough, I planned to cut my hair into a pixie.
My stylist was a wealth of knowledge and support through the whole thing, from the thinking-about-it stage, to the execution plan. I made an appointment with her for a consultation about a month prior to my haircut to look at style photos and discusss our game plan. Her insight on keeping my hair long over my ears and tucking it behind my ears to get the look of a pixie without the later pain of growing out a pixie was invaluable. She also advised me to have a glaze applied every few months, which keeps silver-white hair looking bright and sparkly.
In early December, with excitement and butterflies, I was in her chair for the big cut.
I've loved it from the first day. It's fun and refreshing and it's so nice to not have to color it any more! All the previous assumptions turned out to be false; the fears, unfounded; and the wonderings, nothing to worry about. I've not changed a single thing about my fashion style or colors and I wear my makeup just as I did before. I've found that my age isn't determined by the color of my hair.
I've not had a single regret.
And now, because I couldn't concentrate when my husband was in the room, and because I have a lamp growing out of my head, here are some photo shoot out-takes for you. Grin.
How about you? Do you have silver hair? Do you wear it colored or natural?