Saturday, November 10, 2012

I am done with hair color. That is all.

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The basis of my decision to let my gray hair grow out (after 30 years of dying it), was the fact that I realized I didn't want to pretend to be young until I could pretend no longer. To suddenly be old was not an attractive idea, and as for that thing of lying about your age, or being flattered when someone thinks you're younger? Forget that. What a horrible way to live, having to keep up a youthful pretense all the time. I decided to take it one step at a time, to be with the aging.

It was a process, growing out my gray hair. There were highlights and lowlights and faders and developers. It took so many chemicals my hair was like straw for most of a year. Finally, my hair guy cut off the last of the color. I was in shock, but quickly got used to it. It was a good decision, a kindness I did for myself, a step on the path of being with my aging, rather than fighting against it.

It was right after high school I began coloring my hair, which is not a bad thing if you ask me. It's artful. I've had every color of hair from platinum blond to superman black, both of which looked awful on me. I did best with auburns, reds, and shades of brunette. During the 1980s my hair was hennaed - a process that creates a very intense eggplant type of color. Once I dyed my hair purple. It looked really good, I swear it did. I had highlights, streaks, layers of color. I did it all, year in and year out.

In a sense, my years of hair coloring are a perfect metaphor for the pursuits of early and middle adulthood - to go all out, try everything, experiment. In early adulthood, youth in combination with hormones provides plenty of juice to go for it on every level, including with regards to hair color. Why the hell not?

Growing older, there's no choice but to take things down a notch or two. Time becomes so precious. All those hours I used to spend at the salon I am now keeping for myself, thank you. Life is so different now than it was when I was 40. It's interesting to think about.

My silver/gray/metallic hair, as it turns out, is the coolest natural color I have ever had. Before I was allowed to color my hair, it was somewhere between mousy brown and dishwater blond. I'm glad I had fun with my dull, dreary early adulthood hair by coloring the hell out of it. On the verge of age sixty, I'm glad to let go of that pursuit for the duration. Onwards and upwards.

Growing older is somewhat harrowing, but so rich an experience. Early old age is good, I am grateful. Shalom.

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10 comments:

ellen abbott said...

I thought you did that long ago. Oh, duh, it sinks in. the last of the last died hair got cut off. Yay! your hair is going to be so healthy now.

Cheryl Cato said...

You have beautiful hair and it is so becoming on you. I'm still fooling around with color on mine... highlights, lowlights, strange. One day I'll settle in to the more natural look.

Reya Mellicker said...

Ellen I stopped coloring it several years ago. I had dinner with my old housemates this week. One of them asked if I ever thought about coloring it again. The answer: never! That's why I'm thinking about it.

Rose ~ from Oz said...

I did purple (bright purple) 30 years ago on waist length hair, and wow did I think I was pretty good......oh my.
Now, I do the salt and pepper look...
oh my.

vinz nike said...

That's good to hear. Hair color will just damage your hair. The tips will go dry and have split ends.
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Vivian said...

i did the same thing...because i was tired of looking like a calico cat...

Mrsupole said...

I remember a few years ago when you stopped dying your hair and I thought how beautiful it looked. I have been trying to not dye my hair for a while now and it is still that salt and pepper color with not enough gray to look like yours. Oh how much I wish mine would look like yours. I guess I will just have to wait because mine is getting gray at a slower rate. My mom's hair had less gray than mine when she passed on this year. And my Dad was in his late seventies before his started to really turn gray. My mom was older and so I guess I just have to say it is in my genes.

And I always say that getting older sure beats the alternative.

Getting older is great. And now that there are so many of us, we rock.

God bless.

Rubye Jack said...

I've always liked gray hair and so it was no problem for me letting my hair be, and now it's about 3/4 gray and I love the color.
I think fighting age is rather defeating. It's there. Accept it. At least that's what I tell myself.

Steve Reed said...

Amen to that. I don't have hair to color, but even if I did, I wouldn't.

Besides, your gray hair looks GREAT, Reya!

lacochran's evil twin said...

Not to mention how expensive and what a bother it is to keep up with hair coloring. Of course, not everybody has such pretty hair as you in your natural state.