On Going Gray

I have often found myself looking at women with silver or salt and pepper hair and thought “they look great. I wonder if I would like it on me?” This voyeurism and inner dialogue went on for years. I would ask hairdressers about it and one finally called my bluff. She left a few front strands of hair uncolored so I could begin to to see myself with some gray. As a lifetime brunette I was nervous to have light hair but I told myself that at 68 it was time to try. After all I could always dye it back.

A year and a half later, I’m still growing it out [choosing not to cut my hair short]. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet but I’m thrilled not to be going to cover my roots every few weeks. My husband likes it but he’s easy and likes a natural look. He would not notice if my hair looks good with my skin or if I look older. “You are older” he would say, “so what?”

I see this change of hair color as more than an aesthetic statement. It feels in part like a letting go – transitioning into a me yet to be as I am approaching my 7th decade. I’m not yet sure who this new me will be but I’ll let you know when I do. One thing is for sure, I have amazing role models in the women in my film project. What would Hedda, Shirley & Lavada say? I’ll ponder that for awhile.

If you’ve thought about or gone gray, I’d love to hear how it’s going for you.

16 thoughts on “On Going Gray

  1. I’ve always been a brunette too and only colored my hair for a brief time about 10 years ago. Now and then I’ve considered coloring it again as my hair becomes more gray as opposed to salt and peppery, but I’ve decided to stick with the natural color! I’m trying to be a role model and proud to have gray hair but will admit that sometimes people think I’m older than I am. I’ve learned to smile and remember all the $ and time I’m saving by not adding color! Besides, if you really look, most coloring is rather harsh and unnatural.

  2. I started letting my hair go natural about three years ago at age 56. I love how it has progressed from highlighted look to a silvery glow all over (with a white streaks in the front). Not having to worry about “roots” has bee freeing.

  3. I am 67 and also a brunette. I have very very fine thinning hair that has only one or two strands of gray. I know it sounds crazy, but I have been longing to have more gray hair because I have heard it usually is thicker and courser than my current hair. I am thinking it will make styling my hair easier.
    The other thing about gray hair is that it marks the passage of time in a very obvious way. Last year I moved into a 55+ community which I dearly love. However, every time I meet a new neighbor they ask if I live here because I don’t LOOK like most of the residents. I just have to laugh. Sometimes we all long for the things we don’t have instead of enjoying what we do!

  4. I let the gray go wild when I was 48 or so. I backlit it for a while but once the temples looked white I never dyed again. I have been all gray for 10 years and now I think I almost qualify as white. People are constantly complimenting me on my hair and I truly can take no praise…it is all natural!
    The most common compliment I receive is, ” how brave of you”. That is intersting isn’t it? Am I brave for accepting my own aging? I don’t hink so, just going with the flow.
    I love being gray, it is all me!

  5. I am 57 and I choose to let my hair go natural about three years ago. Definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made! I too am letting it grow and it is so thick and healthy looking I truly love it. I receive compliments all the time and some people have even questioned me on if I was fibbing and having my hair highlighted. I just laugh and say my hairdresser is mother nature. I believe I actually look younger with my lighter hair framing my face.

  6. I stopped coloring about 8 years ago. I have also been told I am brave, and like Jaki I don’t think it is about that at all. My color is what I have, so why is it brave to wear it? Anyway, I get a LOT of compliments on the color because I still have dark brown at the nape of the neck, white in the back, and gray at the temples.

  7. Several of you have taken the time to write about your experience with your hair color. I appreciate hearing from you.
    Please feel free to “share your stories” on that part of my blog about an older person you admire and feel inspired by. We all gain by reading these positive stories. Thank you.

  8. I am now 64, and stopped coloring my hair about 10 or 12 years ago. I was curious to see what it would look like, but was rather worried that I might end up with the dreary, wan salt-and-pepper look my mother had when she was my age. Amazingly, I got my Dad’s graying pattern – all gray/silver around the front and darker in the back. I’ve never colored my hair since then and people even ask me “how do you get your hair to look like that?”, assuming that I deliberately highlight it in some way. I realize this is sheer luck of the draw – I could have ended up with my mother’s pattern, in which case I just would have kept coloring it until it went much more white. I have no problem with graying hair – I just want it to look good!

  9. Oops, I should add that I have a friend my age who was always a redhead – first a natural one, then a bottled one. At about 62, she stopped coloring her hair. She had completely white, white hair underneath. Once it was also sorted out, she looked FABULOUS.

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