Yes, I Meant To Do That

Okay, so lets talk about the hair. My hair, to be exact. I get a lot of questions about it, so I'll give it to you straight. I have gray hair. I am a young person with gray hair. Well, almost. It's not quite done cookin' yet. About another three inches of dye to grow out, but here. Feast.


Today. My Mid-Blog Look: glasses, Osiris. No make-up. Sweater, hand knit by
my mother in law. Hair: well,  it's bloody freezing and windy outside.
The hair is unstyled and in a ponytail people. Sorry about that.
And thats the Isle of Kerrera in the background for you Scotland fans.  



Well, okay. Granted, maybe I'm not young...not like, Justin Bieber young, but young enough. And yes, it is on purpose.  I have been off "the bottle" now for over a year. But unlike other people who kick the bottle, I am not going around and apologizing for it. Au contraire. I'm quite proud of it, actually. Here. Proud enough to post all of these less-than-flattering photos on the internet. Here is the progression. 


One Inch

Four Inches

One Quarter Of The Way There

Two Months Ago

Earlier This Week


So. You are undoubtedly asking yourself why. Why would a young(ish) person want to have gray hair? It is something I get asked a lot. I understand the confusion, really I do....societal norms and all that baloney. But I would also like to remind the public at large that this is haircolor that we are talking about here. I have not made the announcement that I am planning on gaining fifty pounds and taking up chain-smoking, I am simply changing my haircolor. And really, I wish I had a better rationale for doing it than I do, but my initial reason for letting my natural hair show really boils down to the fact that I thought it would look cool. Nothing more, nothing less. Pure vanity, people. Really.

This may seem counterintuitive, but let me explain. A gal's gray hair will grow out in a pattern that is unique to her and her alone. I will not see myself coming and going when I walk down the street.  I will look different, unique, and a little bit like I am thumbing my nose at convention. At least, that is what I am hoping.  Is it ego-driven? Absolutley. But I like the confused looks and the double-takes at my head that I get when I walk down the street (and I do get them). They're fun. It's like being famous for a wee second but without having to date John Mayer. 

The realisation that I could be free of dye and still retain a chic, edgy style (today's mid-blog photo notwithstanding) dawned on me after seeing the August 2010 issue of the U.S. and Italian editions of Vogue magazine. specifically, this photo. 

U.S. Vogue, August 2011 - Model Kristen McMenamy

I mean, look at that people. That is the awesome Kristen McMenamy (you may remember her from the 1990s..one of the first supermodels to do the "no eyebrows" thing). She is well into her 40s.  Whether you love it or hate it, the awesomeness and impact of this editorial cannot be denied. And if you think that one is amazing, get a load of this. 



That is Vogue Italia (also August 2010), and that is why Steven Meisel is Steven Meisel. Vogue Italia really sets the bar for haute-editorials. This editorial is titled Water and Oil, and it is a commentary on the oil spill that happened right about that time. If you are a fan of fashion photography and you have not seen it in its entirety, you really must, it's breathtaking.

So I thought to myself, I can do that! Real Gals can achieve this! Its easy. And even better, it is a look that is easy to maintain as we get into our 50s and 60s. No more pink glow off of your roots when you go into the bright daylight with your dyed hair. No more yellowy  brassiness next to your face. No more wig like, over-styled helmet head from so many colourings. I could hardly wait to get started and, well....basically do nothing to my hair.  Ready, set...wait. It's okay. I was in the military. I know how to hurry up and wait. I'm good at it...mostly.

And as it turns out, I am not alone at this. There is a whole community online that are doing the same. Check out the Facebook community for Going Gray Looking Great for others just like me. This community was established after the book Going Gray, Looking Great!: The Modern Woman's Guide to Unfading Glory by Diana Jewell inspired the women of the world to ditch the dye and go natural. You should see some of the amazingly beautiful Real Gals and their silvery manes of glory. 

So there it is. No major health scare or emotional trauma. No allergic reactions or religious restriction. And to answer the most frequently-asked question that I get...no. No,  I'm not afraid that my hair will make me look older, because as Gloria Steinem once said "this is what forty looks like, we've been lying for so long, who would know?."




Comments

  1. Your "real" color is by far more attractive on you than dyed hair could ever be :) Keep going...and growing...it looks beautiful!!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Colleen for your lovely comments, and support of my wee blog!

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  2. Your hair looks fabulous. I have a grey streak at the front of my hair (a la Caryn Franklin) that appeared in my twenties. Didn't like it at the time and so I dyed over it, but I've grown to love it and now that I'm old, it suits me!

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    Replies
    1. Hi there and thanks! I too found my first silvers when I was about 21, and there were quite a few, which leads me to believe they were there for some time before I found them, I was just too busy being 20-something to notice. Dyed my hair long before I needed to, now that I "need" to, can't be bothered any more. Funny, that.

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  3. oh boy, the last bastion... i, too, have been pondering this. hardest thing for me, well, two things, is that i don't have much gray, i don't think, and it's certainly not a lovely silver. just these rogue wiry blah-browny-ashy-greyish strands. not necessarily something i want a head of.

    AND, i am, truly and dyed, such a red head! when i was young, people would tease me about having red hair, although it was more of a honey-blond w red tones. so, people know me for my red--it's kinda part of my *brand*

    And sure, Kristen McMenamy--oh to be tall, lithe, and well lit. Perhaps i can have a lighting crew follow me around as i go through the *change* :)

    also, it seems that women with a more olive undertone to their skin look better gray--i'm fair with light blue-grey eyes. i imagine i will look like a ghost, or need more make-up--and that sort of defeats my purpose of streamlining my daily process.

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  4. Just love you, Kristen!!! how long did it take you to get from there to here? been contemplating this.

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    1. Hi Jill! Its been about 14 months, and I expect that I will be completely finished in 18 months or so. I could cut it shorter now, but I like the ponytail thing for work, so I am happy to go about the place with zebra hair for now. :)

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  5. I'm still not clear about what to do with my eyebrows. Your's look great. Do you color them?

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    1. No, I am one of those naturally thick eyebrows gals. It was the bane of my existence when I was younger, but comes in handy now. I do use pencil on them for going out for a dramatic look. (think Joan Crawford brows). Try to find the coolest-hued taupe you can. Sephora makes a good one that won't bankrupt you. Bobbi brown too.

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  6. I just started the journey thanks for your insight and inspiration. I am three months now and I can't believe I've made it this far. Yours looks wonderful! You Go Girl!!

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  7. So glad you found my post helpful and keep up the good work! It goes so fast, you'll be done before you know it. I am planning on dedicating a section of this blog to just this very topic when I return from holiday this week, as the response has been overwhelming! Yay gray!

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  8. I decided in the very beginning of January to go gray. I believe the last time I colored was Dec. 23rd. It seems like it's growing so sloooooooow now that I want it to just be grown out! I started getting grays when I was in my early 20s as well. My grandmother was my age when I was born and she was almost completely gray with one dark streak right in the front. For me. . . I was just tired of the tediousness and didn't want to think about what the chemicals were doing to me. Good for you for sticking it out! I've been trying to strip the color from my colored hair to make it less noticeable, but since I used a semipermanent color instead of a permanent, it doesn't remove it very well. Would love for you to do a guest-post on my blog since I'm covering my "going gray" journey as well. Just let me know!
    Michelle
    Heartfelt Balance Handmade Life

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    Replies
    1. Hi Michelle, and thanks for your comment. I would be more than happy to do a guest post on your blog. It is truly amazing how many of us are floating around out there. I have decided to create the Gray Area section of the blog exclusively to those of us undertaking "the journey"...it sounds like a cult when I say it like that, doesn't it? I am on my way home from holiday tomorrow and will be in touch.
      Cheers,
      HF

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  9. I'm 41 and graying and pregnant. I get weird looks all the time, and some people have even thought I had a tumor! It's a baby, people! lol

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  10. After looking into a handful of the articles on your blog, I honestly appreciate your technique of writing a blog.
    I saved it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back soon.
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    My web blog Aqua Sphere Goggles

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  11. I just found your blog via Pinterest and LOVE it! I just turned 40 and threw away the bottles too. I started getting silver strands very young and forever just kept them all black. I have no idea what color my real hair is anymore! Its been a month now and I'm loving what I see. Your hair looks fantastic! I have no patience for the 2-tone look myself though and just got it super short. I plan on doing so till it's "all virgin," then growing it out again.

    Thanks for your fantastic blog!

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  12. Hey! Turned 30 and got a grey streak in the front of my hair. All my other hair is brown. I left it because I like it, and I get a ton of compliments on it. Nice to see other ladies going against the grain!

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  13. Hey! Turned 30 and got a grey streak in the front of my hair. All my other hair is brown. I left it because I like it, and I get a ton of compliments on it. Nice to see other ladies going against the grain!

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  14. Can anyone tell me if grey hair bleaches white?

    I had beautiful auburn hair and had a few grey strands in one area that looked like i would have a nice contrasting streak a la Caryn Franklin in front now but that more came in and the streak is wider (which I don't mind) what I do mind is that it is a sliver and looks so awful next to the red like lead color :-P I do have a few whiter strands where my hair would naturally streak in the summer. They seemed to have gone whiter than the lead color silvery greys. I was just wondering if I can nudge them along to the whiter end of grey until it gets there on its own.

    Tess

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    1. I think there are some silvering techniques, but I've never looked into them. Generally, I've always thought that the sections of hair that appears "grey" as opposed to "white " is because not all of the hair in that area has lost its pigment yet. I don't think there is a really effective way to bleach hair to grey without a lot or work and damage, but I may be wrong about that. A good hairdresser will keep you right.

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  15. this is so inspiring! Im 43 and am probably all grey now...Im just so tired being a slave to my roots and hair, its tedious and toxic!

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  16. Hi
    I didn't quite have the patience to wait it out entirely so I had the Caryn Franklin streak put in to mine which pretty much replicates where the white hairs were growing fastest. I've been off the bottle now for six weeks - the streak is great because it gives some definition and I can use it to hide the emerging skunk stripe.
    Best to use a professional hairdresser to get the streak put in - and be VERY firm about it. One hairdresser was determined to give me blonde highlights because that was what she did to every other client of a certain age with some grey hair...
    Maintenance is essential - Bleach London or Touch of Silver both help to reduce/eliminate brassy tones, you also need to get generous with the intensive conditioning treatments.
    Since having my streak I feel much more confident in a comfortable in my skin kind of way - also had way more compliments and attention than when I was a dyed-helmet-headed-brunette.

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  17. I'm just now embarking on the gray-t adventure. You sound exactly like me. Thanks for sharing your story. I'm super excited and can't wait to finish up this next year. Already some family thinks I'm crazy but mainly I've gotten support.

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  18. So glad you found my post helpful and keep up the good work! It goes so fast, you'll be done before you know it. I am planning on dedicating a section of this blog to just this very topic when I return from holiday this week, as the response has been overwhelming! Yay gray!
    lasehairsite

    ReplyDelete

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