Monday, October 06, 2014

Gracefully Aging, Day 6: To Gray or Not to Gray?

"Supermodel" Cindy Joseph
photo credit
It's a decision every woman will have to make sooner or later.

To gray or not to gray?

Years ago, silver hairs started popping up randomly on my head.  By the time I was in my late 30's, they were too numerous to ignore.

I started coloring my hair, trying to find in a bottle the dark color I had been born with.

Finally, it became a losing battle.  The dark hair coloring didn't look natural, and before too long gray roots would appear.

I had determined I would "not go gently into that good night," to quote Dylan Thomas.

And I still feel that way.  I'm not ready to give in to the gray.  My solution was to go lighter.  At any given time, I have various amounts of blond highlights in my hair.  It's working pretty well right now, because the highlights are more forgiving when the gray starts to reappear.  There's less of a contrast, and it blends it better.

Personally, I think gray hair ages me even beyond my years.  When gray starts appearing, I feel it makes me look haggard and old.

Singer Emmylou Harris
photo credit

Giving in to the gray

Some women give in to the gray, and it ends up being beautiful  It's hard to imagine model Cindy Joseph, pictured above, looking prettier with any other color of hair.  She was 60 when that picture was taken. (She is now 63).

Cindy says she stopped coloring her hair to hide the gray when she realized some things about aging: "This is going to sound so repetitive and so old and so unsurprising. Life has proven to me what I heard before and didn't understand, and that is, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Absolutely, entirely, and 100 percent."

(I'll be featuring Cindy Joseph again later in this series, by the way.)

Actress Helen Mirren
photo credit

For me, going gray is not the answer at this point in my life.  Frankly, it makes me feel old, and how I feel is going to come out on my face.

 If you're considering going gray, here is an article about styling and maintaining gray hair beautifully.

What about you?  Have you decided to give in to the gray...or are you still fighting it?  I'd love to hear your comments!

I'm participating in "31 Days: A Writing Challenge,"  in which I 'll be blogging on the subject of Gracefully Aging every day during the month of October.  Click the button below for more information and links to each post as they become available!


Carla Rolfe said...

I first started noticing sparkly silver hairs when I was pregnant with my son 15 years ago. Because they weren't really a dull gray but this sort of glittery silver, I thought they looked pretty so I left them alone.

Now, I have lots and lots of them and they're still sparkly silver. I don't color my hair at all and it's a dark brown, so the sparkles really show up. I like the way it looks :) I'll be 50 in December.

Cindy Swanson said...

Good for you, Carla! Some people can really rock the look, and obviously youo're one of them! :)

Anonymous said...

This is a question I have been battling for a while now. In my mid forties, I started coloring my hair, mainly I think because we were starting a new chapter in our life and I wanted to look fresh. Then, I quit coloring for a while and I really didn't mind - it was blending in fairly well. At 50 I was severely ill with pneumonia and almost died. In the process, I lost a lot of my hair and thought I might have to resort to shaving my head and wearing hats. Then, by God's grace my hair revived, but due to the ravages of being sick and the toll on my body and hair, for the first time in my life I felt old. I have always looked young for my age, but during the months of recovery, I just felt flat and old. It was depressing. When my hairdresser felt that my hair was healthy enough I started coloring it again. It was such a boost to my morale and I no longer looked older than my MIL. I really don't like the upkeep or expense, but I'm not quite ready yet to embrace the gray. I love my mom's hair (silver with some of her dark streaks still showing through at 74) but, I don't think mine will look as good as hers, so at 53, I'm still coloring. I have said that I will stop at 55. We'll see. I can't wait to catch up with your series! I think you are beautiful and suspect you would be with gray hair as well. Also, love the name of your blog - are you a musician by chance?

Karin said...

I started seeing gray in my hair when I was 19. By 26 I was having highlights in which helped cover most of it. By 33 I was completely dying my hair as the highlights would no longer cover it up. I am 46 and I am still dying it. I might stop in my 60's provided that most of it has gone silver. I don't worry about my white stripe growing in as I just start pulling it into a ponytail at that point until I go get it covered up.

Susan Shipe said...

I am so darn glad I read this! I am turning 64 in one week and I still color my hair - my hubs is a hair stylist so cost isn't an issue, and he does it in our laundry room, so inconvenient trips to the salon isn't an issue either - but I know I don't want to have colored hair at 70 either (at least I don't think I do) gradual is the way to go, and maybe just maybe next time my roots need a boost, we'll just highlight with some lighter colors. Hmmm. It is my crown of glory, right? xo

Barbara London said...

Well, I am 63 years old and I still color my hair! To me, it didn't look "natural" with gray coming in; it looked washed-out and dull - and my eyebrows are a dark brown and I didn't think that looked right together. I have seen beautiful women, though, with gray hair and the darker fact, I was watching a TV show today and there was a blond - a young girl - that had awesome dark eyebrows. She was beautiful...well, I choose for now to color my hair and continue to look younger than I am! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I was just thinking about this as my grey roots are growing out. Since I have just moved to a new area I will need to start looking for a place to get the grey hairs covered! I just don't think I am ready to go all natural at the age of 45.

Susie - Recovering Church Lady said...

Hi Cindy, thanks for coming by my blog. I knew I wanted to read yours as soon as I saw the subject. On the verge of turning 60 is so odd! it feels unreal to me, but there it is!
Regarding gray hair, I have for some reason been blessed with lucky genes. My mom passed away at age 76 with very little gray hair and at 59 I have only seen a few stray grays now and then! I have no idea if i will color when the time comes, have a feeling i won't. But you never know, do you? Susie

Grace @ Sense and Simplicity said...

I'm like Susie and have only started getting some gray hairs and still don't colour my hair and I"m 55. I wonder if I will dye it at some point over the next 10 years while I'm still working. Once I retire, then I won't dye it at all. I do realize I'm never going to go entirely gray though, which is a pity because I like a completely white/gray look. I am glad I don't have the bother or expense of dying my hair though.

Anonymous said...

I have not colored my hair yet, but I have thought more about it in recent years. The few whitish strands don't bother me, but the fact that my once blond hair has become a mousy greyish-brown does. Two main things keep me from coloring: I cannot stand to see roots one color and the rest of the hair another, and I know it would either drive me crazy or I'd have to be touching up my roots all the time. The second is that I'm not a big salon person. I tend to put off even getting my hair cut until I just can't stand it any more. I'd hate to have to go more often and sit there for longer periods for coloring. I've bought a home coloring kit a couple of times but ended up chickening out.

Rachel said...

I don't have a single gray hair yet but I hope to never color all of my hair when the time comes. Fuchsia or purple highlights, that I might do for the fun of it. My Mom's side of the family has all gone gray young. My mom is probably the least gray of her siblings (her twin sister has white hair) and has salt-and-pepper hair at 44--in the past she tried highlights and coloring, but she looks way better with it natural, in my opinion!

Anonymous said...

I'm nearing 50 and seeing no gray YET. My hair is a light brown, and I did have it highlighted this summer and LOVE it. If my gray looks anything like my mothers and grandmothers, I will be dying it until the day I die. It's not the pretty silver gray, if it was, I might reconsider. I also have a hubby that's 9 years younger than me, so I want to keep looking young so people won't think he married his mother, lol.

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