I've never bleached my hair but I've highlighted it. And I've never liked the way I look with blonde highlights. It's just so unnatural and seems to conflict with my skin tones; there's a reason I was born with brown hair. So when I started going gray in my early thirties I decided to color it. A friend told me: "You don't want to do that! Then you have to keep it up!"
And she was right. I've been coloring my hair for nearly 20 years. Every. Four. Weeks.
I'm not sorry I did it, but I'm incredibly tired of the routine. I've toyed with the idea of letting my gray grow out, but when I was a wedding photographer I always used the excuse that I couldn't show up at a wedding with the hard gray line that would overtake my warm, dark brown hair. It's just ugly and awkward. But I quit shooting weddings for a living in 2012.
I recently polled my kids and my husband, and there was mixed feedback (I won't say who was for or against.) Part of my hesitancy is that I was afraid I'd look really old. My grandmother had gray hair. (Oh wait. I AM a grandmother.) Of course at the end of the day it's my hair, and I'm going to do what I want with it.
So I'm going gray.
I saw two Facebook acquaintances announce that they were going to, as Elsa says, "Let it Go," and after mulling it over I've decided to join them.
I've read lots of blogs and talked to several people who've done it, and there seem to be three major routes that people take when growing out their gray. One is cold turkey (which in my case would be a razor sharp, night and day line that I'd have to live with for the better part of a year.) Another route is just dyeing it gray and letting it grow out from there. But because my hair is so dark, they'd have to bleach the living daylights out of it or strip it with harsh chemicals. And I just don't want to trash my hair.
The third (and my chosen) route is to do lowlights so that the change is not as stark. The idea is to blend in some color so it's a kinder, gentler transition. So today when I was scheduled to, as my sister says, "kill the skunk," I got my first application of lowlights. And I'm really excited about it. It's still gonna look crappy for awhile, but fortunately my hair grows really fast. Stacie says we'll go progressively longer between appointments, and do less strands as time marches on.
Besides the upkeep, two things tipped the scale for me in terms of letting it go. First, I've never seen myself with cool light hair, only warm. Blonde is warm. White and gray are cool. That makes me hopeful that I can wear it well (and if I don't, I'll dye it back!) Second, gray is in. People without a gray hair on their heads are walking into salons and requesting silver color. No, I'm not trying to be like others and follow the trend; the trend has simply given me more variations in texture and hue than ever before. And some of the outcomes are downright fabulous.
I started a Pinterest board to keep track of where I want to go with this. When your hair is gray (or light) you can easily add a touch of lavender or cerulean. Ombre. Chunks of black. And more than fifty shades of gray (I couldn't resist.)
So to my friends and family, get ready. I intend to go crazy with it for the next several years. (Seriously, check out my awesome Pinterest board. Keep in mind that I'm not talking hair style here. Just hair color.)
I'll post pics of my progress. If you know anyone who's in the process, please tell them to hit me up. I'd like to feature photos of other women who are going au natural.