I thought I was ready to go gray. I really did!

A year or so ago, one of my favorite friends from high school said something like, “Okay. I think I’m ready to let my hair go gray.” Our mutual friends began to scream, “No! It’s one of the only signs of aging you can control without surgical intervention!” Me? I sat in the corner with my grilled cheese and horseradish sandwich and whispered, “If you do it, I’ll do it.”

Not long after that, Alice documented the process of going natural. Alice is one of the many winners in the category of People Who Are As Cute As The Ears of Bugs. (For those who may not be familiar with the phrase, apparently, bug ears are very very cute!) With no artificial coloring, Alice looks divine.

I viewed all of this gray talk as A Sign. (I don’t really believe in signs. I’m a terrible driver.) I colored my hair back in February, but haven’t colored it since. Last week I started noticing a lot of gray.

Side Story: A long long time ago, I was having blood issues. I will NOT go into detail. I’m mentioning this only because my obstetrician said to me, “Sometimes a little bit of blood looks like a LOT of blood. But it’s not.” I believe those words also apply to gray hair.

Here are a few photos I took this morning. Of my hair. (The kids are back at school for three weeks, and I’m not leaving the house today. So many things to do! For instance, taking photographs! Of my hair!)


I flipped out a bit when I looked at this next shot:


Those two gray hairs almost look like antennae, don’t they? Perhaps I have an invisible lounging skull bug and that’s the reason why I sometimes call my kids by the wrong names! (Note: My bug does not have cute ears. In fact, he doesn’t have ears at all! Invisible Earless Lounging Skull Bugs! Google it! Clearly, I am the first case!)


Anyway, I think we can all agree that It’s Not That Gray. (Similarly, my butt probably looks larger to me than it does to you.)

This morning I reached into the closet and pulled out my last box of color. I was going to throw it away and write a poem about wearing purple, but at the last second, I frantically twisted the top off of Bottle One, punctured the seal on Bottle Two and poured its contents into Bottle One, shook it all up until everything was blended, and squirted it all over my head. (I left it in for forty minutes to scare off the more resistant grays. Shock and Awe!)

After! In a YMCA shirt!

I won’t allow myself to feel terribly guilty about using the color. One: Because I had it in the closet, and it’s not like I can spread it on toast! Two: When I get my hair cut, it ends up being about an inch long all over my head. The color I applied today will be completely gone by September. Three: I have enough guilt in my life. I still let my kids eat chicken rings from White Castle! (The dog eats all natural food with no preservatives. La la laaaaaah. Don’t look at me.) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

28 thoughts on “I thought I was ready to go gray. I really did!”

  1. I dye my hair because I don’t like my natural “dirty dishwater” color. Certainly NOT because there are gray hairs in there. NO THERE ARE NOT! I AM ONLY 34!!! LALALALALALICAN’THEARYOOOOOOOU!!!!

  2. Short hair makes the decision a little less weighty, doesn’t it! I have many, many gray hairs, and quite a few wrinkles. That’s just what happens. My philosophy is: take care of yourself as best you can and then let go of the rest. P.S. You’re cute no matter what.

  3. My gfriend bought me a bar of henna for my bday back in Fruary (look at me, omitting letters!), and it was the first time I had ever done, really, anything to my hair, much less colored it. I have been missing my gray terribly :(I’ve got about an inch or more of it back, but my hair is big (read: long, for you straight-haired folk), so it’s taking forever to get it back. I am sad. The end.

  4. Okay, and *I* thought I was ready to go gray, especially since I was the one that brought up this lovely conversation. I’m not quite ready yet either.

    I only wish I had your gray hairs, Angie! And, I only wish I had to color every four months. Try every four weeks. I am trying to do the gradual gray thing, because I’m not ready to cut all of my hair off. I’m also not ready to have a huge line of gray/contrasting color. I’ve gone from medium brown to light brown to dark blonde to medium blonde with lots of blonde highlights. I’ve read and researched and some people say this is easiest for long/er hair. We shall see how I feel in the fall when all of my brassy colors are still screaming out summer.

    Just yesterday, I thought I would get in touch with my Native American Indian ancestry and get some feathers woven into my hair! Steven Tyler pulls it off, right? I’m going rogue!! Not really, it’s just fun for summer.:)

  5. You know when I decided I was ready to go grey? When I had BOTH kids in middle school. Now that I’ve got one in high school and one about to start her LAST year of middle school, which means that a year from now I’ll have BOTH kids in HIGH SCHOOL, I am all about the grey and how it gives me the authority to push random teenagers (not just mine!) around. Because what are they going to say? Clearly, I’m old! I know more than they do! End of story!

    So, by my yardstick you’ve got a ways to go yet. It’s cool. Give it time.

    (Also, Blue Buffalo is the only food that doesn’t make my dog puke! But it has to be the chicken. Not the lamb. DEAR GOD NOT THE LAMB.)

  6. Once I let it grow in, and it concentrated in one spot, like Alexandra Cabot in Josie and the Pussycats (see linked webpage). But that was only once — I colored it and it never came back as cool and as well-defined again.

  7. Age(ing) is a funny (and highly individual) thing. I realized at about your age that I appear to have inherited my mother’s unattractive (to my way of thinking) steely grey hair. If mine could ever look like your gorgeous friend Alice’s, no problem. But Brillo soap pad grey doesn’t really have much going for it, y’know?
    So, I started coloring (from boxes, certainly not from “salons”) early on, and have been happy with it ever since. I can’t imagine being one of those elderly ladies in a nursing home with impeccable chestnut locks though, so one of these days I’m obviously going to have to bite the bullet. But I work with younger people, I like being around younger people, I don’t *feel* that much older than most of those younger people, and I’m just not ready to admit to actually being a dinosaur, y’know?


    The beauty industry really does have us by the cojones, doesn’t it :-(

  8. I haven’t colored my hair in a few years and I have a LOT of gray. My husband says it looks like highlights (yeah right…lol. He is very sweet.) I have decided for myself gray is ok.

    If I am anything like my brother, I will be totally gray in about 3 years. He is 3 years older than me and totally gray, but he colors his hair.

    Mitzi, I haven’t noticed any in my eyelashes, but my eyebrows have a lot of gray.

  9. I have two girls in high school. My oldest got her driver’s license a few weeks ago.

    I am getting re-blonded tomorrow.

  10. i agree with mrs. kennedy: you’re adorable no matter what.
    you’re hardly grey at all! i think i have more grey than that, except my grey is white, and i’m dark blonde-ish, so the white doesn’t show that much…
    i can’t wait for grey hair, but that just me. and reading glasses! i really want glasses! yes, i’m strange.

  11. I started coloring my hair when I was in my 30s so that no-one knew if I went grey. I don’t like my natural color of brown so I always go red. I decided a couple of years ago to dye my hair brown so I could let it grow out and my coworkers and family were horrified. Apparently it doesn’t go with my personality. But yeah, at some point I’ll have to go grey; just not yet…. heck, I got carded last month!

  12. I started going gray at 22 and began to color my hair because I got tired of hearing, “You’re much too young for gray hair”. Now that I’m 43, I’m about 60% gray and while I like the idea of not having to color it every 6 weeks, I just can’t do it. I experimented with not coloring it for a couple of months and the looks of horror aimed in the direction of my hairline scared me back to the bottle. Maybe when I turn 50 I’ll summon the nerve.

  13. I’ve had a few sprigs of gray pop up lately (why do they have to stand straight up all noticey-like?). I hope I won’t have to color for a long time – but I know I will. I’ve only ever done the temporary washout stuff at home. I just can’t justify paying someone at a salon to do it when my hair grows incredibly fast.

    My dog gets special holistic food due to his allergies to chicken, pork, wheat and yeast. Try to find dog food that doesn’t have any of those ingredients. Also, the first time I went to White Castle and noticed Chicken Rings on the menu, I asked the poor teenager what part of the chicken the ‘ring’ came from he couldn’t give me an answer. And the only part that I could IMAGINE it came from was not something I wanted to eat. But I’m told they are delicious. My dog’s Alaskan Salmon and Rice food sounds better to me.

  14. I have noticed more little sparkly gray hairs on my head lately. When I notice more than 2, I break out the dye box again. I am not ready to go gray. At all. I am only 35 and 11/12 years old, I refuse to believe that I have enough gray hair that I might be considered “going gray”. Also, my natural hair color was the color of dirty dishwater last time I saw it and EWW.

    All that to say – you cute people with the gray hair? I want to grow up to be like you someday. :)

  15. I found my first gray at 18. My mom stopped coloring her hair at 40 when she changed brands on a whim and came out of the bathroom one morning looking like Strawberry Shortcake. She went to the salon for an emergency fix and came home with “frosted” hair (it was 1983). After that she was able to let it blend in, but she was really gray. My sister is mortified when I don’t keep my roots up, but I have problems with porous hair so I use a glaze that has to be reapplied every 3-4 weeks and it’s tiresome.

  16. Yeah, I’m 32 and sort of unwillingly let the gray grow out for the 3 months I was in China. I’m OK with it, and going to keep going, but man, those thick wiry grays can scare the crap out of a girl when they just sit on the shoulder (I lose a lot of hair).

  17. At the ripe old age of 44, my body is betraying me in all sorts of manners! I often look in the mirror and say, “Who are you and what have you done with ME?!?”

    However, miraculously, I have yet to spot a grey hair on my head…that is not bragging. because I have absolutely no control over the issue. My hair IS, however, turning grey on other parts of my body so I know it is just a matter of time before I start sprouting silver hairs on the rooftop.

    I have no idea what I will do when that happens. I’ve always said I would wear my grey hair proudly when the day comes. But that is WAY easier said than done!! Hmmm…I’ve always wondered what it was like to be a redhead…

  18. Sigh. I’m very gray and would love to stop dying so I don’t have to deal with the Peppy LePew stripe of white I get because I can’t keep up with my roots. I LOVE gray on others, but I can’t deal with growing it out. And I’m 47 and have a young daughter who doesn’t like me gray. And (yet another excuse) I know I’d be mistaken for her grandmother if I went natural. But I’d really like to.

  19. My little sister (pharmgirl) turned me on to your blog, and there have been many times I’ve been tempted to comment, but I didn’t want to intrude, so to speak…but now, I just gotta. I almost cried the first time my husband pulled a gray hair out of my head, and it took me several years to admit defeat. The defining moment was when one of the kids I was working w/ at school told me I was blonde…I’ve never been blonde in my life! (Read “too much bleach to hide the gray!”) My grays are my badges of honor, and allowing them to flourish is very liberating. But one has to be ready. Don’t push it…you’ll know when the time is right. (So how many of us are now Googling miso?)

  20. I *never* paint my nails, however, I probably haven’t seen my natural hair color in over ten years. Coloring my hair is one indulgence I refuse to give up, though, because it hides the grays and the dulls, of which there are now many. You’re lucky you can use the box dyes; the results from those are usually quite disastrous for me. It’s just so much less expensive than going to the salon, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do I guess. And you’re right: it’s one of the very few things about aging you can actually control. (My waistline is certainly *not* in that category, sadly.)

  21. I’ve been using a henna shampoo for the past two years. It does not cover the grey, but it does make my hair look shiny and even. I used to get this weird streaky thing happening where my blond side would start battling it our with my brunet side. The henna shampoo brought peace to this mop head of hair of mine.

  22. What an incredibly happy beaver!

    (in the drawing behind you)

    I’d never really understood the aversion to grey hair on the part of women (Alice looks stupendous) until my own hair started to thin a bit in the back, which made me re-assess my views on hair-related matters. I’m a little more vain than I’d expected, though not nearly enough to willingly slather hair-growth goop on the scalp or get plugs. I imagine I’ll eventually shave it all off and start running triathalons. It seems like the logical next step for the scalp-shorn male.

  23. I am currently struggling with the question of coloring. When I turned forty, a year ago, I decided to color my hair, I have about as many greys as you and it was beginning to be something I would notice in the mirror. But I have crazy hair that grows amazingly fast, and I go to a salon to color my hair and I just don’t think I can justify the expense when I am so ambivalent. I got bifocals last week and feel like the grey is a logical accessory to them, and while I have so little grey, isn’t it the best time to grow it out? Anyway, maybe I will try it for the summer.

  24. I don’t see your gray (but then again my eyes aren’t what they used to be), but I do see lovely green highlights in the top photo. I wish my hair would go green instead of gray!

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