One of the things I preach around here is to embrace the real. The messy parts, the not so perfect parts and sometimes even the uncomfortable parts. So, I am about to confess something of my own that is real, and uncomfortable, with all of you. I am coming out as gray.
I have been hiding my true colors for years because I was just too self-conscious to expose my gray hair. I started losing my natural dark shade shortly after my twins were born. I was considered a “geriatric” mom in my mid-thirties and the gray settled in quickly after having twins. I started coloring my hair immediately because I was not yet ready to let go of feeling like I was in my 20s. So, I kept covering it up. I spent hours at the salon and made a mad dash to the drug store between colorings just to keep my grays under wraps. It was a stealthy covert operation that cost me thousands of dollars over the last ten years. Before I went to any big event, a reunion, a wedding, or a vacation, I scheduled myself to sit in a salon chair for nearly 3 hours to temporarily delete this obvious sign of aging.
Last year, when the COVID pandemic hit and shut down every salon in the world, I panicked. My appointment was only days away and my roots were already on display. I felt anxious the shut down was going to create some noticeably awkward hair growth, or what I refer to as “the skunk stripe.” As I scrolled for daily updates on when I could safely return to the salon, I noticed that nearly everyone on my friends list was confessing to missing their colorist too. Bloggers around the globe were suddenly showing up in videos and IG reels with silver streaks. As the weeks rolled into months, I found I wasn’t the only one awkwardly trying to cover my part.
Just as I was contemplating between coloring again or embracing this touch of gray, my colorist (or hair therapist as I call her) dropped off a professional grade color kit for me to use at home. I immediately rushed to color my hair and as I saw myself frantically brushing hair dye against my head, I thought this just doesn’t feel right anymore. I began wondering if I could pull off silver fox status. But…will I look…old? I decided the worst-case scenario is I hate it and I go back to dying it. And the best case scenario I love it and keep going. A year later, I am still dye free and learning to love it. But let me tell you, it’s still not easy. I am about two good hair cuts away from being fully gray.
I haven’t made a public post about it before now because I am still getting used to seeing myself with salt and pepper strands peeking through. It’s now very obvious and easily recognizable in my photos. Now is the time to admit it to myself and to those whom I haven’t seen face to face in the last year. It’s time to share it with my followers because my headshots are clearly not the same. Will anyone recognize me?
The longer my gray roots grow, the taller I grow in my own confidence. It turns out I’m not alone there either! I made a cryptic post on my personal social media page about contemplating life as a silver fox and a childhood friend sent a text message that she was inspired to do the same. Now we encourage each other by sending snapshots of our changing hair. Another friend from high school recently posted that she was going to give up coloring her hair to be more authentic too. Suddenly, I am in very good company and feeling bolder about this choice.
I am finding inspiration from women all over Instagram embracing their gray hair. There are a lot of us feeling powerful walking through life with silvery tendrils, and as one woman pointed out, “It takes a lot of confidence to walk around daily with two-toned hair.” Isn’t it funny, that people can have rainbow hair, two different shades of purple, or bleached or fading colors and no one second guesses that persons value and relevance. But women with gray hair are told they look “too old” or look like they “let themselves go.”
And oddly enough, I am finding inspiration from men with gray hair. When men age they are referred to as “distinguished” which implies dignity and respect. But when women age they are referred to as “washed up.” I noticed male lead actors that dominated the TV screen in my childhood are still on TV and fully gray. They’ve grown up, just like I have. Yet, no one is accusing them of having let themselves go. In fact, they are given the commanding roles with younger looking wives or partners. Honestly, if men can walk around with new found confidence with fully gray hair, then I can feel just as empowered to do the same.
So, here I am.
On my way to a braver, grayer self.
Have you embraced your new, natural color since the pandemic? Does gray hair make you feel bolder? Wiser? More empowered? I’d love to read about it in the comments below.
You look AWESOMELY GORGEOUS!
I have been embracing my grey since it first started coming in. I used to name the streaks after my kids. Now I call it all my Silver that matches my jewelry.
I absolutely love this blog post! I have also stopped dyeing my hair. I have made only one trip to the salon for a quick trim during the summer when covid numbers were very low. I did not want to stay for the length of time the coloring would take. I have never dyed my own hair and didn’t feel like starting that process as i was sure i would mess it up. As time has gone on I am seriously considering just letting myself go completely gray. Right now my hair is still a combo of gray, light brown, blonde and who knows what else but as the gray predominates it is starting to look healthier and stronger. I like not spending the money but even better is the feeling of not covering up who i am. My husband and son have always encouraged me to stop. Lucas is very anti makeup and hair dye – I guess his future girlfriends/ wife will be very natural women 🙂 He tries to make me feel better by saying my hair color is now white gold – i love this kid! Cheers to you, Whatever Mom, for being your authentic gorgeous silver fox self! I think you look absolutely beautiful!
Your post was inspiring. I have started to see grays poke through here and there and have contemplated what I will do. Your post gives me the confidence that it is ok and that I should sport my grays with pride. I will have to make my final decision when they decide to really start taking over.
Wow, this is so inspiring and thoughtful! My mom just went through this recently and I’m sure this would resonate with her experience as well. Early graying runs in our family, so I hope I can be brave and embrace the transition whenever it’s my turn one day ❤️
We all get to that place in our own time. 😉
I honestly couldn’t love this post more. Like you, I’m all about the real. I used to color my hair, acrylic nails, and had push up bras. After the positive pregnancy test and with covid I stopped everything and have been growing to love the real me.
Thank you so much for this sincere and beautiful post. You look amazing!
Thank you for reading along and your kind words. My heart and my wallet feel lighter letting go of the upkeep! 😉
It was so inspiring to read it and I must say it is a very honest post. Also, you look BEAUTIFUL in grey hairs :-).
Awe you’re sweet. Thank you for reading and commenting! 🙂
I love this post! I’ve never dyed my hair and luckily in my mid 30s I’ve not got too many greys. But I’m seeing more and more and just could never maintain dying my hair so I’m determined to go grey naturally and try to embrace it. It is really encouraging to see others doing the same.
I started going gray in my 30s. I don’t think age has much to do with it as it does genetics. It is a lot to maintain and I am happy to let that go! 🙂
You look stunning! I stopped coloring my hair 3 years ago & embraced the gray. It was one of the most liberating things I’ve ever done!
Beautiful and inspiring! I was angry about some grays showing but this brought a new light !