Everyone has that one special feature, don’t they? For some, it’s their flawless skin. Others might be known for their big, beautiful eyes. Maybe it’s a person’s height, shining smile, beautiful lips, distinctive nose. For me, though, it’s always been my hair.
When I was younger, people would always comment on how dark it was. Shocking, right?! Now that I’m older and my hair is considerably gray, though, comments seem to go a little more like this:
- Is that your real color?
- It’s so different!
- But, how old are you?
- I could never be that brave.
But here’s the thing… Yes, you could! If I can go gray, as vain as I am, anyone can. But here’s the other thing… It has to work for you. You have to really want it and know that the decision is right for you. See, one of the really cool things about being a woman today is that there are so many options! This was the right choice for me, but maybe it’s not for you. And that’s OK.
Here are the top 5 considerations I made when deciding to stop coloring my hair and go with the au naturale flow.
5. Time After Time
Since I went gray so early in my life (I started pulling out wiry, white strands way back in high school), I had to start coloring my hair super early. Not because I wanted it to look different, or change the color, though. More so that it would continue to look the same! Over the years, especially as the amount and type of color I needed increased, the time consideration became significant.
Every six weeks, I’d go in for a shampoo, cut, color, and style. From the moment I sat my behind in the chair for the consultation to walking out the door, a good 3-4 hours would have passed. Sometimes, I’d be able to get away with just a root retouch. Other times, I’d add some highlights or lowlights to the situation. Regardless, that meant I was spending an average of 30 hours a year just sitting around getting my hair done.
Granted, that may not seem like a lot in the larger scheme of things. But now, I only go to the salon when I need my hair cut. I’m in and out in an hour or so and that suits me much better.
4. Show Me the Money
Oh, my heavens the money I have spent on my hair over the years! I shudder to think.
Let’s just look at some averages, shall we? In my area of northeast Florida, the average cost of an all-over, single process color from root to tip every six to eight weeks in a salon is about $675 per year. That is just one straight color, no highlights, no hand-painting, no special effects. That doesn’t include your haircut or the stylist’s tip of about 20%. Now, let’s just think that I was coloring my hair for about 10 years! I’m not even going to do the math. It makes my brain hurt.
Now that I don’t color my hair, my out-the-door, tip-included cost at the salon is somewhere around $50. And some of that extra money that I’m not spending on color, I can spend on things like better makeup and skin care and not feel guilty about it!
3. It’s in the Genes
See that handsome fella on the back left of this picture? That’s my grandad. And he was completely white-haired for as long as I knew him. My dad, his son, was completely gray by the time he was in his 50s. I have a cousin in that family who has been completely gray since his 30s. All of these guys started life with very thick, very wavy, very dark hair…just like mine.
One day about three years ago, I had this picture pulled up on my computer. My then 7 year-old daughter came up and asked me to tell her about the people she saw. I pointed out my grandad, his brother, two sisters and his parents. I pointed out how my great-grandmother, Mammaw, would have only been about 45 years old in this picture. I showed her how Mammaw’s hair was dark and wavy, just like mine. And how I could tell from my roots that my hair was going gray in exactly the same pattern as hers.
Unbeknownst to my daughter, I had been toying with the idea of quitting coloring my hair. So, imagine my surprise when she asked me, “Then, Mommy, if you think Mammaw’s hair was so beautiful, why do you still dye yours? Wouldn’t your hair look just like that?”
And my decision was made there and then. I was done coloring my hair. I just couldn’t deny my genetics. And I found that I no longer wanted to.
2. Vanity, Thy Name is Beth
I’ll be really honest and say that I have always loved my hair. I have always thought it was my best feature. Unruly at times, frizzy whenever it gets humid (hello, Florida!), but it’s thick and manageable and I can make it do pretty much whatever I want it to.
So the fact that it is now rather unique in it’s color? The fact that it makes people take notice? I’m OK with that. My gray hair makes me feel unique and special, yet still tied to my family and who I am at my core. And everyone should have something about their physical appearance that they love. They just should.
And the No. 1 Reason — It’s MY CHOICE!
So, let’s recap, shall we? Let’s see… I’m lazy (don’t want to spend all that time in the chair), I’m cheap (don’t want to spend the money) and I’m vain. AWESOME!! Those sound like fantastic reasons to go gray, don’t they? Have I convinced you yet?! LOL!
Basically, it all comes down to the fact that I went gray because I wanted to. The timing was right for me. I was old enough that I wasn’t going to be walking a toddler into preschool looking like her grandma instead of her mom. By my late 30s, I had gained the confidence I needed to not care that I was doing something “different” with my appearance. And, really, I dearly love the connection I feel to my dad’s family by claiming my birthright and crowning glory.
So, there you have it. That’s my WHY! It was intentional and I don’t regret it for a minute.
Of course, what is right for me, may not be right for you. But I’d love to hear from you! Do you have gray hair? What’s your why? Are you thinking about embracing the gray? What’s your why not? Let me know! I’d be happy to answer any questions!