What we resist persists. My gray roots are a good example. I’m a 62 year old woman who has made a conscious decision to let her hair grow out naturally after thirty plus years of coloring. I recall the first gray hair appearing in my late twenties and I just yanked them out. When they became more noticeable in my early thirties I began to use natural coloring – henna. It was an organic way to cover gray hair and it matched my skin tone as my Dad had red hair as a child.
In my late thirties and early forties I began monthly treks to the salon colorist. The color was always rich, making my, very fine, hair appear fuller. My career was taking off so spending an hour or two to get it down once a month was manageable – time wise and financially.
Sometime in my late forties I started to add up how much I was spending on having my hair colored (WHOA) and decided to explore ‘off the shelf’ boxed hair coloring kits. My hair is short which made it easy to do and gave me the flexibility to do it when I wanted to. There were only a few issues concerning inadvertently splattering color on the bathroom counter/walls/floor not to mention the clothing that I christened with colouring. Footnote – it doesn’t wash out. I learned to keep a damp cloth at the ready to clean up any splatters, when they happened.
In my late fifties education around the chemicals in hair coloring caught my attention. I was finally paying attention to the fact that amonia and other ingredients had a negative impact on the environment. I was beginning to think about my personal responsibility around environmental issues. Yet the tug to get rid of the gray roots was still strong.
The coloring manufacturers were clearly in tune with this shift as root touch up coloring kits appeared on the market and solved my issue. Although I was still contributing to an environmental issue, I was doing it less frequently with much less solution. Unfortunately they packaged the coloring in such a way that a small plastic container and paintbrush type applicator was to be used for mixing and applying. I never really adapted to the new way nor did I embrace the fact that although the package contained much less coloring it was approximately the same price as the full coloring package.
When I turned 60 the process of becoming comfortable in my own skin that truly began around 50 was firmly embedded. Through coloring my hair I was trying to stem an issue that was clearly gaining ground. The gray hair was most prominent in the hair around my face. Once again the marketing teams came through with a solution. A small spray can of colour that would allow one to touch up problem areas by spraying on colour that would wash out in the next shampoo! It worked well. Spray cans are fairly easy to control but getting the areas behind my ears required a level of physical fitness and coordination that I clearly didn’t have. What I quickly discovered was that too much spraying had the same result as too much hair spray – the hair became stiff and unmanageable. And back to the environmental issues – it’s an aerosol spray.
So last December I made the decision to let my hair grow out to see how gray I truly was. My hair stylist assured me that within 4 months my roots would tell the tale. Now here I am at the 4 month mark and frankly, I’m liking it! Yes I have some gray but not all over. A number of people have commented on how great it looks – and it’s still growing out. I’d thought the texture of gray hair would be brittle but it’s soft and supple. This isn’t an anti-aging step it’s a pro-aging one. I finally realized there’s truth to the famous Clairol quote ‘you’re not getting older, you’re getting better’ and for me right now, au natural is so much better!