It has been exactly five months since I last coloured my hair. I’m missing my hair stylist, Barb, like crazy.
A couple weeks ago, I had my very first pang of regret for having decided to grow out my grey hair. I had my hair up to wash my face before heading to bed. J-M walked into the bathroom, stopped in his tracks, and looked at me soberly.
“Your hair is really white, eh?”
“It is, isn’t it,” I replied.
I could have cried myself to sleep that night.
The good news is that I was expecting the misgivings to come a lot sooner. And this wave passed relatively quickly and there hasn’t been one to follow. For the most part, I’ve been determined to move steadily through this experience and have therefore ignored (suppressed?) anything that would detract from my objective.
As I look back, I’m surprised at how much my perspective has changed.
From the moment I made the decision, after my last hair appointment, I started thinking differently about grey hair. I was anticipating it, instead of fearing it. The first couple of months, I was ridiculously excited about my preposterous choice. I would check my roots every day. (Ha! What roots!)
Previously, I had despised my grey hair and made regular appointments to cover it every four weeks. As the years passed and my grey increased, there was a steady cline of negative emotion, from nuisance to anxiety to horror. My colourists’ seat was a place of refuge. After an appointment with her, I always walked away thrilled to have my fix for another four weeks.
It wasn’t till I stopped colouring my hair that I realized I had been associating grey hair with a hideous secret. Shhhhh, don’t tell anyone that I am aging. The secret everyone knows. The secret that maybe shouldn’t be a secret.
Since starting this process five months ago, I’ve been talking about grey hair a lot. My family has been too. Grey hair has become remarkable to us. To the tune of Beyoncé’s Halo, J-M sings “I can see your grey-lo, grey-lo, grey-lo…” to me almost every morning. It’s not fair for me to be annoyed by this when I continuously talk about my roots, which still surprise me, or the latest person I spotted who has grey hair.
You know, I’m fascinated by people who are growing or have grown out their grey hair and have no need to speak about it or blog about it. Some people don’t even mention it. They are superheroes. My coping mechanism is to mention it. And to take selfies periodically.
My perception has shifted, so that I’m more embarrassed about my tinted ends than my grey roots. I wish to full embrace the “shimmer” (as my new best friend from church, Shirlena, called it), but I have to put up with this lackluster hair attached to it.
5 months in and I’m becoming impatient with the process. Let me be grey already! I walked through the hair care aisle at Shoppers the other day and had a quick thought, “what if Nice ‘n Easy accidentally made it into my purchases and I accidentally coloured my hair tonight.” I was so mad at myself for thinking it! This is way too much work to grow out grey hair. To think that it can be undone so easily with a box of colour makes me shudder.
The temptation now is not that I’ll retract and get a 911 all over colour from Barb, but that I would beg her to cut it all off, for the love! I made her promise to talk sense to me should that happen, which I anticipate would be February.
Having said all that, I’m not at the place where I would recommend this for everyone. As it stands, I appreciate that many women colour their hair for a variety of reasons, including professionalism, expression or creativity. It can be very enjoyable and, oh, I feel another pang of regret coming on as I think of the FUN of hair colour and changing things up. You will receive no condemnation from this girl.
Of course, I’m thrilled that a few friends are with me on this journey. It’s reassuring to swim against the current and see others there beside you. I want to hear from these women about why they made the choice. What changed their mind, or what kept them from doing it in the first place? These superheroes may not feel compelled to mention it, like me, as a coping mechanism, but I’m so very curious to hear from them. At the point where we made the decision to do this, we’ve moved something into a place of importance above looking youthful. I’m proud of us.
As for my husband, the love light in his eyes adjusts to a more mature (looking) wife and it helps that it’s easier on our budget.
“Do you know how much money we’ve saved since I stopped colouring my hair?” I asked him tonight.
“$750,” he said, without missing a beat.