Those aren’t strands of grey hair, they’re strands of glitter.
There are many things I learnt about growing out my grey hair. I thought it was going to be all about buying purple shampoo and looking cool like Stacy London. While it’s not been hard, it’s been an eye-opener into other peoples opinions on how I should treat my hair, but also really very cool seeing my hair make the transition from dark brown to grey.
How it all started.
We were driving back from a visit to Fort McMurray a few years ago, the kids were small and were napping their car seats, my husband was driving, and like a good passenger I was ignoring him and playing with my hair. It’s not often as a mom do you get the time to play with your own hair, and those 5 hour trips to Fort McMurray give you nothing but time. It wasn’t until this road trip, sitting in the front seat, visor mirror open that I realized how grey my hair was. I knew there were sneaky pieces in the front which I used a box colour on, but there was SO much grey at the nape of my neck, and it wasn’t a few pokey hairs, it was full on long sections of grey hair. It dawned on me as my children napped that I document every single developmental change in their lives but here’s me, having a bit of a developmental change and I had no idea. Classic mom move.
I decided that day that I was going to let my grey grow out and see what happened. If I didn’t like it, no worries, I can just colour over it, but I’m also acutely aware that at some point in my future I would need to make this decision and roll with it. I have very dark brown hair, if I’m still colouring my hair dark brown at 80, no one is going to believe that is my natural colour. Change is inevitable and I might as well go with it instead of fighting it, here’s what I’ve learned in the three years I’ve been going grey.
Everyone has an opinion about it
This was the most irritating thing for me. Everyone from my family to the hairdresser did not like the idea. I had no idea so many people were invested in the colour of my hair. It’s my hair! I’m sure if I did decide to colour it a fun rainbow colour the reaction would be “so fun, so much fun”🌈 When I decide to let my hair grow its natural colour, it is a terrible terrible no good idea. The main problem? I’ll look old. Insert me rolling my eyes because I’m only 40 and news flash, I am getting older (and so are you surly relative). Lucky for them I’m stubborn and dug my heels in further.
Hair doesn’t care
When I decided to grow out my grey, I’d look at other women with their really cool grey hair, and their really cool hair do’s and thought “that will be me”! Turns out my hair doesn’t give a crap about being cool or growing in in the right places. Rather than growing in beautifully and salt and peppery my grey grows in solid patches, think cheetah. One spot of grey here, another over there. No continuity, just random patches of grey. If I think about it, my dads hair did that too when he was going grey. If you’re going to go grey, look at your parents hair.
I still colour my hair
Deciding to go grey, doesn’t mean I don’t colour my hair. I actually thought that would be the end hair dye and oh, all the extra money I’d have. I have been colouring my hair for years and there were roots to consider and since my grey hair grows in random places it looks really, really odd. To make the process look as “natural” as possible I still have low lights put in my hair. Turns out, I’m not as grey as I thought I was. Lowlights break up the random spots of white so it blends seamlessly for the cool grey look I wanted. Lowlights also break up the demarcation zones (think about where you’ve previously coloured your hair and those roots growing out two inches).
It’s still a process
I’m not even 50% grey yet and when I do reach that mark, where the spots of grey start meeting the other spots of grey, there will have to come a time to make a decision. This is a marathon and not a sprint which is good, becasue I’m not ready to be 100% grey/white-haired. I’ve been dark haired all my life and like anything else, it takes time to come around to change, especially a big change that alters the perception of you to the outside world. The perception of natural grey hair (as I keep getting told) is that it’s for old people, but really, those are outdated stereotypes. We live in an era of working toward self-acceptance and self-actualization, but we’re still hung up on growing out the grey.
If you’re thinking of growing out the grey, do it, don’t listen to the people who say “but you’re so young, why would you want to do that?” and do what you damn well want. If you start the process and it’s not for you, that’s fine. There are lots of articles online and Pinterest has tonnes of inspiration, especially if your hair is like mine and does what it wants.