A year of living grey.

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This is totally not about 50 Shades, so move along if you’re looking for that.

This is about going grey.

One year ago on April 1st, I decided to stop coloring my hair to cover the greys.  The evening of March 31, 2015 was the last time hair coloring chemicals have touched my hair. I had been coloring my hair for about twenty years.

I had been toying with the idea of doing this for about five years and would always chicken out. Always.  My roots would get about an inch long and I’d say to myself, “you can do this, it’s only hair, it’s only a color…” and then two days later I’d be mixing the chemicals and banishing the roots.

I had convinced myself that the grey hairs around my face aged me.  I was convinced that I looked old and tired. I was convinced I was more than 75% grey. I was very persuasive. I believed every word.

By the time March 31st rolled around, I had let my roots grow out almost three inches. This time I was going to do it!  I was going to break free of the chemicals and go natural.  Then I saw my reflection in the mirror at work that afternoon and in about ten seconds flat I had convinced myself again that I should color my hair. That evening after dinner, I mixed up some Revlon medium golden brown and went to work.

By the time I got to the part where my hair “cooks” for half an hour, I knew I had made a big mistake.  My scalp was starting to burn. I washed if all off a bit early, but the damage had been done.  My scalp felt like it had been burned by the chemicals and it was very red. It was the most painful hair experience I’d ever had in my entire life. Coloring my own hair or having it colored had never felt like this before.  Luckily that’s all that happened. I rinsed several times just to make sure that the chemicals were all gone and promised myself I would never go through this again…and then brow beat myself for having given in to my vanity once more. The redness faded after a few hours and my scalp was a bit tender for a few days. I had no blisters and still had all my hair. I felt very lucky.

My free time over the next few days was spent on Google and YouTube searching for ways to “go grey with long hair”.  Most everything involved coloring your hair lighter colors for the next year or so in order to “blend the grey”.  Then there were those that let the roots grow out a few inches and then cut all their hair off. Two extremes I was definitely not going to do to myself.

That Friday, on April 4th, Honey and I went for hair cuts. I sat in the chair and told my stylist it was time for a shorter style.  I went from below shoulder length to short and sassy.

Short and sassy, April 4, 2015

Short and sassy, April 4, 2015

 

I. Loved. It. Honey took a while to adjust to the look but he’s been supportive all along. I had no adjustment time because every five years or so I would tell my stylist “cut it all off”.  I was going to cut it off gradually but decided to just go for it.  It was only hair, it would grow back.

For the next nine months I went pretty regularly for trims.  Surprisingly my roots were a bit more camouflaged than I thought they would be with my hair so short.

August 2015, the grey is showing more.

August 2015, the grey is showing more.

 

Even more surprising was that I wasn’t as grey as I thought I was…I gave myself another swift kick for not stopping five years ago…oh well.

Fast forward to about November. The last of the color was now gone and being swept up from the floor around my stylist’s station. Time to grow it out. Talk about rough times ahead. I’m not sure I’ll survive the growing out bit.

Nov 2015-as grey as it gets.

Nov 2015-as grey as it gets.

 

There isn’t a most recent photo because…vanity. My hair is at an extremely awkward growing out stage and I am constantly threatening to shave it all off if it doesn’t behave.  I shall post update photos if anything changes.

But Donna dear, how do you really feel about going grey?

It’s simple…I love it. I am free of the chemicals that held me hostage most of my adult life.  When I look in the mirror I see my hair as wavy, sticking out where it shouldn’t or looking halfway decent. I no longer see the color. It has been an adjustment for my friends and family, but they know I’m still me. I haven’t changed. There are moments I feel more sassy because…well because…freedom. It comes with a new attitude.

Am I tempted to color again? Hell yes, but I don’t give in…this is me now and I like it.

If you are thinking of doing the same, go to YouTube. Search for “going grey”.  There are so many videos of women who have made the transition. They’ve done it the best way for them and they aren’t going back. Best of all, they are happy with their decisions.

If you color your hair now and won’t stop, that’s ok. Everyone has their own personal reasons. No one but you should make that decision. No one but you can make that decision.

If you are thinking of starting to color your hair, think carefully. It’s an almost lifelong commitment.  It’s a constant decision of continuing the process every time your natural color starts showing. It’s a lot of work, time, and money.  I did it for twenty years and it was worth it to me until the last few years when I started questioning my reasons. Just be true to yourself and make that decision based on what YOU want.

Going grey was the best decision for me, so here I am.

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