Tuesday, July 10, 2012

50 Shades of Grey Hair

After my first child was born I stopped coloring my hair. I barely had time to shower regularly (notice I didn't say daily) let alone worry about something as expensive, time consuming and vain as the shade of my tresses. That was sixteen years ago and today my own children say they don't even recognize me in the wedding portrait hanging in my bedroom. They ask, "Mom who married Dad?"
Four kids and a few years later my hair has grown increasingly dark. Gone are the peroxide induced blonde locks of my youth. Instead, due to hormonal shifts, lack of sleep or the alarming amount of hair I lost while pregnant with the twins, I am sporting a layered dark brunette bob that I've worked very hard to embrace. Change happens I told myself and I tried very hard to love my evolving look.
While trying to be mature about the whole aging process I admit I had a huge set back when I noticed a new color emerging just at my temples. Grey. Without haste I colored and covered it up and eight weeks later when it began to grow in again I l colored and covered it up. I repeated the process at seven weeks and then again at six. It was an alarming realization - I was going grey-er and grey-er and thus visiting my salon sooner and sooner.
Who's to blame for these white tendrils I'm wrestling? Genetics or (I suspect) my time spent in the parenthood?

This past year, to coincide with all my attempts to be brave and accept the inevitable, I attempted a 'new look' for my fortieth birthday. In effort to welcome this new (or rather old) season of my life I asked my hairdresser to dye my hair a shade as close to my original color as possible. 
That was a bit of a mistake. I was not prepared for the dark haired, crow’s feet, sagging neck image that gazed back at me from the mirror. But nonetheless I was on a war path against the grey hairs and I maintained this natural and, yet, oh-so-foreign color, by visiting the salon every six weeks so no one will notice mother nature taking her course on the crown of my head.
I often wonder though, when will I embrace the grey? Can I learn to love it? Will I ever be proud of my grey hair? Will it make me look wise? Can I be a hip, grey haired grandma? And why am I putting so much thought into this?
I've yet to answer any of my own questions but I have come to the conclusion that I will someday go some shade of grey. Hopefully it will be before I get to the point where little children point and laugh saying, "You ain't foolin anyone with that hair color Grandma!". You know the ladies I'm talking about. They have oxygen fanny packs, a walker with tennis balls on the legs and trifocals hanging around their neck while they attempt to rock the jet black hairdo they wore in the 1976 family picture.
Nope, that won't happen to me! At my last visit to the salon I kindly asked my stylist to put highlights back in. Blonde highlights. My theory being two fold. First, I can return to some resemblance of my former self as seen in my bridal portrait and secondly, blonde blends with grey slightly better than brunette. At least it seems that way in my mind. Then it won't be a shock when I make the next step and let the greys go free. I mean, the last I checked the skunk look isn't exactly 'in'. 
So what color is my hair now? I have no idea. I'm pretty sure there's a multitude of different shades ranging from brown to black, blonde to grey with a smattering of red handed down to me from my Irish mother. Whether it be the kids fault, Mother Nature or my own for being silly and vain, all I know is I'm working up to my destined shade of grey which I will proudly sport only after my husband goes grey first. I think it would be nice to hear just once in my lifetime, "Wow! That old man has really got a young wife!" Hopefully this will happen sometime before I have to refill my oxygen tank. Why? Because I'm the mother and I said so! That's why!

This article appears as a part of my weekly column in The Daily Review Atlas. Stephanie is a mother to five children and a parenting educator for the Monmouth-Roseville School District. She has the very best stylist in the whole wide world and will happily recommend her name to you should you need a proper highlight. She can reached at for comment.

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  1. I think you look fabulous, regardless of what color your hair is. --Julie


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