For months now I have been deliberating about whether to dye my hair. It’s not that my silvery locks are anything new. I have been dying my hair for years now. In fact, up until three years ago I couldn’t have even told you how much gray was in my hair. I just made sure the gray was covered with a chestnut-brown color as soon as the new growth started to appear. Everything changed when I was hit by a car while crossing the street in October of 2009. During my recovery, I had other things on my mind besides my hair color. Without giving it much consideration, I suddenly had a head full of silver curls instead of my usual brown. I vaguely thought I would probably color it again, but I didn’t, at least not right away, and then one day I decided it was time, and out came the dye once again. I guess I wasn’t all the way ready to embrace the gray and, to be frank, the older appearance that comes with gray hair.
Of course dyed hair doesn’t stay dyed. It has to be kept up on a regular basis. I had never liked what the process did to the texture of my hair. It always seemed okay in the beginning, but over time it would become dry and “crispy.” I also did a lot of research about toxins in our cosmetics, shampoos, deodorants and, of course, hair dye. Any product that can change the color of your hair has to be pretty chemical laden, even the ones that are the gentlest. I kept reading that there was really no safe hair color, particularly in the darker shades, and I just couldn’t see myself as a blonde. The skin on the scalp is thin, and anything you put on it is going to permeate that barrier. The skin is actually our largest organ, and is meant to protect the body. Sometimes you can know too much to keep doing something, even if part of you wants to continue.
Another issue that nagged at me is society’s obsession with youth. I was trying to decide how much I was personally willing to buy into it. I do believe there’s nothing wrong with trying to look as good as you can for as long as you can…within reason. For instance, I’m diligent about putting coconut and other beneficials oils on my skin, but I pass on the Botox. I put on a light coat of make-up in the morning even if I’m not leaving the house. After all, the house I live in is not devoid of mirrors, and I want to see myself in the best possible light. Every woman just has to assess how far she’s willing to go. Still whatever you do, you have to come to grips with the fact that you are never going to look 20 when you are 50. Yes, you can still be vital, beautiful and even sexy looking, but if you insist on trying to perpetually look 20, you will look perpetually foolish instead, and that’s not a good look for anybody.
I did almost succumb to coloring my hair recently. My 11-year-old grandson regarded me balefully and said in a sad voice “Grandma, your hair is gray now, so I’m afraid you are going to pass away in a couple of years.” I felt this little painful jolt, and for a moment I thought “Yes, of course, I MUST color my hair even if it is only to reassure my grandson.” When I mentioned Isaiah’s remark to my oldest daughter, her response was “He must think Auntie Rita is ALREADY dead.” I can barely remember my older sister sporting anthing but a mass of silver curls, since her hair has been gray for about 30 years!
I do have a box of blonde dye in my nightstand drawer. They sell this brand at Whole Foods, and it’s supposed to be less harsh and contain less bad stuff than most dyes. Also the fact that it’s a light color is supposed to be better, but as I said before, I don’t really see myself as a blonde, perhaps because my hair has been medium to dark brown for so many years, and it’s how I’m used to seeing myself. It’s just that it’s taken quite awhile to grow into this almost all silver shade, and it’s actually a pretty color. In fact, I’ve gotten quite a few compliments on it. It seems to be pretty evenly divided. Some people say leave it as is, and some people say change it. Everyone does agree that people look older with gray hair even if you have the face of a debutaune. What if I do dye my hair blonde, and it comes out so light that I look like an albino? (no offense to albinos intended).
For this moment in time, I have cast my lot with the color silver. I feel more secure in my decision after talking to a friend who has grey hair yesterday. She is in her fifties and in great shape with a short, flattering haircut and nice features. She was quick to point out the benefits (people treat you with more respect, etc) and is very happy with her decision. She certainly is not second guessing herself like me. Earlier today I called a friend who couldn’t talk, because her daughter was dying her hair, and suddenly I felt a little envious, because Maureen will soon have dark hair with nary a trace of gray, and I will still have my gray hair even if I do get more respect than her.
I’m sure glad God tells us He will continue to love us even with feeble knees and gray hair, although I can do without the feeble knees, and the jury’s still out about the hair.