What color is your hair? No, I don’t mean what color do you make your hair or what color your hair dresser makes your hair. I mean – what is the REAL color of your hair?
Mine is gray. But if you look at my hair, you would say it was blonde. That’s because I have spent hours — years, actually — and more money than I care to think about, having my hairdresser MAKE me blonde. After my first son was born, my hair turned into this uninspired dirty blonde mess. It didn’t act the way my hair used to act – full, healthy and shiny. The hormones wreaked havoc on it and created a limp, lifeless mess. What was a woman to do? After all, I wanted — needed — to look better after having a baby. And so the hair journey began.
It began as a simple (was it really simple??) foil procedure. At the advice of my hairdresser — “let’s just highlight it and make it look a bit brighter”, I agreed. Did it ever look brighter! Sitting under the dryer with my hair folded up in foil wrappers, looking like some kind of space alien – I was a beacon of light! But once it began, it became nearly impossible to stop.
Regular highlighting turned into coloring. The roots would be ‘touched up’ in order to blend them with the rest of the hair. My head was a completely manufactured rainbow of colors.
Don’t get me wrong. Most of the time it looked good. And, better yet, through the years I was constantly complimented as looking so young. Many of my friends began going to my hairdresser because they liked what he was doing with my hair. It was okay, but then, of course, I couldn’t stop.
A color every 8 weeks went down to 6 weeks and then to 4 weeks as the gray hair began to come in. That was some time after my 3rd child was born (children have a way of doing that to you, don’t they?) The more gray that came in, the more money and time I had to spend covering it.
If I’m honest, I didn’t think about it too much. I just did it. It was a habit. It was something everyone did. In our culture, there is a never-ending quest to look younger. And I admit, I enjoyed the compliments of people telling me I looked much younger than my age. That mentality is fed into all of us as women in the United States. It is part of what we grow up knowing. We somehow understand that it is best to stay looking young as long as you can. All of that played into the habit of heading to the hairdresser so regularly.
But then the 4 weeks started to be too long. If I really wanted to stay on top of covering the gray, I would have to go every 3 weeks. EVERY 3 WEEKS! Who has the time? And is that the way I want to spend my money? WHY am I doing this? All of those questions hit me right before Christmas, and I stopped for a moment and asked myself – what would happen if I stopped coloring my hair?
I wish I could say it was an easy answer. But it wasn’t. I will be 50 this year. Many people would say it’s too young to be gray. (Then again, many people would say that there is NEVER a good time to go gray!) I thought long and hard about it. I asked people I knew what they thought. I had some role models in making the decision – women who had already made the choice to be natural – women who are extraordinarily beautiful – but I still had to think it through.
It finally came down to the fact that I am starting a new decade.The question I asked myself is, “How do I want this decade to look? What do I want to do in the next 10 years? What do I want my life to be?” At that moment, the answer became astoundingly clear. I want to be the best me! The BEST ME! I no longer need to follow along with what society says I “should” do. I no longer need to care so much about what others will think of me. I just need to do my best, to be my best and to give my best. NONE of that has ANYTHING to do with the color of my hair.
And so, the decision was made. It is time to go back to my natural color – GRAY!
If you’re curious about what that process is like, stay tuned to this blog. I will write about my journey along the way, and perhaps I will inspire at least ONE of you to be your best as well!
With love, Kelli