rooted in silver
I started going gray a long ago, sometime in my thirties. It was not cool then to sport gray locks. Salt and pepper, maybe. But my gray was a two-inch-wide banner in the middle of my head. I looked like Lily from the Munsters. Lily-like hair on the TV show or today in real life is hipster, but not on my head, not then.
So at the prompting of a friend, I started coloring my hair back to its original color — brunette with tinges of red and blond depending on the season. At first I used hair color, then came henna, and after henna, well...that was the end of the line. “I think it is going to look better than you think!” said my hairdresser referring to the gray coming out of hiding. Years of coloring and I had lost track of exactly how gray I was. “But I am still in my forties!” I shrieked. “Trust me, you're gonna like it!” A friend said, trying to console me.
From that point on, it was all downhill, but in a good way. I slowly came around, not that I had a choice. I had gotten allergic to the dyes including the henna and it was now do or die where hair color was concerned. Eventually the gray became part of my look. Today, gray hair at any age is considered fashionable. Young women are dying their hair gray to look like us older chicks. I think there is a deeper reason behind this, but that is for another post...:)
In the meantime, here are some tips for navigating the gray days and how to come out liking them!
1) Fake it: If you're transitioning from a dark hair dye and you're really a solid gray (or almost solid) underneath, consider a “Lily” strip of gray to frame your face and make “the look” look intentional. Think Jay Leno in reverse with his his former shock of black hair amidst the grays.
2) Get a “drobe”: Change your wardrobe color palette. “Suddenly Silver” calls for different colors in your wardrobe. I used to wear tans and browns till the gray hair took center stage. After that, I turned to jewel tones after being coached at the make-up counter. Colors that are a nice accent to gray: Blues, Purples, Silvers, Black, White, Fuchsia...etc.
3) Paint it: Use colorful lip gloss or lipstick. Gray has a tendency wash out your skin tone, so compensate for the wash-out with pinks. Even if you are not a lipstick girl, there are tons of natural lines out there you may like: Logona, Ecco Bella, or Gabriel Cosmetics are some of my favorites. Still not sold? A pink scarf, glasses, or hat, a bright accent color to frame your face.
4) Sass it up: Sport cool locks. If you're going gray and you want to look hip, no sedate bobs, no split ends, no stringy strands. Instead, think layers, think edgy, think sass. This is not to say your hair has to be short. You can still rock the longer locks, just take good care.
5) Rinse it: Use diluted white vinegar to strip out chemicals and shampoo residue and make your tendrils shine. (Test first on your skin or a strand of hair to be sure you tolerate it.) Yes, there's a whiff of vinegar in the air after you rinse, but it airs out once your hair dries. Almost. My hairdresser used to say I smell like salad dressing: My shampoo is made with assorted oils and my rinse is vinegar!
6) Claim the je ne sais quoi: One of the most pleasant surprises I had on the road to gray was at some point my hair took on a life of its own. It seemed to love the fact there were no chemicals on my head and changed hues slightly to a golden silver instead of gray. Remember, the top of your head is home to your crown chakra, and once uncovered, your true light can shine.
7) And finally…flaunt it. You’ve earned it!