Tuesday, April 7

I'm going grey

Actually, that revelation is about 7 or so years late.

I started to go grey around my early 30's. Every female on my mother's side has started to go grey before reaching 40.

I used to dye my hair (before the grey years) just because. Then when we were trying for a baby I stopped (the whole chemical thing). I've come to like my greys. I feel that I've earnt each and every one. I joke that each one has it's own story, whatever science might have to say.

I guess it's because I have little feeling towards getting older that I'm so comfortable with greying. I'm so chilled about it that I was rather disappointed to realise that I won't be 40 until next year.

I am so fortunate to be living during an era when being 30+, 40+ and even 50+ is not old for a woman. Many famous women today are not only getting on with things as natural as can be, but are often better for their age. Hmm, wasn't this once just the realm of men? You know, improving with age?

I watched The Women remake (dull & 2 dimensional) the other week and my favourite line came from Annette Bening (turned 50 last year), who is walking through a large store and is approached by a cosmetics sales girl about a free 'facelift'.

"This is my face, deal with it."

I know we are way, way behind getting the same acceptance that men indulge in (heck, they're going backwards), but it's better. I won't lie and say that other women comment on how beautiful are my greys, but I'm living during a time when I'm not made to feel a freak.

My hair has never known coifness, so I won't ever be looking like this...

this is a better indication of my possibilities...

I guess part of the grey wars these days is less about to colour or not to colour, but about 'looking good'. So if the grey is Meryl Streep in Devil Loves Prada style, that is, vibrant and evenly streaked, great, but just plain ol' greyness isn't. Stylish is the key apparently. But what to do when you are more hippie than hip?

I can't really say how I'll feel when I have more grey. Perhaps I'll feel less me, or feel older than I really am, or feel drab. I don't know. But for now. I'm okay with it.

How about you? Going grey? Embracing it, covering it up? Were you treated differently? How do you think you will feel when you find your first grey hair?

"Vogue" Body and Beauty Book, 1977
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  1. I cover up purely because of the years of dying my hair means when I did leave it I had dark/grey on top and reddy brown on the bottom and it looked ridiculous.. and I do miss the vibrant purple I dye my hair normally (although it fades quickly to a deep red).

    I had planned to embrace it and chopped my hair off in an attempt to get rid of the dyed bits; but I don't like it; if it was a nice white/grey then fine but its not yet so a few years more dying for me, me thinks :)


  2. I am much like you, before pregnancy and nursing I explored a rainbow of colors -- I do have some grey and am quite okay with it. I I color again it will be for fun, not to cover up anything!

  3. I must admit, I am sad because I have only a few (relatively speaking) grey hairs. My mother's family all went beautifully silver-grey before they were 30, and I anticipated doing the same. But it appears I take after my father's family. Severe stress a few years ago gave me some greys, but that is all. I had always thought it would be wonderfully witchy to have long, wild silver hair.

  4. Love that pic of the old broad with the cigar! I want to be that kind of old woman when my time comes, or a variation thereof.

    I have a few white hairs (only a tiny amount actually, gained from stress over the past couple of years). I don't think grey hair would suit me actually. And I love colour. It's not an anti-aging thing so much as loving colour. Anyway, the people in my family with hair the same or similar colour to mine end up going a kind of bog-Irish-wishy-washy- sandy-yellow-grey. It's blah. I unfortunately didn't inherit the black-hair-that-turns-silver gene from my maternal grandmother.

    So I imagine getting a bit crazy with the dye as I get older. Or experimenting with coffee grounds and what-not in order to produce my own herbal hues.

    But mostly I think, the older I get, the madder my hats will be.

  5. I've been dyeing my hair for years, not because I'm going grey (if I did I'd probably leave it, cos I quite like it), but because my natural hair colour is a blah-like mousy brown. There is something about the whole haircut thing though. A friend of mine, who's around our age, is completely grey and has embraced it fully, but has kept a fairly frumpy haircut. I wish it didn't matter, but it is comical watching others working out how to address her, particularly when she's dealing with her young son (3). "Now then, little boy, is this your ...um???"

  6. I don't mind the grey one little bit. They feel like tiny pebbles I've picked up along the path. They do each have a story and I wouldn't leave any of them out. Thanks for being good with who you are and where you've been.

  7. I stopped dying my hair after decades of doing it last year. I had been dying it so long I wasn't sure what my natural colour really was anymore, except I knew my roots were grey when they came through. Feb 07 I went to the hairdresser and got my long hair chopped into a very short crop to remove all the dye and start again. I don't plan to ever dye again.

    So, naturally I'm an advocate for going grey naturally! One thing I've really noticed is the condition of my hair, which is now shoulder length, is so much better than when I was dying it. It used to be so frizzy and dry, but now it's quite sleek and smooth - a totally new sensation for me! And I love it. Like most people I have more grey around the front and sides, and I think it looks okay - far better than when I used to dye it.

    One thing to remember is that as you age your skin changes tone aswell, so dyed colours that used to look great can suddenly look too stark and drain your face. I think your skin and hair age together to complement each other, so dye is not necessary for looking healthy. :)

  8. I have noticed more and more whitish/gray hairs. I have never colored or dyed my hair, so I'm not sure what I am going to do in a few years when they come more plentiful. I do not like them. And yes I do have a problem with physically becoming older. Mentally, I am fine. Physically... I don't like it one little bit. I am lucky (knock on wood) that I look younger for my age. Actually, both hubby and I look like we are in our 20s still, even though he will be 40 this year and I next. I like it that way... I want to stay that way. But I notice the grays, the tiny wrinkles, and the stiffness of body that comes much easier these days.

    So... my guess is I will be coloring my hair for the first time soon. Vanity... not really. It's for some other reason deep inside me that I can't really explain. Maybe just a longing for youth.

  9. i love this post! thank you~ i am a big fan of growing old gracefully and plan to enjoy every wrinkle and every gray hair. i have a few of each so far and feel so proud, i also feel like i've earned each bit. i loved that line in "the women" also. i think plastic surgery and other attempts to fight the physical signs of aging are a shame. i hate to think of women hiding or feeling ashamed of what i see as true beauty. and i do feel like they are the marks of a life lived and shouldn't be erased or hidden. have you heard of janine antoni? she had a performance art piece called "loving care" in which she dumped her hair in a bucket of hair dye and mopped the floor with it. this link is about body image and has a photo of that performance piece if you're interested: http://talentdevelop.com/bodyimage2.html

    it reminded me of watching my mother dye her hair when i was little. i always hated watching her do that, a woman who is obsessed with staying young looking, who seems like the women's movement passed her by, who seems obsessed with appearance and wants so much to be seen as beautiful. i wish all women felt beautiful without feeling the need to alter or hide their natural face, hair and body.

  10. I found my first couple gray hairs this year at age (barely) 26. I thought immediately that I was too young. But there they were reminding me that apparently I wasn't.
    I attribute it to mommying a toddler. :)
    Also, that first lady is pretty hot, but the second one has spunk!

  11. I have to admit that I am vain when it comes to my graying hair and wrinkles. I started seeing grays in my early 20's. I have been colouring my hair since my late 20's. Since my hair is so dark it is very noticeable and it makes me feel old. I'm just not ready to give in yet and grow old gracefully. I probabaly spend too much on beauty treatments like getting my nails done regularly and facials etc., but it makes me feel good to look my best. I'll be one of those women who's putting on lipstick and mascara on her way to the delivery room! lol!

  12. Okay that last photo is EXACTLY the attitude I want when I'm 60+ years old. Minus the cigar. ;)

    I found my first grey hair when I was in my early twenties. I pulled it. I had a really hard time with age until I hit 25. 25 hit me really hard or some reason and I spent the entire day in the tub meditating on it, trying to feel better. I ended up with this vision of a rose - a closed up and new bud is beautiful but a fully open bloom is much more fragrant and noticeable and breath-taking. It was such a beautiful revelation for me and changed the way I looked at my age. Now I just don't care. I can see myself having dreads for a long time and I have no intention of trying to dye those! LOL But having dreads has helped me let go of the ways I think I "should" look too. Such a non-issue for me.


  13. Young grey is soo pretty, most young women I know have beautiful silvery moon grey. I think I will keep my natural grey as I'm sure it'll match my blue eyes (^_^) lol.
    Anyway, thanks for your comment! Being a visual learner, I had a quick look on Utube for pasta making and found this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riw7JI5EUZg.
    Although this is more complex than what I did.
    By mistake, I ended up doing 2 metric cups of flour and 3 eggs. And it worked just fine. Although first batch I made with organic stoneground flour and that I would not recommend. Highgrade white supermarket flour worked the best. I used a blender and pulsed until flour/egg mix resembled breadcrumbs, then took out and kneaded for a minute? And it was ready to use straight away! Although I would recommend putting stuff you don't use in the fridge. I was amazed with how well it worked and it was sooo simple! Next time I will make my own tagliatelle or use a different tool to cut out the ravioli pockets. It's so much fun making your own pasta. And nothing beats restaraunt quality at home :)

  14. Peh! I'm going grey and up until this year it's not been noticeable enough for me to bother dying it. Having a little anklebiter put paid to that and I have aged noticeably since then. Now the greys are getting quite bold and waving their curvy, steely bodies about for all to see. Now the dying has begun. Fortunately, the women in our family do go white as opposed to grey. My grandmother had waist length white hair at one point (until she cut it all off for the money) and my mum has white hair too. So - I'm not too fussed over all. I just don't want to look 50 at 40 if I don't have to. When i do go white I'm going to put on the purple rinses and show my arse to the parson.

  15. Awesome! Thanks for saying what so much of us want to.
    I'm starting to get a couple greys and in my early 40's, I guess I'm pretty lucky genetically.
    That said, "this is my face, deal with it".
    lol - love that!

  16. Hey everyone,sSo great to read your own take on this.
    It's so so difficult to not succumb to social pressure of 'looking good' and looking young. I'm glad to hear that their are some women out there willing to embrace looking older.

    I wish more women were comfortable with their age.
    Three other women friends who will be 40 next year with me do NOT share my enthusiasm! lol

  17. love the post and comments...I'm not going gray but plenty of wrinkles...which was acutely acknowledged for me the last time I got a haircut and the stylist (a friend of a friend) offered to refer me to her botox practitioner!! this is LA after all...I politely declined which by the look on her face she thought was a very bad move...
    one of my favorite poems is Jenny Joseph's When I am Old I Shall Wear Purple, here's a link if you don't have: http://www.aztriad.com/pathmark/purple_poem.html

  18. You might like this article:


    I found it a while ago when I was contemplating embracing the grey and it was really inspiring to me. I love the description "moon hairs" and it's true, we earn every single one. :)

  19. Sorry for the serial posting - there is also a really good site here:


  20. Lisa - have always loved that poem, thanks for the reminder! It definitely must be more difficult living in such an image-conscious place as LA.

    Thanks for the links Debs. Moon hairs is a wonderful term.

  21. I have lots of grey hairs in my dark brown hair and no plan to dye them. I don't like to dye my hair anyway because I get roots too fast and it's long so it takes a lot of dye and...well, really I just can't be bothered. My dad was already mostly grey when I was born. My mom has dyed her (naturally dark brown) hair light blond since I was a kid, so I have no idea of the state of her greyness!

    I have a hard time remembering how old I am (and it's not hard -- I was born in 1970 so the math is really easy!) and really don't care!

  22. Anthromama - another 1970 girl! woohoo lol

  23. Oh yes sounds like we are both at the same age and stage....It has been many many years since I found my first grey hair however....I am still learning to love my greys and as I choose not to colour for chemical reasons also it is an ongoing process. I am *starting* to feel that my greys are just a part of my signature and it will get easier because I feel as I age I am more assured and comfortable with *me*. Besides I think I notice them more so than anyone else.

  24. I have just this year stopped coloring my hair. I will be 41 in July and I don't have a lot of grey, just a fashionable streak in the front, ala Rouge of XMen. lol I am ebracing my grey and not having the vanity issues of my past. The authenticity has been so freeing and I am glad that I am doing it. Great post! Blessings.

  25. Hello. Funny...I was just looking at all the dark haired beauties around me now that I live in Mexico and wondering about my natural silver hair which I have sported for over 12 years. Let me tell you that I let it go slowly when it was not fashionable to do so...let's say about 1996. I have nothing but compliments and particularly from men. My hair is white in parts at the front and silver with still a bit of darker hair in the middle back and I wear it long...shoulder length or longer. I just figured out a way to wear the Audrey Hepburn updo and cut myself some little teeny bangs. My love of over 5 years who is, incidentally, 18 years my junior, was attracted to me when I was 50 because of my 'mature beauty' :) So, enough said. I have always said...'if it is sexy or sophisticated or smart looking..for a man, then it is for a woman too'. I am over the things I was experiencing here because I actually stand out even more with my blue eyes and silver hair. That is why people stare at me here in Mexico where I live full time now. I am soon to be 56 and loving it. The Five Tibetans exercises, Facial Fitness and natural silver hair are working for me. Thanks for your post and be beautiful in your natural hair. Nature knows best what flatters us..that's what I believe.


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