Some time ago I published an article, 3 questions about aging that you shouldn’t have time for. One of them was, “Should I dye my gray hair?”
The articles keep coming, on Medium and elsewhere. They go like this:
“My hair went gray.
“People treated me differently.
“I wondered whether to color my hair…on my own or with a colorist.
“I decided I wanted to go natural.
“My hair turned out to be a glorious bright white, like the late Barbara Bush’s trademark. Or a lovely silver.
“I’m happy with the results. It feels like me.”
We don’t need any more articles like this. The point has been made.
For one thing, not everybody has beautiful silver or white hair.
When I googled “dye your hair to cover the gray,” a zillion articles popped up. One article featured a series of women who decided to “go grey.” They’re gorgeous. Their hair looks good against their skin tones. It’s white or silver. It’s straight or curly in a good way. Not a frizz in sight.
The truth is, gray hair grows out differently on different people. It can look glamorous. It can look like you’ve been locked up for 40 years. It can be smooth and silky or unstoppable frizzy.
It’s also true that gray hair is associated with growing older, even though premature gray starts as early as thirty for some people. Nothing’s going to change that.
And it’s true that ageism exists everywhere.
I’d prefer to call out the ageism rather than spend time worrying about the hair.
It’s your decision. Can you afford a good colorist?
If you’ve chosen to retire to a remote location or even a small town, good luck finding a colorist.
Can you DIY your color? It’s not that easy. You could look like Morticia…which might be better or worse than your natural color.
How do you feel when you look in the mirror?
That’s all that matters, whether you’re 25 or 95. If your hair doesn’t match the image you want to project, and you can afford a colorist, you get color.
If not, you leave your hair alone.
Talking about hair color is like talking about “aches and pains as you get older.” The conversation reinforces stereotypes as much as the color.
I want to say, “Get a life.” And when you reach a point where the option to enjoy life no longer exists, let’s hope you have access to choices that fit with your values. Write to your legislators.
I wrote about this in my book. I explained that I work out a lot. I work hard for a solid body. I work so I’ll be able to bend over, get up from chairs and even sit on the floor and get up again.
An orthopedic surgeon told me, “You reduce the risk of hip fractures when you work your gluten.”
In other words, forget the hair. Develop buns of steel. So in my book, I talk about how I identify with my butt more than my face. My butt ways “30.” My face says, “Never mind..”
I gave a copy to my highly skilled, highly paid colorist. She loved it.