Saturday, June 28, 2008

Boldly Going Where I Haven't Gone Before


There is something I do that I dislike more than anything else. I spend a FORTUNE on my hair. I don't do it because I want to, more often than not, I feel I need to. This is because I have very stubborn gray hair. Hair that takes an hour to process in order to get 3 weeks of coverage out of it (if I'm lucky.)

Because of this, I've pretty much stuck with blond. I have a darker base and blond highlights. When my gray grows in, the blond hides it for awhile. The damage that years of processing have caused are great. My hair is not very healthy looking though I can smooth a lot of that over with products. Beneath that product, my hair is frazzy: fragile and frizzy.

I am reluctant to tell you the cost of this maintenance. It's frivolous spending at it's best and all because I think I'm too young to be so gray. Who tells us this? Why do we feel so compelled to look so youthful? What in the world is wrong with looking my age? I know that with my back problems, I feel older than 51. What's wrong with looking 51?

There is another aspect to the finances of hair color that annoy me. While I'm sitting in the stylist's chair, I'm acutely aware that he or she is making twice the amount of money that I do. No offense to any stylists out there, but do you really need to charge what you do? During these rough economic times, salons have not dropped their fees at all. Why should they? "They" have us feeling that if we don't keep this up, we'll be old and haggard looking. When I went to the salon yesterday to complete step 2 of my boldly going places project, there was not a single empty chair in this hip establishment. Not one. The only people getting just a haircut were me and the men. Everyone else had some sort of color concoction on their heads.

So, there you have the why of it. The how of it all has been a long time coming. For the past two years, I've let my hair grow. It was super short (think Sharon Stone short) and very blond. In two years, it got just past my chin. This mop was curly enough that I could diffuse it and hide the gray that is at the root. This allowed me to ignore my color issues for 6 weeks instead of the 3 I was used to. Since December though, I've been thinking it's time. Time to stop this. That was about the time I read Oprah's October magazine issue about gray. Jamie Lee Curtis was also making the talk show rounds and sporting her short gray hair. These two things were liberating events for me. I had my last run in with a colorist in March and had now acquired close to 2 inches of gray growth at the top. Yesterday, I let Tiffany have at it. It's all gone. Hair. Blond. Gone. The only things that aren't gone are my self esteem and the money in my bank account.




18 comments:

Sassafrass said...

Delurking to say GOOD FOR YOU. And if you'd be willing, we'd love to see a photo.

Rudee said...

Thanks. And maybe in respect to the photo. I wish I'd done a before and after shot.

Rose said...

I agree, good for you! It's such a sticky issue; if we do things for ourselves for the right reasons it's great; but if we're doing stuff to merely respond to others' opinions, then it's bad. And it's not always easy to isolate the intent. If you look half as good as Jamie Lee,(and I'm sure you do) it must look awesome!

Bonnie said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving me a comment about gray hair. Then of course I get to your blog and you had blogged about basically the same thing. I just read an article about Jamie Lee Curtis in AARP. She is a great advocate for older women. I wish now that I had cut some of the blond out of my hair while it was mostly gray. Now I'll have to go through that whole process again. I am not ready to give up the long hair yet (even though I've had it short in the past and loved it). Thanks for the words of encouragement.

Lacy said...

I've been told that I'm odd. Odd because I love gray hair! There I've said it. I LOVE GRAY HAIR. It has such a sparkle and it's so individual to each person. Be proud of it and get a nice cut to show it off. Take the worry out of having to hide it. My husband Michael has the such pretty gray hair and a beautiful gray beard. He reminds me of Ernest Hemingway. I too say GOOD FOR YOU!!!

Rudee said...

You know Lacy, I like gray hair on others too. It wasn't so much the gray as the process of getting there. It doesn't exactly blend in with hair color but more, it grows out like a big racing stripe. So, I did cut it all off and was hugely surprised. Unless you look closely, it looks like I just had my hair highlighted. It's super short and very cute. I'm loving it!

Rudee said...

Thanks Bonnie. Good luck with yours!

Rudee said...

I agree with you Rose. It is a sticky issue, but suddenly, at my age, I'm feeling rather liberated from all that others think I should be. I like that a lot.

laurie said...

good for you!

my mother colored her hair for years (and before i go any farther, i am not implying that you and my mother are in any way equal; you are my age, not hers). her reason was that it made my father feel old to look at her and see gray.

now that he's gone, she has let her hair go natural. it is perfectly white. and it's really, really beautiful. her eyes have never looked so blue.

Rudee said...

You know Laurie, I like it a lot. My brothers are both gray and I think they look great. My mother was in her 60s before she stopped. She looked good too.

Brenda said...

Glad you posted this. I can't believe the timing of it though, because 2 weeks ago I finally went in for a hair cut and have had my hair every color imaginable over the years. I have gray all on one side, so talk about a problem. I HATE it, and no one else (family) thinks its a big deal. But it is to ME. I really hate having my picture taken because I think I look like a nut with that gray on one side deal going on. Anyway, the hair salon said the only way around it was to dye it dark and put blond highlights in it, which sounds like what you have been doing. So now you have to show a picture of it...I would really like to see it. Ageing in general doesn't bother me, but I am glad I don't have the money to have plastic surgery. I haven't seen all that many that look very good. Great subject to post about!

Rudee said...

Brenda, when I first started going gray, I had a white spot right in the front where I have a colic. Not only did this spot curl like crazy, it also made me striped. It's always been the most stubborn spot to grow, cut and color.

You do have a problem if you are gray on only one side of your head, but then you can make a fashion statement nobody else can!

My sister emailed me yesterday to tell me she was going to do the same thing to her hair that I did to mine.

When the last of the blond is gone, I'll post a picture. Maybe 6 weeks or so.

Amy said...

Excellent! I stopped coloring two years ago because I realized that money could be used for other things (like yarn!) and because I realized I really didn't care anymore. I'm fine with being gray. I'm fine with the age I am.

Rudee said...

Two excellent points Amy. In fact, I did buy 2 skeins of Noro and one of Jitterbug on Saturday-right after leaving the salon!

lil' kim said...

You always look so cute. I can't wait to see your new hair.

Rudee said...

thank you kim. I'll call you Wed. with update on our colleague.

Mary Alice said...

Bravo. I am working up the courage. I have been observing women lately....those that continue to dye and those that are boldly gray. I have noticed that the boldly gray women (at least in my area) seem to be in shape and have this air of satisfaction...if not liberation...about them, read and seem intelligent, engaged, interested and interesting. I think the times are achangin' and we women can finally embrace age unembarrassed.

Rudee said...

Are you Mary Alice, writer of the lychee martini comment? I must have a recipe!

I love my hair although I'm surprised I miss the length. Once all the blond left on top (about an inch or so) is cut off by summer's end, I'll let it grow again. Since I've done this, I've seen women proudly (or indifferently) sporting gray hair everywhere. You're right, they are confident and have a certain air about them.

Thanks for visiting-and please share that martini recipe.