A few months ago my daughter asked me “mom why is your hair so stripy?” I was a few weeks past due for a color and my roots did in fact look stripy. I chuckled at her description of my roots and explained to her that I needed to color my hair and she said “why? I like it stripy.”
A few years back, I too had liked my hair stripy and embraced my gray hair. We had just started our adoption process and were planning a big kayaking trip to Belize as our last big trip before baby. At that time I had decided that I did not want to mess with coloring and “doing” my hair any more. It made sense for the trip and having a baby at home not to have high maintenance hair. So I let the roots grow and chopped off all the color.
Then I turned 40 and I don’t know what it was about this specific birthday, but for the first time in my life, I was aware of my age. Maybe it was chasing a toddler and being sleep deprived, but I felt old and when I looked in the mirror and saw lots of gray hair on my head it made me feel even older. So I started to color again.
It has been almost 2 years and after blogging about my daughter’s naturally curly hair, I started to think about my own hair. I want to be a good role model for my daughter and I want her to embrace her curls and wish that she never has the urge to put harsh chemicals in her hair to make her hair do something that it was not meant to do. Yet, here I was putting chemicals in my hair and manipulating my hair to do something it was not supposed to do. I also started to think about the time, energy and money I spent to maintain my fake dark hair. My gray hair was becoming very resistant to color and was in need of a touch up color every 2-3 weeks. My hair routine was becoming a nuisance. So I once again made the decision to go gray and chop all the color off.
Having gone through this process a couple of times, I wanted to pass along some tips to those who may be considering it.
- Go bold – Allow enough of the roots to grow to have a decent short haircut and cut off all the color. This by far is the easiest and fastest way of going natural. But it is also the boldest as you will look completely different and it will take a bit of an adjustment for you, family and friends to get used to the new you.
- Transition using color – I have friends who opted for this method by coloring their hair lighter and using highlights and low lights and trimming the color off gradually. This process allows you to keep your hair longer if that is a style that you are accustomed to. I recommend getting the help of a professional if you choose this method.
- Do nothing (cold turkey) – I know several people who stopped coloring their hair and did not cut off the dyed section. This process will be the most noticeable and the most time consuming as you will live with a growth line until you have slowly trimmed all the color away.
- Embrace support you will get from family and friends and ignore negative comments – Not everyone will love your new look and you may get negative, weird and awkward comments. I am very lucky to have a very supportive family. My husband loves my hair natural and even though it took my daughter a minute to react to my new haircut, she loves my new look. I have gotten a few negative comments both about having short hair and having gone gray. I ignore those since I love my new hair and the freedom it has given me.
- Consider that you may have to make changes to the colors of your clothing and makeup. Personally so far the only change I have made is wearing slightly darker lipstick. I may have to pay more attention to the colors of my clothes in the winter as the lack of sun may wash out my face with my natural gray hair.
This process has taught me to be proud of my natural hair and that the color of my hair does not define me! I feel beautiful, young and sexy regardless of the color or style of my hair. I hope that this transition will help my daughter be proud of who she is and embrace her naturally curly hair.