Monday, November 14, 2011

Gray and playing the field

A few years ago, silver and sassy
I found my first gray when I was 25. But I didn't start coloring until I was in my 30s. My friend, LaDonna, told me I wouldn't look so tired if I ditched the gray. I was resistant, but she convinced me to let her color my hair near black--the color she said most closely matched my natural color. When she was done, I looked at myself in the mirror. My hair was exactly the color of black shoe polish. I was a 35-year-old female Elvis.

I tried again, this time choosing a lighter shade. Not so bad, even though I looked like I had a dark hair helmet. I continued to use a box until I was in my 40s. It started getting tedious the more gray I got. I was curious to how gray I actually was. My hair stylist peered at my roots and told me I was at 50 percent. It sounded like a particular stage of a terminal disease.

Eventually my curiosity won out. Amber encouraged me to go sans color. She said the silver coming in around my temples made me look cool and chic.  Growing it out was the worst...mousy and skunky at the same time. It took months before it was long enough to cut off the remaining colored ends.

I got a Jamie Lee Curtis-inspired cut. I liked it. A lot actually. My hair kind of had a marbled effect of blended silver, white and gray. My family liked it too. Although it took my husband awhile to get used to his seven-years-younger wife being gray, he at least tolerated it.

I also got mostly favorable reviews from friends and co-workers. But one comment I heard consistently was, "You look great gray, but I could never do it. I'd look too old."

Hmmm. I realized that every woman I knew under the age of 70, colors her hair (with the exception of my sister-in-law, Karin, who sports a beautiful shock of snow white). With everyone coloring until they are in their 70s or 80s, it's no wonder gray means you are really, really old. No longer sexy.

The reverse is true with men. Men are considered sophisticated when they are gray, and some are downright hot. Think George Clooney, Richard Gere, Anderson Cooper.  Not cool is a guy who does color his hair. He ends up looking silly and self-absorbed.

I tried to get other women to convert to my Silver Sisterhood. I even wrote an essay entitled "On Going Gray," and e-mailed it to all my friends (this was before I started blogging). No one was brave enough to convert except for one co-worker in her 60s. She was a burgundy. She looked younger when she finally went au naturale. She said I was a traitor when I colored again.

I stuck by my silver stance for a few years.  But after I lost weight, I wanted to celebrate with a new do. This time I went to a professional who gave me an overall caramel color with blond highlights. Much better than my out-of-a-box furniture stain color.

Now I can go either way. I liked the gray. And, I like being blond. But I feel like I'm kind of edgy when I don't color. So there. I'm not fickle. I just want to play the field.

Gray can be sexy. Take a look at some of the silver celebs. Gray doesn't necessarily mean frumpy.

Ladies, I dare you to cross over to the other side. I'll be silver and sassy with you. Who knows? Maybe we can start a trend.  I'll even reinstate The Silver Sisterhood.


  1. Jacci, you're da bomb!

  2. What color are you right now, Miss LaDonna? :)

  3. I'm gray and earned every one of those hairs so I am going to wear them proudly. Don't plan to color now or ever.

  4. Love this :) I think gray look fabulous on you!

  5. Thank you, Pippa :) Pretty nice compliment from someone who does hair!