Changing Appearance: My Experience

Last February I had my hair cut and colored as I’ve had done for the last ten years. My natural hair color is a dark brunette. When I was younger, my hair was almost black it was so dark.

Over the years, I’ve run the gamet from having a friend color (she was a hairstylist), to coloring myself (not ever good or obtaining professional results), to making routine appointments with my stylist for a cut and color. This last option worked best because it never let my hair get too out of hand. Although, there were times that you could definitely see I was coloring due to the white strip that developed along my side part. I have lots and lots of thick, course hair and my current stylist did a great job of making sure my grays were covered.

Then, in March of last year, the pandemic hit. My stylist had to shut the doors to her salon for a while, as did other small business owners. By the time she reopened, I needed a cut. But, I had made my mind up to go gray. After some debate about how to let my hair go gray and still have it look nice as well as some cautionary tales about how long it would take (1-2 years), I decided I was going to take a chance, make a change and go gray. I am in my mid-50s. I had become tired of the coloring of my hair that was occurring closer and closer together in order to cover my grays.

After I was able to go back to my stylist when businesses were allowed to open, I took her advice and had some highlights added to help blend where I was gray and where I still had colored. It looked fine but the highlighting process made my hair extremely dry. I’ve always had shiny, soft, healthy appearing hair and this dryness was something I found I could not stand!

So, then came a product search to hydrate my hair. I found a few shampoos and conditioners that helped. Specifically, the line of Loreal “Purple” products sold in places like Target and Walmart.

Several months passed, just getting hair cuts when needed to keep my hair in good shape. I won’t lie and tell you that I didn’t ever consider reneging on decision to “go gray” as there were days that I felt “two toned.” Well meaning friends suggested low-lights which I totally did not understand once I looked into what they were. My head said, now wait a minute – you naturally have dark hair which you highlighted and now you’re being advised to add color back into your hair to darken it again?! No. This was not a logical option for me. And, after discussion with my stylist, she agreed. Last August, I opted for one more application of highlights, figuring I now had some understanding of the need for moisturizing highlighted hair.

And, that was the LAST application of any product to change my hair color!

Today, my hair is almost all natural with just the ends having the some lasting effect of the highlighting. I am lucky that my hair seems to be coming in a nice salt and pepper gray. The grayish – white strands seem evenly dispersed and I’m starting to feel elegant with my new “natural” appearance.

Lately, several of my friends have commented on my hair as we are now able to see each other again socially. I think there has been some shock especially by those who haven’t seen me since early 2020 or late 2019, but overall I’ve received many recent compliments!

It is scary to make a change in one’s appearance. But, I took a chance during the social distancing of the pandemic to implement a change in mine. And, I’m glad I did.

Here’s to going gray!

White Sands National Park in February 2020 just after last all over hair color application.
Sixteen months later in my home office. Almost completely converted to natural color by going gray!

Today is Slice of Life Tuesday. Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for offering this supportive space for an online writing community!

3 thoughts

  1. I”ve been doing something similar! I wanted to grow my hair longer but hated the in-between lengths. With my stylist close so much this past year I had no choice but to let it grow. Now I”m happy with the length. I had also decided not to colour in more, but I’m only about 99% committed to that. 🙂 I had highlights put in in August 2020 and nothing since. I think I would regret if I added colour again, but I do not love having so much gray!

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  2. It looks great and must be so freeing! I’ve also switched my hair lately. I’ve always highlighted it blonde, but am letting the natural dark color come in to stay. It’s taking some getting used to, but I think going natural looks best on us! Thanks for including pictures!

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  3. I, for one, think you look AMAZING in gray. (Although let’s be real. Whichever hair color you are the smile is my favorite part.) The way I see it, you earned each and every one of those gray hairs. Enjoy ’em!

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