Tuesday, September 12, 2023

The Goodness of Gray-ness

When I made the decision to quit coloring my gray hair back in my fifties, I thought I was on the cutting (or coloring) edge. But funny thing, once my hair was grown out to its full, natural gray, I looked around and discovered I wasn’t quite the rebel I thought I was.

Maybe I found myself in a lot of good company because at the time I decided to embrace the gray, other baby boomer women were also maturing, at least as far as hair follicles are concerned. There were a lot of us, and our number was rapidly increasing.

For this large demographic group, I think part of the decision to go gray was because this generation of women was the first to liberate itself in so many ways. Remember bra-burning and birth control pills? No strangers to freedom, this aging population was now ready to embrace freedom from the time- and money-draining drudgery of hair-coloring.

Whatever their reason for doing so, women who embraced their “natural frost,” suddenly started standing out to me. Whenever we passed in public, I felt compelled to give them some kind of secret sign, acknowledging our camaraderie. After all, we were part of a sisterhood that knew the goodness of going gray. 

Occasionally I consider reverting to my darker hair color. These moments of weakness occur mainly when I see myself in photos, where basically all I see is my “glowing” hair. I guess I could claim that glow was my halo, but I doubt I could get away with that. Those reconsiderations are rare and fleeting, however. When I really think about it, a good picture isn’t worth all the time, expense, and hassle of a dye job. 

I’m further encouraged to stay gray when I observe the beautiful women who have made the same choice. In my exercise classes, I often look around and admire the “fifty shades” of gray appearing there—shades ranging from platinum to salt-and-pepper to steely silver. With a good cut and quality hair-care products, gray can be every bit as lovely as blond, brunette, auburn, purple, pink … In my humble opinion, any color that is shiny, healthy, and well-maintained can be an asset to a woman’s appearance. 

Three of the many beautiful shades of
gray in my exercise class.

These days, the over-fifty, sixty, seventy? woman who decides to go gray doesn’t have to resort to the short, permed, blue-tinted hairstyle of her grandmother. Wearing her "crown" of silver, she can hold her head high and know that she is in the company of many very regal—and liberated—women.