Saturday, March 7, 2009

Who's hair is it anyway?

I’m going gray.

I’m not sure what to do about it.

I never thought these two sentences were worthy of a blog entry but once I started poking around on the subject I realized that To Color Or Not To Color was a big, politically charged issue with far-reaching, philosophical implications.

Consider that the first book that comes up on the subject on Amazon is “Going Gray: What I Learned about Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity, and Everything Else That Really Matters”. And that there are a ton of whole blogs – not just entries – dedicated to this. I even found an article in Time Magazine titled “The War Over Going Gray”.


And I thought it was just about hair color.

I have never dyed my hair (except for a single unfortunate highlighting incident in the mid 80’s which did not seem particularly unfortunate at the time.)

While there are exceptions (and it’s quite possible I might be one of them), I think women who go gray look beautiful. My mother-in-law is a shining example – she has never colored her hair and is gorgeous and classy. And, what about Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada?

Besides liking the look, I feel quite reluctant about spending valuable energy on a battle I already know I will lose.

I was fairly certain the matter of my own hair color was up to me, until my usually only moderately pushy hairstylist was so insistent on “doing something about it”, even after I said several times that I wasn’t ready, that I got up and walked out.

Because, come on. Esthetics aside, shouldn’t it come down to a woman’s right to choose?


Photo: The Devil Wears Prada


elizabeth said...

hmmm, well, for someone who saw her first gray hair at 28, i insist on dying it, but honestly, i had dyed it for fun for the 10 years prior to actually "needing to." plus, i am much more vain that you :) it can look really classy, especially if it goes a lovely shinny silver - but you won't know until it all grows in and i suspect that will take quite a few years from the few grays you have today to see the full effect.

Dushka said...

Elizabeth, I thought of you the whole time I wrote this blog so it's funny that you're the first to comment.

I'm glad I'll have you around to tell me that the shinny silver classy look just isn't happening. :)

Thanks for visiting!

Martha said...

From another long time slave to dark brown hair dye (although remember when I did the gold highlights?) it is a pain in the neck. But I also don't want to remind my office that I'm the oldest one there. However, I think you would look absolutely fab, whether it's salt n pepper or like Miranda/Meryl.

Amit Pradhan said...

So here's a school of thought: What if you thought of 'fixing' your hair like you think of exercising. As metabolism slows one needs to burn more calories to keep the weight off. Could dying your hair not be just the same? *yes, yes Dushka, exercising is more then just vanity...blah blah but you see my point?*
Having said that, we'll all love you just the same :)

Anonymous said...

I say let it ride for the time being. You don't LOOK gray. I never noticed a single gray hair. So maybe you'd like to give yourself a little time before you do anything drastic. Rosa Martin was always gray and looked stunning. And Etta is lovely. So what does it depend on? Your face itself and the age it reveals, color of skin, and eventually personal taste. Some women who are totally gray resort to a bluish rinse. Not great. But most women, sooner or later, end up slaves to the gray edges that rim the face, and turn to a nice (in your case) dark chestnut. Anyway, it's something to think about.

Dushka said...

Here is the plan:
I'm going to let it ride for the time being, CM.
I will have Martha remind me what a pain in the butt it is to dye it.
I'll have Elizabeth provide direct feedback.
And no matter what, I'll ignore whatever advice Amit gives me. :)

Coppelia said...

I had my first gray hairs hen I turned 20. I decided to respect them as a sign of what life has given me (every pain, every joy, every sign of wisdom or uncertainty).

10 years later, I've got a beautiful white/silver streak, just in the front of my head. Whenever I feel like to, I just let it out. I absolutely think it has become a part of my self image.

And at my office, there is a girl who is always saying me: "If I've met you before, I would never have dyed my hair for the first time. I love your grays".

So, I guess it is up to every girl to decide this up to herself. But if you feel like letting them there, feel supported.

Sharon T said...

The difference between the Meryl Streeps of the world and us is that Meryl had light hair to begin with, whereas with dark brunettes, like you and me, the gray STANDS OUT like a fluorescent light bulb. My solution: dye, dye, dye--at least until you have a full head of gray hair and can "go silver," which, by the way, you may never have.

Dushka said...

Coppelia, I would LOVE a white streak in the front of my hair (did you watch X Men?)

Unfortunately, Sharon is right. My gray is not as cool.

I'll let it ride and see what happens.