The Gray Factor

Or I could have titled this:

The White Factor
The Silver Factor
The Salt and Pepper Factor (not to be confused with the musical group Salt n’ Pepper from the 80s)

Either way there is no way around it – it is all about the same thing….  CHANGE.

When I was little, I was the little Irish girl who had the dark curly black hair with the pale white skin.  My lucky daughter Lulu inherited my coloring.

It was about 1985 when I remember pulling my first few grays: one during cheer leading practice, one during a sleepover, one during history class.  Yes, I was 17 years old.

When I was about 22 my hairdresser told me – it was probably time to consider hair color.  Just to blend them in.  But one thing was clear at this point – they were WHITE.  And stood out against my dark hair.

I know that I did not color my hair during my pregnancies (because I was told not to) and I know I went back to color soon after.  As the girls aged – so did I.

I am thinking it was about 5 years ago that I started skipping summers.  Why spend the money when I would not be seeing people.  I was pre-scheduling my color appt. for the first day of school.   And each year it got harder and harder to cover the white after the break.  I should also mention that my eyebrows and arm hair have also gone mostly ‘white’.  I also have this weird problem where the ENDS of my hair are whiter than my roots.  I am sure this is from my refusal to use permanent color as I only use Demi Permanent.

Pictures from that era:


Fast forward to my 43rd year.

July 2, 2011 I had my last demi color.  Family was coming into town and I wanted to look my best.  But for some reason when I left that appt. I did not feel my best.  I felt like I was covering up the real me.  I don’t know why it was THIS visit I felt this way but I did.  My little voice in side said ‘I think it’s time’.

SO I came home and attacked this like I do anything else – I researched.  I read books, read websites, talked to  people.  I would stop people in the stores to tell them how beautiful I found their white hair. People would tell me ‘you are too young’ but I simply was craving the change.  I feel it was meant to be.

I stopped coloring after that appt.  In fact, the hardest thing I ever did was tell my stylist ‘no more’.  That meant it was happening.

SO here I am posting – 2 months into no color for the first time in 22 years:

And here at 3 months:

I have some observations to share:

  • I had no idea how light my hair had become with color.  With the regrowth I see my natural dark hair color that I missed.  My ‘coloring’ seems back to normal.
  • I am no longer obsessed with ‘color’ preserving products
  • My girls begged me not to do this.  Yet oddly they have not commented since I started.  
  • I have CRAZY white ends of my hair.
  • I do need to have my hair ‘deep conditioned’ as those curly whites have a mind of their own some days.
  • Right now a pony tail is NOT my best friend.
  • People look at my hair when they are talking to me – but they do not ask or say anything LOL
  • I think I look my age (whether that is good or bad is up to those looking at me) and I feel confident.  
  • I kind of like it!

I had secretly hoped to be one of those ‘streaky’ or ‘chunky’ or it all looks like ‘highlights’ kind of girls.  You know- cool white hair (oxymoron?).  But alas, it is a pretty steady Salt and Pepper (my Mom’s words).  Nothing to be excited or complain about but my temples do seem to be a pretty solid white.  I would kill for that silky straight white hair however, I embraced my curls years ago.


And, WHITE is the color I would use to describe it.  Sometimes it it glitters like silver.

The next step in the process is to decide if I cut it shorter eventually.  I am more worried about needing to cut it to help with the grow out line than I am making this change.  I just do not know if I can do it but you will be the first to know!!!

YUP that is a LOT OF WHITE!!!  Close up of my ‘ends’

One year ago with fresh color but those crazy ends are still white!

NOTE:  I view this as a ‘let’s see what it looks like experiment.  I reserve the right to go back on my words at any time and change my plans.  Yes, I could change my mind!

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