I’m Ready to Go Gray

Or to at least give gray a chance

Woman with brown hair, smiling
My “before gray” selfie

I seriously considered going gray three years ago during the lockdown. After much soul-searching and extensive consultation with family and friends, I realized it wasn’t time. It felt like an identity change I wasn’t ready for.

Well folks, this time around, I’m ready…. to at least try it out. April 2, 2023, then, might go down in the history of my little life as the last time I colored my hair, the before and after marker.

This is not a step I’m taking lightly. On the contrary, I’ve pondered my why to death, which is kind of embarrassing. What with all of life’s important decisions, my hair color is pretty irrelevant. Plus considering all the meaningful events (good and bad) happening all over the world, who TF cares about my hair?

Still, I thought I’d share my reasons for going gray. Who knows whom I might distract from their worries or sway in the gray direction?

1. I might look great with silver hair.

I’ve obsessively been looking at transitioning to gray reels on Instagram for many months. The messages boil down to these four: 

  1. I absolutely love it
  2. I should’ve done it sooner.
  3. I will never look back.
  4. My hair hasn’t been this healthy in years.

True, half the ladies inspiring us to embrace gray appear to be thirty and look like models. In fact, a few are models. Instagram having over 2 billion monthly active users, though, I’ve found enough women over 50 who look amazing.

In any event, I might at least look no worse than I do now. That will be enough for me to not go back.

To be clear, I’m not going gray because I don’t care about looks or because I’m letting myself go. 

I want to look good, preferably younger than my age. I constantly monitor my wrinkles, folds, spots, creases, flaps, and balding. I don’t want my spine to compress such that I shrink and my torso loses its curves and I look like a square with thin extremities.

Yep, I care inordinately about how I look.

2. I like gray and silver hair, at least in other women.

Beyond the ladies of Instagram, I also approve of how the gray looks in women my age that I know personally, my sister Lole and coworker V being my top role models when it comes to going natural. By women my age, I mean 50, give or take eight years. 

Then there’s my BFF Camila’s late mother and my aunt Francesca, who never embarked on the coloring process, and whom I always thought stylish and regal. Plus, at 80, they had healthier hair than other women their age.

3. I will save myself some money and time.

At 120 dollars a month, which is what one salon visit plus one home diy coloring amounts to, I figure I’ll save myself roughly $43,200 if I were to continue coloring my hair for 30 more years. Plus, if I were to deposit the $120 each month in an investment account at, say, 4% compound interest, I’d have $83,000 by the time I’m 83!

If I don’t save the money, perhaps I’ll eat out more, get more Botox, or donate more to worthy causes. Anyhow, I’m excited to put that money to good (or at least different) use. 

As to time, I devote three hours monthly to gray coverage. All told I’ll have 1,080 hours to allocate to other endeavors over the next 30 years. I could exercise, write, and volunteer more, take up pickleball, or watch more series on Netflix.

4. I dislike the coloring process.

There’s so much stuff one must do to look and feel younger. Some of it I quite enjoy, like working out and eating healthy. Then there’s getting Botox twice a year. It gives me immense delight to note how my forehead relaxes and the wrinkles between my eyes smooth out three weeks later.

I also don’t dislike using my retainers and applying sunscreen.

As to getting my roots done, not only do I hate the process but I find the outcome minimally satisfying. It would be a relief to no longer have to go through it.

5. I can’t stand the roots.

“If you hate your roots so much, why would you want all your hair gray?” I can hear you ask. Well, I detest them because I spend a good deal of time and money every month to conceal them for all of one week, after which they show again. This means I can only tie my hair up in a ponytail seven successive days a month, seeing as once the roots show I have to part my hair in the middle and spray on a root concealer along the part. There’s no good way to conceal the hairline gray.

There has to be a better way. Maybe going natural’s the better way. 

6. It will be an exercise in patience and non-attachment.

The grow-out phase will be awful. I’ll feel ugly and get discouraging comments and glances along the way. Seeing as I’m a person who cares what others think and who’s attached to her identity as a 53-year-old woman who looks OK for her age (or so she’s been told), I’ll need to swallow hard and work on my sense of self-validation. 

7. If I hate it, I can go back to making appointments, coloring my roots, never being satisfied with how my hair looks, spending $120 a month at the salon, etc.

But it would be so wonderful if that’s not the case, and I’ll never know unless I give gray a chance.

Follow my gray hair journey on my Instagram account: @publicponder

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