Does She or Doesn’t She?

After months of debating, with myself and others, I have finally taken the big plunge. I tossed the hair color out the proverbial window and, listening to my instincts, I am determined to go grey! Absolutely, you read right. I am going grey and will enjoy the ride.

We all remember the television ads from the 1960s: does she or doesn’t she? Coloring one’s hair was a matter of appearing as natural as possible, never admitting to it and continue doing for as long as one lived. Most every woman of a certain age did and pretended not to. Who did those ladies believe they were kidding? Until what age does one’s hair stay a youthful shade? Apparently, they thought it was a forever thing!

Now, there has always been women that colored their hair. Egyptians were the first to used hair color: a rich reddish tone achieved with henna. In Ancient Greece, hair color was very popular. Noblewomen tinted their hair red, middle class women colored their hair blonde, and poor women colored it black. Roman matrons used anything from henna to saffron to beechwood ashes. It was never an easy process and there were many mishaps, burned scalps and such. In the Middle Ages, hair color was widely used and women kept their recipes a secret. I seem to recall reading about Lucrezia Borgia’s hair coloring recipe: dried dregs of white wine with olive oil combed through the hair then sitting in the sun until it dried. It was supposed to give you beautiful golden tresses and awful headaches! Through the ages women have used cinnamon, as well as lemon juice, chamomile and marigold.

So, the fact that women today dye their hair in every color and shade is a long and very cherished tradition. I have been doing it for years. At times, I didn’t remember what color I started with! We will not go into the different stages, suffice to say that when we moved to Miami ten year ago, I decided to go blonde. Not the kind you achieve with a lengthy hair salon process of highlights and lowlights and all that mess. Slowly, I became a blonde, of course I had help once in a while from professionals, but mostly I did it myself. I applied a lighter shade every time my roots showed and kept my hair rather short. Went to the pool and let the sun help the process. It worked and I loved it!

Being blonde did not come without the usual mistakes, the shade was not always the same, too light or not light enough. I figured this happens with any color and to everyone. As for having more fun, that is a matter of opinion. Overall, I enjoyed the attention….until everyone accepted the fact!

With everything we do, every change we make in our appearance, we can hit a plateau. I got tired of the coloring, the retouch every couple of weeks. Then my hair started to fall. All sorts of tests were ordered. My endocrinologist was sure it was my thyroid (it was!!!) and I was put on medication. The hair continued to fall, it was thinner and thinner. I was not very happy. A decision had to be made since my hair fell even more on the day I colored it. Hairstylists tell you that is not supposed to happen…whatever. I knew what I saw every time I touched up those roots. It was time for another change.

I tried a couple of times, but gave in to my husband and daughter’s reasoning: “you are too young to go grey/gray”, “why are you going to do during all the time it would take to grow the color out?” and so on and on. This time I was determined. About six weeks ago, September 2nd, I colored my hair for the last time.

I was traveling to Panama to see my mother and, why not?…I was not going to be socializing for three weeks. Perfect. While there, I had very light highlights done. One of my sisters loved it and said it looked great. I could pull it off, she said. The other one is waiting for results. Neither one of them will join me in this experiment!

IMG_0869I am doing fine, so far. Have not had an urge to dye my hair….yet, but every time I go to the beauty salon everyone tries to convince me. Most of my friends have not seen me, but the ones that have are mostly supportive (they would not do it themselves, though!). They cannot understand why I am doing it….but I know. It was time to toss that bottle and listen to my inner grey panther. I will go grey without letting myself go. After all, look at Helen Mirren and Christine Lagarde. Will keep you posted!!IMG_0889

I am not good a taking selfies, it seems….but you get the point. This is how it looks at the moment!

4 Replies to “Does She or Doesn’t She?”

  1. Mercedes,
    I had to deal with premature grey hair in my teens. Now, as you can imagine, sighting greys so early on in life was quite traumatic. I was pretty torn and had no choice except to color my hair. Have been doing so for a long time now. But I let my grey hair out every once in a while. I let the color wash off, and then let it be for a couple of months. I have promised myself that by next year, I will be looking at natural coloring agents to keep my tresses dark. But yes, like you, I’d like to let go one day and embrace my own hair…

    Great decision.

    1. Thank you, Prati,
      I can imagine getting grey (yes, this is the original word. Americans changed it to gray in the 1800s) hairs at such an early age. Believe me, it isn’t any better when you get them at a latter day!! I have been coloring for years, but it was time for a change. I am enjoying the process, feeling that it’s part of accepting myself. I feel free, light, great!

  2. Vickie, thanks for visiting and for your support. I feel liberated…so far. My hair was thinning more than falling, not that I was going bald! It doing fine at the moment. Yes, this is a beach on the Pacific Ocean in Panama. It says a lot about tossing and listening, don’t you think?

    1. Mercedes – what a great decision you have made! I have not yet gotten to that point – but then again my hair has not fallen out! That must have really scared you – hope it is growing back again. Is that seaside picture taken in Panama? What a beautiful scene.

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