Growing into gray

When I got my first gray hairs at 16, my mother thought I would be prematurely gray like her great aunts. That did not happen. I grayed gradually and colored my hair just as my mother, a former beautician, colored hers. My grandmother had little gray hair, but she always told my mother instead of going gray to, "Color it up."

When my mother reached age 55 or so, she began to consult us about whether she should continue to color her hair. She explained it was a process that took planning. Every six weeks, her hair had to be touched up at the salon. While I seldom saw gray in her hair, I am sure she did.

When I moved to my first nursing home, I continued to color my hair. There was a salon, and I treated myself. I even went out and had my hair colored at times. I wanted to have a choice. But over the years, coloring my hair has become more difficult. There is no salon at this facility and no way to easily get my hair colored. Even though I may be the only one who notices my roots, I have decided I am tired of fighting the battle with them.

I turned 68 in September with more gray hair than I have had on any recent birthdays. I last colored my hair the first week of June. But a few weeks later, I was again noticing gray roots. I have watched YouTube videos of women making the transition from their colored hair to gray or white naturally. It did not look that scary. I decided to give myself the freedom to stop coloring my hair.

Since the mirror is in the bathroom, I seldom see myself in it. Avoiding a mirror is freeing because I cannot dwell on or count added wrinkles or extra gray hairs. Presently, I have white, gray, darker gray and grayish mousy brown. Cutting out hair color means all I need are haircuts and a perm a couple of times a year.

The decision was difficult for me to make because since my face is young looking, I thought coloring the gray would ensure my youthful look. It will be interesting to see what people who have not seen me in a while think when they next see me with hair transitioning to gray.

A few weeks ago one of the aides said, "You need to 'do something' about my hair. I said, "Do you mean the gray? Actually, I am not coloring it. I have decided to let it grow out to its natural color."

The one negative is that my gradually graying hair is wiry. With it being a bit more difficult to control, I am trying different moisturizers to tame it and am starting to get used to my hair's changed texture.

My aunt’s hair turned gray prematurely and then became wavy and much more manageable. I am wondering if mine might do that, too.

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