I have a confession.
I turned 30 this month and I have a ton of grey hair.
This is my story of how my hair glitter came to be.
When I was 22 and fresh out of college I started my first career. You know, one of those jobs you actually went to school to learn to do and paid a boat load of money so you could get this new title and are supposed to kind of like what you are doing. I learned a lot in this first job, but it was also the hardest 2 years of my life. I was waking up at 4am, driving 1.5 hours one way, and not getting home many nights until 8pm. I was working every weekend in some capacity. There was a ton of drama. It was hard. I was stressed to the max.
One by one I started to see a grey hair pop up here and there. Was it my stressful job? Was it genetics? My husband and I would laugh about it, and we would have “grey parties” where we would sit around and pluck each other’s grey hairs. No lie. But then slowly, my two silly greys became 5, became 10, became 20, and soon I had to stop plucking otherwise I would have had huge bald patches.
I was 23 years old. There was NO way I was ready for a head of grey. My mom used to say my great-aunt had a full head of grey by the time she was 30, so I secretly knew it was in my genes.
So what does any 23 year old do who is clinging to her youth?
I decided to start dying my hair for the very first time. I have dark brown hair and the greys stuck out like a sore thumb. I was poor because it was my first real job and my hair grows fast, so there was no way I was going to go to a salon ever few weeks to get it done. So off to Target I went to buy a cheap box of brown dye. I had dyed my mom’s hair a million times so I was already pretty good at it. First I just dyed to cover the greys, but then I figured since I was dying my hair regularly I might as well have some fun with it. So I started playing around with auburn, light brown, darker brown, and diy ombre. It was a pain in the butt dying my hair roughly once a month, but what was the alternative?
Having grey hair in my early twenties? HA. Not a chance.
You see, I have always prided myself on the fact I look younger than I am. I loved looking younger than I was, though it did have some drawbacks. On my very first day teaching at a new school the security guard asked me for my hall pass when I was walking around during my prep period. While I was chaperoning the high school prom one of the people running the event yelled at me when I asked them a question and told me to talk to my teacher. I wanted to cling to this youth for as long as physically possible.
The double standard of grey hair is ridiculous. George Clooney? Matt LeBlanc? McSteamy? Jeffery Dean Morgan? Former President Obama? Max from Catfish? All are yum and all are worshiped even with grey hair. In fact, if anything they get better with age! Now, let’s name some gorgeous grey haired ladies in Hollywood…… I can’t? I am drawing a blank. After going to google I see a few. None of them are conventional sex symbols like the men above are (unless Betty White is your thing??) and all of them are well into their golden years. Even look at the franchise The Bachelor. We have had grey haired bachelor Arie and many male grey contestants on the Bachelorette. How many grey haired women have we had? Definitely none I can think of. WHY? WHY IS SOCIETY TELLING ME WOMEN CAN’T HAVE GREY HAIR AND ALSO BE BEAUTIFUL AND SEXY AND STRONG AND YOUNG?
So I continued to dye my hair once a month for six long years. On my 29th birthday I was opening my millionth box of hair dye and while I was in the bathroom I had a good long talk with myself:
Why are you dying your hair?
Because I have grey hairs. Duh.
No, but really, WHY?
Because I am in my 20s and people that young just can’t have grey hair.
Because…..women with grey hair aren’t beautiful?
Like….everyone? Society? Hollywood?
And do you believe that?
No. No I guess I don’t. I have seen some really gorgeous young women rock natural grey hair.
So besides that why do you dye your hair?
Because I am insecure I guess? I like looking young and being the young fun teacher and having grey hairs will stop that.
Since when does your hair color dictate behavior? Can’t you still be young and fun with any hair? Or no hair?
Yeah. Yeah I guess you are right.
So, why are you dying your hair? Do you enjoy it? Are you doing it for yourself or for others?
Damn it conscious, you are right. I hate dying my hair. It is a pain in the butt. I am doing it for others and what they think of me. And who cares what others think? Alright. Let’s do it. Let’s stop the dye!
So that night I asked my husband what he thought about me stopping the dye and he said, “That sounds like a great idea. That way we can grow old together.” Awwwwwww. He was already pretty salt and pepper and looks as handsome as ever. Dang men.
All of a sudden, I felt liberated. Like I was finally free from the slave that was my hair dye. I was hiding the real me and it was time to let her shine. Literally.
So since I had already bought the box and my hair was not my natural color, I dyed my hair one last time in August 2017 so it would be easy to grow out. It is now August 2018 and I have not dyed my hair since. I am proud to say I am thirty years old and I have hella grey hair. I jokingly call them my glitter. I didn’t realize I had this much until it really grew out. It was intimidating at first. There are still days I get self conscious and my old thoughts creep back in. I have greys peppered throughout my hair, but I am greyest in my temples. These darn greys are apart of me, they make me who I am. I earned every last one of them. My hair glitter is beautiful and I choose to celebrate them! And OMG it is so nice not to get high off the fumes every month.
Now I write this not to belittle other women who choose to dye their greys. I am no better than anyone because I chose to stop. You do you and I support whatever you want to do to your hair, whether it is cover your greys, dye it a funky color, or shave it off. I support you! I just ask, make sure you are doing whatever you are doing for you. If you love it, then keep rocking on. If you are like me and are doing it for the wrong reasons, get to the bottom of why you are doing it and then make a change. Have you always wanted purple hair? Go for it! Have you always wanted a pixie cut? Rock it! Life is too short to not be happy and to do things you really don’t want to be doing. I personally don’t want to dye my greys so I won’t be doing that anymore. And who knows? Maybe when I turn 50 I will go through a midlife crisis and I will want to start dying it again, and I am OK with that. Just as long as I am doing it for the right reasons.