Fitness at 40+
Beauty & Fashion
I Refuse to Go Gray — And Here’s Why
I'll be covering my gray hair forever. Everyone woman should decide how much beauty maintenance they want
Let’s pretend we’re old friends because I’m about to tell you something extremely personal.
It was a morning like any other. I stumbled into the bathroom, plopped down on the bowl — and then I saw it: a gray pubic hair. I was horrified. I was indignant. I was pissed.
Gray Hair Down There?!!
After getting the kids off to school, I called my mother. “Are you kidding me?” I huffed into the phone. “Your pubic hair turns gray, too?!”
She laughed, “What did you think was going to happen? Of course, it does.” I fumed the whole way to work. Then it dawned on me: “F*ck this, I’m getting a Brazilian.”
That was 10 years ago — and yes, I’m still doing it today!
A Family Penchant for Early Graying
As for the hair on my head, I started coloring my hair much later than the rest of my family. My mother and sister have auburn hair, which means they’ve seen gray in the mix since their teens. Both of my children have inherited it.
So when my 17-year-old daughter wasn’t purple, green, or pink, she, too, had gray hairs. Truth is I don’t know how much gray I do or do not have underneath all the highlights and lowlights. All I know is that I like my hair just the way it is, and have no intention of going gray, ever.
There are a lot of opinions about going gray — even the famous ones. Jamie Lee Curtis declared years ago she was done coloring her hair. This very publication featured an article from a sister who decided it was time to go au naturel, which is what inspired me to pen my point of view. It’s also a conversation that I’ve had with a lot of women in my life, with some of my friends declaring, “It’s almost time.”
Going To My Grave A Blonde!
I think it’s the reasons they give for going gray that bother me. They are reasons like, it’s a natural process (so are weeds in my garden, but I take care of those!); I’m tired of dying my hair (I’m tired of emptying the dishwasher but seem to keep doing that); I’m not going to let society pressure me into staying forever young (I’m pretty sure the lines on my face give away the fact that I’m not a millennial); I just don’t care anymore (ugh, this is the one that hurts me the most). I’d much rather hear: my mother has beautiful gray hair so I want that; I like the way my gray hair looks, it makes me feel good; I’m happy this way.
But, I am not the hair police, so whatever the reason, everyone is entitled to make whatever decision they want. But me, I am going to my grave blond.
I like what I see when I look in the mirror. It makes me feel good, makes me happy. Not because I think, you’re fooling them all, no one knows you’re 50, but because I like what I see.
It’s the same way I like walking into the all-white kitchen I waited 17 years to renovate — it looks good, and it makes me happy. Call me shallow or self-centered. Call me whatever you want but I’ve come to the moment in my life where I truly feel that I should do whatever I think makes me my best me, by my definition.
So as far as my hair goes, anywhere on my body, I’m going to fight the good fight. Why else would I let someone put hot wax in my crotch and rip the hair out by the roots? Besides Keysa, my esthetician, I’m really the only one who notices it — or cares. I’ve been married 27 years and my husband can’t see that detail without his glasses on!
I Enjoy the Rituals of Beauty Maintenance
Yes, it’s a battle that takes time, commitment, and money but as some commercial in my youth told me, “Hey, I’m worth it.” Every four weeks I spend three hours on ‘maintenance’ — haircut and color, shaping the eyebrows, waxing where I need it. But I feel good. I feel confident. I feel pretty — and that’s not so easy for us women at this age.
Without medical intervention, we all start to show some wear and tear no matter how much we work out or how many expensive creams we buy. Stretch marks from babies, lines from life, veins from crossed legs, or bunions from years in too-high heels are inevitable.
So if my Brazilian, lowlights, highlights, and haircuts make me feel good, I’m going to keep at it.
Every Woman Should Age The Way She Wants
And it all comes down to this: We should all do exactly what we want to do — color, pluck, wax, or don’t. Get fillers, Botox, surgery, or don’t. But do it or don’t do it because you like it that way, not because you just don’t care. After all, isn’t that what being an empowered woman is all about? Doing what we want to do because it matters to us and not because society has defined what a woman should look like, not because the man in our lives prefers blonds, not because that’s what our friends think or like.
That’s certainly what I want my daughter to mirror from my behavior. It’s why I’ve supported her going technicolor with her hair — because she likes it because it makes her feel good because it makes her happy.
After all, to paraphrase Audrey Hepburn: Happy women are the prettiest women, no matter what their hair color.