It was January 2012 when I decided to cut off 15 inches of artificially brown hair. I guess that’s not entirely true. I had been going back and forth with the idea for a while before then. It all started when I was day dreaming out loud to a friend of mine who said I’d look “hot” if I had gray hair. That sparked an idea, but could I do it?
My long, dark, high-maintenance hair
I gave myself a while to figure out if it was really something I’d like to do. I read blogs and talked to hair dressers about going gray, and the overwhelming majority made it look like a dreadful process. Some simply stopped dying their hair, letting it grow down in a not-quite-ombre pattern. One woman even said the only thing she’d hate worse than just growing it out, would be to chop it all off.
Coming from me- a woman who only had one short hairstyle her whole life due to a classroom lice outbreak- cutting it off seemed like an impossible choice. I just couldn’t imagine what I would look like without all my hair. Fortunately for me, the stars aligned- not only were pixie haircuts making a huge comeback, but gray hair was making a splash! Celebrities like Lady Gaga, Kelly Osbourne, Kate Moss, and Pink were actually DYING their hair gray! Others like Katie Holmes, Roseanne Barr, and Jamie Lee Curtis were embracing their natural gray streaks.
I had been dying my hair since I was 13 years old. It started as something fun, but soon became a chore. At the very end, I was dying my hair every 3 weeks or risking a skunk stripe. I took turns between getting my hair professionally colored and doing it myself in my bathroom. The six dollar boxes were more appealing than the arm and leg they charged at the salon, and with my situation sometimes were the only option. I suffered many bathroom rug and t-shirt casualties and even stained a porcelain sink in my endeavors.
For me, not having to deal with this chore any longer was a huge part of my decision. Other factors included my health- it can’t possibly be healthy to coat your scalp with chemicals every three weeks, and my confidence. WARNING: THIS IS WHERE I START TO PREACH. I think the beauty industry, and therefore society, puts way too much pressure on girls and women to look a certain way. Why are we only beautiful if we have long, straight, perfectly golden hair? And by golden, I don’t just mean blond- have you ever noticed that all hair dyes have a gold tint to them if not red? You can immediately tell women who dye their hair from women who don’t because the “life” in their color is so artificially obvious. My morning routine consisted of so many steps I didn’t even resemble myself at the end. All I was really doing when I blow dried, straightened, curled, and dyed my hair was torture it.
Needless to say I took the plunge. I chopped it all off in a short pixie and stopped dying it. It took me about 7 months to be completely dye free. My cut completely disguised the growing out process and made it seem gradual. I am mostly brown in the back, with a very salty crown and sideburns. This cut helped me to embrace every silver strand as it became visible.
I couldn’t wait any longer to see my gray in all it’s glory! Don’t worry, I told my hairdresser to go this short:
I love the way it’s growing out. And, I get more compliments on my hair now than I EVER got when it was long. Women compliment not only my hair, but also my bravery. It seems we’re all a little scared to try something new. Before I cut my hair, I was nervous and afraid, not I can confidently say- IT’S JUST HAIR! IT WILL GROW BACK!
And, FYI- guys actually think it’s pretty awesome! I get lots of compliments from men. Usually they say something like, “Wow, you’re hair is awesome.” Or “Is that natural? I wish mine would do that!” One guy even told me I look like a “badass chick.” Yea!