It wasn’t much of an ‘aha’ moment, but a decision I’ve been waiting for since 1985. (In some areas I have the patience of Job). From the first time I used L’Oréal to color my salt & pepper hair when I was in my early 30’s, I assumed when I hit a big milestone in my life, I’d simply quit dyeing my hair. Ha. Milestone after milestone zipped by. My 40th, 50th & 60th birthdays. Clearly I was not emotionally ready to give up brown hair. And just like that thirty years slipped past.
I haven’t worked in the infant room since October. Makes me sad. Stopped working because something’s wrong with my leg. Pain and swelling causing me to limp. It just got to be too much on hard surface floors, lugging those adorable babies around. So I made an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon, and have been staying home, getting lazy. One week at home, bam, it hit me. I was washing my hands, glanced in the mirror and thought, I’m not gonna use L’Oréal again. (Think my winter-stay-at-home-status had a lot to do with the timing of my decision, though it was unconscious). Who knew this monumental decision would occur like a casual random thought? So simple. No gnashing of teeth, no wringing of hands. Huh. (Since I am spending more time at home, co-workers aren’t gawking at my head with revulsion. On the other hand, I waltz into Landon’s basketball games like I look and feel semi-normal).
I never tried squeezing an extra week out of my dye job. Same thing goes when Hubs is stripping an antique. “I’m not here to save half a container of stripper,” he says as he begins. Glops that crap on good and thick, waits a few minutes and either use a paint scraper or steel wool. That’s how I felt about L’Oréal. When the instructions state you can go 6-8 weeks in between uses, they lie. My gray roots were half an inch long by week 4 and my hair looked drab and faded. As a rule I stretched it out to 5 weeks (max) before opening another box of # 7, dark blonde. Wonder how many dye jobs I’ve had? Hmmm, if I used an average of 10 boxes a year for 33 years. Wow, that’s a lot of peroxide on my head, seeping inside. Vanity, ugh.
It was that mindset that’s plagued me since I started on my L’Oréal roller coaster. Just the thought of those glaringly prominent gray roots on the top of my head sent me into a panic and caused me to hyperventilate. Knew once I finally made a decision to grow out my natural color, life was going to be a bitch. I’d wear a hat everywhere, (if I dared to leave the house at all), dwelling in my dark basement for months or spend major bucks highlighting my hair (again, which seems silly since I’m trying to rid myself of all fake color on my head) to make the transition less ugly. Hogwash, hasn’t been the case at all.
I did buy a new hat in the beginning as week # 5 zipped by without temptation causing me to open another L’Oréal box (my stash of 7 unopened boxes still sit in on the shelf in the linen closet). I thought the hat would be the first of many I’d wear all winter. I’ve worn it-once. I have been styling (my hapless style can hardly be considered as such) my hair differently which has disguised or hidden most of the emerging white/gray matter rather well. That will not be the case after my next haircut though. Hubs kept saying, “you should see how white your hair is in back.” How is that even possible I thought? My hair has to be the same on the top, front and sides right? Not even close Einstein.
When I finally found a mirror to check out the back of my head I was surprised. The back looks frosted. Underlying white with light brown tips. But because my hair on the bottom back is much shorter than the length on top of my head, it’s not going to be very much longer until most of my hair in back is salt & pepper (without brown highlights). Each time I’m in the bathroom I tilt my head forward to see how the top looks. Oh my. But I’m not mortified like I thought I would be. I find it humorous-as in ha-ha funny. For the record I’m amazed this mess makes me smile when I thought I’d be second guessing my decision, embarrassed to tears and wallowing in self pity. I’m kinda impatient how much time it’s taking to grow out. It’s short hair for Pete’s sake. I can’t imagine how long it would take if my hair was shoulder length. I’m about halfway now, so probably 3 months to go.
So I continue with my hair-rowing, hair-raising mostly gray growth spurt. It actually hasn’t been as mortifying as I thought it would be. It’s difficult to visualize what I’m gonna look like when the drab brown ends are gone. I am hoping for gobs of white but there seems to be a healthy dose of various pepper shades surrounding my brain. That mystery will solve itself soon enough. A new pair of glasses is one of my first orders of business. Some neat frames which make my highly anticipated gray/white/silver/black head of hair-POP, exhibiting my effervescent enthusiasm for life. OK, now you know I’m just yanking your chain…