White Hair Blues
White Hair is a blank slate!
Enjoy You Hair - Whatever the Color
I noticed my first grey hairs peeking out from my dark brown waves when I was about 15, and by the time I turned 30, it was really getting white - but in a creepy old lady looking way, not in a cool way, like a white streak on the side, or just the tips. Trips to the hairdresser invariably began with the question "have you been painting your house?" Eventually, I gave into societal pressure and my hairdresser's prodding and started coloring my hair. No big deal - lots of women do this, so why am I writing about it now?
Fast forward to the year I turned 50. As is my custom, I do something "frightening" and/or "daring" when I turn a decade, and when I turned 50, I decided to see just how much my hair had changed in the 20+ years I had slathered it will dyes and highlights. A big reason for this was that it was obvious to me by the major skunk streak in the center of my head every 4 weeks that the white hair had, indeed, taken over. I knew it in my heart, but needed to face it in the mirror.
I grew it out as much as I could stand, which was about 1-1/2 inches of skunk white. When the wind blew, I looked like someone with an oreo cookie obsession - distinctive black and white areas that looked a bit like I was wearing a nun's habit, with the white bandeau and wimple framing my ever-more-fluffy face. Not a good look, people. Anyway, I bit the proverbial bullet and made an appointment to have ALL of my dark hair cut off - leaving only the "real color" so that I could see what was under the layers of phenylenediamine that had transformed me into the "youthful wonder" I saw in the mirror day after day (*insert girlish giggle here). To give you a clear understanding of what I did next, imagine, if you will, that someone cuts all your hair off and leaves only a 3/4-inch length all around. Kind of like a buzz cut, but not quite as drastic.
When I looked in the mirror, I must admit that my "daring" and "frightening" decade event lived up to its name. I was, in a word, shocked. My hair was totally white (a little in the back was still salt and pepper). My haircut was cool - a post-medication-that-makes-your-hair-fall-out-Rod-Stewart's-110-now look, but with a big round face. I looked like a semi-large woman with a tiny head of white baby fluff. It was oddly cute. The main point, of course, was that I was finally FREE from having to color my hair. A side effect was that I was free from doing just about anything with my hair since I didn't have much left, but that's another story.
Fast forward yet again to today - I am 55 and have what people consider beautiful white hair. But since turning 55 was a 1/2-decade anniversary, I did another semi-daring thing to my hair. Did you know you could add pure pigment to your blank white canvas and show off your flair for hair? I chose a very hot pink color and my hairdresser (the wonderful Betty) streaked it into my side-swept bangs. The "blend" of my white fluffs and the pink was electric. I felt like I was being really rebelious - and young! I loved it! After about a month, the color faded (and actually looked better as it faded a bit). Next time, I chose a rich beautiful purple. Wow! I was feeling gangster now!
My point of sharing all this with you is to say ENJOY these little moments and fun things in life - do something spontaneous or a little kooky, if that's what will make you happy. Don't say "Oh, the people at my office would hate this and not take me seriously." That's true of some, but I was overwhelmed by the number of people - and literally scores of strangers - who loved my colorful streak, which really set off my white hair and was an extention of my quirky personality, too. I know that there are people (mostly relatives, I have to say) who think the color is stupid or weird, but I'm taking charge of ME without feeling worried about what other people think all the time. If a little streak of color gives me that courage, happiness, and bold zest for living my live, then that's a blessing! I share it with you and encourage you to embrace what makes you happy - to take a chance and put yourself out there the way you want to be, not the way you think you have to be.
I'm contemplating the bright blue streak for my next hair treatment. What do you think? Papa Smurf will just have to move over.
A Great Hairdresser in Bowie, MD
Ask for Betty!