I started to go prematurely gray in my early 20s. I've been covering that gray, first with store-bought semi-permanent hair dye and later with visits to the salon every 6 to 8 weeks, ever since -- for 20 years or so. I've been tempted to find out just what my real hair color is for some time now. A picture taken of me a few weeks ago only gave me more motivation -- a fat stripe of gray roots down the part in my dark brown hair is not, as the kids say, a good look.
So yesterday I went to Sharon at Dragonfly and said I was ready to take the plunge. I've been reading about growing out gray hair (it's pretty depressing how many people say flat out "don't do it!"), and after asking Sharon for her advice, we decided to lighten my hair somewhat with highlights so that the gray blends in a bit more.
Sharon wanted to be sure I knew what I was in for. "It's going to be ugly for a while," she said. "No matter what we do, at some point it's going to be obvious that you're growing out gray hair." (This is just one reason that I like Sharon.) I assured her that I was ready for it, and we got started.
Oh my God, it takes a long time to lighten and highlight hair! I'm used to my regular old single-process color every six or eight weeks -- you arrive, get your roots "painted" (I love the feeling of the cold paste on my scalp), you let it sit for roughly half an hour, you get it washed out. Voila! But with highlights you get the million little pieces of foil put in your hair with the bleach, then you let that sit, then a rinse, then toner, then you let that sit, then a wash . . .
The sight of my hair lighter than it's been in my entire life is disorienting, to say the least. But you know . . . I don't think it looks horrible. It might even look kind of . . . good. You can decide for yourself
When I got home, Jeff responded to my oh-so-gentle prodding for an opinion. "It has a lot of body now," he said.
"That's just because Sharon blow-dried it. That ain't going to keep happening."
"You've got kind of a Farrah Fawcett thing going on."
"Not like THAT . . . seriously, it looks all right."
After being assured that the lighter coloring doesn't make me look older, I allowed myself to revel in the strange awesomeness of having different hair.
Now I'm just supposed to let it grow for as long as I can stand it, according to Sharon, and then go back in for more highlighting, blending, and so on (probably in about 2 months). And I'll probably get a couple of inches cut off as well. Somehow, me and my gray hair will meet in the middle.