In Search of Simple Hair
Growing up, my hair was simple. All I had to do was wash it and brush it, with an occasional haircut from my mom.
In high school, a product called Sun In, came onto the market. It was mostly peroxide with some lemon juice, so it lightened your hair just by spraying it on while in the sun!
A year later I used Clairol #78 medium golden brown to try out a slightly new color at age 16. Yes, I’m enough of a nerd, that I actually remember the name of that color!
For my 50th birthday I wanted to grow out my natural color, even against pressure from my boss who urged me repeatedly to keep coloring it. (Yeah, he was a strange dude on many levels and I lived in San Diego at that time with more cultural pressure to conform). I got to about 3 inch roots and chickened out, then went back to coloring it.
When I retired four years ago I found ways to cut costs by alternating highlights every other time, and later every third time. We’d always do base color at the roots and we’d work in cuts intermittently.
Okay, so all that stuff above is not so simple!
In 2014 I tried no poo and shampoo in a bar. I liked how my hair felt, but my waves got frizzy without conditioner and product. So, over time, I returned to Aveda Be Curly shampoo, conditioner, prep and curl products. I’ll be curious to try no poo again after I’ve transitioned to my natural color.
Fast forward to today and I’m once again seeking simplicity in my hair care. Some of my motive is cost. I also want less chemicals in my life and I am curious to see my natural hair color before I have none. One final motive is “owning my age” and not resisting the process of mother nature, but rather, embracing it!
I estimate I’ve spent $25,000 in my lifetime on my hair. That would be a rather nice vacation, car or splurge if I’d saved it up!
Growing out my natural color is not an easy task on two levels:
- Our society really encourages people in general, and women in particular, to hide their age.
- There are no quick ways to get from colored hair to natural gray…so you will be seeing my roots as they inch their way out.
One of the supports I’ve found is a Facebook group called Going Gray & Loving It. This group has approximately 6,000 women who have made or who are in the process of making the transition from colored hair to natural hair. The leader, Sharon Danley, is a make-up artist with lots of experience supporting women with “transitioning.” It’s very reaffirming to see women who have made the change and love what they’ve done. I appreciate seeing how others look during the slow grow out phase as well. Some get short cuts to speed things along, others take years to grow out their long gray hair. Danley encourages women to make choices that support their own inner beauty at each step of the way.
Another support is that I have two friends who are currently making the transition to their natural color too. We each made our decision on our own, but we are at somewhat similar phases. Living in Portland this time around I am certainly not alone. There are lots of women with natural color, and those who are transitioning. It also is a trend in 2016 for many young women to color their hair gray. And, that darn boss isn’t around to bug me about it.
So please know I am not lazy, when you see my roots. And wish me luck, as this is a work in progress. I do not know how this experiment will turn out. I’ll report back once I have some significant information to share.
Have any of you made the transition to your natural color? How was that process for you? What lessons did you learn? Please post your comments below.
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