Remember that Miss Clairol ad, from a time when stylists were still called hairdressers?
This is about my hair, and how I don’t color it, and how, in response to pressures from various factions, I’m considering it. Yeah, it’s a digression from my usual blog topics, but it’s also about making a decision.
The first faction is myself as observer. Here’s what I see in the mirror every day, when my hair is dry. When it’s wet, it looks perfectly black and smooth.
I actually kind of like it, except for the fly-aways (oh, what happened to the sleek, textureless hair of my 20s?), but I notice it. There’s no hiding it, even from myself.
The second faction is the woman who cuts my hair. The last time I got my haircut, she even… grimaced. “It’s time,” she said. I replied, trying to buy time: “Mmm, maybe next time.”
The third faction is made up of many people who, over the last few years, have said, every time they see me after a break of several weeks, “Wow, Jane, I’m just noticing that you’re getting a lot of grays.” Some have said, demurely, “silver.” Some, more truthfully, “white.”
A resistant faction, the practical me, doesn’t really want to start down that long, un-turn-backable path of coloring or foiling. If you have dark hair, that means maintenance visits every six to eight weeks to deal with the roots. Add the time for a haircut and blowdry, and that’s three hours at the salon! Not much of a self-pamperer, that makes me agitated just imagining it. There’s money on top of that.
Still, there is another faction — perhaps the über-faction — which is vanity, or audience internalized. Is my vanity in my hair remaining natural, or is my vanity in my person looking brighter or younger? I’m torn.
How do I proceed?
Step one, of a decision-making process, is, obviously, defining the problem or question, which I have done.
Step two is gathering information. Most of that information is in the hair photo, and what I know about the procedure and its costs.
Step three is seeking advice. I have turned directly to my reliable and thoughtful friends. Marcia appreciates the aesthetics of graying hair, but recommends her strategy, which is color now, and go gray at 50. Jan says she’s always liked dark hair with gray, but points out the annoying part of gray hair — the dry texture, its uncontrollability — and informs me that coloring takes care of that. Eli, although he is in the faction of people who have brought my gray hair to my attention — “Mom, your hair has a lot of white in it” — says, “Be your color.” From my friend James, with whom I talk about style of all kinds (writing, clothes, music, etc.), I received a measured response, full of examples, in which he recommends resisting pressure and doing what feels right, whatever that is: keep my gray hair if I like it or color it if that would be fun.
Those four answers contain factual and emotional information, but not a decision, which I guess is up to me. Damn.
Step four is taking more time to think about it. This isn’t surgery, so there’s no rush.
I could even put this one off forever.
Digital hair closeup in daylight conditions — you can’t run, you can’t hide — by Eli.