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Sunday, December 29, 2013

8 week update: Going"au naturale"

It's been 8 weeks since I last colored my hair. Normally, this is around the time when those pesky gray hairs are really noticeable, especially the skunk stripe along my part, and the color is growing dull. About now, I'd usually think, "I'll need to color again in the next few weeks." (Yes, I always think that about 2 weeks too late.)

So, of course now that I'm not going to be covering up the grays, my hair is actually looking pretty good and the color seems to be holding its intensity longer than usual. The demarcation between colored and new growth is not as pronounced as I remember, either.

Christmas Day 2013: 8 weeks since coloring.
(Note the awesome Christmas Star Trek Science Officer PJs,
a Christmas gift from BIL Chris and SIL Amy.)

The gray strands are coming out along the part and are especially noticeable around my temples.

But, what I just realized while looking at some family photos over the holidays, is that I don't have to guess what my hair will look like--both the natural color and the amount of gray--when this process is complete. I have a model that I think will be pretty darn close to what I can expect: my brother, Matt. (Yes, bro and hubby are both Matts.)

My brother and I could and often did pass for twins when we were kids. We were twins of the "Irish" variety--born far too close together for what would be deemed "proper." In the early-70s, Matt and I had similar unisex shag haircuts. I loved dressing like my twin, and grandma catered to my whims, so we often wore similar clothes, too. For much of high school, we both had the ubiquitous late-70s/early-80s 'feathered bangs' haircut with a center part, too. (My hair refused to do any poofy-Farrah style coifing.) My taste in clothes hadn't improved any either. I still dressed like a boy. We further confused things by overlapping classes. Bro could be a lazy student, and school came easy to me, so by the time we were in high school, I was ahead of him in math even though he was a grade ahead of me, further confusing our birth order and promoting our twin status. We looked so much alike that in college, my mother often confused us in photos. In one case, she saw a picture of me on a beach in St. John and asked when my brother had come to visit. Me...girl....beach...being confused with my brother. I did have a tee-shirt on but still...think about it. Why, yes, that is a wee bit insulting. 

Me and Bro-Matt (2007) not looking as twin-like with my red hair.

In our mid-20s, Bro-Matt and I both sprouted our first grays and for the next decade, whenever we got together, we'd compare to see who had more. Then I started covering them. Not only covering them, but changing the color of my hair entirely. Now, as you can see, we don't look quite as identical. 

But, I'm pretty sure that under my sassy red hair, what I really have is the same dark brown, salted with grays, more so around the temples, that Bro-Matt has. As I sift through my hair, checking out the roots, I see the back is darker than the sides, just like Matt's. 

Bro-Matt and nephew Robert (November 2013)
Maybe the change back to uncolored hair won't be as drastic as I'd anticipated. Which brought me to another realization: this is definitely the time to do this, now, when the transition from red to brown with some gray won't be as startling. If I wait another 5 or 10 years, I could be going from color to all or mostly white/gray/silver, instead of merely to a different color with a smattering of silver/gray. 

I've also come to the realization that it's going to take the full year I've allotted and maybe then some. Patience isn't one of my strong points. My short attention span typically precludes me from doing anything for that long. I ran a marathon in 2000, not to see if I could complete the 26.2 miles, but to see if I could commit to something--running--for the amount of time it would take to prepare. I'm going to approach this like I did training for the marathon: it's not about the destination, it's about committing to the journey. It's only been 8 weeks, less time than I usually go between colorings, and I'm already eager for this transition to be over with. But, I'm also more confident that it's the right choice for me and for now. Hopefully, that will translate into determination to see this through rather than giving up when my hair does start to look bad. And I know it will.

I'll update again next month. By then, my skunk stripe should really be noticeable!


  1. Awesome that you're stopping the dye! Great decision--down with Miss Clairol slavery :D

  2. Thanks, Guilie! I'm pretty excited about it--time for a change since I've been a red-head for almost a decade now. We'll see if I maintain my enthusiasm for as long as it takes!

  3. You look beautiful and I'm sure the natural look will be lovely!