Women often ask me about my experience going grey. I decided to write about it. First, let me tell you that as a child I had thick curly black hair. It wasn’t till adolescence that I started getting in trouble. I wanted flat, straight hair like the blond girls in my Episcopalian day school. No frizz. No fuzz. No curl. So I started scotch-taping it down at night. I rolled it with orange juice cans. No luck. It would boing right back up.
To make matters worse, I was getting hairy in other visible places — arms, legs, upper lip. My mother did not believe girls should shave their legs until sixteen, so I was tormented in the seventh grade until Muriel Schmitz, who sat behind me and always looked very soignee, invited me to her house and taught me how to use a razor on those legs. In the ensuing years I endured electrolysis, Jolen Bleach, Nair.
Birth control pills and finally childbirth itself changed things and I grew less hairy. But the hair on my head also thinned, and that was not cool. Now I was a woman with thinning frizzy black hair. And what was this?! I was finding lots of strands of grey. So I started dying it. Auburn, chestnut, mahogany, blond. As the years passed I had to dye it more and more frequently. Once every six weeks, once a month, every three weeks, every two weeks. I just couldn’t get rid of that halo of grey. I no longer even knew what color my hair was — kind of a patchy, damaged red. Not pretty, not pretty at all.
So one day I had this brilliant idea: I would see how it looked grey. Some women could get away with that, right? I bought a can of temporary silver dye, like they use for Halloween, sprayed both sides of my head, and was pleased with the glowing results. Okay I was going to really do it. I told my then hairdresser to streak my whole head with as close as he could get to silver (he used platinum) and that was it, I let the whole thing grow out and never touched it with dye again. And I’m here to tell you, it was PAINLESS. Because of all the streaking, it grew in very naturally. And for the first time in years I had healthy, happy, shiny hair. So for those of you out there contemplating this enormous step, let me tell you there is one other trick: dark eye brows. Make sure your brows are dark, and you will have a striking contrast. I often get compliments on my hair, but after all the years of problems I still say, “Who me? Beautiful hair? You’re kidding, right?”