Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Highland Fashionista Discusses Her Roots

I am not the only young(ish) girl going through the graying process with my hair.  I have a new blogging buddy who is as well.  And I asked her to tell us her story.   So, here she is (so to speak) with her gorgeous, gray self!  Thank you so much, Kristin!!~~Michelle
The Highland Fashionista Discusses Her Roots
When I was first toying with the decision to ditch the hair dye and transition back to my natural hair color, I sort of felt like you do when you first land in a strange city and are trying to look at that stupid microscopic map that the hotel gave you, and you aren’t even sure if you are holding it right-side-up or not, so you just kind of stand there... and after a few moments, you acclimate and gain your bearings and can finally see the road that you want to take.  It all comes clear and the rest of the journey is easy after that. You have made the first step.

 And so it was with my decision to, beginning at the ripe old age of 39, stop coloring my hair once and for all. 

The biggest question anyone has when they ask me about my decision is why.
Why would a young (okay, young-ish...I'm 40 now) woman want to walk around with gray hair? Gray hair is aging (yeah, maybe). Gray hair reads as old (sometimes). You will no longer be seen as sexually viable with gray hair (okay, that last one is largely an unspoken sentiment, but believe me, it exists. Snort.. puh-lease!). The list goes on and on.

Every woman who undertakes this decision does it for a reason that is unique to her and her alone. I would love to tell you that I decided to ditch the dye because I was concerned about the following items: the environment, animal testing, the health implications, the cost, the hassle, the trips to the salon, the effect on my hair… again, the list goes on and on.

But the simple truth of the matter is, I did it out of vanity. Yup, you heard me. I endured, am still enduring, months upon months of root re-growth and creative hairstyling because, deep down inside, I am a vain and egotistical woman.

You see, for me, it has really become all about the message that a young(ish) face and a head full of salt-and-pepper hair sends to the world. And I like what that message is saying. It is saying “yeah, that’s right. Look at it…stare, even. It’s gray. And it is gray because I am brave. Braver than you, even.  I am brave and different and nobody else on the planet will have hair like this, because this hair is unique to me and me alone.”

That’s what my hair is saying. It has a bit of a chip on its shoulder. (See? I told you it is… er…that I am egotistical.) I see my hair as a challenge. Not so much for me (not anymore anyway, I only have a few inches left to go), but a challenge for those that inhale sharply and clutch their pearls at the very thought of showing something that might actually hint at the aging process. And The Highland Fashionista is never one to back away from a challenge, oh no.

But I admit, I did have help. Help in the form of inspiration, that is. Back in the fall of 2011, US Vogue had their yearly Age Issue which featured supermodel extraordinaire Kristen McMenamy.

(courtesy vogue.com)

Remember her? From the 90s, the first to do the no-eyebrows thing? She is about 45 now, and has a full head of gray hair. And, I hasten to add, she is still doing catwalk and campaigns all over the place. The moment I saw her in that magazine, how unique and beautiful that hair was (up against some really fantabulous clothes by the way), I knew I had found my hair path.  I can do that, I thought to myself. I want to be cool and different and maybe even a little bit weird too!
And so I did. And I am. Or so I’ve been told.
So where does that leave the rest of you who might be toying with the idea of going natural? Well, I suppose it leaves you right where you were when you started reading this article in the first place. Because the truth of the matter is, each woman has to find her own reason for taking the first step. You need to have a really honest conversation with yourself about how you feel in your skin. Having been there, done that, there are two things that I would pass on to other women thinking about ditching the dye. First, if you are unsure about liking who you see in the mirror as you see yourself change (and you will change), the thought of months of in-between awkward hairstyling igniting fear in your heart and reducing you to tears, you probably aren’t ready. Only when you can honestly look at the process with a sense of amusement and curiosity will you be ready.  And lastly, it is, after all, just hair people. You are not announcing to the world at large that you plan to gain 100 pounds, take an asbestos bath every night, and take-up chain smoking while running naked through the local mall. You are simply choosing a haircolor.  That’s it. See?
You can find the Highland Fashionista’s blog at www.highlandfashionista.blogspot.com.  For the full story and more posts and resources on going gray, check-out her blog section titled The Gray Area.


  1. I am letting my hair go gray at the age of 47 (now) been doing this for about 15 months now. I saw my first gray hair at age 26 and began two decades of hair highlighting, hair coloring until I just got fed up with feeling ashamed of my hair and having to go to the hairstylist every month (I could have actually gone every couple of weeks, the gray was showing up so quickly between visits). Why should I be ashamed of growing older? Why should I be embarrassed to see anyone I know at the salon, knowing I'm covering gray? I also kind of feel like you do, I've got gray hair, deal with it. It's not a crime, it's not a sin .. it's awful what our society does to women. Our shelf life is about 20 years and then we spend the last few decades putting up a facade of youth to being approved of, to be loved ... that's so very sad.

    Also in regard to the post by Sarah. I've recently read that Locks of Love disposes of the vast majority of hair donated because it's been artificially colored. They can only use unadulterated hair.

    1. That's good to know about Locks of Love. Thanks for letting us know. This was a girl who did a cross post on my blog. I went gray in 2012 and have never turned back! For the most part, people like it. Thanks for stopping by. I sure think we have a lot more to offer in our last few decades!!

  2. 39 was my year as well. At 42 my hair is fabulously gray in the back and mostly white in the front. I did it because I am secure in who God created me to be and I was sick of covering it up. What's crazy is I get more compliments now than I did before and I am asked constantly if I had it done intentionally. I love the verse in the bible where it says that your gray is your crown of Glory and I remind every woman with gray "GIIIRL wear your crown! You earned it!"

    1. Yes, I love that Bible verse too, Jenna! I get compliments all the time too and people wonder if I "color" it!! Isn't it funny? Thanks for stopping by.


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