Sugar on top

As far back as I can remember, my mother had gorgeous hair. She developed a swath of white in the front that contrasted with her black-blue hair when she was pregnant with me.

At least half her strands had turned when I was a preschooler, and by the time I reached middle school, it was completely white. Like a mound of sugar in sunlight. More glittery than a blingee. 

Everyone raved about her hair, and she wore it proudly. Not once did I hear her contemplate coloring it. With all that white, she looked at least a decade younger than her chronological age.

I will always remember the Tibetan nursing assistant who was the last person to wash her snowy cap of hair, just days before she died. Somehow the act seemed reverent and fitting.

All said, my mother was the quintessential role model for going "gray."

So it puzzles me why I haven't done the same.

If I'm lucky (and my roots give me every reason to believe so) I appear to be keeping under the wraps of sepia and golden highlights a show of cool steeliness.

Each month, as I watch the march of white push back the pretend brown, I ask myself:

Is it time?

Image: Artic wolf "seeker" by Mike Lentz


Alex the Girl said…
My mother's hair is thick, silvery, and growing at a pace requiring a haircut at least every four to five weeks. I'm in constant hair envy. I, on the other hand, have hair that wants to be patchy gray. Sparsly spread out like clover in a field. Not enough to make it to salt and pepper status, just enough to hear "Ah, you're going gray." My dad didn't go gray until he entered his seventies, and NOW (go figure) the eye drops he uses for his glaucoma is causing his hair to thicken, grow, and become a darker, wavier's gorgeous!

Yes, I have hair envy.
Rudee said…
On June 28th last year, I wrote about this very thing. By late fall, I cut off every last bit of color. Kathleen, it was the most liberating thing I've ever done. Inspired by me, my sister did the same. We talk about it all the time because like you, we were blessed with good gray hair.

Consider this: it's only paint. If you hate it, you can paint over the result. The amount I save is huge and allows me to spend that money on things more enduring. I keep it cut in a stylish short do and put my makeup on every day. I don't look old and decrepit. Yet.

Here was the piece I wrote when I took the plunge:
( ) Jump on in, the water is fine.
ellen abbott said…
Well, I'm all for being natural. It's just so much easier (and healthier for your hair). Easy for me to say though. At 59, my hair is still dark. You have to look close to see the strands of gray around my temples.
Joanna said…
This is something that's been on my mind for a while. I've been covering the gray hair since my son was little and people mistook me for his grandmother. Never mind that I was at 42 old enough to be a grandmother I wasn't ready for that role. Now 20 years later I'm still doing it but wondering whether to go natural. Rudee's comment inspired me to seriously think about it.
Poetikat said…
I've just turned 48 and I only have the odd strand of grey here and there. My mom didn't go grey until she was in her sixties and my dad's hair stayed its natural colour for a very long time as well.

Having said that, if I were to go grey, I think I would just leave it to do its thing. I'm not one for fuss. (Easy for me to say, right?)

Anonymous said…
Celia did indeed have beautiful hair. She was beautiful both inside and out. And very proud of you.
Grace Albaugh said…
My mother started going gray at the age of fifteen. I have silver threads running willy nilly throughout my head and I just let them dance around.

Coloring my hair is something I've never done and I just can't imagine starting now.

I think the biggest reason is that I'm just too cheap.

I envy you mother however. White would be oh so lovely.
Pyzahn said…
She's fortunate her hair was a snowy white. And how sweet that she wore it so proudly.

Glittery as a blingee?

My strands of gray don't bother me so much for the change of color but for the odd texture. It just "boings" out of my head with a mind of its own.
Derrick said…
Hello Kathleen,

Because many ladies get used to colouring their hair well before there's any grey to cover up, I think it simply becomes part of the routine. But natural hair can be every bit as attractive and, as Rudee says, you can always cover it up again if you don't like the look!
Kathleen said…
Hey, you wonderful people!

Thank you SO much for all those wonderful comments. I feel so inspired to go for it now. Besides, I can always change my mind, as you've convinced me!


Thank you--

♥ Boomer ♥ said…
I inherited my mother's white, white hair. When I was a little girl, Mother's hair was already turning white. I've colored, uncolored, colored, uncolored. I'm in a colored stage now, and it's looking tired and, well, like it needs a break. I always get compliments when I wear it naturally. What's wrong with us???

Great post!!

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