You Are Not Your Hair: 5 Reasons to Go Gray

Last summer I decided to do the unthinkable – stop coloring my hair.  The song “I Am Not My Hair” by India.Arie was stuck in my head and I was at a point in my life that cried for change. The decision to go “au naturel” wasn’t an easy one.  My love affair with hair colouring began seven years ago at the age of forty-three when gray hairs started to sprout, fast and furious.  For the average woman, who by nature is obsessed with her hair, the discovery of a single gray strand may well be traumatic.

But as with many passionate relationships, the inevitable question pops up; where was this relationship heading?  Although I loved my talented hair colourist, the image of carting my future 60-year-old self to the colour salon was, in my mind, comical if not exhausting.

For motivation I looked no further than my own mother who has beautiful snowy white hair.  On the other hand, sporting silvery tresses like the character Storm from the film X-Men would really rock.  One could only hope.

After some cold reflection, I realized that my relationship with hair colouring was unsustainable on many levels.  Two false starts later (who knew it would be so emotional) and with my head held up high, I made a clean break from the dye pots and foils.

Here are five compelling reasons to go gray:

  1. You save money. I calculated that my bi-monthly visits to the colour salon cost me up to $750.00 a year. If you’re a coffee lover, that’s equivalent to 230.8 cups of your average 12 ounce latte. Just think of the bucks you’ll save that can go towards investments, courses, travel or a new outfit.
  2. You save time.  I freed up 12 hours a year that was spent sitting in the colour salon and if I tacked on all the time I had spent in the bathroom plucking stray gray hairs that adds up to plenty of precious personal time that could be well spent elsewhere.  Zero time with the colourist translates into more time for family, friends, hobbies or just quality me time.
  3. You reduce stress.  No more fretting over the appearance of gray hairs and expending both time and energy trying to get rid of them.
  4. You limit your exposure to chemicals.  According to the National Cancer Institute, there are over 5,000 different chemicals used in hair dye products, some which are reportedly carcinogenic in animals.  Although evidence for increased risk for cancer in humans is currently limited and inconsistent, why take the chance?
  5. You are not your hair.  It was freeing when I stopped colouring my own hair and embraced the truth that my hair doesn’t define me as a person.  Will having gray hair make me less compassionate, smart, funny and sexy?  Will having gray hair make me less interesting, capable and valid?  Will having gray hair make me less of a wife, lover or friend?  Absolutely not!

For a woman, the decision to go gray may simply be practical, but it also speaks loudly of her courage, strength and authenticity in today’s youth obsessed society. 

What about you?  Are you ready to stand apart from the crowd and express your natural self in all its silver glory?  I am!

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