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Thursday, May 7, 2015
Column: Writing on the Wall
Forget about 50 — I’m just looking for one good shade of grey
Mary Malloy

Well tie me down and tickle me silly! You’d think I could find one good shade of grey in the hair color aisle — but alas, there’s no “Silver Siren,” or “Greyhound Gorgeous,” or even “Snow One Like You.” It seems that there’s no market for those of us who want to go the way of Grandma Moses or even the funky and fabulous Jamie Lee Curtis.
Why am I looking for grey hair dye? Because I’ve been impatient ever since I’ve decided to let my own silver-hair-among-the-bottled-gold come shining through. Yep, after 42 years of telling everyone “The sun did it,” I’m growing out my natural color — whatever that turns out to be.
At 16, I thought of myself as vivacious and precocious, certainly not someone whose hair color should be described as “mousy” or “dirty.” How drab! So it was very, very easy to go blonde and guilt-free, too, since I was a tow-headed baby and toddler — nature wanted me to stay blonde, I assured myself. First I used “Sun-In” (“let the sun or your hair dryer lighten you locks naturally!”) and then any permanent shade that promised that I, along with the other natural or unnatural blondes, would have more fun by just lightening our hair. And I did have fun — whether I was a neutral, ash, golden, caramel, honey, strawberry (I’m getting hungry), Born Blonde, Baby Blonde, Beach Blonde, Champagne Blonde or Malibu Blonde — you name it, I rocked it. I was as light-headed as they come.
Some people start to go grey in their late teens or early 20s, while others are well into their 40s when they first begin to see those silver threads. As we age, the pigment in our hair follicles decline, so less melanin is produced — which translates into less color, resulting in a head of gray, white or silver hair — just like the gorillas.
So what made me want to go back to my roots (pun intended)? I really don’t know. I could say it was an decision to be earthy, more natural, more true to myself, but I think it’s just darn curiosity. What lies under there? Will I be the youngest looking grey-haired grandma ever? Will people think I look Bohemian with my silver streaks and hoop earrings? Maybe I don’t want to hear any more blonde jokes. I do hope it won’t make me feel older, just as the blonde has not kept the years from creeping up on me. And as 19th century poet Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton observed, “It is not by the gray of the hair that one knows the age of the heart.” I’ll keep you posted.

The column won "Best Column Writing" in 2010 from Suburban Newspapers of America.
For more of Mary Malloy's columns, visit 
Writing on the Wall

Comments

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deej54

OK Mary - Let me know how it goes. Although, I never went the blonde route, I find I have to color my hair once a month to retain that glorious brownish red, that you remember me as. At the end of the third week, I am crazed about all the gray coming through. So who knows, maybe you'll convince me to begin a new trend (and save lots of money). When we finally get together, I just hope we all recognize each other. Donna

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 | Report this
olehto

Well nature played a trick on me and my hair. Rather Than gray or silver and similar to dear old dad my

natural light brown bottle helped Blondel has lost all pigment and is now flat black

Dare I tell you I don't look good in a shade that is suspiciously similar to dark dark gray?!

On the plus side my deep red doesn't need to be reapplied as often

Blondest may have more fun but red is seriously cool!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 | Report this
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