Random Person: “You would look so much younger if you just colored your hair.”
Random Person: “I don’t mean that you look bad, just, well…you would look younger.”
Me: “So I look old?”
…at this point my inner mind is calling this person a few choice words while my outer person is smiling at them while they stutter over what to say next. I actually don’t care anymore. I think it’s kind of funny to watch people squirm.
I decided to share why I don’t color my hair for all those women out there thinking they couldn’t possibly let their hair be natural because of what people might say or think.
Why I Stopped Coloring My Hair
About seven years ago I noticed that I would get flu like symptoms at least once a month. I thought that was weird. My whole lower body would ache, my joints hurt, my feet sometimes cramped, and some of my joints would randomly swell. My hands and feet in particular would take turns, randomly, swelling at individual joints. A few fingers on this hand, then the toes on that foot…you get the idea.
Of course, I ran to my doctor and thought maybe I had Lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. I was checked for both of those, and more, to find nothing. Just random pain, swelling, and flu like aches every few weeks to a month.
Yeah, I guess you can see where this is going…
I had someone mention that maybe I was allergic to “something” that was causing these periodic symptoms. I decided to keep a journal about what I ate and did for a few months. I discovered (wait for it) that I got sick immediately after touching up my roots, changing my hair color, or adding highlights to my hair. Every. Stinking. Time! It never failed. I felt sick later that day or the next day after doing any kind of hair color treatment.
Of course, that meant…”Oh no!! Heck no! I can’t stop coloring my hair!”
My diagnosis was originally Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue. But…
The Day I Stopped Coloring My Hair
I remember clearly the day I decided to stop. I stared at myself in the mirror, directly at that “skunk stripe” developing down the middle of the part on my head from the time I decided to take a hiatus from hair coloring to see if I felt better, and thought, “Why? Why me?”
But, then I remembered my genetic history. My mother and my grandmother both had very early gray hair, pretty much both very gray in their early 40’s. Just. Like. ME! I found my first gray hair when I was 17. Yeah…17! If you are feeling sorry for yourself because you are 40 with 10 gray hairs…feel happy now! I mean it. Be glad and accept those 10 little gray hairs.
I am 45 at the time of this article going live on the Internet. I have more “salt” than “pepper” for sure. From the front, sometimes people think I am a very light Ash Blonde. NOPE. It is white. Pretty much all white in the front with more “pepper” in the back still, which makes it kind of a duo-tone look. I now wish it just would just all turn gray already. Why? Because I like it.
Fast Forward Seven Years
I’ve had seven years of mostly natural hair. All I can say is…I feel great! I have very few bad achy days. I do still have a few now and then because, hey, I still put things on my body that sometimes cause a reaction. Like the new makeup I bought last month. I broke out on the sides of my face and all across my forehead, plus I had the achy-breaky days off and on for a few weeks before I figured out what it was.
I no longer hurt every month. I feel so much better! Returning to work healthier and happier has been such a blessing. I can garden and work on projects with only mild discomfort, the normal kind from exerting muscles.
I did return to coloring once because someone convinced me that an All Natural Hair Color would work and not cause me to feel achy. Wrong! By the third month I was right back to feeling horrible, flu-like symptoms on a regular basis. Then I had to go through the whole growing out process all over again. Bleh!
Just Do IT!
If you are considering going natural…just do it! Believe me, it is not that bad. Sure, it is awkward at first with the “skunk stripe” down the middle if you have a lot of gray. But, in the end, it is so freeing! Life is more enjoyable now. I celebrate ME and how God made me. I am happy with who I am.
I have very healthy hair that needs very little trimming. In fact, my hair stylist’s always comment on how luxurious my hair feels. Yeah, probably because hardly anyone remembers what natural hair feels like. Guess what…it feels great! It looks great!
Love Who You Are
I basically decided to write this article because I think society needs to change. WE need to change as individuals first. We need to love each other and who we are and stop judging based on appearance. As women, we especially need to love ourselves and be happy with how God made us…gray hair and all.
Once I really embraced my hair, I just felt a huge weight of self-conscious anxiety lifted. I felt free. I felt happy. And…well to be real…I feel a little old sometimes. But, I am middle aged. I am older. I accept that and embrace it as my personal truth. Wow. Writing that line just made me tear up because it is true. I am happy with ME.
I want you to be happy, too.