Saturday, October 24, 2015

One year passed... in other words, gray, silver, white tones in my hair

Yet in other words, incredibly long ramblings about my hair, the how and why I changed it... I warned you. This is rather a journal note to myself, than anything else.
So a year passsed
That’s how long since I last dyed my hair.
If you look back, my blog showed pictures of me with a bright red hair, up until a few months ago… Many asked what happened, and why did I stop coloring… this “anniversary” is a good occasion to answer.
Aside from the crafty genes, from my family I inherited the “early graying” genes as well. My paternal grandmother (yes the one that taught me to knit and crochet, had a head full of white hair, by the time she was forty, and that I will follow her not only down the crafty path, but on this one, could be seen rather early.
I had gray hairs on my head, before I was 14, by the time I was 16 they were pretty noticeable, in my twenties my hair was salt and pepper…
I started to color it to a shade or another of red in my teens, and did the coloring for about thirthy and then some years. Originally it was dark brown, though, probably thanks to my mom’s genes (who was a real green eyed, red haired witch) always had a reddish shine. Who knows why, I always wanted to have curly red hair…I started with chestnut, mahogany colors, and as there were more white underneath the dye, I used lighter and lighter shade of red, until I got to the light coppery shade you are familiar from the blogpictures. Maintaining is was not easy, as it was white, at the same time it grew as fast like weeds. I always heard tales with a great envy from people going for five even six or more weeks without dyeing their hair… for me serious roots showed by the third week, and on the fourth one I didn’t liked to go out of my house. To tell you the truth, if I wanted to feel my hair in good shape I could have colored it in every other week, but that wouldn’t be good for my purse/hair or my health. Sometimes, when for some reason I went without haircolor for a longer period, I’ve seen that is whiter and whiter underneath, but I really didn’t know how it looks like, until…
Sometimes I thought I should let it go… often I thought when I will be 50, I will stop coloring it and become a sweet white haired old lady… in fact around 2010 I lost my patient and decided to go gray but then shit hit the fan, my life took a downturn… and I will try not to go in there just now…
However, from a few sentence you might now, that in the last few years I didn’t had it easy. I would say it was a rollercoaster, but it wasn’t even that as a rollercoaster have upturns, and I felt that whenever I feel I can’t get any lower, life took a turn for the worst saying, oh, sure, but it can.
Then, when my life to yet another downturn, I took a wow to myself, not to go to a hairdresser, and not have a haircut until I find a solution. I had no idea what that solution could be, or if there would be any solution at all, but no haircut until then. I could not give up coloring as I had to stay presentable… and there passed months, even years.
When finally it seemed that I not only managed to climb to the edge of that hole, I even managed to get a hold of that edge, in fact I could see a hope that I might even be able to climb OUT, my hair was waistlong. To be sure I waited another couple of months, no to scare my luck away. I enjoyed my long hair, the braided style that became mine, though I knew it needs a refreshing. Finally I had an appointment with my hairdresser, who done my hair for about twenty years.. I didn’t see her all too often, but sometimes she colored my hair, usually cut some of it off, sometimes put some weave into it… Such weaves I asked from her now. And I have no idea what happened, but as I left, the next day my hair started to feel like old elastic, then sticky like old plastic, and break off by the handful. Thinking back I believe that the many years of struggle and stress kicked my hormones out of balance, which affected not only my weight, but my hair as well, of which my hairdresser didn’t realized. I am not angry with her, I am not blaming her. She could have said that “look, let’s leave the perm out, and only cut a bit of it off”… we knew each other enough that I would have listen to her. Anyhow, in the following weeks, I have tried everything. Poured conditioners, masks, oils on it to no effect. Previously, when coloring my hair I often experienced that my hair felt much better right after a session.. In fact I often wondered why the heck I am so afraid of dyeing it more often…So in a last attempt on October 24th 2014, I dyed my hair… this was like pouring oil on fire, things got even worst. I even tried the scissor therapy, but every time I cut some of it, more broke off… and then I had to think…
I am not that far away from that magic number…
I am not going to get any younger…
Even if I dye my hair whoknows what color.
I do not have to appear at job interviews, what is more, I hardly ever have to go into a office…
Asslong Waistlong white hair can be as great as my red was…
If it was good enough for Jamie Lee Curtis, Meryl Streep, or Kate Moss…
If someone wanted me only for my red hair… well then I do not want them (be it a job, a friend, or a man..)
Of course the choice between having gray hair on my head, or no hair at all overwritten every other consideration.
Then I took a deep breath, like I did years ago, when I had to face the fact that without a degree I will not be able to get ahead, which ended me getting through some difficult time and clenching my teeth, but getting that degree..
This change might not took such struggle, but the same strong decision for sure. Even though at the time I had no idea what am I getting into. Naturally I looked around forums, blogs, read about such changes, watched videos on YouTube and had a whole board on Pinterest, so I kind of knew where to go from there…
One thing was sure, I will change my hairdresser. As much as I liked her as a person, I lost my trust, and also whenever I did mention letting my hair go gray she rejected the though. I asked my friends, and from their suggestions I found Éva… Poor girl didn’t know where will I take her, though later I found she kinda likes challenges, she likes to have to think about a task…

We decided to put silver, red and light brown highlights into my hair to soften the line between the colored and the gray part, and later put more and more silver and less and less color, until it is all silver and grown… In theory this was great, but as she put the lightening agent on my hair… with almost the same momentum she had to take it off, as my hair literally started to melt under it and she knew already that I do not like very short hair… especially on my head. Bald head I like even less. My waistlong hair was in ruins by then, first it had to be cut until my shoulder blades, then 
somewhere between my shoulder and ears…

 I only cried through the night… I missed the braid from it the very first day, if nothing else I braided the hair from my forehead back
We could see that hydrogen is no help, I was left with the cold turkey and the gunk stripe route… In the meanwhile I/we tried other solutions, lightening shampoos, chamomile, citric acid, to make the difference between the dyed and undyed part less noticeable shocking. 
Sometimes I had to sit on my hand not to take a package and pour over my hair…
Pulled back, pinned up, braided… whatever form, it was not a good view. For the day of wool in the spring I braided colorful wool dreds to hide the blowrange ends… and I think this day was a turning point. This was the first time I went out in public and said , hey this IS MY hair. This is not unkempt, it is gray on PURPOUSE.

A few weeks later the ends were light enough to try ash toner on it, and after a bigger cut I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Summer swimming often made it look yellow, sometimes the toner turned to green, sometimes it was hard to see it is intentional, not just a fucked up messed up blonde . 

By this time I used shampoo and conditioner for gray hair…and for the Festival of folk arts I had wool dreds dyed to the lightest gray braided into it..
Today.. its been a year since I last put color on my hair. I am not the end of this journey, the ends still yellowish, bleached, ashened, shoulder length (instead of waist length), but I will get there.
Yes, I miss being a readhead. I miss being the dangerous, feisty, crazy carrot head with the lamp for her hair. Sometimes catching my reflection from the corner of my eyes I do not realize that “that white haired woman” is me. In pictures I still look for the red spot, when I search my face, but actually, less and less. When the magazine asked for a photo a few week ago I did not wanted a redheaded one… asked them to shot a new one with my silver hair.
No I do not miss having to buy, and mix haircolor every coupl of weeks, I do not miss messing up the bathroom, my towels, my pillows…
Not to mention that it turned out that the biggest hairtrend of 2015 is actually having gray/silver hair… at the end of the summer, in the fitness club, where I go to swim, a girl in her early twenties came ober and asked me what color I use to dye my hair… (genes honey, pure genes)
That’s about it. A few weeks ago I had coffee with a teacher of the university, I became friends with.. she is a few years younger than I am, and the last I saw her was in early/mid summer. I was surprised to see she is growing her gray out. She choose a different route by having her hair cut short. But she said I gave her the strength and encouragement to actually go through with it…  and there are others.
My wardrobe is changing, though I don’t exactly see where will it end up. My eyes, and skintone did not change, but some colors still have a different effect… Luckily, I never liked yellows (lemon, ochre, mustard, sun, whatever), orange on the other hand… In late spring I went to a meeting wearing a brown skirt and my Golden wheat sweater. Catching my reflection in a mirror of the shopping mall the café was in, I thought, who IS that yellow haired deadly pale skinned woman??? If my hair will grow, and the ends will be cut off, it might be different, but for the moment my so loved orangey, rusty colors will take a back seat. Strangely light reflects in a way that if I wear those my hair looks a lot more yellowish, than otherwise. Luckily I can still wear red, even the warmer shades, and I can get more close to the colder

1 comment:

kristieinbc said...

I wish I was there with you. I would give you a hug, and say "well done you!" Your hair is beautiful. It was quite nice when it was reddish tones, but is incredibly striking now that you have let it start to go its natural shade of grey/white.