on gray being the new black

That’s the cliché surrounding women of a certain age lately, isn’t it?

Just like 50 is the new 30. I actually heard someone say that.  It’s not.

I haven’t always embraced a graying head of hair.  Once I did.  Several  years ago I decided to stop coloring my hair. I just went cold turkey with the hair color and let ‘er rip.



I was happy with a mousy brown with increasing gray strands.

“Honey, you are so brave to do this, but let’s color it now.”

“You’re way too youthful to go gray.”

What my hair stylist missed was that I wanted to go with it.  She didn’t agree. She was my age and she colored her hair. She looked nice. She felt we absolutely needed to color.

So I caved to her.

I was finishing my degrees and I knew about the widespread ageism in the academic world.

I told myself that I’d let the gray grow out when I finished my master’s. After that, I said when I finished the PhD.

Finally, it would be when I landed a full time position.

The degrees are finished and I’ve pretty much thrown in the towel on the full time position, unless it’s in a business I create. Sure, hope springs eternal. But I’m not going to continue coloring this head of hair until then.


See the gray?  And, yes, that’s the ex ex-ed out the best I could manage. I tried the clone stamp tool but I think I prefer a few eraser swipes. It’s a lot less work.

So, why now? Why grow it out now?

You could say I had an epiphany.

I’ve been coloring my hair more and enjoying it less. Since I’ve been a single mom I haven’t wanted to use the money to get it done professionally. I’ve had to face what is there on my head up close and personal. And, the personal maintenance time of keeping some kind of brown hair could go into so many other things I enjoy doing.

Funny thing is, it seems like it’s easy to fudge the color through your fifties.  But when? When do I begin to just let it be?

Right now.

gray showing2

It doesn’t look impressively gray/silver, but I’ve only been doing this for two months. There are a variety of colors on my head.  At the front of my face and temples, silver-white. In places, some  gunmetal gray.

One of my grandmothers had gunmetal gray hair and one had extraordinary white hair. Without adding color, I’m currently and happily redefining mousy brown with all of those varieties of silver underneath.  Guess I’m all in with the change.

About rainshadowfarm

West Virginia hillbilly girl grown up. Grew up in northern Ohio. Farmer from birth. Working class academic. Practical agroecologist. Community educator. Single parent of eight. I also teach anthropology at a community college. I like this work and think it's worth doing and doing well. California community college students are some of the most incredible students I have ever known.
This entry was posted in Life changes and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to on gray being the new black

  1. qrparker says:

    You should just go bald. That’ll show ’em.

  2. swo8 says:

    Brave woman. Way to go.

  3. weebluebirdie says:

    Would like to go with you on the Journey to Grey….but unlikely to happen any time soon! I was a redhead – my one vanity. I felt somewhat betrayed that it should start to go grey. Many redheads go a lovely salt and pepper strawberry blonde. Mine went browny grey; “Slate” my hairdresser calls it now. Ugh! I’ve always had it done at the hairdresser; off the shelf colours always seemed, tricky when you’re a redhead. Thought it would be easier at the hairdressers…..nope. However, after some very wrong shades, we’ve hit on the perfect Titian shade for me. I love it. And I especially love all the comments from those who think it’s natural. I think of my six weekly trips to my hairdresser as restoration work!

    • rainshadowfarm says:

      I’m tired of paying to get it done and I actually like the color so it’s all good. If you love yours, that’s the thing. Enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s