Glowing Gracefully Gray: 5 Reasons Why I Ditched the Hair Dye

“Get the tweezers, girls! Who wants to pluck my grays?”

Mom laid her dark brown tresses on the arm of the sofa as she reclined with her book in hand awaiting our answer. My sister and me drew straws to see who got hair plucking duty that day.

glowing gray

Mom was in her early thirties, but already concerned about the gray invasion—a harbinger of age unwelcome in the bloom of womanhood and young motherhood. She battled those thin wisps for years as they multiplied. Soon, mere plucking would not suffice. In-home hair dye washed away the offending strands. Then, regular trips to the salon in later years, to keep those tell-tale roots from giving the truth away.

Mom had gone all gray.

By mid-life, she was stuck in an endless cycle of covering the gray with permanent color dye since that’s how she started. There would be no easy way to go gray gracefully with an unattractive root line. And, she wasn’t keen on cutting her hair too short to make it easier.

However, in her sixties, cancer finally made a place for graceful graying. After losing all her hair to the monster disease, she allowed it to grow back in natural silver tones—her true color.

Mom was beautiful in that season. Glowing gracefully gray.

Until the Lord took her away.

Enter me, in my thirties–fondly remembering my hair plucking days with mom. I followed her example. First the pluck, then the dye. I never toyed with colors other than my own natural brown tones. I wasn’t the type to go blonde or dark black, let alone green or purple or pink.

And—having learned from mom’s mistake, I chose never to use a permanent hair dye. Whether salon styling or a home-do, I always chose a product that gently washed out of my hair within a few weeks. This kept me in a youthful brown throughout my forties.

But, many life changes and stressful situations experienced in my fifties made those semi-permanent colors obsolete to the purpose. I couldn’t get rid of the gray lights glowing through the sheer coverage.

My stylist suggested I go with permanent color.

My husband suggested to go naturally gray.

I despaired in my mid-life reality check: The clock wouldn’t turn back. I’d begun to truly show my age and didn’t look on the outside like the youthful gal I felt on the inside.

Harsh hair product chemicals took their toll on me. The condition of my hair after using a dye kit or going to the salon didn’t produce the same results as before. Dying my hair became a chore—and expensive. I went longer and longer between fixes until the day I announced with honest desire and joyful relish:

People noticed. Friends applauded. My husband was proud of me. He’d glowed gracefully gray some time ago and was happy we were now a matched pair.

The Bible has a number of things to say about the glories of aging and their marks—including the graying of our hair.

Youth may be admired for vigor, but gray hair gives prestige to old age.    

Proverbs 20:29 MSG

Gray hair is a mark of distinction, the award for a God-loyal life.      

Proverbs 16:31 MSG

In a culture obsessed with youth and vitality, I am come to my mid-fifties with a quiet joy in playing the role God has given me in my graying season. Though I am in the early days of age and wisdom, I am at peace with the natural course of things. I don’t need to look like I drank from the fountain of youth to make a impact on contemporary society. In truth, as a member of the “baby boomer” generation, I am in the majority statistic.

If you’re covering your gray and it’s working for you—go to it.

For me, I find I’ve come into a season of life when my graceful graying is better for my “brand” than not. It’s a “me” look. What a freeing revelation that is!

I can be a woman of greater vitality when I embrace with grace my crown of gray, while stewarding all the other bits and pieces of this mortal frame with wisdom and care for long term usefulness. In so doing, I am meet for my Master’s purposes and very specific call on my life—to touch the hearts and minds of children of all ages with “faire words, insights, all good things and beauty.”

blue portrait

In the glowing, I can personally attest to these five graces I’ve found in the graying:

  1. Graying gracefully boosts confidence.

I have lived and learned and can hold my head high in mid-life wearing a graying crown to set me apart. I earned each whitening hair fiber and can be proud of the knowledge and understanding they represent of my life experience. This is the confidence of years lived.

  1. Silver strands mark vintage value.

In much the same way that a silversmith’s hallmark imprints the seal of worth and value onto a handcrafted silver candlestick or bowl, my graying hair is a sterling seal of worth, too. The refined marks of wisdom in each strand are a testament to one of valuable insight and worthy words.

  1. A glow of gray frames facial features softly.

I notice the dance light plays on my gray when photographed. My features appear soft and at rest when encircled by the gray. I make a unique fashion statement with a healthy glow—a thing of beauty to be going on with.

  1. Less artifice—more authenticity.

I don’t have to pretend that I’m not graying or that I’m not getting older. I am doing just that and it’s an okay thing. Perfectly natural, in fact. I can walk tall and strong being precisely who I am. That’s what makes a truly graceful woman aglow with beauty beyond the surface.

  1. Less fuss—more freedom.

What a time saver it is to not fuss over covering my age with a veneer of youth! I feel freer and more comfortable in my skin with the “as is” model. Grace and glowing are the raw materials I have to work with at this time in my life. Making the most of my personal appearance is easier when I work with what I have—not try to make me appear to be something I’m not.

How about you?

Have you struggled with those graying strands thinking they ought to be covered up instead of proudly worn? We all come to our season of glowing gracefully gray at different stages of personal growth. May you step with confidence into yours and embrace all the potential God has for you in due season.

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Sharing Glowing Gracefully Gray this week with:

Fellowship Fridays at Christian Mommy Blogger

Vintage Mama’s Cottage

Sarah at Hope in Every Season Homemaking Party

Tell His Story with Jennifer Dukes Lee

Little R&R Wednesday with Rosilind

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2015 Kathryn Ross

About Miss Kathy

"I teach families how to restore their God-given authority as the primary educator in their child’s life through the experience of reading together as a family. Learn how to use literature to create teachable moments, build strong minds, and bind loving hearts."

Kathryn Ross, writer, speaker, and dramatist, ignites a love of literature and learning to equip young and old towards developing a Family Literacy Lifestyle—reading together, learning together, loving together. Her works challenge families to deepen their literacy skills and grow into the greater things God has purposed for them. She’s taught in Christian and homeschool circles, trained in the Principle Approach® through the Foundation for American Christian Education. Miss Kathy owns Pageant Wagon Publishing, producing homeschool enrichment materials, devotional works, study guides, and theatrical dramas for church, school, and community production. She podcasts at TheWritersReverie.com and blogs at PageantWagonPublishing.com.

Comments

  1. What a beautiful “freeing” post!! Loved it…love the “glowing gracefully gray”!! I have graying hair…I COLOR my hair because I am not ready to “go gray” – gracefully or otherwise! I am more ME when I color my hair; but it DOES get to be quite a chore and a financial hardship to do so! This post speaks to me…and I am thinking…but when I look at the gray – with my dark brown eyelashes…I think it looks weird!! Still, I am thinking on this post and the words you shared!

    Thank you!!

    • Barbara, I’m right with you there on the struggle to gray or not to gray. I’m so blessed you were blessed–and are thinking about a “re-brand” of your look that will take you forward with grace and glowing. Thanks for your kind comment!
      Joy!
      Kathy

  2. Kathy, I enjoyed this post so much. I have what I call some “crown” gray going on. That sneaky little streaks of gray appear right there in my crown!!! I have found myself having to go more often to touch it up! And I do low lights and high lights. I’ve thought a couple of times of leaving it be and letting myself gray naturally but my three daughters hasn’t cared for that idea at all. Funny, I’ve never thought to ask my man what he thought about the possibility of me going to gray. And to tell the truth I do like my hair color and I don’t think I am quite ready to go gray. My grandmother colored her hair for a long time and finally decided to go gray and she had beautiful gray hair. My mom has never colored her hair and is now gray and loves it. With the cost factor added in I have a feeling it may not be too many more years before I give in! Thanks for sharing your heart with us today. I love the realness of women! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

    • Blessings, Cindy! Glad you found some food for thought here. I think you look glowing in your “brand” and think you would in a glowing gray, too. It’s all in your stunning eyes and electric smile, you know.
      Joy!
      Kathy

  3. Good for you, Kathryn, and you look lovely. I, too, gave up the fight with grey about a year ago, and I love it. It is freeing not to have to spend so much time and money at the salon. (I sure can’t do it myself because I can’t see without my glasses). My husband also encouraged me to go grey and he tells me I’m beautiful every single day of my life. Some friends don’t agree with my choice. One of my daughters told me I look older (bless her heart), but I’m am just fine with it. It is what it is, and I am what I am. I’m comfortable with it and that’s what matters. Thanks for your post.
    Blessings,
    GG

    • LOL, Gail, bless your daughter’s heart. I had the same little encounter some time ago–but she doesn’t have to live with my hair anymore. I did notice this year you were glowing in silver and not gold. Yay for you! I bet you look stunning in blue and pastel pinks! Blessings, my friend!
      Joy!
      Kathy

  4. I’m not ready to go gray just yet, but all power to ya! I will wait for my glory hair-do when I get to heaven. 😀

  5. You wear it well. I don’t. So I’m sticking with my fake brown. Smiles and hugs!

  6. I enjoyed reading your story. My dad used to let me pluck his grays. My mom is 77 and still has very little grays. I hope I take after her and if not, I’ll go all natural! Thanks for sharing with Thursday Favorite Things! Have a great weekend!

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Jas! So your dad had you plucking, huh? I have known many older women who retain their hair color for decades. A blessing, to be sure–but we are blessed in all our seasons, I believe.
      Joy!
      Kathy

  7. I’m right there with you. I ditched the dye earlier this year and I keep asking myself why I didn’t do it years ago. My daughter tells it I look younger because this hair color is better at bringing out my skin tones. Wow it took courage. Even my dad asked me before, “Why do you want to look old?” 🙂 I love the phrase “glow gracefully gray.” I’m going to remember that. Now I need to update my photo on my site. Maybe this weekend.

    • Deb–congrats! Sometimes I do struggle with how different I look in the mirror, being as how I still feel 18 inside, but I’ve earned every silver fiber and you have too and that’s a crown of wisdom to be going on with.
      Thanks for visiting!
      Joy!
      Kathy

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