IT SLAP WORE ME OUT, the time, attention and investment required to maintain my “natural” brown hair. Ten days of beautiful salon color then BOOM Day Eleven it appeared: my part already sprouting a strong new crop of gray. It was not pretty, this skunky look, and the work it took to keep those roots at bay was exhausting and also maddening. Thus in May, I threw up my hands, sat in the swivel chair of my beloved Steve Brinchi of Capelli Salon and announced: I CANNOT DO THIS COLOR THING ANYMORE.
That’s a big decision, he said, his voice calm, his demeanor rich with experience.
I MEAN IT, I said.
This did not offend sweet Steve, for he and I have had a long and trusting hair management relationship, and also, one can safely assume from the vantage of a hairdresser he has already Heard. It. All.
Let’s do this, Cath, he said. It was gentle, unfazed. Let’s make your appointment eight weeks out. Leave your roots natural in between, and when you come in July, we’ll have a better idea of what we’re dealing with. We’ll discuss it then.
This seemed good. This seemed entirely reasonable.
THIS WAS NOT EASY.
I watched as those gray roots lengthened, and I became obsessed with determining just what I should do. I tried hairstyle after part-masking hairstyle. I spent hours online, following link after link to grow-out-your-grays methodologies. (Be strong! Wear it boldly! Claim your roots!) Time crawled, I do not exaggerate, then after what I swear was a literal hair eternity, the day finally came for my appointment with Steve.
I looked like this.
We talked and talked, Steve and I did, for he kindly allowed A WHOLE BIG LOT of extra time for me to tell him everything I knew as a layperson/expert via my extensive research re: The Best Way to Grow Out Gray Roots When You Have Brown Hair. These include bayalage, highlights, lowlights, ombre, and the oh-so-brilliant and inventive do-it-yourself Dye Strip. Not to mention the ages-old Cold Turkey option, which as an option, I, in fact, did not mention. Steve listened and smiled and from time to time commented, then when I had exhausted every bit of commentary, he pulled out the color book to show me what we actually were going to do.
We have to prevent damage, he said, so we’re going to limit this to one appointment. We’re going to lift the existing color, tone it, and we’ll take you light all at once. That way as your roots continue to grow, they will blend.
I liked this idea. Then I asked:
How light, exactly?
He pointed to a very blonde patch in the book. This, he said.
Oh my, I thought.
Steve went to the back to mix the magical color cocktail, and I wished I had one myself being extremely excited and also very nervous and even unsure although at the same time feeling very, very certain.
As hairdressers are wont to do, Steve turned me away while he dried and fluffed and straightened my newly lifted locks. (I worked just as hard reminding myself it’s a good thing to breathe.) Then suddenly it was done, SPRAY, SMILE, SWIVEL and VOILA! There she was! Of which I have exactly no photos but only a vague recollection of a stranger in a mirror, of a woman who looked at me and grinned while I myself looked back and wondered who on earth that possibly could be.
I SKIPPED THREE errands. I desperately needed to run them, but I bee-lined it home instead, excited and worried and wondering what would be the reaction of my dear, precious husband—I mean, 19 years with #5 Medium Brown and suddenly here I was, a new wife, a blonde! He smiled at me, and approved, and I ran to the bathroom where after a few minutes of staring I raised my phone to snap this commemorative and also investigative photograph.
WHICH BRING US to now, a couple of days later and a few minutes to soak. My reflection still surprises, every mirror glance catches me off-guard. But seeing my WHITE HOT ROOTS and knowing I WILL NEVER HAVE TO DYE THOSE SUCKERS AGAIN? Understanding this transition is—relatively speaking—a gentle one?
Those things make me very, very happy.
Plus, who even knows, I might emerge from this experience brandishing a whole new level of sassy.
You look fabulous dahling.
It looks fabulous and when it’s all grey it will look just as beautiful. You will be so glad not to have all that upkeep of coloring it so often.
I LOVE IT!!!
I love it! Welcome to the club. “Blondes” do have more fun . . . and fewer root worries. I hope you love it cause it looks great on you!
Thanks, Nancy. Happy to be in any club with you!
Aunt Cathy!!! You look absolutely beautiful! You would no matter what, but I love the color!
Thanks sweet Catherine. It will take a little getting used to!
I love it! But, MORE sassy? Lord help us. ???
Hahaha! This makes me giggle. Thanks, Court!
Girl you look fabulous and definitely sassy. Love the color
Hi Debbie Johnson! Thanks–I just keep reminding myself to breathe!
I have been toying with this idea myself. I have dark roots with some gray. I’m just not there yet. You look fabulous!
Yeah, you have to be full-on ready, because it is a commitment. I’ve loved seeing all your family photos on the Facebook!
I will be having a similar discussion with Steve next week. You have given me encouragement to make ‘the’ transition….. your new do is very flattering! Thank you for writing this.
Steve will guide you well, I promise! Thank you for reading 🙂
It looks great! You are blessed with a great head of hair. Enjoy it!
Thanks, Tim, and that is a great reminder to be grateful!
Wow! That looks great. After chemo my hair came back WHITE. eek! But I was so thankful to HAVE hair(!).
The next time around (I’ve been bald twice) it came in a little darker —- but it’s still more white than ‘salt and pepper’.
I know that surprise when you catch yourself in the mirror. Hahahah. It’s growing back now and I don’t think I will try to color it — but who knows. Your light color looks so good that maybe I will ….
I’ve always thought it so strange about hair color and texture being so different after chemo. And WHITE is such a shock! But you are beautiful in every photo I’ve ever seen. You are an inspiration, my friend! Love and hugs!!!
It’s a tough go! It was easier for me because my hair is curly. You should have done this shit while COVID was keeping everyone home. Lol. You are gorgeous roots and all. I love the highlights!
You look like always sophisticated and beautiful but in a lighter color. Love it, love it.
Thanks, Magdoli! So happy to reconnect with you here on The Daily Grace!
WHY DIDN’T I START THIS AT THE BEGINNING OF COVID??? Hahaha I keep asking myself that. Just wasn’t ready, I guess! Love you and miss you sweet friend!
Your hair looks beautiful and very natural!
Thank you, Lygia, I am especially grateful for the “natural” comment! Thanks for being here and thanks for writing. It’s good to “see” you!
You are going to look good no matter what your hair color is! I actually like it lighter.
My natural color was blonde, so it didn’t take much to hide the white. But the harsh reality of losing all my hair to chemo, not once but twice brought me to the realization that “it’s only hair,” something much easier to accept when you don’t have any. And now I am complimented often about my white locks. All in your perspective…
I didn’t realize you had been through chemo twice–what an important reminder that it is only hair! And yours is especially beautiful. Thanks for being an inspiration!
Thanks, Susan. I am trying to get used to it! XXOO
My friends who used Covid sequestration to go gray look fabulous! Know you will too!
Thanks, Annie. I am happy when I see those white roots and think: I NEVER HAVE TO COLOR THEM AGAIN. But lordy they are white!
God bless the chameleon for giving us a majestic example in nature of adaptation! As always, you look great. I took the “rip the band-aid off” approach in June 2019 and cut my hair super short for the transition. Never looked back; I love my white hair!
You are definitely an inspiration, my friend. You wear it very well!
Yet another life transition you can guide me through!
Ha ha ha! We shall have many discussions about this. (Like we don’t do that over EVERYTHING.)
I love it, Kathy! You wear it well.
Thank you, Mary Kay! We shall see what time (and brassy-ness) brings! Hugs to you.
Very appropriate Independence Day post! Living in the land of the free (from coloring) and the home of the brave (sharing the process.).
Ha ha I hadn’t thought of that but I sure do love it. Thanks, Joretta!
I call it going brave. And one day I, too, hope to get up the courage! You look beautiful.
I do love “Going brave” and believe I shall adopt that! Thank you, Mary Beth!
Love you, Meg!
Love it ??You have given me inspiration!
Steve and I have had similar conversations over the past year and I’m satisfied with what he’s doing or trying to do.
Patience dear Kathy!
I love it! As always…you nailed it! ??
You look fabulous!
Love the shake up. Subtle, sensational and oh so sassy. Not ready for the white and oh so love the golden ombré with much delight.