The first step towards having gray hair is to stop dyeing your hair. Highlights, lowlights, permanent color, temporary washouts, henna, lemon juice, beet extract, all of it. Stop dyeing your hair. You might start telling yourself that you look washed out or sluggish. Go for a walk or buy a bright lipstick at Walgreens. These feelings will come and go. This is a part of growing out your hair. These feelings are the bullying cries of the dyed follicles matched with the background boom of social convention.
The second step is to invest in a few brightly colored cotton headbands. As your gray roots emerge, you may wish to cover them. Now is the time to channel your inner fortuneteller. Wear dangly earrings and that beaded necklace you inherited from your Aunt Ruth. Headbands also go well with long skirts, culottes, or overalls. If you have an office job, consider a more conservative black or brown headband. If you are comfortable wearing a head wrap, then by all means, dive in. I am a big fan of red lipstick as a mood lifter. If you don’t enjoy makeup, then don’t wear any. As my teenager would say, you do you.
When you are two or three inches into the growing out process, people will start to tell you that you are brave. Don’t fall for this. You are brave for reasons having nothing to do with your hair. Now might be the time to reflect on lessons learned in difficult times. This is not one of those times. You are just growing out your hair.
Let’s talk about hats. If you like a hat, wear one.
At three or four inches of growth, you will have moments of wanting to dye your hair again. At these times, reach for the Internet. Follow @grombre on Instagram, where regular gals post their gray hair photos. Ask yourself what Jamie Lee Curtis would do. Think about how much money you are saving. If you have young people in your life, think about the example you are setting.
A year will pass. The next step is a cute, short haircut. Think Winona Ryder’s floppy pixie in Reality Bites. Pull up photos of Lupita Nyong’o, Helen Mirren, Tilda Swinton, Pink, and Mary Stuart Masterson in Some Kind of Wonderful. Find a hairdresser that supports your decision to go gray. It is a conflict of interest for the hairdresser, like asking an orthodontist whether or not you need braces. Be patient.
With your cute, short haircut, you are now ready to be a gray-haired lady of the world. You can keep your hair short, or as my hairdresser in Australia used to say, grow it out “wizard-like.” You will become an ambassador. You will be approached often for advice, sometimes three times in one night, at a friend’s 50th birthday party. You might go home and write about it.