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To Dye or Not to Dye?

Dear TueNight,

I was having a conversation with my friend that turned to the topic of hair dye. I’m thinking of covering my grays with something a little less boring. She told me not to bow to the societal pressures for women to look young no matter how old we are. But when I look in the mirror, I feel like I’m living in some old lady’s body who I don’t even know. Is she right? Should I embrace my gray? 

— More salt than pepper

Dear Salty,

I started dying my hair a plethora of colors when I was 15. When I walked down the stairs after my first (unsanctioned) dye job, my mother was talking on the phone and watching Dallas. She watched me descend about half the staircase. “I’ve gotta go. My daughter just dyed her hair purple.”

Whew, she was mad! 

It’s been 30 years since I started changing my hair color every which way but green. I’ve gone through long stretches of leaving my dark brown hair as is, mainly because home dye jobs are a pain in the ass — my bathroom invariably ends up looking like a crime scene and my pillowcase always gets stained no matter how well I rinse my hair! Then there was the time all my hair fell out after I tried to dye it blonde right after using a self-applied relaxer. I’m talking clumps.

Now that there’s a decent amount of salt in my pepper, I think of dye very differently. Will purple turn the grays more of a lavender? How would I look with pink streaks? (I’m currently a really artificial, bright auburn that I do not care for.) 

Is this an attempt to grasp at my fading youth? Hell no. My 20s were mostly a disaster; I’m very good with 47. I’ve just always liked doing stuff to my hair: Cutting it, dying it, growing out my curls, straightening it, shaving it. However the spirit moves me. Sometimes that means leaving the grays.

So should you embrace the gray or beat it back with a creamy, nontoxic hair dye? I say do whatever the hell you want. You’re a grown-ass woman.

You might also like:
I’m Lonely! Should I Connect with My Ex?
Losing It: On the Life, Death and Rebirth of My Hair

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