Archive for Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Shouts and Murmurs: Accepting life in shades of silver

July 12, 2006

Going gray gracefully may be an oxymoron.

But it in fact is a possibility.

This doesn't mean acceptance without reluctance, or even nostalgia for the person we used to be. Nor does it mean that we automatically recognize the glimpse of our silver-haired reflection in a mirror.

And personally, it doesn't mean, no matter how old, or young we are, we're ready for the silver-plated look.

But there are times in life when reality sets in and we've got to work with what's coming.

I liked the dark brown hair. But gradually, it staunchly refused to hold the color.

First, my natural color, which began to take on the glimmer of Christmas tinsel in my late 30s. And later, the shades of brown I applied at home, and still later, when the task became more challenging, at a beauty shop.

A little more than a year ago, I began to seriously think about letting my hair go silver. I asked my beautician how to do it.

Do you just stop coloring and painfully wear a skunk-stripe of silver until it grows out? Or is there a way to go to silver, gradually, and hopefully, gracefully.

She encouraged me to give silverdom a try. In her early 20s she sported a mane of bru-nette hair -- the color mine had been at her age.

But another beautician in the shop heard our discussion, and asked, "WHY would you want to go gray?"

She had a point. I too, liked the chocolate brown, chemically modified though it was. But I had to live with the situation. A week after even a professional coloring, the rich brown would turn brassy. The color would continue to fade until, within about three weeks I would feel as if I were an imposter, sporting reddish light-colored hair that clearly, wasn't right for me.

My beautician began her part in this transition to silver by darkening my hair and then by putting a cap on, then pulling strands through to highlight. She later tried another method -- foiling my hair, sometimes alternating between foils of darker color and lightening solution. Each month she'd change her tactic a little bit, adjusting the method, the shade, the highlights, as oh so gradually, the silver strands made their appearance. The last coloring was seven months ago.

And now, though a hint of that color remains, you might say, I've nearly reached my true "this-stage-in-life" hair color.

And surprisingly, after a couple of months, I'm growing accustomed to the change. At least, now when I see a reflection of a silver-haired figure in the mirror, I don't suspect a stranger has come to call.

More surprisingly, I've been teased about trying to "go blond."

One woman said, "I knew you when you were young, that's not your natural color." Someone else asked if I had trouble concentrating, now that I'm a blonde.

And, if that's the case -- if the silver is mistaken for platinum blond -- then so be it.

The funny thing is, I'd always wondered if it's true blondes have more fun.

Now -- at least until remnants of chemical coloring fades away -- I'll have a chance to find out.

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