Rocking The Grey

In today’s Getting Older news, I think I am at the point where I want to stop dying my hair.

There is a history of early grey in my family, and I’ve had scraggly grey hairs since I turned 30 (famously, my husband plucked my first ever white hair from the back of my head at my own 30th birthday party, and I wailed in horror over it for like, half an hour before being comforted with cake). I’ve been dying it since just after I had Little Miss Sunshine, because I hated the weird striped look. It’s been about ten years of Nice and Easy every six weeks.

But lately I have become tired with the process, the smell, the toll on my hair, the roots. I’ve been looking long and hard at my roots every time dying time comes around, to try to determine what the current percentage is of white, and whether that’s enough to go gracefully all-grey.

It’s really hard to say, but I think my hair is now mainly grey with white bits, and very little of the original brown. I should have dyed it a couple of weeks ago, but when the day came I just…didn’t. And now it’s been about 10 weeks, and I’m of a mind to just kind of see where this is going, and if I like it. Already I can say that a) I do not mind at all not going through the dying process, and b) my hair seems healthier and less brittle already, so that’s good.

I spent some time looking at older actresses for inspiration. Of course, Hollywood pressures women to Stay Young Forever, so making the decision to Go Grey probably comes later in life. Debra Messing, Lucy Liu, Molly Ringwald, Naomi Watts, Ashley Judd, Patricia Arquette, Gillian Anderson, and Parker Posey all turn 50 this year and show no signs of grey, which probably isn’t natural. Age 60 seems to be the usual “considering it” age – Annette Benning, Holly Hunter, Megan Mullally turn 60 this year and are still dying, but 60-year-olds Sharon Stone, Ellen Degeneres, Angela Bassett, and Jamie Lee Curtis seem to be transitioning or going all-out-grey.

Susan Sarandon is now 71, but still rocking the red hair, which cannot possibly be natural. But on the other hand, I so strongly associate her with being a redhead that I would support her continuing to dye it until she is an invalid in a wheelchair with feathered lipstick. Rock it, Susan.

Susan Junket (cropped)

Helen Mirren was a natural blonde in her youth, which I think makes the transition to grey easier. Still, looking at photos, it seems she was still tinting it a golden colour up until two or three years ago. Now that she’s 73, she’s been appearing more often with a solid head of pure white hair, but of course she looks amazing.

The Leisure Seeker 07 (37044398702)

Judi Dench had dark hair as a young woman and it seems she was not too fussy about embracing the grey. Pictures of her at age 50 or so still show her with longish brown hair, but shortly after that she went super short and let it go grey, the way we think of her today. By the time she won the Oscar for Shakespeare in Love – she was 54 at the time – she was all white/grey and looking like a boss. Today she’s 83 and the very definition of no-nonsense.


Frances McDormand is an awesome inspiration here too. She famously has said that she intends to age gracefully and not try to hide it at all. She was still dying her hair at age 40 (short and dark brown), but by age 45 she’d gone super short and mostly grey with a blonde tint, and now at age 61 she’s totally grey and looking amazing.

Frances McDormand 2015

And in real life, I am inspired by my friend Lisa (hi Lisa!), who is my age and has long curly hair that is now a gorgeous salt and pepper. She recently had head shots taken and she looked so elegant and powerful that I thought, that could be me too.

I’ll be 48 in a few months, and 50 isn’t that far away, and 50 does not seem too young to have grey hair, regardless of what the majority of Hollywood says. I know it’s going to make me look older. Maybe even all the way to “old.” But it’s who I am, and I like who I am, and I’m ready to go for it.

9 thoughts on “Rocking The Grey

  1. Lisa

    Hi Lynn, just turned 50 and still highlighting, I occasionally peruse my head to see if there are any grey. I haven’t seen more than one or two so either I am delusional or just really lucky. However, like you when they start coming in hot and heavy I will opt to leave it and, in the words of Frozen, let it go.

  2. A lot of my ‘hood friends went blond(er)…I’m really dark so it would look weird on me, but I know one dark woman who looks fabulous with a much lighter do. But, that’s salon touch up every 5-6 weeks; she’s a working out of the house mom with style and fashion flair, and I’m a SAHM and don’t have either the cash flow nor the desire for regular salon visits to maintain such a lighter do.

    For now…I aim to grow out and then…I go back my box because I’m just not ready. SIGH.

  3. Aw…. ❤ I used to dye my hair and (do you know this story?) I went into a swish downtown Toronto boutique for a fancy indulge-me hair cut, and the guy metrosexual who was doing my hair asked if he could colour it and that I really needed a colour because "women couldn't feel good about themselves with grey hair". Well I just about lost it (and didn't tip him very well) because who the F are you to tell me how I should feel about myself? I was also tired of the dying and the mess and feeling bad about the chemicals and pollution going down the drain (does this world really *need* hair dye??) and so I stopped entirely and that was many years ago and you see the result. I think it's working ok – the hair will do what the hair will do – and I did have an amazing photographer for those pictures. 🙂

  4. nicoleboyhouse

    I am 100% grey and have been for years – well, that’s what my roots tell me. I’m not ready to embrace my greys yet so I colour every five weeks, which is a lot of time and money to be honest. But I’m not there yet. Hell, *I’ll* probably be in the Home with my bleeding feathered lipstick and bright orange hair. It will go with my plastic jewelry I’m sure. I have friends who are rocking the grey and I love the way they look. In particular my friend Amy has this thick, wavy, long hair that’s grey and brown and she looks absolutely fabulous.

  5. Shannon

    I am firmly in the not sure what to do camp. I have dyed my hair intermittently in my younger years, for kicks more than anything, but those greys are starting to multiply. My Mom a few years ago decided enough was a enough and just stopped and she looks great. So who knows. I just may continue to let indecision rule. Some days I care, but most days I don’t.

  6. smothermother

    This really hit home. I’ve been toying with going grey myself. I’m about 75% grey and have been dyeing my hair since I was in my 20s. But my natural colour is so mousy I’m afraid going grey will just wash me out. I told my stylist that he has to give me 2 yrs warning before he retires because I want him to be the one that helps me through. So I think I have about 2 yrs to wrap my head around going grey and then doing it. I’m thinking maybe 50 will be the time to do it as well (which is in 3 yrs!). Then I can try those awesome pink pastel pinks and blue dyes. 🙂

  7. This spring I got the haircut that left the final bits of dye on the salon floor and man, was it amazing! First of all, it meant I could start growing my hair again, because I’d been keeping it much shorter than my preferred length in an effort to Snip The Dye Out. I’ve been growing my hair all summer and it’s getting closer to a length I like, and I have zero hair colour worries. I don’t worry if my roots are showing. I don’t worry if the sun / water / life outdoors is bad for my colour. I like my natural colour, and whenever I’m not sure about the streaks of grey I try to think what other colour I would want it, and can’t come up with one, and also remind myself of the reality that it never looks quite as good as you think it will anyway. And even if it does, it starts looking less good after a week or two. And the time. And the money. Growing out is hard at times, but the quicker you start, the quicker you’ll be done!

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