Last week, I went to get my hair cut. I get my hair cut (trimmed -- my style hasn't changed a lot in recent years) every 6-7 weeks or so, and have colour & highlights added two or three times a year -- coincidentally (or perhaps not, lol) just before I head out to visit my parents, summer and Christmastime. And sometimes tying it in just before a special occasion, like a family wedding.
My mother, like many women of her generation, has visited a hairdresser once a week to have her hair washed & styled for as long as I can remember. She has been colouring her hair for years, and has often muttered her disapproval to me about my sister's decision, a few years back, not to colour her hair anymore, after going through a phase of experimenting with various colours (including henna) around the time she turned 40. (My sister is almost two years younger than me but, for the record, far greyer.) I've always been the more compliant child, my sister more the rebellious one.
I started adding highlights to my hair about 15-20 years ago, at the urging of my then-hairdresser, who was clearly bored with doing the same-old-same-old with me & itching to unleash her creativity. While I intensely disliked having my head covered with a rubber cap & the hairs yanked through tiny holes one bunch at a time with a crochet hook, I did like the results. I continued to have highlights done a couple times a year after our hairdresser moved and left us in the hands of her friend at a local salon (who turned out to be the wife of an old friend of dh's!!), 10-15 years ago.
I did start to notice that the golden highlights were becoming mixed with some silver. My hairdresser began to hint that perhaps something more was needed, that I needed to start colouring my hair to cover the grey. I resisted for a long time, until one day, perhaps 5-10 years ago, when I came to the salon, intending to have some highlights done -- and my hairdresser sat there pouting and glaring at me until I caved and agreed to let her try the colour, in addition to the highlights. She did the highlights first, painting them on sections of my hair & then wrapping the sections in tin foil, and then painting on the colour on the hair that was left. My hair has inexplicably turned darker in recent years; she made it a warmer shade of brown with golden highlights.
I did like it -- a lot (and I especially liked abandoning the rubber cap, lol) -- so I've continued -- but, as I've said, only two or three times a year. (I did try just the colour without the highlights once, but I missed the highlights.) It's outrageously expensive to colour & highlight your hair, for one thing; it takes time (particularly when your hair is as thick as mine is); and I really didn't feel my hair was THAT grey that I really needed to do it more often.
Since I've stopped working, the pressure to keep up a youthful appearance (in an office where the 20-somethings increasingly outnumbered those of us in our 40s and 50s) has lessened somewhat. (Being on a reduced income also makes you a little more careful where you spend your money.) A couple of times now, I've reached the stage where most of the colour & highlights had been cut off and thought, "This really doesn't look THAT bad..."
I was at that stage this past week. Our hairdresser asked me if we were doing colour today, and I said no, just a trim, but probably next time, before I went on vacation. As she was finishing, she said, "You know, Lori, it almost looks like you have highlights anyway! I think it looks great! You should just leave it the way it is!"
"You think so??" I said (remembering that this was the same woman who pouted and scowled at me until I let her colour my hair just a few years ago) -- adding (only half in jest), "Will you tell my mother that??"
As I paid my bill, the receptionist said, "That looks really good! Are you going to let it stay gray?"
"I don't know, we'll see," I said.
Dh, of course, thinks it looks fine.
My hair is still more brown than grey... but there's a lot more grey there than there used to be. :p My aunt (whom I resemble) had gorgeous grey hair (now white); I figure being grey won't be so bad, if my hair turns out like hers. It's the in-between stage, the getting there, that's the tough part (kind of like growing your hair out, I guess).
I know that other bloggers (Kathy, Mel and, most recently, Lori) have struggled with this issue.
Do you colour your hair, or do you let the grey show?