When I was in the 7th grade I decided I wanted to cut my hair short. Like really short. My mom drove me and my best friend down to the local budget salon in her gray Ford Taurus, while she casually smoked a cigarette with the window just cracked. When we got to the salon I flipped through their magazines to find inspiration, thinking maybe a visual would help the stylist know exactly what I was looking for even though I already had a famous person’s look in mind…
“So what are we doing today?” Asked the bubbly hairdresser.
“I want to cut my hair short.”
“Oh, ok – tell me what you’re thinking?
“I want to look like…Toni Braxton.”
I left that salon looking less like an African American chart toping goddess and more like a chia pet with a jerry curl. In fact, I think that’s when I officially earned the nickname “Chia Pet” in school. Unbreak My Hearrrrrrrrt….
Throughout my life I’ve had many different hair “styles” if you can even call them that, and I’ve dyed my hair all the colors of the rainbow. I can vividly remember my mother’s horrified face and what she said after I emerged from the bathroom at 16 with hot pink hair – Christina, what will the people think???
But over the past 15 months, not a drop of dye has touched these locks. And if my mom was still around I’m sure she’d ask the same question: But Christina, what will the people think??
WHY would a 36 year old do such a thing? Isn’t that too young to go gray? Well, the whole process became costly and annoying and time consuming. It wasn’t exciting, it was a chore. I didn’t want to spend $$ on it anymore and I didn’t want to spend the time sitting at the salon, and I really didn’t want to be exposed to those chemicals anymore. Chemicals and fragrances that are linked to cancers, kidney and lung problems, hormonal disruption, fetal damage in utero, allergies, and skin problems. (Formaldehyde, PPD, Coal tar, Resorcinol and Eugenol are commonly found in hair dyes, to name a few).
Who was I dying my hair for anyway? Was it really for me? Or was it for “the people?” I’ll admit it, growing out my grays has NOT been the cutest look for me, (but definitely cuter than when I had braces in my late 20’s that’s for sure) but the benefits (reducing my toxic load, saving money, saving time) far outweigh the downside (mismatched hair color for a period of time). Plus my husband thinks the gray is cool, which totally helps : )
For those of you thinking about going gray, find someone to admire who’s gone through the process. Just after I quit dying my hair I discovered a blogger at a wellness event who completely inspired me to stay on the dye-free path. She is gorgeous, her hair was ironed into a chic bob, and at the time it had a line of demarcation halfway down, beautiful salt and pepper hair met dyed brownish black ends – she was rocking it! If you need inspiration check out @thisorganicgirl – she just made it to the end of her growing out journey and she looks FAB. #hairgoals It was her journey that inspired me to keep plowing forward even on my skunkiest days.
So, it’s been a process, and I have another 6 – 8 months of growth to go, but I TOTALLY recommend it. Go gray. Do it. Gray hair is COOL, people. I may have missed the mark with my Toni Braxton dreams, but I think I’m onto something here, I’m feeling way ahead of the curve, and I have to tell you, I am LOVING what’s growing out of my head. No dye job could duplicate this look.