About 2 and a half years ago, when my daughter was knee-deep in the 4-month sleep regression and I was holding onto my sanity for dear life, I found my first gray hair.
I remember feeling a mixture of pride that I’d lasted more than 35 years without having to dye my strawberry-blonde locks, and debilitating fear that I would wake up the following morning with a full head of gray hair.
Fortunately, the hair gods have been good to me, and, at 37-years-old, I’m still rocking my natural hair color. But when the gal at the liquor store stared at me a little longer than normal the other day before saying, “HA! For a minute there, I was going to ask for your ID!”, I decided it’s finally time to do something about these silver streaks of mine.
The only problem is, I’m terrified I’ll never be able to replicate the color of my hair once I start dyeing it, so I’ve been spending a lot of time chatting to my awesome hairdresser and scouring the internet, and I’ve learned some great tips for preventing and hiding gray hair without permanent hair dye.
1. GET OUT THE TWEEZERS
Has anyone ever warned you that, for every gray hair you pluck out of your head, 3 gray hairs will grow back? Well, they’re completely incorrect, my friends. A hair follicle cannot produce more than one strand of hair. So if you’re lucky enough to notice only a few gray strands here and there, it’s not the end of the world to just pluck them out. But be careful. Plucking can damage hair follicles, and personal experience has shown that the hair that grows back in place often sticks out at weird angles, which draws even MORE attention to the gray, you know?
2. CHANGE YOUR DIET
Did you know that foods rick in copper, folate, and B-12 can help reduce your chances of going gray? Neither did I! And after reading how poor nutrition can make your hair turn grey over on SFGate, I’m stocking up on the leafy greens, beans, shellfish, poultry, tomatoes, grapes, and citrus fruits!
3. IMPROVE YOUR LIFESTYLE
It was no surprise to me to hear that cigarettes can cause an increase in gray hair, but did you know coffee, booze (damn!), increased stress, and lack of exercise can also contribute to the problem? It’s true. And after reading how you can’t stop gray hair but you can slow it down over on YouQueen, I’m definitely thinking twice about that second glass of wine every night.
4. THINK: POWDERS AND COLORING STICKS
Whether you’re in-between hair appointments and need to cover up your roots, or have a few silver strands you want to hide, hair powders and coloring sticks offer a great quick-fix to help you cover the gray.
5. GET HIGHLIGHTS
If you only have a few strands of gray and aren’t ready to dye ALL of your hair, my hairdresser recommends a few blond highlights to the crown, part, and sides of your head. I really like this option as a few blond strands here and there sound much more natural and easy to maintain, especially with summer only a few months away.
Winter will eventually end, right?
6. CONSIDER SEMI-PERMANENT HAIR DYE
If highlights won’t do the trick, but you’re not ready to take the plunge and completely dye your hair, my hairdresser suggests trying a semi-permanent dye, which coats the outside of the hair shaft and washes out after about 6 weeks. I think this is a fabulous idea as it gives you a chance to experiment with different colors with the reassurance that it will wash out if you don’t like it. The only draw back is that semi-permanent dyes won’t work on an ENTIRE head of gray hair.
Which brings me to…
7. WEAR YOUR GRAY WITH PRIDE
There’s something really liberating about aging gracefully, so if you’re not bothered by the gray, put down the tweezers, forget about eating healthy, throw away the hair products, and embrace your new look!
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