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Going Gray Can Be Great

Going Gray Can Be Great
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BY KITT WALSH

We who qualify as Baby Boomers are proud to have made it, healthier and fitter than any other generation, into our late 50s and beyond. But no amount of vitamins, supplements or yoga classes can erase on of the most visible passages of time: gray hair. When you go gray, is mostly determined by genetics, but how you go gray is up to you. No need to have mousy, washed out helmet hair like the “old” ladies or gentlemen of the last generation.  Silver is the new black, baby, and gray is great (with a little help.)

One of the reasons for going gray is that you may find that your hair needs dyeing every few weeks―say every three instead of every  six—then roots show up. Since these are often gray roots, they look dull. Or silver roots which shine like beacons announcing “I need to be dyed.”

Maybe you are tired of the battle or maybe you just want to let your true―more mature―self out and the effort to constantly look younger be damned.

Whichever the reason, here are some things to consider before you take the plunge. (If you went silver or white young in life, read on for tips on keeping your shiny silver vibrant and consider not getting your hair colored. Silver hair framing a young face can be striking.) But if you are of an age where your hair is starting to turn due to normal aging, consider this:

If you bristle when someone guesses your age as over 40: Or when someone sees you with a young child and assumes its your grandchild and that doesn’t bring a smile to your face, you might not want to go gray. If you’re still squeezing into miniskirts and dating 20-somethings, the fact that you might get treated differently with gray hair is probably not going to make you happy.

Are shiny silvers peeking through your do? Sometimes Mother Nature’s color is prettier than any color we can you or your stylist can apply. If you are gifted with shiny silver or snowy white locks, why fight it? Not sure? Go to your stylist and talk it over. Ask for an honest opinion.

Do you have wildly interesting streaks of grey or white now? If they are framing your face or giving you an adorable Jon Stewart skunk streak, you might not want to mess with success. Let your hair alone until more has gone gray―then decide if you should color or not. The same goes with highlights. If you are used to lots of blonde (or even other color) streaks, letting your whole head go one color―even if it is silver―might not offer enough “drama” for you.

Are you confident enough to pull it off? Remember Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada’? Now there was a confident silver-haired woman. So is Jamie Lee Curtis in all those yogurt commercials. From Dame Helen Mirren to Richard Gere, confidence is the magic key to making gray magical instead of mousy.

Are you a “dirty blonde”? The problem is light hair going gray looks dirty, so either make it all gray/silver or color it all blonde. In this instance, hit ’em hard or go home.

Got six months? If your hair is long, no matter how good a job you do at blending your roots to hide the demarcation line, it’s going to take a while to let your gray grow in. (Your hair grows about a half an inch per month.) Consider a shorter style for this period and then, when its passed, you can grow long lovely silver hair like Emmy Lou Harris.

Can’t stand the wait? Get lowlights in the meantime to help blend in newly-emerging grays and go get your hair cut often to get rid of that old dyed hair.

Get tough. Silver hair can grow out wiry. Ask your stylist to show you how to use a flat iron to keep the new coarse frizzies in check. Keep your hair in great shape both by using a daily conditioner and occasional deep conditioning treatments–both will help keep up the moisture content of aging hair.

Don’t forget to drink gallons of water and take an age-appropriate vitamins: Water helps keep your hair from being dull and the vitamins help it grow more quickly.

Going for the gold … err, silver: If you make the decision to cross that line into gray or silver, check into shampoo and daily conditioners made just for silver hair (regular hair products can make your pretty grey hair go dull or yellow). Consider (during your next stop at your hair salon) getting a clear semi-permanent glaze. Your grays will reflected the light with more silver tones than pewter. If your hair is that beautiful snowy white, here’s an old trick from our grandmother’s time. Buy laundry bluing―a few drops diluted with water will make a hair rinse that will keep your white hair glowing. Use the rest for your fine china, white linens and laundry.

Use this great excuse to shop: Make an appointment with a personal shopper at an upscale department store. Have them do an analysis on what shades and fabrics will look best with your new hair color―then start replacing your wardrobe to maximize your new color palette.

Silver is sexy: Stand tall and walk confidently into a room. Own your years and each silver strand proudly (you earned them.) Shine like you mean it.

 

 

 

 

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Kitt Walsh owns a web content company, Behind Blogs (http://www.behindblogs.com), is a regular contributor to CNN Money, a public speaker on Social Media, a book editor and ghostwriter, and freelances as a feature writer, editor and marketing consultant for magazines, newspapers and private clients around the world.