Vanity, Hair, & Venting

My hair has had a rough week and so has my ego. After over a year of succumbing to hair color, I still am not satisfied, still trying and searching for that perfect color. At first it was fun to try a new color, but my latest experience has left me feeling vulnerable. Never would I have thought having my hair dyed would make me feel this way. So let me tell you a story.

There once was a small girl who saw “very old” women with purple/blue hair. After finding that these women attained their color from a rinse to hide the gray, she just could not figure out why they would prefer this strange, unnatural color to the soft beauty of gray. As she grew up, she noted other women with dyed hair, and thought that she would never do that to hide her gray. She would rather embrace aging as it came because it was beautiful.

This little girl’s thoughts and ideals are the reason I struggled so much as to whether I should color my hair as the gray set in. These thoughts were mine. I owned them and so could not understand why my graying hair was such a big deal to me. But the vain me, the one that looks at myself in the mirror, does not want to physically age. What a struggle with my own flesh!

I deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which really hits hard as winter approaches each year. In 2008, as my expected depression was tugging at my mind, all I wanted was a splash of color on a very washed out me. The wise little girl that stands up and fights my ego was quieted by SAD, so I took the plunge and had my hair colored. Really I loved it. It made me feel more vibrant, stronger, in my weakened state. And once I started, how could I stop? Stopping meant I would have to deal with a nasty growing out stage. But I have never been truly satisfied with the color, any color. So I decided whatever would be closest to my real color without the gray would be best. That’s what I asked for last December. What I got was a very dark brown, much more dark than my natural brown. So next time I asked for something a bit softer and was told I would need to make a longer appointment so the dark color could be stripped, so I went with another round of dark. That next longer appointment finally arrived this week. I had high hopes of finally fitting into a color that satisfied, one that was a bit softer to take the edge off my aging face, one that was closer to the hair of my youth.

This week, as I entered the salon for my longer appointment, I was greeted with a stressed, “We don’t have enough time for that.” Um, well, I’m not a hairdresser so I don’t know how much time you need,  and I didn’t set up the appointment time, you did. That’s how my relaxing salon experience began. So we decided upon a medium brown and he stress-fully stripped the color from my hair. As I sat waiting for the chemicals to do their magic, his stress was transferred to me. I felt rushed and unsure, and I no longer trusted my guy. When it came time to rinse and start with color application, I was ready to leave. With my hair looking like I stuck it in a bleach vat, I said, “I’ll just go with this.” He talked me back down to earth and was set to mix the color for my hair. Because I had lost my trust, I asked to see the color samples one more time. We confirmed the color choice, a medium brown with some highlights. He insisted the brown would just be too flat without the highlights. Okay, do the dang highlights. So to my surprise, when he rinsed I got my first glance in the mirror, my hair was orange. ORANGE! Actually the color was quite lovely and I was so ready to leave, so he styled and away I went.

While I did like the color, I found it made my skin look so sallow. Without makeup my skin looked yellow. So I did something which was very difficult for me. I called back and explained that this hair color wasn’t going to work, and was relieved to be able to return for no extra charge for a fix. What color did I end up with? The same dark brown that I was trying to get rid of the in the first place.

Either he does not understand what I want, or he is not able to produce the color I want. So I had paid extra to have my hair stripped, and I’m sure the highlighting that he thought was a must cost extra as well, all for naught, all lost under the same dark brown. I give up. The little girl is screaming inside me, “Stop the madness. Gray is beautiful!” I’m hoping to have the strength to listen to her as she nurtures me through my growing out phase.

My biggest problem with aging is wanting the outside to reflect the age I feel on the inside. I FEEL more alive now than I ever have. Gray hair and sagging skin do not equate lack of vivaciousness. Quite the opposite. I am on the verge of the rest of my life. No matter my hair color, my life will be extraordinary.

Proverbs 16:31  The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.

I’m ready for my crown (and a new hairdresser).

amanda ∞

7 thoughts on “Vanity, Hair, & Venting

  1. regina says:

    I understand feeling conflicted about coloring your hair. I do it myself and have a love/hate relationship with it. I dislike the nuisance of doing it. But I’m not ready to be grey. Very grey for my age.
    I’ve been using L’Oréal and it gives great results. It’s good to pick a color one shade lighter than you think you are. And if you hair tends to go brassy (orange), then you want the ash version. I use light ash brown, which is nice, soft and natural looking.
    So, if you decide to continue coloring your hair, I’d find someone more knowledgeable. So sorry that something that should’ve given you a lift turned into such disappointment. I think you’re cute in both pics.

  2. alex says:

    Hi Amanda i do understand you so much. i don t care that i have more and more gray hair……….but friends around me seem to care A LOT so i just let it go but there comes a time when i get tired of, you should go to the hairdresser bla bla bla…….. in my twenties i dyied my hair………in sheer blonde as my mom who is naturally blonde(we are not alike)advise me so.i started as a flight attendant blonde!!!!!!!!!!! over the years common sense took over and i have my natural colour for more than 15 years now. It s more complicated when i m working as i have this chignon who makes……..everyone look older and that s when my white hair shows the most but still i don t care but nevertheless i end up doing my colour in my hotel room every now and then. i don t trust hairdressers! sometimes is too dark but what concern me is my husband opinion…!!!i know the feeling of being so alive so full of projects and ageing now ! grr doesn t feel like. i look around and see how my mom is okay whith her aging she glows so i guess i cross my fingers i ll follow her paths. you are definitely a beautiful woman before now and after xo xo

  3. Reba says:

    It makes me so sad to hear you didn’t have a good experience! If you feel up for it, I highly recommend you go see JoElle Harrison. She’s been doing my hair for a couple years now and is a master color-blender in my opinion. She takes great care to make sure we’ve talked it through before we begin, and has consistently been good planning the amount of time it will take.

    I completely agree that a splash of color is good for my soul – but at the same time I love the ladies that carry their gray so beautifully. Which ever way you go, you’re always a bright spot when I see you on Sundays!

  4. Rachel says:

    Keep listening to that wise little girl and let your hair naturally do what it is going to do. You could have a full head of white one of these days (which is so beautiful)…who knows?!

  5. amy says:

    man, i really hate to hear that you went through all that! bleh! going to the salon is supposed to be fun and make you feel great!! if you feel like heading to texas i’ll be happy to set you up the artist who makes me feel like a real girl again every 2 months no matter what! lol! she’s the best, and i trust her implicitly…and that is who you need, someone who knows you, how you live, what you want, why you want it, and then cheerfully deliver it! (i’ll e-mail you some pics of my recent change!) all of that being said, i do love you in the dark…your eyes just pop! beautiful! i think though, if it would make you happier, some softer tones of brown and even of blonde woven in would be absolutely lovely! it would also make the maintenance a lot more bearable since there would be more than one color…make sense? either way, you are a beautiful woman, inside and out!

    and thank you so much for your thoughtful comment the other day…made my day!!

  6. michelle allen says:

    hi amanda!
    i’m laughing as i read this cause it’s something i could have written myself just a few weeks ago. i have the same struggle. not only do i have the struggle with the color but now as i’m getting older and my skin is sagging a bit more, i’ve noticed that my haircut itself is needing change. thankfully we both know that it’s really what’s on the inside that counts. i just can’t wait till i have enough grey/white that i can grow it out naturally. at this point i feel it will just make me look dowdy and old.
    btw- i think both of these hair colors look beautiful on you. you’re so darling i don’t think you could go wrong!
    happy Easter!

  7. julie says:

    I have made the change… for the same reasons you are contemplating it. No matter how much money I spent, no matter what color I selected, my hair was either bright orange/red or a too dark brown. My fair skin couldn’t pull off either color. I am actually liking the white more than I thought I would.

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