I found my first gray hair when I was 13 years old.
When I was younger, it was kind of cool. I was 16 years old, and already had a witch’s stripe growing in above my left temple. It made me a little different, and I was occasionally accused of bleaching my hair in that area on purpose. But it always caused a reaction of “Oh how neat!”
As I passed into my twenties, however, it got a little less “neat”. I had periodically dyed my hair red while I was in college, but only because I loved the color. My natural brown is just … brown. Crayola crayon brown. Flat, mousy, dull. For a while, the witch’s stripe was bright white and very obvious, and it was an interesting accent when it wasn’t covered with red. But then I noticed that the hair at the crown of my head was starting to get frosted with gray as well. Each time I dyed my hair, it seemed, there would be more white when it came time to redo my roots. At first, I plucked the stray white hairs that I found. But it soon got to the point where I would have had a bald spot if I plucked all the greys. So two years ago I switched over to dying my brown back to brown.
I have a fantastic colorist. She highlights my hair in the summer, strategically placing blond stripes in the most obvious patches of white. Then in the winter, she goes back to a pure mahogany, the bleaches sections still stay a little lighter, again hiding the gray. It helps that I part my hair on the right side, so the white patch is hidden unless I pull it back into a ponytail. For the record, I don’t actually mind the white so much, except that it accents exactly how dull the brown color of the rest of my hair is.
Sometimes I wonder how much longer I’ll be able to hide my little genetic marker. If you put me next to my mother and my aunt, we look like three little short round peas in the pod. The two of them were also prematurely gray, going white in the same pattern: stripe over the temple, white filling in to the crown, and the nape of their neck staying brown until they were in their forties. So I know what my future looks like. The question for me is just when I should stop trying to fight, and let nature take its course.
Hee, I guess at least at some point the gray will start making me look “younger” because my skin won’t be wrinkled enough to match my supposed age. That’ll be fun 🙂