Recently my girlfriend, Suze, told me she was going to “embrace” her gray hair. She was tired of the hassle of sitting in the salon for hours on end every few weeks. Not to mention all the cash she was shelling out to blend her gray with blonde to create a natural streaked effect. Suze estimated she had spent so much money having her hair dyed, she must have put Clairol’s kids through college. I can relate.
Unlike my dear friend, I am not yet ready to surrender to the Gray Ghost - not by a long shot. Instead, I have taken up the crusade to dye my own locks. If you’re basically blonde, this isn’t a big deal. But if you have Cher-hair like I do, it necessitates a regular ritual – like changing bed sheets.
I spotted signs of gray hair when I was in my thirties. My jaunty widow’s peak sported a little white streak in front I thought was kinda cool. I was wrong.
“As long as you’re in the work force, never let your hair go gray. It makes you look old,” my boss said to me when I started a new job. I took the advice to heart and have hit the bottle ever since.
One dye-day my husband stood in the doorway watching me get dark droplets all over the bathroom floor. “Aren’t you worried about chemicals being absorbed into your scalp over all those years?” observed the former science teacher.
“No! I’m worried about my roots showing. C’mon, let’s get our priorities straight here.”
“Just saying. I’ve read that, over time, it could be a contributing factor to forgetfulness.”
“The only thing I’m worried about forgetting is the date I have to touch-up my hair.”
“Good to know. I’ll remember that next time you ask me where you left your keys.”
The way I figure it is, if women weren’t supposed to dye their hair, God wouldn’t have invented henna plants. It’s been used since the Bronze Age to turn cavewomen into redheads. Women being women, however, they wanted an alternate color choice – black, specifically. So those wild n’ crazy ancient Egyptians created a mixture of lead oxide with slaked lime that they used to color their hair. Unfortunately, this was highly toxic (sound familiar?) and being smart ladies, they started to use it on wigs instead. This history lesson just proves my point that females and hair dye have been a natural pairing for eons.
Since I have to dye-fry my hair every two weeks or so, I decided to try a more natural product. Not henna, that doesn’t have a prayer of working, but I did see an advertisement for a dye that uses oil as a base, instead of peroxide and the other strange chemicals that cause your hair shaft to turn every color from platinum to aqua.
It sounded good in the ad - but didn’t work. A week later, baseball cap covering my silver-tipped roots, I drove to the store at warp speed to pick up my usual chemical warfare brand.
At least I gave it the ole college try.
So here’s the bottom line. Father Time gets a piece of me every time I look in the mirror…but he’s not gonna get my hair. Chemicals, schemicals - I’m gonna dye ‘til I die.
And Suze? She has an appointment with her hair stylist next week.