Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Why I'm Letting My Hair Go Gray








This is me.


I'm 37 years old. 


My hair is probably sixty percent gray now. 

And neither one of those things bothers me.

Here's why:





1. I have no interest in misleading people about my age.

Mostly because I would much rather people think I look good for forty than kinda raggy for thirty.



2. I've earned it.

I've had many pregnancies, and many babies, and many children. I'm a wife and a mother and a teacher.


I've spent most of my life having people think I look young. But gray hair has lent me an aurora of wisdom and sophistication. Admit it, you want to take me seriously now. 



3. It's counter-cultural. 

You're going to think I'm a hipster again, but, seriously, all other hair colors are pretty mainstream. Check out the beautiful.



4. Ain't nobody got time fo' dat.

I spent my teens and twenties fighting tooth and nail with my hair. Perms, Sun-In, highlights, bleach, dye, I tried it all and my hair was basically a frizzy mess.


Now, I wash it once a week, let it air dry and wear it wavy for a couple of days, then hit it with a large barrel curling iron to ride out the week. I get it cut every couple of years.


There are plenty of other things I'd rather spend my time and money on than my hair. 



5. The husband digs it. My kids don't care either way.

So far I haven't been shunned by acquaintances or denied admission to any establishments. And my husband really, actually doesn't want me to dye my hair. Any time I've considered it, he asks me not to. My husband prefers my hair the way it comes out of my head, and he's the one I'm trying to impress anyway. As I've said before, my beauty was always for him.


Like fives of things? 


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74 comments:

  1. Wow! You answered a question I have been thinking about for a while, but have never seen a blogger post on! I think my husband will be the same as yours, and won't want me to dye my nair- I never have even for just 'fun' reasons and I am 26. No gray yet, but hate the thought of eventually devoting so much time and money to covering up til...who knows when?! I think it looks silly when 70 yr old women aren't gray. I'd rather they were. Thanks for posting!

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  2. I cracked--after thinking I would never color mine. But... I'm 44 and 9 months pregnant, and just couldn't bear the "grandma" look while pregnant. So I bought a cheapo 3-dollar box and covered the two front gray streaks. And told myself never again... right? I found it funny when my FRIEND was mistaken for her daughter's grandmother. But me? Noooo! But, anyone who knows me will tell you when it comes down to it, I will NOT put money and time into this area. Really... a one time thing. Weak moment.

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  3. I love your point about how our beauty isn't for us. Rather than that standing the current notion of beauty on its head, you really turned it right side up again, and it makes sense! As it is, my husband doesn't care either way, and the way mine grays, it streaks, so when I dye mine (periodically) I end up with free highlights. Score! ;)

    Anne McD

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  4. No gray yet, but covering it seems like work.

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  5. It seems like turning 30 has set all the gray hair follicles in motion…either that or it's been a stressful year so far. :P I think gray looks a bit more graceful when your hair is light to begin with than when it is very dark, but ultimately I'm way too cheap and resistant to putting work into my hair to do anything other than, as the song says, "Let it gooooooo." But you do definitely look refined and sophisticated regardless of your hair color!

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  6. This gives me much encouragement, since I inherited my father's genes and am already getting a few gray hairs at 20! I hope I manage it as gracefully as you have :)

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  7. I actually have one bright silver hair in my bangs and I love it. I'm hoping I get a thick streak. :)
    More will come and the big reason I will not color it is the one you didn't cover - there's no way we could afford that! NO way.

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  8. Okay, I have to admit I was really curious about this, but didn't want to be rude and nosy and ask :) So thank you for answering! I have been considering graying naturally in the future (just got my first gray hair at 29....woot!) and this actually helps. It's so rarely done that it's hard to figure out how to do it *well*. You definitely are letting your hair go gray with style...also that Pinterest board is absolutely beautiful!

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  9. Intersting about #1. I'm about your age (36) but only have a few gray hairs I've spent most of my time as a mother feeling "young" and being the youngest mother in all homeschool groups, playgroups, etc. I'm not the youngest anymore, but I'm still the youngest of most people I know who have kids as old as my oldest (12). This was especially true when we lived up North where it seems hardly anyone has kids until they are at least 30. I actually have no desire to look younger than I am. I've spent too much time feeling awakard for being "such a young mom" that I'm super happy to not always be the youngest mom on the block anymore. I haven't really considered dying my hair, but I doubt I would do it, because that's not really my thing.

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  10. I'm 54 and had been coloring my hair for years (decades). This year I have decided to let it go natural - not knowing how much grayer I had become. The stylist says over 50%. Anyway, not everyone loves it, but I do! It actually grows out of my head this way - NO ROOTS!!!

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  11. In that picture, you look absolutely beautiful and serve an inspiration to graying womankind! This is an image of aging gracefully that will stay with me. (PS: I'm not a Catholic mom, home schooler or homemaker, but I still really enjoy your blog, and find your perspectives on faith, discipline and family life very refreshing. I'm an academic, Jewish mom of 4 kids and am learning a lot).

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  12. Having seen your hair in real life many times, I can honestly say that it is beautiful, and the natural grays make it even more so. I don't color my hair anymore (though I am over a decade your senior), because I just don't want to. I'd rather spend money on a really good cut a few times a year (only because I gave up my long hair five years ago, before that the haircuts were far less frequent), and embrace my age and the hair God gave me.

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  13. I totally agree---for pretty much all the reasons you state here! I'm 55 and I've never colored my hair in my life--I've never been very good with the whole hair styling thing anyway. I shampoo and air dry it. (I wish I could go a whole week between shampoos, but it's so fine and straight that it would look totally greasy if I did; so I can never go more than 2 days.) My husband often trims it for me, so I spend almost nothing at the hairdresser. It's so easy (and cheap) this way, and at this point, I can't imagine spending the time or money trying to keep my roots from showing. I actually have a lot of gray hair now, although in pictures it doesn't even show up yet--but even when it really starts coming in, my plan is to embrace it. I just don't see the point in trying to fool anyone. I've got three grandchildren already, with another on the way.

    Your hair is so beautiful just as it is--and I think it's great that you're keeping it natural.

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  14. Ha! Timely again. After having Sam, my hair did the usual "fall out while nursing" phase. When it grew back? Grey! I have been itching for highlights. Food for thought now.

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  15. This is one of my favorite things about you (the hair + the stance;)

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  16. My husband is graying. I am not (yet). My husband doesn't want to dye his hair and he always says "If God paints my hair this way, it's good enough for me." :) By the way your hair and natural coloring look great! God is a good artist!

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  17. I, too, have wondered about your reasons and, as I suspected, they are good! I'm not there yet, but thank you for this!

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  18. My Mom has premature white hair. I thought it was really attractive and in my 20's tried to dye my hair silver. It was very painful and didn't really work. Now I'm starting to get gray highlights at 39. Finally.

    Your hair color looks great on you.

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  19. I'm with you I will never color my hair anymore. I used to go color crazy and chemical crazy. Now I have decided to return to my natural hair and wear it pulled up in protective styles. I am embracing the natural and my husband has told me he likes it the way it is now and that is all I care about. I think your hair is beautiful!

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  20. Good for you! I have always hoped to "gray gracefully" as I age. I want to be one of those old ladies with long white flowy hair. We'll see if it works out :-) I thought I was pretty good, scraping out 5 days between hair-washings (my trick is sulfate-free products). How do you manage a whole week?

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    1. I think I just naturally have very dry skin and hair. I can't wash my face at all, or it gets tight feeling and flaky. When I used to wash my hair more often it was really dry and frizzy. Now I just wash and condition it once a week with regular shampoo and put hair oil in it while it's still damp.

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  21. I noticed your gray hair right away . . . and, you'll be pleased . . . thought to myself how pretty it is. I've always wanted to go gray naturally. Silver-white would be ideal. Yep, I want to be called "Grandmother" when my kids have kids, and part of that title is earned from having long, beautiful, silver hair that I wear in braids. NOT the typical, short, frizzy-permed old lady haircut. :P

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  22. Yes, I'm in the same boat, but 41 and trying to break out of colouring. I was highlighting for so long, the grays snuck in there and I didn't realize that I even had any. Then I covered them out of instinct, but now I have to figure out how to grow things out and look natural. Think of how "counter-cultural" it would be to be pregnant while quite grey. What a witness to faith and no fear of babies that would be. I don't know if I'll be blessed again, but I daydream about going around hugely pregnant with a lot of grey hair.

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  23. I've always said I would let my hair go completely gray. I had a friend who's mom was entirely gray but she looked pretty awesome if you ask me. However, I have little tiny grays poking out anywhere and it just looks awful. I'm not dying my hair anytime soon because it isn't that bad and frankly, I just don't care. Kind of hoping that attitude continues well into my gray days.

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  24. I'm just starting to have noticeable gray hairs, but I kinda like it! No hair dye for me either! Now, if I could get away with washing my hair only once a week, I'd be all set ;)

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  25. I've actually always thought gray hair is beautiful! I found my first few gray hairs during my first pregnancy (at 25) and I wish I had more. I think there's a lot of beauty in a woman aging gracefully and accepting that; we really do all spend too much time worrying about aging when it's something everyone goes through. Or at least hopefully goes through it -- not going through it is not really an option I want to take right now.

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  26. I'm all about spreading out the shampoos. Before I cut 12 inches off of my hair in February, I was up to about six days between washing. Since I've gone much shorter I only manage about 3 days. The major difference is that I use mousse to style my hair (instead of the old side braid I used with the long hair) and I think that makes it greasy faster. At any rate... I've been sprouting greys for the past decade but never color and I still have about the same amount of grey. My nieces get the little pieces of tinsel tied into their hair by their hair dresser - I refer to them as their "sparkle weave". I tell them that God gives me my own silver sparkle weave. Two of my four brothers are mostly grey - one that is 2 years older and one that is 10 years younger (but has a very high stress job as a business attorney in Manhattan). I agree with aging naturally. Nothing aggravates me more than hair color that couldn't occur in nature - such as a 90 year old woman with jet black hair.

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  27. I'm 46 on Friday, and just noticed I have quite a few more "sparklers" (my stylist always calls them that). I am way too cheap to get my hair colored, and too lazy to do it myself. God is giving me free silver highlights, right?

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  28. Amen, sister!! I have been going grey (or silver, as my kids call it) since I was sixteen. I can't count the number of people that have asked me if I ever plan to dye it. I tell them that I don't and they get that confused look. It is just me, and I love it.

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    1. Me too! My husband loves it, though. Actually a lot of men do, it's funny. But my mother in law thinks I like too old. Oh well! Now that its mostly gray (silver really) my sisters approve.

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  29. I used to dye, but the older I get, the lazier I get, and don't want to spend the time or money. Now, instead of paying for blonde highlights, I just let my own natural silver highlights come in. I WISH I had gorgeous white hair. I have a friend just a little older who has a full head of beautiful all silver hair, and I'm jealous. Mine is just in the front, all mixed in. I want it to all turn white!

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  30. I'm so glad to see this post. I'm not greying yet, but I feel the same way as you.

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  31. I have been pondering these very things for awhile! I have dyed and permed and generally abused my hair for years. When I noticed that it was a bit more grey than I thought but I didn't want to over the counter dye it anymore I decided to go to the salon and get highlights. Wow, that was expensive and I was slowly turning blond, which was weird. You know since most of kids have black brown hair.
    So when I found out that I was pregnant and about to turn 40, I decided enough was enough. I swallowed hard and said, let's just see how grey I am. So far, more grey than I thought, but hey, maybe I will get some cool streaks. I always wanted a skunk stripe...

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  32. I have a friend that has been dying to cover grey since she was in high school, her mom's is compleatly white/grey now and it looks beautiful. I've never spent much time or money on my hair, and will probably let it grey naturally because dying it would be too much trouble.

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  33. Good for you! Very 'professor-ish!'

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  34. Hi, I am Jessi-- I found your blog over the past few weeks (after giving up pinning for lent) and I love it, so I thought I would introduce myself. I am a upper twenty-something, high school theology teacher by day/ adjunct university philosophy professor by night/ doting wife by life and vocation. Suffice it to say, I want to be like you when I grow up and can have a family-- I love the idea of embracing and celebrating our Catholic faith all year and your ideas are wonderful.

    I particularly like your take on "going grey" because I spend every morning picking out the various grey hairs in my part (gross), and am pretty self conscious about going grey so young; i.e., before we have been able to really start our life (but that is a different story). Grey can be beautiful, as you clearly emphasize and beauty is not about my anyway. Thanks.
    God bless you--

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  35. My heart still breaks a little when people comment on my brown hair. When I close my eyes I see myself as a blond but when I look in the mirror I know that it's darkened. Even so, I can't be bothered to color my hair back to blond so I don't think I'll start coloring when the greys come in either. We shall see.

    Even though you're graying, the long hair still looks gorgeous on you. It's the long hair look that I'm nervous about. I can't imagine going to a bob myself but then I see so many more mature moms who just look so frumpy with long hair (I don't want to be unkind really, but I do take note, because I don't want to end up frumpy and not know it). You give me hope.

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  36. Thanks for this! It seems to me that we have exactly the same hair regimen (minus the curling iron, because I am too lazy for that :). Also, when I tried to dye my hair a couple of times I noticed it didn't 'take' on the gray ones anyway.

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  37. It looks beautiful! I'm 37 in a couple of weeks, but only found my first grey hair this year. I was actually rather excited. Haven't dyed mine for years and am also a pretty much once a week hair washer. I hope that my hair looks as beautiful as yours as it greys :)

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  38. I love how you always challenge us to think about things differently. I never even considered not dying my hair for at least a little while whenever I start to go gray. You definitely have me thinking though...

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  39. I like this! And I think you look darn good with gray hair. :)
    Country Girl’s Daybook ~ Heaven is for Real film review (release date April 16) http://bit.ly/1h0O6Rd

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  40. Loved this post! I turned 40 this past year and share this opinion as well, I enjoy my silver "highlights. :)

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  41. Thank you for this Kendra. I recently turned 40, and have wasted too much brain space on crow's feet and a poochy belly (I am not otherwise overweight). I even considered getting a boob job after my husband expressed interest! But really, what do I have to prove? I am a 40 year old mother of 6 and look pretty darn good, dammit! The extreme pursuit of vanity amongst some of these 40-something Hollywood types is simply sad. Thanks for the reminder.

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  42. Gray comes early in our family as as I don't ever remember your Paw Paw (my dad) without some and Nini (my mom) turned early too.. By the time your sister was born I was 33 and had too many gray hairs to pull out. I began coloring it myself on layovers in hotel bathrooms where there were no husbands or little kids around. I have been doing it ever since. Most all of my friends from airline to church color their hair in some way. I'm 67and some friends are older as well as younger. I think my husband likes me with brown hair but he's never seen me with gray. I think I feel younger and act younger with colored hair and with 9 grandkids under the age of 11 to babysit I need all the help I can get. Don't judge us too harshly young ladies until you are walking in our shoes. It's not really vanity it's more a matter of keeping yourself active and in good health and being the best person you can be for yourself and others. Just a few thoughts from someone who has been there done that.

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    1. Must admit dear NanaCamille, that I love reading your comments as much as Kendra's wise posts.

      Kendra, you are beautiful, so anything would suit you.

      With love from Germany

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  43. I've never dyed my hair because I'm terrified of what would happen if I didn't like it.

    Hopefully, I still be as cool with what my hair looks like when I start going grey.

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  44. I think your hair is so beautiful and I was hoping that you would talk about your hair one day. I am 38 and really fret over whether I should color or not. I like the different colors in my hair and the gray is interesting to me. I only dye my hair once a year for my birthday because it is so expensive, and I really hate taking the time to do it. I dye my hair though because my husband likes it. If my husband wanted me to let it go gray I would do that but that is not his preference.

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  45. I have a graduate degree but I am certain I could never figure out hair dye. I would mess it up somehow or never keep up with it. I've never tried, the greys are coming and I guess I'm embracing them since I just don't think about it. I like that you keep your hair long. Mine has always been long and it's cool to see that when it's a lot more grey it can still look nice long!

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  46. Kendra-
    Beautiful post! I just discovered a few grays in the last 6 months...and pulled them. Ha! I have always said that I'm just going to let me hair go gray, but I'm also a scaredy-cat about "What is that going to look like on a head full of dark hair?!"
    Yet, I'm lazy as all else with my hair. It'll just go gray and my kids will have to call me Salt and Pepper. ;)
    -Gina

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  47. Well, and also- because you wear it well! I think your gray hair (dare I say, SILVER hair) definitely shows how sophisticated you are and how much wisdom you have to share!

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  48. My best friend in junior high had a grandmother with the most elegant, queenly silver hair. It was parted and braided and wrapped around her head. I decided then that I wanted to be like that, and 'go gray gracefully'. However, I am the same age as you, Kendra, and while I am going sliver a bit already, I do not feel as old as I used to think I would when gray came! But, I love this post, and it has gotten me thinking.

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  49. My sister has had gray/silver in her hair since she was 19 (her hair is jet black). I was actually kinda bummed when she got it dyed a few months ago to get rid of it finally at age 31. I have always said I'd never dye my hair and let it gray naturally--I only have a few strands right now--so thank you for your wisdom. Your hair looks great.

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  50. I totally take you seriously, grey hair or not. My mother, who went very suddenly white haired in her late thirties when her father passed away, is horrified that I refuse to color my grey hair. I never thought I would mind going grey, as I have always found grey hair to be very attractive, and here at 38 when it is happening, I was right. I don't mind my greying hair, though I wish it would grey in a more organized fashion.

    I am looking forward to your upcoming "day in the life" post. I am curious what your days look like. My eldest is only 5, so he is not to the point of being much help with his little sisters yet.

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  51. Great post, I'm 44 and just started going grey. At first I was like "NO!" then I was like who cares! :)

    So glad I found your blog! New reader and follower

    Shannon @ Cup of Tea Book Reviews

    http://lettersnumbersandbooksohmy.blogspot.com/

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  52. I think your gray is great! And I also think you're pretty wise and classy.

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  53. I love your gray, Kendra. You look elegant and beautiful. I colored my hair on and off since I was 16 but the last time I did it was about 15 years ago. I'm 56 and got my first gray hair at 34. I have a lot more now but I'm the only one who seems to notice it. I've been going back and forth about coloring again but this post cinched it for me. I will not and I hope it eventually turns the beautiful white color I love in older women.

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  54. Your grey is lovely! I AM afraid to go grey, and wish I could embrace the bravery you share here because I also feel each of those things. I am MORE afraid of the dye, and have given up routine during Lent to see what I think, so far not too bad.

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  55. Ok, that's it. I'm doing it. I've been greying since age 20 (runs in the family) and I just can't stand dyeing it any more. I'm 33, and I always thought I'd wait until I was "old" until I let it go - but maybe that's now? I think lots of women see dyeing as just part of normal maintenance, like shaving one's legs or trimming fingernails. And if it were similarly cheap and quick, I might fall in that camp too. But alas, time, money, etc. Thank you for the encouraging post.

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  56. Ah, I'm finally remembering to comment on this! This is giving me the final push I needed. I have (yet another) box of dye sitting on my counter to cover up the gray that started when I was in college. (I got lucky...my poor sister started graying in MIDDLE SCHOOL.) But I'm tired of it. I've tried several times to see what would happen if I let it go and always just felt like I looked haggard rather than mature. But I'm going to give it another go and see how I feel about it and attempt to work it rather than run from it. Maybe it can be my thing. I think it looks great on you!

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  57. My mother let her hair go gray when she was 35 and she gets TONS of compliments on her hair. It's absolutely beautiful. People must be envious of you, actually. I have seen people dye their hair gray these days. :)

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  58. I love it. I am been on the fence about mine. I was laughing when I met a 20 somethings woman who dyes her hair grey - I clicked on your link and love the hip look. I am the same age and probably will let it go soon… it is too much hassle. I love the point about looking good for you age rather than ragged at a younger age. I wrote this week about the wear and tear of motherhood on our bodies - similar theme… http://peer-review-parenting.blogspot.com/2014/04/body-remodel.html

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  59. I too spent much time in my 20's and 30's playing with my very straight hair. I colored, permed, and producted it to death. Now it is gray and I am growing it out. My husband loves that I no longer have sticky product in it and I do NOT have time to really mess or fuss with it either. Thanks for posting this and helping me to feel more confident about my hair.

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  60. I want to start by saying I'm 100% agreed to everything that you have said. I went back and forth about whether or not to post this, because I don't want to be an @ss or take away from your poignant message, but incase it may help someone reading, I might as well. Gray hair tends to be a symptom of an underlying problem. Especially if you get a streak or a lot of gray hair all of a sudden, rather than just a couple hairs here or their, you may want to look for a reason why your body would be draining nutrients from non-necessary parts (like hair, finger/toenails, skin, or even teeth). I was graying, and for a completely unrelated reason, changed my diet to include much more saturated fat and cholesterol, traditional meats (like organ meats, bone broths, egg yolks), and nutrient dense foods, and my problem went away, so did my gray hair (absolutely reversed), acne, join pain, warts, toenail fungus, tooth sensitivity, bloating, mood and cycle problems. Gray hair, much like PCOS, diabetes, weight gain or loss, can be symptoms of serious underlying problems. Again, I'm so sorry if this is inappropriate, but just incase someone else is reading this and is able to discover an underlying problem signaled by gray hair. GOD BLESS YOU!!!!!

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  61. Just found this post while looking for something else. Just, sigh. I love that you are happy with your gray. I loathe mine. I found my first one at 18, and now that I am 30 I have about 60% gray hair, which I have spent a fortune on coloring over the last x amount of years. I'm so tempted to say, "Yes, you let yours go gray and you are gorgeous. My gray hair is disgusting and it would look awful while I was letting it grow out. Sigh. I gotta admit, I am envious of your surrender. :)

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  62. See, I don't make hair decisions based on looking younger. I make them based on what looks most flattering. I have a very bland, flat hair color (not gray yet at 33). I highlight it because it looks 1000x better that way (no, not all natural hair colors are in style, lol). If gray doesn't flatter me, away it goes.

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  63. first comment didn't take. Trying again. I'm writing about this too. I decided to stop dyeing my hair, and I was surprised that my friends tried to discourage me. Men don't care, kids don't care, it's women who have the issue with gray hair. We need to support each other and stop all the hair color. My hair dresser told me we still don't know the long term effects of all those chemicals. What is wrong with looking like who we really are? Your hair is beautiful!

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    1. Here's the link to my first post about this issue. I'm writing about my journey with letting my gray hair grow in. It's quite a a ride!
      http://adventuresintheballpark.blogspot.com/2014/06/fifteen-shades-of-gray-part-1-hair-dye.html

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    2. And how goes it, Mare? Are you still on the journey to becoming silver?

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  64. I support my sisters who choose to go gray and those who choose to color their hair. It is wonderful to see how we express ourselves through our personal appearance. I lost my hair through medical treatment and happy for those of you who have hair.

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  65. Every reason you give is every reason why i don't dye mine. I have dark hair and a lot if grey. Might be mostly white by 40, i am 33 now. Some days i love it on me more than other days, but that is how God made me. Embrace it right? !

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  66. I didn't succumb to the foil until I was in my mid-40s, and fully intended it as just an experiment. Now, at 53, I'd like to let it grow out and see what the gray would look like on me...but my husband really, REALLY likes it staying blonde. Is it credible to say I'm "giving way in a matter of personal preference, in order to make family life more pleasant"?

    p.s. Sorry to be dropping comments all over the place. I've just found you, and I'm enchanted.

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    1. I DO think that's credible. The fact that my husband likes it is really my most important reason NOT to dye mine.

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  67. Very nice-- Go Gray beautiful and never look back.. There's a famous image around of a woman who was some time ago on sites for education.. She was in an advertisement making the remark.. We all get some gray hair sometime.. Today she's on pinterest in pure silver.. What a beautiful lady.. It's all in your atitude.. Women don't like being stared at but they love the compliments.

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