O.K. ladies let’s talk hair stories, (men feel free to chime in).
I want to talk about 3 things that many of us have or will experience, but never talk about.
First, eyebrow color change. Second, hairline cover ups. Third, hair styles, the good, the bad and the ugly.
In the eyebrow department, I’m good. But until I decided to try this gray experiment, I hadn’t even thought about eyebrows going gray. But like other hair, (other meaning a conversation for another blog) it also goes gray. Hmm. My stylist told me that people who have gray eyebrows have to color their brows to match their colored hair. Now I’m an eyebrow stalker. I always notice people’s eyebrows. Some are barely there, others that don’t quite match hair color, and of course the low maintenance ones, gray that goes with gray. Any of you in to the brow dying?
O.K. hairline coverage. I’d like to think I’m not the only dork here that when overdue for a hair color, resorts to my mascara to cover up those pesky gray hairs. Well, am I? I know, I know there are professional products that cover gray between hair appointments, but when you run out, you have to have a backup plan. For me, mascara does the trick. Leaves hair a little stiff, but no one is running their fingers through my hairline, so I’m good.
My last disclosure, the ugly of hair styles. As you can see, this lovely hairdo was inspired by Whitney Houston.
Somehow she looks significantly better wearing this ‘do than moi.
So, how many hairstyles have you had over the years? Between bad perms, pixie cuts, shag, Dorothy Hamill, etc. I’ve had ‘em all. I’m always able to tell what year it is in pictures based on my hairstyle (glasses are the same way, right?) However, there are those that NEVER change their hairstyle, they keep it the same for years.
So perhaps this gray endeavor is simply a phase that will pass, or I may find that I like it and the color will stay. No matter what I choose, styles and trends will continue in the world of hair, so I will find what I like, and try it until the next trend pulls me in.
By Nicki On December 19, 2012 7 Comments
I had my first appointment with my stylist, Terri today for my going gray journey. I learned a lot.
For starters, just because you decide to go gray does not mean you’ll miss one color appointment and boom, you’re gray.
Terri said, “We all have varying levels of gray, but for most of us, it begins around the front hairline, around the ears and less in back.” Apparently, I’m not as gray as I thought. Hmmm. Given that I’ve been having weird dreams about this whole process, including being called Grandma by my neighbor, and having long hair with tinsel in it (I think I had too much pizza that night), I suppose that not as much gray means the change won’t be as dramatic. Note, the longer your hair is, the longer the transition.
Terri explained that the texture of gray hair is very different from color treated hair. It can be wiry and coarse, or in some cases very soft (please let mine be soft, please let mine be soft…) Most interesting was to find out that 90% of gray hair that has that yellow tinge to it is due to smoking. 10% is for other reasons. Yay me, I’m a non-smoker.
So today, we just did something called a glaze. No color, and the lovely gray zipper much less visible. The glaze is like a decoupage for hair. It softens hair up and makes the gray less obvious. Apparently, she’ll dictate when to start adding something called, low lights to the glaze. Glazing is very gentle on hair, it’s ammonia free and low ph. Cool.
Finally, I decided to get my hair cut off. Many of you worried that long gray hair is very unattractive. I took your advice with a little help from Terri, and off it went. Btw, having a great relationship with your stylist is key. You also shared that a cute hairstyle makes a big difference, regardless of hair color. Sooo, chop, chop. About 3 inches, off. I love it, sassy. What do you think?
Two of the most common reasons I’m hearing that women don’t go au natural is, skin tone which doesn’t go well with gray hair and the other, husbands said, “No!” Hmmmm. Most common reason women go gray, they were ready.
So this was Phase I, no biggie. I’m feeling pretty good about this process. Starting today, I’ll take regular photos to see how the color changes and what I think. I’m also very interested in your thoughts and feedback. I love your gray hair stories and color stories, so keep ‘em coming! I want to know why you do or do not color your hair? How do you feel about your hair? Does your hair define you? Inquiring minds want to know!
Here’s to a positive spirit that never tells your age!
By Nicki On December 14, 2012 2 Comments
Have you ever purchased a car that you thought was unique both in style and color, only to find out that your choice wasn’t so original? Suddenly every third car is the same model and color as yours. Hmmm.
Well, I’m having the same experience with women and gray hair. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve noticed a lot more gray hair on women than ever before. I’m sure that my spidey senses are in overdrive, but the fact is they are out there. (I see gray haired people.)
Just this past week, there was a story about David Axlerod (Obama’s political advisor) shaving off his mustache because the epilepsy foundation that he and his wife Susan started, raised over 1 million dollars. As his wife looked on, I noticed a sassy, silver haired, lovely young woman. I did some research and it looks like she’s always had it and in my opinion, she wears it well.
Since embarking on this fun journey, I have received some fascinating emails and even a phone call from my 5th grade art teacher who is a gray believer. “I just love my hair the way it is. I never thought about it being right or wrong, it was just the way it was meant to be. By the way Nicki, it’s silver, not gray.” Alrighty, silver it is!
A couple of days ago, I ran in to an old friend and she asked,” This is a joke, right? You’re not really doing that, right? You’re just doing this for something to write about, right?” My response was, “No.” She walked away mumbling to herself something about a crazy woman. I didn’t catch all of it, probably because my hearing is going. Right? Doesn’t that happen to silver haired people?
I also received an email from a lovely woman who shared her story as a cancer survivor. She told me that she didn’t have a choice about her hair color. Once she started receiving treatment, she lost all of her hair. While her hair was growing in, she chose to wear different wigs and loved playing with hair color. Her hair came in grey, but she didn’t care much for the color, so she still enjoys wearing her wigs. Hmmm, maybe she’s on to something. She did suggest that I shave my head so that my authentic hair would grow in. You all have said that I’m brave, but I am not that brave. They’ll be no shaved head for this gal. But don’t think for a brief moment I didn’t consider it.
So ladies, and even men, if you’ve decided to go au naturel, please continue sending me your stories. I’ve got a great collection so far that I will share, anonymously, as I move forward. And for those of you that would rather scrape your knuckles on a grater vs. letting your colorist retire, I want to hear from you too!
I love adventures. In 5 days I go to my first “going gray” hair appointment. Photos to follow!
Here’s to a positive spirit that never tells your age!
By Nicki On December 10, 2012 5 Comments
So, who would have thought that gray is the new black? It seems to be among the young Hollywood crowd. If Pink can sport it, why can’t I? Seriously, how cute is this? I know, I know it’s Pink and she’s 20 years younger, and a rock star. But still, it seems Hollywood is jumping on the silver hair bus. You think they’ve been reading my posts? Have I started a trend?
I have to say, I find this fascinating. What do you think? I’m thinking I’m a lot more hip than I gave myself credit for. (My kids will likely laugh when they read that line.) If these young girls are jumping on the silver bus, than this gal is driving!
Although, I can’t imagine any reason young girls would want to go silver – it may have something to do with the cougar thing. Perhaps younger girls actually want to look older. If that’s the case, hell has frozen over!
As I move forward in this journey, it’s nice to know I’ll have some younger company. Let’s see who wears it better.
Here’s to a positive spirit that never tells your age!
By Nicki On December 5, 2012 20 Comments
Questions I have about changing my hair color:
1. Walking by a group of guys, gals and thinking, “Brunettes, blondes, redheads gets the looks. Gray heads- not so much.”
2. I will never, ever, ever be carded again except maybe to prove my AARP card is legit.
3. Will my current wardrobe go with my hair?
4. When I’m with my kids, will they think I’m their Grandmother?
5. What will the texture of my hair be like? Why do I have visions of the lady from Princess Bride? “Boo, Boo, Boo!” Wait, my hairdresser wouldn’t allow it. And seriously? Either would I.
6. Why do people keep telling me not to let my gray hair be long and stringy? Hellooo? I’m changing my hair color, I’m not changing my personal hygiene habits! And yes, I still do care about the way I look. (Argh, the stereotype continues to rear it’s ugly head.)
7. Will the color be a gorgeous gray or the mousy kind? If it’s mousy, can I bail out of this whole experiment? It’s my experiment so the answer is, “YES!”
So many questions and nothings even happened yet! A year? Wow…
Check out my column in today’s Naperville Sun !
By Nicki On December 2, 2012 9 Comments
Wow, wow, wow. Since posting my initial going gray journey, it’s been fascinating to read the responses both on Facebook and my blog. Some are shocked that I would even consider this, others would like to try it, but vanity prevents it. There are also a few that have never colored their hair, ever. In fact, they don’t understand why it’s even an issue.
Some of my friends have asked, “Now Nicki, why would you cover that gorgeous, thick brunette hair (now they tell me!) with dull, stringy gray?” While others have said, “Oh Nicki, don’t do that, you don’t want to do that.” I felt like I was letting them down in some way. Perhaps there’s a woman code that I’m unknowingly breaking. I suppose it just proves what a controversial topic going gray is.
But I keep going back to – if I feel fine with it, what difference does it make how others view it? But I’m beginning to understand that I care more than I thought.
I mentioned in my last blog that age and old are not synonymous. Surely, you know someone in their 30′s that acts old, or someone in their 60′s that is energetic as well as, wait for it, wait for it……gray! I am a true believer that it is your spirit that either ages you or makes you ageless. I bet we all know someone like that, despite their age or gray hair, their spirit is young and catching.
My kids tell me to, “Go for it.” While my Aunt reacted as though I told her I was going to cut off my pinky toes to fit in to a pair of Jimmy Choo’s, “Oh you’re not really, are you? How can you do that?” Very interesting.
I see a few grays peeking through since my last color. Hmmm.
Here’s to a positive spirit that never tells your age!
By Nicki On November 27, 2012 26 Comments
With the recent news of the Patraeus affair, people are abuzz with disbelief. But the disbelief didn’t seem to stem from Patraeus’ behavior, more from the obvious contrast between his wife of 40 years, and his mistress. In fact, some were heard saying, “Well, no wonder he cheated on her!” Hmmm.
So, this got me to thinking. Was the shock and awe due to the gray haired Holly versus the brunette mistress 20 years her junior? Or, was it the contrast of thin vs. not so thin? Likely, the combination. But I wondered, if she were fit and gray would the reaction be different? Are we so used to women coloring their hair, that when we see gray hair on a woman we think she’s a lost cause?
As a 51 year old woman, I wonder if gray hair is an automatic sentence to frumpville? Does it mean women who are gray no longer take pride in how they look? Do they lose their fun factor? Why do I color my hair? To be honest, I can’t even recall why I started coloring my hair. I suppose it just was a natural part of keeping the aging process at bay, or at least preventing the perception of being old. Like most women, I look younger when I color my hair. But the real question, does it make me FEEL younger?
This past week I went in to get my hair colored, as I do every 4-5 weeks. I asked Terri, my hair dresser, my colorist, my stylist, “Why is it that when men start turning gray they’re distinguished? Whereas women go gray and we’re just old.” We both surmised it’s the aging thing. But wait, why is it an aging thing with women, but not men? Why does a woman with gray hair automatically become less interesting or less eye-catching? Why is there a negative vibe around aging for women? Lord knows, we spend loads of moolah in an effort to fight the inevitable. Yes, I’m guilty. Yet with men, put some decent cash in their bank account and they instantly become Channing Tatum, not fair.
So, this begs the question, as women of a certain age, why do we color our hair? Is it honestly just to appear younger? Does it then make us more attractive because youth is considered more attractive? Or is it a way of hiding something that’s not well received in today’s youth obsessed world? Perhaps all of the above.
But the question I keep coming back to is, does coloring my hair actually make me feel younger? Or or is it society’s perception of me and how I might be viewed if I were to go gray. Hmmm.
The more I started mulling this over, the more I started wondering how I might be treated as a silver goddess? I thought about people at the supermarket, a waiter at a restaurant, and new people I meet. What would it say to other people? Do I really care that much? Would my current friends treat me differently? So many questions surrounding such a small thing, hair color.
Ultimately, with all of this introspection, I have decided to visit my natural roots. I may not stay there long, but I’m willing to try. I guess in order to go gray more gracefully, Terri said there’s a process I need to go through. You can bet I’ll share all of those details and more as I go. With photo documentation as well.
As Terri and I chatted more deeply about my decision she asked, “Are you sure you want to do this Nicki? I’m not sure how much gray we’ll be dealing with?” That translated to, “Be prepared, you might not like what you see.” But why not? Is it because being gray will immediately catapult me to old? Will I actually feel older and maybe carry myself differently? Feeling more aches and pains? Kind of fascinating. Why do I assume that going gray will be a negative? I’m sure psychologists would have some thoughts on this. I’ll have to be sure and add some interviews about that on this blog.
I rather pride myself on being mistaken for someone 10 years younger, so this is definitely a tough decision. But in truth, if I FEEL young regardless of hair color, what difference does it make? Even before starting the process, I have a million questions on what will change when my hair does. I suppose I’ll find out.
As of today, I’m still a clear brunette. My family isn’t sure I’ll go through with it, but at this point, I’m so intrigued with the unknown, I’m ready. As of this moment, as a brunette, I believe that age and old are not synonymous. I believe hair color should have little to do with how I feel inside, it’s more how others perceive hair color. But perhaps these thoughts and beliefs will evolve along with my hair color.
So, here I go! Join me in my yearlong adventure. I’d love to hear from those of you that have gone gray and those of you who would spend your last penny on hair color before ever giving it up. I have no idea what to expect, hence Gray Expectations. This should be an interesting ride! Come on, hop in and buckle your seat belt, it’s going to be a gray-t adventure. (Sorry, couldn’t resist).
By Nicki On October 6, 2012 6 Comments
This past week I celebrated another birthday. I say another birthday because it wasn’t a “big” birthday, it wasn’t a landmark birthday, simply a birthday that left me scratching my head and wondering, “Where has time gone?” It’s funny, I remember my Grandmother saying to me, “Don’t wish your life away, it moves quickly enough on its own.” I never really understood what it meant until I looked around and found my children grown, the veins in my hands more prominent and the wrinkles around my eyes deepening.
As I’ve gotten older, I hear more people say, “Ahh, to be young again.” Wait, beg your pardon? I am young! I don’t know about you, but the thought of going back to my high school days would likely be akin to rubbing salt in a wound, no thanks. It wasn’t that high school was horrible, quite the opposite, it was the foundation of some of life’s most important lessons. (I just didn’t know it then!)
1. You will not always fit in.
2. You will not be the prettiest, skinniest and most popular, most people aren’t, and the ones that are don’t always live the life we perceive.
3. Some people are mean.
4. Some people are kind.
5. Some people try so hard to fit in.
6. You lose some “friends” to the cooler kids.
7. Don’t take yourself so seriously.
The funny thing is, as I write this list I realize that even as a grown adult these truths haven’t changed! There’s still the cool crowd, still those that are prettier, thinner and more popular. People can still be incredibly cruel, but people can also be incredibly kind. There are adults that continue to try and fit in, and as an adult, I have lost friends to others that have something I don’t. C’est la vie!
But I smile because the beauty of now versus then is my world isn’t falling apart because of those realities. There are some situations where I still don’t fit in, so I don’t try. I’m no longer seeking to be the prettiest or the skinniest or more popular, funny perhaps, but at the end of day, the only person I have to please is moi.
I care that I’m a good human being and the rest plays itself out. At this age when someone is mean, I don’t take it personally. I’ve learned that mean people have issues far deeper than I’ll ever understand, so I hope that they can one day find their happiness and peace.
For the kind people, ahhh, those are the unsung heroes. I could hang with those folks all day, and I try to. With all the crap going on in the world, when you meet someone genuinely kind, you want to “have what they’re having” and hope it sticks. I have such an appreciation for kind souls that I couldn’t comprehend back in high school. Those people are nice because they want to be, not because they have to be.
Of course as we grow up (I use that term loosely), there are the ladder climbers. Don’t get me wrong, I am an entrepreneur, I know the importance of climbing ladders, I just don’t break the rungs below me.
What I love most about getting to this point in life is that friends are finally a choice, not a prerequisite. I pick friends who make me feel happy when I’m around them, and I hope I provide the same. I’m through with drama and gossip and all the other things that high school is known for. Unfortunately, there are still those who thrive on drama and gossip but it’s their choice, not mine. I can choose to walk away without fear of being kicked out of some club.
My friends are amazing, wonderful, smart and talented. The difference is that now I understand the real friends that I had in high school, and my real friends today are simply my mirror. Had I known that in high school, I would have appreciated myself so much more.
But I think the most valuable lesson I’ve learned is to ease up on myself. When I think about how cruel I was to myself in high school because I believed I always fell short, is nothing less than heartbreaking. But I suppose that’s what lessons are for. “Can’t go over it, can’t go under it, you’ve got to go through it.” Going on a Bear Hunt- One of my favorite children’s books.
To get to a point in life, where you suddenly realize you’re pretty cool and have pretty cool family and pretty cool friends without worrying about how anyone else defines cool is just, well, cool.
I love laughing, especially at myself for all the right reasons. I’m less concerned with my shortcomings, and more impressed with my strengths. I guess the beauty of getting to this point in life is that I now understand graduating from high school was much more than simply getting through 4 years, I earned a diploma in valuable life lessons that have stayed with me.
As I celebrate another year kicking, another year with family and friends, the lessons I learned in high school are far more important than any diploma. High school was not about the academics of readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmatic, more the academics of life. Here’s to high school!
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!
By Nicki On August 16, 2012 2 Comments
ARGH! It’s happening, those annoying signs of aging. As an active adult, I’m convinced that all the positives steps I’m taking will avert natural signs of aging including, aches and pains, graying hair, disease and eye sight- just to name a few. The aches and pains I chalk up to my activity level, i.e. assurance that I worked out really hard. Graying hair, thank God for my hairdresser (though people tell me that hair dye can cause cancer, ‘sigh’). Disease, so far so good! But the eye sight, not so much. With all the carrots and Vitamin A rich foods I eat, really? Yes, really.
In the beginning I cursed the print in newspaper, ingredients on side labels and bottles wondering what a cruel trick to shrink the print to microscopic size. Surely it wasn’t my eyes, I’m a healthy adult! Others laughed and said, “Welcome to middle age!” What? I refuse to be a statistic! How could my eyesight be going? I’m too healthy!
As I struggled my way through newspapers, emails and magazines, narrowing my eyes in an effort to make sense of it all, I swore it was temporary, like the flu, “this too shall pass.”
Unfortunately, my vision refused to improve, words continued to shrink and blur. It was time to visit the eye doctor. After my exam, what did he say? “Welcome to middle age!” Almost grounds for a head butt. Mentally I’m not middle age, and physically I don’t feel middle age, how could my eyes betray me by becoming…. dare I say? Middle age.
But when you’re served lemons, you’ve got to make lemonade, right? The positive side to this whole shift is that dulled vision seems to soften everything. I can’t see the inevitable wild hairs on my chin that come from God knows where (except when using my 300x magnifying mirror, a blessing and a curse those mirrors). I can’t see the little things that used to bother me, dust bunnies, a wrinkle in a shirt, a chipped nail.
“Softer” vision is a much better substitution for middle aged eyes. The funny thing is, as I started thinking about softer vision it seemed to spawn a softer attitude. Things that used to bother me no longer do. I tend to worry less, and laugh a lot more. I find myself excited over situations that 10 years ago I would have thought boring. If the car in front of me doesn’t turn on their blinker, so what? If the person in front of me decides to write a check, carefully printing out each word vs. using a credit card, oh well. If I catch every single red light in route to my destination, so be it.
The softening of my vision has definitely spilled over in to softening of the “little things.” So, perhaps the vision thing isn’t necessarily a sign of middle age, simply a nudge to stop, smell the roses and soften up!
To Your Health,
By Nicki On August 14, 2012 No Comments
This past week we celebrated my youngest child’s 21st birthday. The event was incredibly special, and someone even commented, “Wow, if this is her 21st birthday, I can’t wait to see what her wedding will be like!”
Turning 21 is sort of a mixed bag. It’s the reminder that all the really big times in your life have passed, becoming a teenager, getting a drivers license and becoming eligible to vote. Then 21 arrives and it’s the first legal drink. Although the focus may be on that first legal drink, I think it’s much more than that. As I watched my daughter make her way through the evening, I sensed she realized the incredible opportunities that lie ahead, as well as the harsh reality that the journey to adulthood is just beginning.
For many, turning 21 may be the first “legal” drink, but likely not the first. So when that 21st birthday comes around, is the celebration really about getting an alcoholic beverage with complete permission? Or is it the fact that the first legal drink denotes the end of an era? Perhaps it’s both. It’s acknowledging and toasting to the end of college, and accepting that real world responsibility is just a stone’s throw away.
I see that first legal drink as much more than getting a legal drunk on, it seems to signify the last “hurrah” before getting down to business and seriously addressing, “What’s next?”
The evening of my daughter’s birthday, I couldn’t help but admire who she has become, and what amazing potential she has. For her, she may be feeling disappointment for all the college memories she’ll be leaving behind, as well as the worries about that first job, apartment, and real life adult responsibility. For my daughter and her older brothers, turning 21 was likely a time of introspection and melancholy. Funny, it seems to be the same for me.