Saturday, June 5, 2010


Jamie Lee Curtis looks good no matter what her colour is.  She has stopped dyeing her hair and has showed off her gray hair for the past several years.   I know that Jamie Lee Curtis also has other fine attributes including a slim figure, good skin, does not have pale features and a nice smile.  There are other women and male celebrities that do look great with gray hair - Toni Morrison, Emmylou Harrison, Meryl Streep in the movie "The Devil Wears Prada", George Clooney, Steve Martin and Anderson Cooper.  Should Jamie Lee Curtis be a role model for those of us starting to get gray hair?  Why do we colour our hair to hide the gray?  Is it because we will look older if we don't?  The fear is that we will look older yet men are considered to look more distinguished with gray hair.

I have been colouring my hair for several decades.  I started to colour my hair as a way of enhancing my image, adding some flair and colour to my hairstyle.  Plus as a typical woman, we can get bored with the way we look and we want to change our look.  There is no doubt that adding hair colour can enhance your appearance and make you feel more attractive.  A good hair cut is also an important and key ingredient to how you look.  In colouring my hair, I have had full colour done, streaks or both at the same time.  Every six weeks, I could be getting a hair colour treatment.   A few months ago, I started to think about whether I should decrease the occurrence of getting my hair coloured.  I am lucky in that my gray hairs are coming in gradually and not in swatches and are more dispersed throughout my head of hair.   I have been streaking my hair but not every time I get my hair cut on the six week cycle.

I happened to catch a segment of the Today Show on June 1st and there was a story about women deciding to stop colouring their hair and going gray.  Anne Kreamer was among the interviewees as she has written a book titled "Going Gray".  At the age of 49 she stopped dyeing her hair, a practice she started at 25 years of age.  Her book is about cultural shift in attitudes towards women and aging.   Some women have stopped colouring their hair because they are tired of the maintenance, applying chemicals to their scalp, the cost and the hassle of fitting in hair colour appointments with everything else and the feeling of liberation.

While out and about in the city I live in, I am taking more notice of women who have stopped dyeing their hair.  Today at the local coffee shop, a woman was sitting beside me who appeared to have gone premature gray and her hair colour was a mixture of gray with black undertones.  She had a great haircut, wore very stylish glasses and did not have pale skin.  She looked great.  I would guess that she  was in her 40's.  Another woman, likely in her mid 60's, also caught my eye.  She had grey hair in front and a bit of colour in the back.  It looked good.  What also helped in making these women look good was that they had some facial colour and were not pale in appearance.   Depending on your skin tone, you would need to adjust your wardrobe colours so that you didn't appear to be washed out.  Wearing the right colour of makeup and jewellery is also important.  

The conclusions I have made is that if you are going to stop colouring your hair or fixing your roots, you need to consider several things.  Don't go cold turkey - use highlights, low lights or other colouring tricks to see how you like the change.  If you are worried that you will look pale or washed out with gray hair,  them make changes to your make up; wear stylish glasses that have colour frames; wear a shorter hair cut and make sure you have a good cut; wear clothes that have more colour and carry yourself with confidence.

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