I will always associate the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic with going grey. And I know that many others are the same. Those months of not being able to get our hair coloured and cut, February to July 2020 for me, seemed the perfect opportunity to go natural. So on the one-year anniversary of my first post-lockdown haircut, the first one in years where no colour was applied, I thought I’d take a look at where I am now in my hair journey. Examine the state of grey, so to speak.
Maybe you’re sick of hearing me waffle on about my hair. And how going grey has been a journey that became about so much more than hair for me. But there we have it. I love to waffle on about shallow things. Hair being one of the biggies. That’s me in February 2020, on the left below. My last haircut and colour before lockdown. And on the right, in early February 2021. All white except for a bit of lowlighting that Carmen had applied to my bangs.
It wasn’t until May 2020, three months into growing out my colour, that I realized I would be totally white when my colour finally was gone. I began to experiment with sweeping my bangs off my face, and letting my curl have its way, a bit. I scrolled through Pinterest, looking for women with white hair whose look I admired. And it was easy to be philosophical about the whole bad hair thing. I hardly saw anyone but Hubby, and when I did everyone else’s hair looked as bad as mine. Besides, it gave me something to talk about on my blog.
My first cut in five months was in July 2020. And it was only a cut. The first time in many, many years I did not have base colour, highlights, and lowlights applied. I almost fell over when Carmen told me how little money I owed her. Gasp. It seemed there was an additional, and unexpected, silver lining to this white hair gig. I needed two more cuts before my colour was gone.
In the fall, we began experimenting with lowlights. The first application came out too dark. My hair looked cool, but the almost black streaks were a bit too obvious for my liking. After they grew out, and Carmen was able to try again, we went much lighter, and a bit warmer with the lowlights. That was much better. The caramel streaks looked almost like my natural hair colour. And they added definition to my totally white head. And to my soft, swept-back style. Which, in all honesty, I was beginning to have second thoughts about.
You see, when my hair was growing out, I started to sweep the front back to show the white. And then I began to like the style. It was somewhat similar to the way I wore my hair when I was in my twenties. It looked like some of the styles I’d loved on Pinterest. And it was different from the shorter cut which I’d been wearing for a few years. Different is the operative word, here. I didn’t want to go from one look in brown and blonde to a very similar look in white. I wanted something altogether different.
And for a while I really enjoyed the longer, softer, swept-back style. And then I didn’t. I tried really hard to be positive, but I was not loving my new look. It looked great when I styled my hair for a photo-taking session. But if I didn’t fuss with it, it looked terrible. Too flat and boring, or too fluffy and even a little old-lady-ish. And first thing in the morning, well, let’s not even go there.
The last time Carmen cut my hair we had a chat. When she said, “What are we doing today?” I moaned a bit that I was thinking about a change. Inspired by Emma Thompson and Gillian Anderson, the longer swept-back style had been my idea. But I was wavering. I didn’t know what to change into. So I said to Carmen, “We should do whatever you think will look good.” And so we did. Thank goodness for creative hairstylists like Carmen. I walked out of her salon that afternoon feeling like a million bucks. And younger, if you can believe it.
And that’s about the sum total of my hair journey to date. I grew my hair out. It looked like hell for months. Then after a few cuts it was completely white. I tried a new style, that I liked and then loathed. Every once in a while I wondered if I had made a mistake in going white. I struggled to come to terms with the new me in the mirror. I tried two colours of lowlights. Then I reverted back to a short pixie cut with asymmetrical bangs. And now I love everything about my hair. The colour, or lack thereof. The cut. Even the texture, which is softer and silkier than when I was colouring it.
What is really wonderful about my new-old style is that it so easily looks good. It looks good when I get up in the morning without having to do anything but run my fingers through it. I can brush it forward and texturize it, or brush it back in a shorter version of my first white hair cut. I can fuss with it or not bother.
And it’s the days when I don’t bother that are a revelation to me. Even on those days when I’m not wearing makeup. Even first thing in the morning when I’ve just rolled out of bed, I’m still in my robe and nightie, and having my first cup of tea on the deck, I don’t feel as if the white is aging. Maybe it is and I’m just kidding myself. But, really, I feel like me. And I’m pretty okay with that.
When my hair began to be more white than blonde/brown back in 2020, I worried about how this new white hair would affect my ability to wear colour, or lack of colour. And while it’s true that I can no longer wear warm beige and some shades of tan and camel, I haven’t had to abandon as many of my favourite clothes as I feared. I’ve tweaked my make-up, with a pinker blush and a lighter hand with eye-liner etc. But the changes were only tweaks.
Last year I made pronouncements about my changing style. I said I wanted to dress a bit looser, not so polished and neat as I’d always been. I felt my white hair gave me license to be a bit more louche, more edgy. Now, looking back, I’m not sure that I hadn’t been moving in that direction even before I grew out my grey. And I’m not sure if anyone would even notice that my style had changed. Or even if it had changed much, to be honest. As I said in a post a year ago, “besides the obvious change to my hair, maybe all the other stuff is on the inside.” Maybe besides the obvious change to my hair, the biggest change is that I am okay with being my age. With being sixty-five. Especially now that I’ve found a cut that I love. Unreservedly.
So, the current state of grey is that I love my hair. It makes me feel like me. I am no longer surprised when I look in the mirror. No longer wondering who that white-haired person is. I feel totally myself. Comfortable in my own skin, and in my own hair.
I decided to write this post when I realized that my hair cut on Thursday was one year exactly from my first post-lockdown hair cut. My first haircut without colour in many, many years. But this was not the only important anniversary this week, folks.
Hubby and I were married thirty-two years on Thursday. But Thursday was cool and rainy, NOT a good evening for patio dining. These days when indoor dining is still closed, one has to pay extra close attention to the weather reports. So we postponed our celebration to tonight. We drove down to the village of Oxford Mills for dinner at one of our favourite out-of-town restaurants We had a lovely meal and a great evening. And I thought my hair looked fab. 🙂
So, my friends do you have any thoughts on your own pandemic hair journey? I know that some of you joined me in unleashing your natural colour last year. Any regrets?