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Sisters are Dyeing it for Themselves

Sisters are Dyeing it for Themselves

Aren’t little sisters just great? They remind you where you’ve been and support you wherever you’re going. They never forget that you taught them to write their name on a chalkboard in the backyard, and they never forget that you spoiled their Christmas morning surprise by finding your parents’ hiding place and forcing her to look at her presents before the big day. They know you better than anyone, whether you like it or not. And should your hair ever start to turn gray, they are right there to point it out.

I might have spotted a stray one here or there on my own but I was pretending that it wasn’t happening and going about my life. Quite happily, I might add.

Until last weekend, at a Memorial Day barbecue at my dad’s house, when my sister pointed to my hair and said, “Did you get highlights or are you going gray?” Thanks, sis. Now every time I look in the mirror I remember that and start thinking about whether I should dye my hair.

I used to dye it when I was in my 20s. I tended to go back and forth from red to super-light blonde and back again. In reality, I am more a dirty blonde and as I get older the hair has gotten darker. All the better for gray hairs to show up in!

I definitely don’t subscribe to the mythology that I need to fight my age. I have been referring to myself as “almost 40″ for almost a year now when in truth I still have 15 months to go. But I am starting to wonder if women don’t cover their gray hair for other reasons. I am quite attached to the way I look. I might not always like it, but it’s me. When I start looking in the mirror and seeing this other person with gray hair, I’m not sure how I am going to feel about it.

So maybe I will dye my hair. I still haven’t decided. I might wait until the hair gets a little grayer. But if and when I do, I will definitely be opting for something other than the cheap commercial drugstore kits I used in my 20s (just one of many stupid and totally-harmful-to-my-health things I did back then). Take some toxic, petroleum-based ingredients and throw in some harsh petrochemical solvents and heightened risk for bladder cancer and you’ve got a lovely cocktail of nasty chemicals to rub into your scalp and breathe in for the 25 minutes it takes for the color to sink in. If it’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s if it smells bad then it probably is!

I will be exploring safer ways to color my hair as I am older, wiser, a little grayer and much greener now.

Once I pick out the perfect color of non-toxic hair dye to cover my gray, I’ll be sure to pick up two boxes. My sister might be five years behind me, but when her hair starts going gray I want to be ready and waiting. After all, isn’t that what big sisters are for?

Read more: Blogs, Hair Care, Shades of Green

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Jana Ballinger

Jana Ballinger has more than 15 years of experience as a writer and copy editor for daily newspapers. She lives in a vintage house in Northern California with her husband and an orange cat.


+ add your own
7:06AM PDT on Apr 19, 2013


1:54AM PST on Feb 11, 2013

Only grey for me, please!:)
p.s. I love & accept myself completely on this life journey...

12:56AM PDT on Oct 17, 2012

When my hair first starting going silver (now white) I plucked or cut them. However there are too many now so unless I want a bald spot I need to color.

9:08PM PDT on Sep 29, 2012


5:46AM PDT on May 19, 2011

Thanks for the article.

5:52PM PDT on Mar 27, 2011


12:05PM PDT on Nov 6, 2010


2:59PM PDT on Apr 20, 2010

thank you

8:33AM PDT on Mar 25, 2010


12:30AM PDT on Mar 25, 2010


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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