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?