Book Review: Going Gray

by Cellobella on Sunday, February 10, 2008

book Anne Kreamer‘s exploration of one woman’s discoveries about life when you go grey has touched a nerve with me. Sure she is ten years older than me but I have been throwing money at my badger stripe for years now – and sometimes I just wish I could shave my hair off and start again – grey but without the hassle of dying my hair – of hating my hair for 4 weeks out of every six. I simply can’t be bothered getting it dyed any more than that.

But I’m that one of those strange women who would really not rather waste hours in a hair salon getting “pampered” – Oh it is SO boring! Totally not worth the two minutes of head massage after the shampoo.

Anyway back to the book. Some interesting observations.

Until I stopped colouring my hair, I’d never dared to calculate what it wsa costing me… Every three weeks for twenty four years added up to a total expenditure, not adjusted for inflation of US$65,000. Staggering.

Anne also discovered that she got more hits on a dating site with grey hair rather than her dyed brown hair – counter intuitive huh?

Perhaps her most useful observation is that if you change your hair colour – you need to look at your total look. Your make-up choices, your wardrobe.

So did she convince me?

Well kind of.

But Groover says he’ll leave me if I go grey. He’s just not ready. Oh and when I say grey – it is more likely to be white.

Do you dye your hair? When might you stop?

The War Over Going Gray. An article by Anne Kreamer


Kelley February 10, 2008 at 8:18 pm

I’m planning on leaving provision in my will to be dug up every 6 weeks and my hair redyed….

I have been colouring my hair since I was 15, so have no real idea what my natural colour is! But I colour it myself. No mean feat with hair as thick and long as mine.

cellobella February 10, 2008 at 8:35 pm

ROFL – you are so funny Kelley!

So why do you do it – do you have grey roots or roots just not the colour of the rest of your hair?

Joh February 10, 2008 at 8:57 pm

I want to read this book! I discovered my first grey at 21 and have no real idea how much it’s taken over, but with my really short hair, I could probably find out really soon if I dare. I don’t have a routine though. I’m using henna right now, at home.

Cellobella February 10, 2008 at 9:10 pm

The articles on her website will give you a lot of what is in the book. I felt at the end that I still wasn’t quite brave enough… :)

Joh February 10, 2008 at 9:19 pm

Yeah, I’m probably not quite ready yet either. But I’ll check it out all the same.

Trish February 10, 2008 at 10:14 pm

I’ll turn 37 in June. If I stopped going to the hairdressers, I’d have a full head of thick, silver-grey hair by then. The roots show through after about four weeks, so I get them touched up, and every eight weeks I get a complete re-do. In the last few years I’ve been a redhead, a brunette and an almost-blond. My mum was grey by the time she was my age. My older sister has long since stopped dying her hair, and she wears it waist length! My mother in law dyes her hair blond, always has, and when I told her I wasn’t prepared to go grey before my husband, and even then probably wouldn’t until she went grey, she looked at me with a mixture of complete shock and utter disgust and said “I’m never going grey!” PJ shaved his head recently and the hair coming through is looking lovely and silver. So it might not be long now. But certainly not before I turn 40. After that, I want to look like a young Judi Dench. I want people to marvel at how wrinkle-free my skin is for a woman who must be at least 55 given she has so much grey hair.

river February 11, 2008 at 1:13 pm

I stopped dying my hair two years ago. For two years before that i gradually went a shade lighter each time I dyed until I was dying a lighter shade than the roots growing through. Then I stopped dying, let it grow a full year, tied back in a pony tail so the difference wasn’t so obvious (to me, anyway), when the natural hair was long enough I went to the hairdresser and had all the dyed ends cut off. About six inches worth. I’ve been growing it again since then and surprisingly there is a lot of brown hair still growing through the grey.All the grey is around the face and on the top of the scalp with brown around the back and more visible if I part my hair differently. I’m 55 1/2. I just got to the point where I didn’t care anymore about hair colour.

JahTeh February 12, 2008 at 5:17 pm

I don’t know what I’d do without my “natural” red hair. I always said we should be able to turn overnight into a gracious old lady with pure white hair and we should be able to name the date. Until that happens the salt and pepper is going to be well hidden.

Milena February 13, 2008 at 3:10 am

Yes, I do dye my hair and, I really don’t know. I’d heard about the book and though it sounds like a marvelously freeing idea, that of never having to worry about dyeing my hair, I’m not so sure that everyone (most especially me) looks great in silver. By the same token, I do not want to go to my grave having continued to do this all my life but I do suppose I could die tomorrow and then of course I WOULD have gone to the grave with my unnatural hair. It seems it is all a matter of when someone is willing to let go of something. What the something is and who the someone is, play key roles in the letting go. For my part, I’m hanging on. Not yet ready to mess with the status quo.

squib February 14, 2008 at 7:46 am

I tried this (before I had heard of this book btw). After a fair bit of my grey hair had grown out – I think I’m 60% grey which is a lot for someone who is 34 – I felt so old when I looked in the mirror. I think there is an age where it’s great to do this but 34 is not it! I might try it again in a few years

Margaret February 14, 2008 at 10:34 pm

I started going grey when I was pregnant with KT at the age of 29 (I am now 46), it went worse with L and now it is virtually silver all over. I keep it very very short and love it. The kids ask me from time to time if I fancy dying it but I like it the way it is.

Cellobella February 14, 2008 at 11:04 pm

Good on you. You are free from the shackles of the hairdresser!

I’ve started adding streaks to try and stop the badger look looking so skunk like. :)

Colin Campbell February 16, 2008 at 6:03 am

I did something dramatic after many years of boring long hair, I cut it off when I was in a hurry to complete a hair cut one day. Not as drastic as hair colouring traumas, but surprisingly different.

I listened to the author on the radio and I found it interesting that significantly over 50 percent of Americans dyed their hair and that almost the opposite situation was the case for Brits.

I wonder what the percentage is for Australians. I know that my wife doesn’t need to, but I have never asked her if she would. Interesting.

Amber March 8, 2008 at 7:29 am

Do it! Do It! Do it! Do it!
Admittedly have been forced into greydom by a violent allergic reaction to hair dye, but the greyer I go, the better it feels (age 42). Things to note standing at the border of Greyville looking at the residents of Rootville. Dyed hair is never shiny. It looks like it’s carrying an extra weight somehow. Dyed hair also loses its ability to bounce, move or otherwise behave like Tigger in any way. Immovable hair looks like “old” hair to me. My new grey hair has some interesting qualities my original hair didn’t have. Sometimes it has an alarming frizz, depending on the weather.

Looking ahead it would be nice to think that the less artifice it takes for me to feel authentic, worthy, loved and loveable, the better. But then, I will always require the kind of bra that has been engineered in eastern Europe, hooters without artificial support at our age would qualify as visual pollution. Well, mine would, poking out the bottom of my trousers and all. Excellent blog.

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