Gosh, has it really been two years since I updated you guys on my hair? Where does the time go? Apparently, it flies by when you’re going through a hair adventure and then a pandemic hits.
For anyone who hasn’t been following along, in January of 2018 – two and a half years ago – I decided to embrace my gray and stop dying my hair. I’d had red hair since the day I was born, and I loved my red hair! (Thanks, Mom and Dad!) Here I am with my dog, Jennifer, in the late 1960s, in the back yard at our house in Old Mission.
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Then, somewhere in my 40s – about 15 years ago – I started seeing some gray strands, and that’s when I started dying my hair. Essentially, it was a misguided attempt to hold onto my youth. When I realized a few years ago that my hair was in horrible shape from dying, I decided to stop and embrace my natural hair color – which is a good mix of salt and pepper, some gray, some dark, some in between.
Understandably, there was a bit of emotional turmoil – ok, a lot of emotional turmoil – about that decision, and you can read more about how I came to grips with it here. Plus, dying your hair consistently is a lot of time and effort and money, and I just didn’t want to deal with it anymore.
January of 2018 began the process of going gray with my wonderful stylist, Kelly Watrous, at Salon Verve in Traverse City. She’s the absolute best, and if you’re thinking about embracing your silvers, you should absolutely book an appointment with her. We decided to cut my hair to shoulder-length and do a few sessions of lightening it to better match the natural color.
Except … by May of 2018 – four months later – I made the snap decision to just cut it all off. And it was the best thing ever – I loved it! More about that here, including a lot of TMI about how empowered I felt with short hair. Here’s a photo after the big chop. See how happy I am?
So, here we are two years later, in the midst of a pandemic. Like everyone else, I wasn’t able to get my hair cut for several months, because all the salons were shut down, including Salon Verve. Because of that, I figured this would be a good time to grow my hair out, maybe to shoulder length.
That way, I reasoned, if the salons had to shut down again, it wouldn’t be such a big deal in terms of my hair, because then I could just continue to grow it. When it’s short, you pretty much have to get it cut every six weeks or so to maintain that length.
(Side Note: This is actually the second time I’d try to grow it out, the first being last winter, just to see whether I’d like it. Turns out, I didn’t really like it. It just didn’t feel like “me.” So I ended up getting it chopped again in January 2020. And then I loved it again.)
But onward into the pandemic and me growing my hair out (I wasn’t about to attempt cutting it myself, so I really had no choice in the matter). While “hate” would be a pretty strong word for how I felt about my hair, I didn’t really like it at all. And the longer it got, the more I didn’t like it.
Oh sure, there were a few “good hair days,” where I thought it might be ok. Here’s a photo of my hair on May 29, 2020, about five months after my previous haircut. It’s not bad, right? At this length, I liked it about two percent of the time.
However, I realized that I don’t like hair in my face, and THIS photo is more representative of how it looked 99.9 percent of the time – with a headband, pushed off my face. This was taken on July 8, 2020. At this point, I’d basically been wearing a headband for several months.
Still, I stuck with the plan of growing it out, and when I was finally able to get my hair cut shortly after that above photo – on July 13, 2020 – Kelly shaped it up so that it would be less mullet-y and more even.
Here’s what it looked like after the July haircut. I took this selfie during a hike on the Lighthouse Trail after my haircut that morning. I look at this photo and think “Karen.” Keep in mind that I’d just turned 60 the day before this was taken, so I was also coming to terms with that number. (Did a five-mile hike on my birthday, so take that, 60.)
Within a week, I called Kelly to get it chopped off. We both laughed and laughed about how long I was able to “grow it out.” Never say never, but right now, at this point in my life, I’ve realized that I’m a pixie girl. I love short hair. I don’t have to think about it. And if I want it to do something special, I just throw a little texturizer in there and it’s good to go.
Here it is after my most recent haircut, after the big chop about a week ago, with lots of freckles from my hikes this summer on the north end of the Old Mission Peninsula. (Get yourself out there.)
I belong to a Facebook group called Gray and Proud, and they are so supportive of whatever phase you’re in – thinking about going gray, transitioning to gray, fully gray, deciding not to go gray – and there are some gorgeous women on there with stunning long gray hair.
But for now, I will not be one of those women. I am just fine with my short hair.
Although … if the salons shut down again, I might have to invest in one of those haircut kits like my mom had in the 1960s. In fact, I probably still have that one around here, but if not, I saw one in Costco the other day. Don’t worry, Kelly. I will only use it if pushed to the very edge.