Battling The Gray Area

Ahhh! I'm Aging!

It is something about our company bathroom's combination of natural and fluorescent lighting… okay, scratch that. It's something about the way I look in any light, or more specifically how a certain part of me looks.

My gray hair is really starting to come in and it's kind of scary.

Genetically it was bound to happen. My father was salt-and-pepper on his mid-20s. I was lucky to have held out this long, as in two months shy of the big 2-8. (Related but unrelated, my boss found an article about gray hair being a build up of hydrogen peroxide. Now what can I do about that?!?)

Whether chemical or genetic, I'm not quite ready to let it all grow out yet. I'm looking at some options, some of which I've tried:

Tried: Professional highlights(beauty school $10-$15, everywhere else $40 plus)
Highlights seem to have the added benefit of changing the chemistry of gray hair by making it lie flatter. But unless I take an afternoon off every 6 to 8 weeks to go to beauty school half an hour away, I cannot afford to maintain them.

Tried: Glaze ($8-$10)
Nicole-grey-hair Glaze is an over-the-counter method to tint and deep condition your hair. It works alright but it washes out, is a little messy to apply, it takes at least three minutes to soak into your hair whenever you use it (ie each time you shampoo). If I don't rinse off the walls of the shower well, it looks like I murdered someone in there when I'm done. Coverage is light to moderate at best.

Tried, though not recently: Boxed haircolor (around $10)
Most people I know in my situation just end up dying their hair. I personally never trust myself to pick out the correct color; I usually instead end up picking the woman on the box that I want most to look like. A more permanent solution than glaze but less maintenance than professional highlights.

Not tried: Henna (around $4)
According to the Internet, I can use henna to cover gray. It seems nice and natural but I found one article that said it would take up to 6 hours(?!). Now that's dedicated vanity!

Do I have other options here folks? Clearly I'd like something inexpensive that won't ruin my hair, bonus if it isn't terrible on the environment. Thanks for any help you can give!

Nicole Ouellette
Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she's not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

10 Responses to “Battling The Gray Area

  • Sarah
    10 years ago

    I use henna (well, did) and love it. The best way to do it is a henna-party where others can help you. It makes a pretty big mess, though.

  • I’m all about the boxed hair-dye, though not for gray, but just because I get bored with my hair every six months or so. The only time I go to the salon is when I do two colors – for example, the time I went Rogue a la X-Men( comics, not the movie). Sooo cute! May do that again!

  • Well, I know how that is I use the hair dye in a box, kind of picked a darker color by mistake once and ended up with dark brown hair but had more compliments of my hair then ever before so I’m sticking with that color.
    Your dad inherited it from memere she was grey at 17
    Good luck
    Love ya Matante

  • dye in a box my frugal friend. henna is messy! i love when i dye my hair…it’s so silky!

  • Sarah
    10 years ago

    Ok, so I’m one of the “lucky” ones who will look 16 until I’m 85, but I actually like gray hair, no matter the age. Somehow it looks distinguished (on men and women). I know, call me crazy 🙂

  • I’ve tried it all, and it’s the curse our family must endure. The most sucess I’ve had is with color and highlights, the gray comes back more gradual.

  • laura
    10 years ago

    I totally agree with blaming office lighting. Most mornings I delude myself into thinking I look fine, then one look at my reflection in the uber-wide fluorescent-lit bathroom mirror at the office and my confidence is shot. I think they use the same lighting as department store dressing rooms.
    Anyhow, I haven’t had to deal with the grey yet. If we’re judging by father’s follicles, baldness will kick in long before the lightened roots do…

  • Spoke a hairdresser friend of mine today, henna for some is amazing for others the PH in the hair makes it impossible use any type of dye again or perm for that matter. For some the correction becomes expensive.

  • I use henna and it’s so easy. It’s just like a mud pack. You put it on your hair, cover your hair in a plastic cap, and leave it on for about an hour and a half, then shampoo it out. It lasts about 6 weeks and costs about 4 bucks. And since it’s basically just a ground up plant, I feel pretty good environmentally speaking.

  • Ok I’m trying henna. You guys convinced me! Thanks for all the feedback!

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