Why I Don’t Dye my Hair

In the past, my hair has been every color of the rainbow. My sophomore and junior year of high school, it was jet black (but I was no goth—I wore a flower in it everyday!). My senior year, I had the black bleached out, and the resulting bright red toned down, to a pretty auburn. Then, my freshman year of college, I went platinum. First, I wore a bobbed glamour-girl style, sometimes curling it for a Marilyn Monroe look. Then a grew it long and parted it in the middle, thus earning myself the nickname “Marsha” (Brady, that is).

As I finished college, I ran out of money, so my hair gradually made its way back to its natural light brown/dark blond, and I continued to keep it natural as I started teaching. I eventually started getting it cut at the salon, instead of doing it myself, but other than that, not much changed.

Then, when I was 28, I got my first gray hair.

I plucked that hair out, and the others that followed. Then, I started getting strategically placed highlights, that covered up the offending strands of silver. The summer after Beanie was born, my hair bleached so much from the sun, that I didn’t get it highlighted at all. As we went into fall, I did not color it again.

So, now, I keep my hair natural, silver highlights and all. And these are my reasons:

  1. I abhor the notion that women are only beautiful in their teens and twenties. I’m 34, and I would not want to go back to those days at all. Experience makes us stronger, and as we grow we become more beautiful.
  1. In trying to look younger, we’re focusing on the past—a time that’s over, that can’t be changed or regained. A lot of life happens after 29, and there is no point in longing for one particular decade.
  1. The obsession with looking younger is largely borne out of a fear of growing older. I’m not going to bury my head in the sand and deny the fact that it is happening. I’ve got too much to do, and there’s no room in my life for the mental clutter of fear.
  1. All stages of life need to be experienced, and celebrated. When we fixate on maintaining one stage, we miss the lessons, the joy, and the beauty of the next.
  1. All right, I’ll say it—I like how my silver highlights look! I know that, with my hair color, the strands of white hair blend in, and aren’t very obvious. But, they shimmer. They add a certain sparkle to my hair, that I really like.

However, while I do not dye my hair, I did recently make a somewhat dramatic change. I decided to shed my long, hippie hair for a shorter, more polished look. I was thinking of getting the bob that I had when I first met Rob, but my stylist came up with something that I like even better. Here are the before and after pictures. What do you think?

First, it was kind of frightening that Beanie knew what this chair was for...

First, it was kind of frightening that Beanie knew what this chair was for…




P.S.  Check out my guest post, Lessons from the Nomadic Life, at Slow Your Home. Many thanks to Brooke, for allowing me to share it on her blog!

19 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Dye my Hair

  1. I still like the cut! I’m with you on not coloring my hair any longer. I started getting my gray hair in my mid 20s and seriously freaked. I have all the training I ever needed and knew the harmful chemicals in the hair colorings, but I still did it. Then one day realizing I had enough gray that the color didn’t cover it any longer I took a good hard look at the money I was spending, the effect of the chemicals on the waterways, and decided I needed to embrace who I was. Forget about trying to hide my age. I cut off all the remaining color and went with a short cut just like Jamie Lee Curtis. The shorter hair allowed me time to get used to all the gray and recently I decided it was time to go with something easier to maintain and am letting my hair grow out.

    Why is Richard Gere handsome with his gray, but I am reminded regularly that I need a touch up? This is who I am, genetics gave me the hair I have and if I am going to embrace the rest of me why not my hair. I’m 50 not 20 it was time to enjoy what my hair wanted to do.

    • I think your hair looks great–not dying it was a good choice! My grandma’s hair was completely white by the time she was 30, and nobody dyed back then.

      • Thanks, the gray is the most noticeable right around my face, but I think it looks better than it did before going gray. When I was young my hair was blonde, but by my late 20s it was a drab brown that just didn’t have any life to it, the gray like yours adds some lightness to the dark color. My grandmother always wanted to dye her gray, but my grandfather didn’t allow it.

  2. Hi Bethany, every six weeks or so I contemplate not dying my hair but then give in to the bottle. However, I think I will take the plunge soon, before I reach 50. I’m very curious what my hair colour would be now. You look great with your new haircut – the shorter length and tapered style really lift your face. You look fab – enjoy. Claire xo

    • Thanks! We’re making some changes in our lives, and I thought they called for a new haircut. 🙂

      Yes, take the plunge! You might really like how your hair looks, au natural!

    • I think men have as much of a hard time with balding, as we do with grey hair. What’s funny, is that I’ve seen people do crazy things, to hide the fact that they are losing their hair. I mean, comb-overs? Come on! We think they look just fine, even without a lot of hair!

  3. I like the haircut! This was a good post – I have just started finding gray hairs in the past month, so this hit the spot for me! I don’t feel quite so bad about the gray now. Thanks!

  4. I have never dyed my hair. I never wanted the upkeep. Seemed like all the people I knew who did dye their hair were always going to the salon for the touch ups. I also never wanted to spend the money! : )

    I’ve noticed some gray hairs on my head recently, too. I think those are from daughter! : )

  5. At 34 you have no idea what aging is like, cause you are still a baby yourself. Talk to me in 20 years. As far as coloring your hair, I think it is a personal preference. I get my hair colored and have for about 10 years because it looks better that way, it’s as simple as that. I have coarse hair and the color conditions it as well. I think as women we tend to be so critical of both ourselves and other women. This has to stop. Let people do what they want to do without criticism. I agree that we have a problem in this country with aging and the lack of respect for people as they age, but on the other hand I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to improve yourself and taking care of yourself and not being criticized because you do. I think your hair looks lovely with your new cut. I also think there is nothing wrong with
    Beanie knowing what a pedicure chair is, what’s wrong with that? I get a pedicure (and manicure) regularly basically because I am too lazy to do it myself. Some people like to shop, this is how I choose to spend my money, hair, waxing, makeup, mani/pedi etc., and I don’t think there is anything wrong with it.

    • Ah, you just misunderstood. We’re definitely not in the process of judging anyone here. Take the ideas you like, leave the rest, and maybe just think about some of the others. If anyone did everything I do, because I do it, that would be more than a little creepy. LOL We definitely won’t take away your minimalist card, for going to the salon! 😉

  6. I didn’t even know what that chair was for – until reading the above comments. lol
    I love that you love your gray!! I feel like there is a lot of pressure on women to cover it up and I think that women who don’t really show their moxy!! I love moxy. Of course, I don’t care if people dye their hair either, but to me, going natural is such a minority thing these days that it makes a statement of confidence.

    • Oh, you should learn what that chair is for–I had a pedicure before my wedding, and it was great! But I do agree, going natural is something bold because it is not the norm.

  7. I also started getting grey hair in my 20s and I coloured it for over 20 years. It was a losing battle! I did like LivingSimplyFree above, got my hair cut short and let it go natural. That was over 2 years ago and I have no regrets whatsoever.

  8. I’ve never coloured my hair and at 28 I’m getting greys. I just can’t justify the cost and I don’t like what it says about my self esteem etc if I start. But you never know! Love your reasons and will use them. It’s hard to know when to stop too

  9. Pingback: Top 10 Posts of 2013 | Journey to Ithaca

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