Diary of A Menopausal Woman: Why I Decided to Go Gray

My hair first started turning gray when I was around thirty-two years old. I was in grad school, and I chalked it up to being stressed. As soon as I saw the strand, front and center on the edge of my hairline, I made an appointment with my hairstylist. She gave me a reddish-brown tint, and I was pleased.

Two weeks later, more gray strands appeared.

“You have what’s called hairline gray,” my stylist explained. “Whenever your hair grows, the gray is going to show.”

“Like an old man?” I asked.

She laughed and said, “Yes…like an old man.”

That’s when I learned to use boxes of store-bought brands to dye my own hair. But that didn’t alleviate the problem. I found myself dyeing my hair weekly, sometimes.

Sixteen years later, I’ve given up. I’ve decided to just let my hair go gray and here’s why:

#1: A friend inspired me. My friend had been professionally dyeing her hair for decades because her stylist convinced her she was too young for gray hair. Recently, she decided she didn’t care, and she now has a full head of beautiful gray. It shouldn’t be, but it seemed like such a brave move, especially in our forties.

“I would do it,” I told her. “But my gray is just at the front.”

“That’s what I thought, too,” she said.

Her comment made me think. If my hair is growing in gray, then yeah…if I let it go, it’ll probably just be gray. Got it.

#2: I don’t want to be a hypocrite. I’ve spent the last seven years or so digging deep, developing a sense of identity, learning to be myself, and convincing others to also be their authentic selves. If I’m covering up the way my hair is naturally growing out of my head, because I’m afraid of looking “old,” am I really being myself? I’ve decided the answer is no. For me, part of being myself means not fearing society’s judgment about how forty-eight-year-old women look.

#3: That brings me to number three. Going gray is natural, but there’s not a lot of evidence of it.

I was raised in an older family with great aunts, three great-grandparents, and three grandparents. My great-grandparents, who were nearing one hundred, had gray hair. My paternal grandmother wore a wig in public and sported a short gray afro only when it was bedtime. My maternal grandmother, to this day, leaves the section right around her temples gray and dyes the rest of it jet black. It never dawned on me that, my grandmother, who is ninety-five, didn’t have gray hair, but should. She dyes it because she doesn’t like how it looks. When I found this out, the proverbial lightbulb went on. How are we ever supposed to feel comfortable aging if we never see how others age? Getting older means our bodies change, and I’m starting to think embracing it is the only way through. Well, for me, anyway.

#4: Comparison pushed me into a firm decision. I’d started looking at people who have gray hair. Omisade of Black Girls Guide to Menopause has a big-ass silver afro. It’s very distinct. If my hair looked like that, I’d be fine, I thought. I saw a guy on TV with a gray patch. If I had a gray patch, right here in the front, that’d be cute, I thought. I saw another person with sprinkles of salt-and-pepper throughout her hair. If it grew like that, I’d be cool, I thought. I almost convinced my hairstylist to dye my hair half white, like Cruella De Vil. No, for real. I thought it was a great idea. Once I stopped myself from comparing my unknown-gray-haired self to others, I realized (again) that acceptance was in order. When I went natural, I had no idea what my hair would look like. This process feels similar. However these gray hairs look is whatever I’m going to accept.

I’m not writing this to inspire anyone else to let their gray strands fly. Whatever you decide for you is between you and you. But for me, two things are becoming increasingly important as I age: being authentic and being an example of some of the things I wish I had. Going gray is part of that.

21 Comments on “Diary of A Menopausal Woman: Why I Decided to Go Gray

  1. Well I’ve gone through and still going through most of the menopausal issues, but my hair is not graying too fast, thank goodness. I guess that will be the last thing to embrace

    Liked by 2 people

    • Are you the Jacquie I know in real life? lol If so, I’m gonna have to text you and find out what you’re doing for the other meno stuff, and thanks so much for following this particular blog and commenting!

      Anywho, I do wish this was the last thing to embrace for me. Aside from all the other stuff, it has been the hardest. I guess because it’s visual.


  2. Good for you. We all need to embrace who we are at every phase of our life. You have given me something to think about. It sure would make life easier wouldn’t it? God Bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally agree. It’s been hard for me. I go kicking and screaming into each phase lol but this one has me learning how to ease into and embrace all of the things.


  3. I always thought gray hair was lovely, but, of course, my mom’s hair went white instead. I already have a few white hairs coming in, so I’ll probably end up with salt and pepper hair like she has. It would be nice if they all went gray or white at once.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for adding this Ang! I think that’s also a thing…varying shades of gray/white/silver tend to look great on a lot of people. And yes! These two-toned looks are annoying, but I’m learning how to just look in the mirror and say, “this is who I am today” 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I came to the same conclusion about coloring my hair several years back. It just became too much of a job for me, being disabled with pain disorders and migraines. Plus I would tend to get spots of color on things in my very small bathroom, which ticked me off. So I just grew it out and went natural. It was very freeing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Val, you wouldn’t believe how many towels and t-shirts I’ve ruined with my root touch-up #5 lol At first, I could keep up with it because it wasn’t growing in as fast, but now, it’s like a once a week situation, and who has time for that? Anywho, I understand. I feel liberated already.


  5. I’m still coloring my hair, but mostly because it’s iron grey and doesn’t look good with my fair skin. I have a friend who has gray/silver hair and she looks just gorgeous! I do think that the time will come in not too distant future when I embrace my gray hair for basically the same reasons you did. But what I love most is how you acknowledge that each woman gets to make her own decision about her hair!

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s what my grandmother says. She doesn’t like the shade of gray, and she thinks my great aunt has a better skin tone than hers. So, I get it.

      Thanks for noticing that part, Ann. I don’t want to denigrate anyone’s choices, because we all do what we do for whatever reason.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I never cared much for dying my hair, even when it was cool in my youth. I simple love grey hair, and my hair crush remains Tony Morrison’s grey dreadlocks. I’ve been thinking of trying grey dread extension as my hair isn’t greying fast enough. 🙂 Anyway, you are correct, whatever one does with their hair is a personal choice. Enjoy the transition!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for posting this. I quit coloring my hair at the start of the pandemic but discovered I had completely white temples and dark hair everywhere else. The white really seemed to wash out my face and once I went back to work I had a very difficult time embracing those white streaks. I decided to compromise by adding highlights to my hair in efforts to blend in the white which I loved! But at nearly twice the expense of the single color, I’ve revisited the idea of going natural, once again. I’m feeling a little more motivated after your post

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love seeing the transition in you Dr. G! Number 3 is my favourite. And I love that you are jumping on board to be one of those examples — including the motivation behind creating this empowering platform for menopause. You show us that there is another way to experience life. And that empowerment begins with EDUCATION. Simply reading this post gives me pause.

    That said: 60 to 65 is probably the age that I will go grey. I love the feel of the colour on my strands. I call it hair therapy. And damn girl, it calms me. (Something this fiery Sagittarius needs a double dose of, daily.. calm) Dr. D ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awww…thank you for saying this, Dr. D! Lol yes…the Sag in you needs a little water sometimes 😉 I think 60-65 is really appropriate. Anything after, to me looks UNnatural.

      Liked by 1 person

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