Fifty Shades of Grey From Clairol Hair Products

My nephew has a category for people like me: women whose real hair color he can’t remember.  Nicely, my beautiful niece, his older sister, also falls into this category, and she hasn’t yet reached the big 40.

But Mike has a point — I don’t remember my real hair color either. Sure, I can look at pictures, and until I was in my late 40s I had a very normal shade of brown that got a lot lighter from the sun in the summer. Now my hair is, well, not brown. And my roots are almost completely grey — that is, when for some horrible reason I can’t get to my colorist and it’s been over six weeks since my last visit. I used to kid myself and say I was only 30 percent grey, and I was just doing highlights to make the grey blend in better. The truth is, though, that I’m probably about 85 percent grey.

I have many friends who don’t color their hair and are perfectly happy with grey, salt and pepper or even white. My graduate school roommate was grey in college, and comfortable with it. Now her hair is completely white, and she looks great. My friend Lydia had long white locks. Except for its color, her hair looks like a teenager’s. One of my friends Marilyn (I’m of a certain age; there are a lot of Marilyns in my life) keeps her salt and pepper in a cute bob. I’m not sure if it ever crossed her mind to dye her hair. I believe that although she cares about looking good, she is self-accepting. (The photo here, that’s of her.)

So does it mean I’m vain because I color my hair? Um. Yeah. Probably. I tell people that my hair would be a terrible color grey, not nicely layered or toned. Just dull. In truth, I do not know what kind of grey I’d be. Aslo, what it would take now to actually grow grey! I’d have to dye it while my roots grew out. Clairol color (or Wella or whatever) would still find its way to my scalp. Also, I don’t want to have grey hair. I just don’t. I think it would make me look like an old lady, like my grandmother in the photo here. She’s probably in her late 40s, early 50s (no one was ever clear about my grandmother Nellie Bernstein’s age), holding my very blond older brother. She looks old. She does.

So evidently I’m all hung up on this aging thing, beginning with my hair. I wish I could be like Barbara H. Grufferman and say, “I’m getting older! Yay!” “Yay” is Barbara’s reaction to most things. She may be one of the most upbeat Baby Boomers around. That’s why you should read her blog: “Five Infuriating Fibs About FOFs” Barbara does look fab (fabber than most of us in our 50s), and she even ran the marathon last fall. Her fantastic attitude, her ability to keep in shape — I could go on. There’s much to admire.

But her hair isn’t grey.

Perhaps those cute blond curls are natural. I mean, one of my Marjorie friends (I have a bunch of those too, and a bunch of Barbaras. Baby Boomers don’t have exotic names in my world) at 63 still has barely a strand of grey running through her brunette. My dad didn’t turn grey until he was in his 70s.

So since Barbara is a Baby Boomer who inspires me, who is so comfortable with herself, maybe I should just stop worrying and remember to make appointments with my colorist so I don’t have to contend with all those shades of grey for a while yet.

How do you feel about turning grey? Do you color your hair or let it take its natural color. Let me know how you feel about this and what you’re doing with your hair. You can comment below, or reach me on Facebook ( or on Twitter, @wordwhacker.