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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Grievous Grays

This is me.
When God was sitting on his throne concocting my genetic makeup an angel must have distracted him because God seriously messed up on my hair! Since my senior year in college, I have been fighting gray hair. I was the ripe old age of twenty-one when my first gray hair appeared. I called my mother in a panic, sure I had some terrible disease that made you age too early, and she laughingly told me graying early was genetic in the women of our family.

Huh? Why had nobody mentioned this dark family secret before? Mom, cheerfully went on to inform me that though we grayed early we wrinkled late. Yay! Score one for the team. She was fairly right on the wrinkles and way too correct on the grays.

I was born a beach-babe blonde, but by the time I was nine, I had darkened to a true-blue brunette. By the age of twenty-five, thanks to my early grays and pricey salons, my hair color was somewhere between the blond I’d been born and the brunette I’d ended up as. Every time I dropped $125.00 in the salon, I comforted myself with the fact that at least I could cover up the gray hair.

Also me!
By the time I reached thirty-eight my every eight week hair appointment visits had turned into every four week hair appointments, and I had to come to terms with the fact that my now $145.00 color was going to have to be part of my monthly personal budget. Let me add that my husband just loved this. Just joking. He hates the expenditure but luckily he’s not quite ready to see me gray either.

I’m now two months away from being forty and guess what? I cannot get my gray to stay covered! I called my hairdresser after my last visit to complain that the color she put on only stayed on for about two weeks. I expected for $145.00 that my grays could at least stay colored for four weeks. My hairdresser, bless her, was very sympathetic and brought me in for a free color re-do with a different more potent color. I left with high hopes that plummeted two weeks later when at my temples my persistent gray hairs peeked their pesky little heads back at me.

Back to the hairdresser I went for her to ‘analyze’ my gray. This is serious business. Turns out my gray is not gray at all. My hair is white, and white hair is the hardest, most resistant hair to color that there is. I am so lucky!

The many shades of Julie!
My hairdresser has one more color she wants to try on me and if that doesn’t work seems my only choice is to abandon the brunette I became and embrace the blonde I was apparently born to be because that will disguise the gray better.

Along the path of trying to figure out how to get my white hair to stay colored I’ve tried several at home colors because I am often hit with the absurd notion that I can do things better than the experts trained to do them. I’ve tried L’Oreal, Clairol and the newest John Frieda foam. No dice. These do not keep white hair covered, so if you too have white hair don’t bother.

I suppose I could embrace the white hair, but the main problem is I’m vain! And my white hair is only at my temples, and I’m just not ready to walk around with two-toned hair!

Do any of you have gray or white hair that is hard to color? What do you do about it?

Have a great day!
Julie Johnstone, The Marchioness of Mayhem


  1. I am older than you (I won't say by how much) but I only have a few gray hairs scattered on the top of my head and you have to look pretty hard to see them. I color my hair for fun and have noticed that they don't really cover. So maybe they aren't gray. Maybe they are white like yours. A lighter color may be the way to go and you might want to do it yourself. The price they charge for salon color is a crime.

  2. Oh, Julie! You poor thing! 21 is way too young to have to think about going gray! But take comfort in the fact that you have a gorgeous face and a rockin' bod! I can't wait to see what you look like as a bleached blonde!! I'm certain you'll be just as beautiful as you've always been :)

  3. Oh, Julie. I, too, fight gray hair. I have a rather large streak down my left temple so that I look like Rogue from X-men. Sadly no color covers it -- at least not for very long and I've just about given up trying to do it. I'm about four years from forty and I know I will be completely gray or white -- whichever it is -- by the time I am fifty. I blame my hubby, I blame my kids and I blame my mom lol. And that gives me comfort. I don't know what to recommend but I can very much relate. Perhaps soon we can find a cure for the gray LOL. Good luck!

  4. Wendy,
    I'm so envious! A few grays, huh? If there hard to cover, though, they could be white then you can join the club!

  5. Jerrica,

    You are too kind! Perhaps next time you see me, I'll look more like a breach babe and less like a studious, LOL, writer!

  6. Melissa,

    You fight gray? Where? I don't see it in your picture so you must be covering it up pretty darn good! Hey, I hear they are working on a pill to cure gray! Maybe it will be done by the time we're fifty!

  7. LOL I started going gray at 19. If left unchecked, when I part my hair on the left, I have this lovely streak that resembles Stacey London's (from What Not to Wear) Sometimes I get lucky and it looks like silver highlights. Other times, it's just annoying, plain old gray. I use Nice and Easy hair color (cause I don't have the dough to have the salon do it) It pretty much lasts for two months :-)

  8. This will sound weird at first...but...Yay! I'm so glad I'm not the only one who went gray way too young. I didn't even wait until I was 21, though. Nope, to my mother's shock and horror, I had a massive streak of wiry gray hairs by the age of three. They were all contained underneath, though, at the back of my head, so I didn't start coloring until I was about 20 when they started sprouting up all over my head.

    I've paid hair stylists to color my hair before, but hated the results. The problem is that red hair is hard to make look natural. I've tried every OTC brand I can find in the grocery stores. The one that finally worked the best for me? The cheapest on on the market. They all fade, and my gray hairs will show through after 3 to 4 weeks no matter which one I go with, so I decided to go with the cheap one that looks like my natural (pre-gray) color.

    You know the odd thing, though? Those white hairs you're complaining about? My mother WISHES she had those instead of her current silvery-gray. Her father's hair is all white, and she thinks it would be pretty to have...but she (and I) got her mother's gray instead.

  9. You know, the funny thing is that I always *expected* to go grey early like my mother. I had made peace with it and the thought didn't really bother me.
    After hitting my thirties and still having no grey hairs, it recently occurred to me that my hair is actually just like my father's (light brown, fine, and curly), not my mother's dark, thick locks. Therefore, I actually think I won't have to worry about grey hair for another decade or so.
    Sorry yours is so persistent - but you're beautiful no matter what color your hair is!

  10. Sandra,

    I've tried Nice and Easy! I forgot that one. At least it sounds like your gray is easy to cover! Good for you!

  11. Catherine,
    I think your early gray takes the record, poor dear! I wonder what made you gray so early? I would have never guessed you had a single gray hair based on your picture. Great job coloring your hair!

  12. Erin,
    I've seen your gorgeous head of hair and your not allowed to comment on my blog! Just joking. You know, my brothers don't have a single gray hair, either. So unfair!

  13. The gray comes along really, really early for the redheads in my family. That, and an ugly, mousy-brown color. Once we adjust to the red and come to like it, it's gone. So sad.

  14. I hear Gray is the new "IN"