Have you ever wished you could snap your fingers and just start all over again? Well, there is a way! In January of 2006, I did the unimaginable…I voluntarily shaved my head! It was really the only solution for me after ten years of coloring my hair just about every few weeks.
It felt dry, unhealthy, and most of all, fake. I also felt like I was hiding something—like a secret. My curiosity about the color grew with every peek-a-boo session from my roots, begging me to touch them up. I had a feeling that the only way I could get to the true natural color quickly and successfully was to start the growth process from scratch, even if it meant shaving it all off. I never considered an alternative, and was confident that I could deal with it, no matter how and what color it grew back.
AN ARTSY ‘DO’
Brave? Perhaps. But we all know that eventually hair grows back, and let me tell you, what a liberating feeling! I had a brand new ‘virgin’ head of hair, free of artificial color and chemicals. Woo hoo! The first few days were very exciting. I felt as bold as Sinead and Demi, and thought of all the beautiful women out there who at one time had clean-shaven heads. With each passing day, the mixture of dark and light ‘fuzz’ grew a little bit more, and I felt like a ‘chia pet’! Maintenance was easy—short showers, no fuss. I must confess that a few wigs, scarves and hats helped me through the first weeks in public, but by week three I already had a new funky and artsy ‘do,’ and I was ready for anything.
My husband took many photographs and movies of me and helped to create a very positive experience throughout the process. He and our three amazing children told me how beautiful I was every day, and I will be forever grateful to them for their support, non-judgment and unconditional love. I cannot say enough about the way each of them treated me in those beginning and crucial stages.
The reaction of friends, acquaintances, and even strangers was overwhelming, with more attention, respect, and opportunities for conversation than I ever expected. With each passing week, I continued to get more and more compliments from men and women of all ages, which gave me a great deal of confidence and conviction to keep ‘the look.’
IS GRAY NOT OKAY?
Years ago, in my early twenties, I spotted those pesky first few gray hairs, and I knew it was just a matter of time before they would multiply. My plan, however, was to color them, which I started doing in my early thirties. I never even considered not coloring my hair. I felt self-conscious about looking older than I was, and much better with no gray hair. Sound familiar?
What is it about our culture’s message that gets into our subconscious and creates agreement that it’s not okay to go gray? We see commercials, magazine ads, billboards, and dozens of brands of hair color in every drug store and supermarket on a daily basis, reminding us at all times that we will attract a better man, a better job, and a better life if we just color our hair? “Gray equals old” is so hard-wired into our psyches that we don’t even think there is a choice, and most of us don’t seem mentally ready in our 30s, 40s, even 70s and 80s, to contemplate anything but color. We actually think that by dying our hair we will look younger, no matter how we eat, exercise, rest, or take care of ourselves.
SLAVE TO HAIR COLOR
Females around the age of 40 seem to color their hair mostly because of gray. When I first shaved my head and saw how much ‘salt’ as opposed to ‘pepper’ was coming in, my first instinct was to give it a few months before going back to coloring. I tried a few temporary colors that wash out immediately, but it felt very strange, and I didn’t like it, nor did my family members. They preferred the new and natural me. At that time I resolved to give it at least one full year before making a decision, although I couldn’t imagine at that point ever going back to being a slave to hair color.
I sincerely believe that we should look as good as we can, and there’s no reason it should change once you allow the natural silver, charcoal, pewter, or gray to come out. My advice is get a great hair cut, enhance your wardrobe with brighter colors to bring out your new coloring, enjoy brighter shades of lipstick, silver jewelry, and anything else you feel will compliment your looks.
IMAGINE THAT GRAY OR SILVER HAIR CAN BE SEXY & EMPOWERING!
BELIEVE THAT YOUR NATURAL BEAUTY MAY JUST BE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL!
It’s up to us women to redefine and reinvent ourselves and decide how we’re going to live our lives and what values we are going to teach our children. If we start thinking differently, opening ourselves up to new possibilities and not caring so much about what ‘they’ will say, there is a good chance we will be happier and more comfortable in our own skin and even with our own natural hair color.
Seven years ago, when I shaved my head, there wasn’t a whole lot of support on the subject of gray hair, but thanks to several authors who have written books and bloggers who have written about the subject and Facebook to connect all the gray beauties out there, there is a great deal of support and camaraderie on line.
I hope that by sharing my story I may have inspired you to take the plunge and do something drastic, epic, and perhaps life-changing… Together we will make it more than just ‘okay’ to go gray – we will make it ‘in,’ ‘chic,’ ‘the new glam,’ and safe to have a new kind of sophisticated, sexy, wise and cool look.
Something inside me opened up when I shaved my head. It made me look at my vanity, my vulnerability, and my judgments. I learned that confidence depends on attitude and the way we carry ourselves. A weight was lifted, a new me emerged, and it still feels really great to have done something so bold and dramatic that I can look back on and be proud of, and still enjoy the attention, compliments, and freedom to this day.
Shira Levy is a dedicated mother of three who homeschooled her children with her husband, runs a home-based educational software business with her family, and is a real estate investor. She is also a vegan/raw food chef, an artist, musician, and Toastmaster.