Enjoy Helen’s story featured in our Color Me Gray ebook.

I began going gray in my mid 20s with the occasional strand or two that I would politely pluck out as some sort of anomaly. By the time I reached my late 20s I began to understand what people had referred to as premature gray. My mother had little to no gray hair. It was my father that gave me reason to pause and look at my family inheritance. How is it that men go gray and it’s distinguished, women go gray and suddenly become old?

Genetics had given me the gene for premature gray hair. As a woman, early on there was not a real concern for my “going gray,” particularly since I’d been altering the color of my hair since my teens. I just needed to be more diligent; as a single, never been married woman approaching 30, I was not at all ready to give any signs that I was even a day beyond 25. Besides, coloring one’s hair to camouflage a few gray hairs created wonderful highlights that no cosmetologist could replicate better than nature herself. Approaching 30, this was a win-win solution
to my unwelcomed genetic discovery.

As my journey through life progressed, so did the proliferation of my “going gray.” I began to experience the differing texture of my gray hair. It was difficult to keep the freshness of a perm with the cover-up of my genetic revelation brought on by those tough, wiry, defiant strands of gray hair rapidly gaining ground on my head. By my early 30s I gave in to nature, genetics, and “going gray.” I abandoned the fight of camouflage and denial of the inevitable and found my inner strength, beauty, and unique independence by going natural and “going gray.”

For several years I wore a closely cropped gray afro; physiologically my body loved it—no more dandruff and itchy scalp or shedding hair (my sisters of the perm and color shift know what I’m talking about). Then, more than a decade ago, I made a bold decision to fully live in the reality of my natural gray hair. It was a leap of courage and conviction for the beautiful black woman God created. I began to loc my hair to introduce versatility and style to my natural gray reality.

Today my hair is healthier, stronger, longer and more vibrant than I could have ever imagined.

Need more inspiration? Enjoy 23 more stories and gorgeous pictures in our Color Me Gray ebook!