I remember the first time I ever “colored” my hair. It was 1969,-a year when the world was filled with rebellion. I spritzed on a little Sun-In while soaking up the sun in my Brooklyn backyard listening to Credence Clearwater Revival. In a matter of hours, my dark blond hair with natural golden highlights turned a vibrant shade of orange to match the Bain de Soleil Gelee everybody seemed to use back then (without SPF, of course). My mother helped fix it with a little of her “only your hair dresser knows for sure” home coloring kit from Clairol, and it gradually grew out.
Despite that failed first attempt, I was hooked.
Highlighting has been a part of my life since my twenties. But when the grays started sneaking in — just before hitting 50 — I thought it might be time to rethink my routine. I assumed I would switch over to single process to cover them, just like most other women I knew did. I was trying to figure out a newer, simpler paradigm for my life; was this the moment I was waiting for to proudly and publicly acknowledge my foray into my 50s? Should I now wear my graying hair like a badge of honor, courage, bravado and attitude? I was confused.
Only one name came to my mind when I decided to check in with someone who could give me an honest assessment, and an overview of my options: Frederic Fekkai. The leader in women’s hair care since the late 80s, Frederic opened his first salon in New York, which was an immediate success. Now, his salons are worldwide, and his products have an international following.
There are degrees of gray, Frederic explained. We start out with a few gray hairs. More come in and we get up to about 20 percent, then 30 percent, and eventually our hair is over 50 percent gray. That’s the natural progression (for most women). Once your hair is over 50 percent gray, Frederic said we could consider the following options:
But letting your hair go gray is also an option that women should consider. If you’ve already been coloring your graying hair, it might take a little longer to get to where you want it to be. But this might be the most bold way to embrace your age. Think of Helen Mirren and Jamie Lee Curtis as great examples of women who have let their gray go, and look fabulous.
Whatever route you take, there are certain things you can do to keep your color — even natural gray hair –looking great:
Read more from Barbara at her website and check out her book, "The Best of Everything After 50: The Experts' Guide to Style, Sex, Health, Money and More".
More by Barbara Hannah Grufferman:
The 12 Biggest Mistakes Women Make After 50
Glamour In Gray Hairstyles - Helen Mirren
'Going Gray' Author Considers Gray Hair
White Hair: A New Kind of Beauty
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