So, for many of us in our 40s (and for me even in my 30s), the issue of hair color is nothing short of a saga. I go to the salon every 3 weeks to have my roots touched up, and every six weeks I get highlights and a cut/trim.
The cost is $95 + tip for a root touchup and $145 + tip for highlights and color. I live in a small town, but I've lived all over the country (cities and mid-sized towns as well), and I've had my hair done in Paris, Beijing and Bangkok, so this is only mid-range in terms of price.
My sister's stylist costs much more, and in Phoenix (at an Ulta salon), I paid $240 for a cut, base color and highlights.
Aside from the cost of coloring my hair, the time is what can only be described as epic. For my root touch up, I'm in the salon for 2 to 2.5 hours. For the full treatment, I will spend around 4 hours.
That is about 6 hours each month that I am sitting in a chair.
For me, it's a lot. Between the cost, the time and the fact that I don't even think colored hair looks very good, I dream of just letting my hair go gray. I've even toyed with the idea of adding a few highlights here and there but stopping the base color altogether. I've let my roots grow out a few months. But I always go back to color. Always. And I always go back to professional color because store-bought color on gray hair is hard to work with (think brassy) and as I get older, I cling to the hope that my hair will help hide some of the physical manifestations of aging.
I clicked right on that article and read it through.
Readers, while the end result for these women was positive, there is one point that I find disturbing.
For both of the women interviewed, the main reason they hesitated about going gray was their husbands.
The first woman, Patricia, says, "My husband wasn’t/isn’t a fan. He thinks I look older."
The second woman, Jane, says, "My husband wasn’t ready to be married to an ‘older’ woman. Once I had the go from him, he and everyone else were so supportive."
Your husband wasn't ready to be married to an 'older' woman? Um....what did he think happened as women age? Our boobs get perkier and our hair suddenly becomes baby-soft blond?
What about him? Does he have gray hair? Did he slowly turn into an American Gladiator, all chiseled abs and bulging biceps?
I know we are all aware of the 'double standard' in society regarding men, women and aging. Men get 'better' with age - more dignified and full of character - while women begin to sag, droop and deal with 'fine lines.'
I just sort of thought (perhaps naively) that the standard applied to Hollywood or the vapid middle-aged man in the convertible sports car looking for a young thing to drape off his arm.
And why did Jane have to get the 'go ahead' from her husband? She sought approval from him before deciding to make a liberating decision about her own body?
As up-in-arms as I am, and as angry and sad as these statements make me feel, I do have to admit that the reason I don't let my hair go gray is fear of looking older. Part of that fear is based on the idea that I'll look older than my husband, who is already a young-looking man. People often comment that he's an awfully 'young colonel,' when, in fact, he's 46. But I've never gotten a comment or inclination that my husband himself would have any problem with my going gray, gaining some weight or anything else.
What do you think? Do any of you feel pressure to maintain a certain appearance based on your spouse's feelings toward your physical appearance? Would you go gray even if your husband wasn't thrilled about it?
I'll say, both women seem thrilled to have gone gray and say they get heaps of compliments and feel altogether good about the whole thing. I see more women taking the natural road in terms of hair color, and I wonder after each visit to the hair salon when/if I'll ever join their ranks.
It's all so thought-provoking after reading Strapless and the whole saga of Madame X's fading beauty.
I'm off to begin the back-to-school shopping process, continue cleaning the house after a weekend of guests and take the kids to the library.