Is Now The Time To Go Gray - Social Distancing Tells Me Yes

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Is Now The Time To Go Gray - Social Distancing Tells Me Yes

A Crisis in Colour & Breaking of Vows

As we get over the initial shock in the early stages of the Coronavirus pandemic, those of us who manage to keep ourselves and loved ones healthy will again start thinking about those things that right now seem mundane and petty.

We may even start to worry about what we will look like when people can start looking at us again. But let’s face it, even if the only person you are seeing these days is the one looking back at you in the mirror, or on the screen for those of us working virtually, we know that looking our best (or at least not our worst) makes us feel better, physically and psychologically. Which leads me to the purpose of this article….

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Women in their 20s and 30s are embracing their silvery locks, even spending as much money on dying them as older women spend to eliminate them. Celebrities are making gray cool. Thirty-six year old Jessica Biel walked the red carpet at the 2018 Golden Globes with gray streaks in her updo. Chrissy Teigen tweeted “I have a skunk like streak of gray hair and I’m actually very into it. My Cruella dreams are coming true!” Easy for a supermodel to say. But many of us hate it and what we have to do to make it go away. We hate the expense, the hours spent in the salon (although this has led to a close friendship with my hairdresser) and the roots that pop up after a couple of weeks.

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And, let’s face it, for the most part, this is a dilemma for women. You rarely hear anyone say she looks distinguished with her salt and pepper tresses. No, this favourable language is reserved for the silver foxes who are rarely advised to cover it up.

At this stage in the coronavirus pandemic, many hair salons remain open. Like many small businesses that serve the public, salon owners are faced with making impossible decisions between feeding their families and staying healthy. And there’s no way to colour someone else’s hair from six feet away, the distance health experts say is safest to avoid contracting the coronavirus. It will only take one or two cases of customers or stylists being infected to force salon closures, mandatory or otherwise.

So within the next couple of weeks, as roots grow to the length that no amount of temporary product will hide (trust me), we will likely see empty shelves in the do-it-yourself colour kit aisles replace the current toilet paper shortages in grocery stores and pharmacies. By the way, both of these feel like perfectly logical reactions to me. I keep hearing the experts (mostly men who don’t have to use as much toilet paper as women nor worry about their roots) puzzle over the run on toilet paper.

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However, the dye solution will lead to its own set of problems.

At a recent visit with my hair stylist, before either of us had even heard of covid-19, I mused about going gray. I lost when my hair stylist declared with typical honesty and her charming Portugese accent, “gray hair will age you even more.” Whatever enthusiasm for dying my hair gray remained evaporated when she started explaining the lengthy process that would involve.

So imagine the mess those of us with zero training in hair coloring could make?

In 1990, having just turned 30 and been dumped for a younger woman, my friend Janice decided she needed a change to the colour of her hair. With the help of two dear friends (who assured her that they knew what they were doing) and a couple of bottles of cheap wine, Janice dyed her lovely blond hair the colour of an orange Crayola crayon … foreshadowing the mop on the current President of the United States.

The startling dye results prompted a frantic late-night search (during an era when stores closed by 9:00 p.m.) for hair colour products to try to mitigate the Crayola colour.

This search crossed multiple municipal jurisdictions, aroused the suspicions of police whose attention was drawn to a car that appeared to be “casing” closed stores in dimly lit malls.

As I’m typing this, I’m listening to a live press conference by the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, who just said “We grow too soon old, too late smart”. Obviously, he’s talking about the global health crisis, not whether or not you should let your hair go gray. But I hope, by the time my 3 year-old granddaughter is old enough to think about coloring her hair, she will have the wisdom not to. And because gray hair will still be cool.

Based on some quick google searches, undoing years of coloring hair seems to be as complicated as dying it. As we continue to research and experiment on the best way to return to gray, we will write more about it in the coming days.

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