Parting with the Black
Parting with my old hair color was hard. I found a better way to ditch the dye.
By Suity Liongosari, for Girls Gone 50
Fittingly, it was hormone replacement therapy that finally made me part with my black hair. The irony is that once upon a time I would have loved having hair that grew to incredible lengths. But this time, thanks to HRT, my gray roots were growing faster than ever — about an inch a month — faster than I could afford to go to the salon. My roots were exhausting me, and my bank account.
So I started to dye my roots on my own. After a while, the chemicals made my hair look so fried that I desperately googled YouTube videos and found there were as many “Going Gray” videos as I have hairs on my head.
But this one video series by Deb Arndt was different. It showed me how to color just my part while letting the rest of my roots grow out underneath. I decided to try it.
The only two people I told about my new project were my hairdresser (she was against it) and my husband (he approved).
I started by parting my hair on the left side and only colored my part, my hairline and my sides that were turning gray. I did this for about three months.
Finally, after about three months, I flipped my part to the right side exposing the natural gray hair growing out underneath. I had a brilliant white stripe growing on this side. My hairdresser calls this the skunk look. I have to admit, it made me look pretty hip.
Then I had my hair cut into a blunt, chin-length bob. I was thrilled. It felt like a new chapter of my life. I never imagined myself with gray hair at just 60.
In Asia, where I am from, most older women are from the “Dye until you Die” school of beauty. My grandma who lived to be 103, dyed her hair until she was in her 80s. My mom, at 87, still does. I didn’t have to ask her how she liked my new look. I knew how she felt just from the look she gave me.
But other people, including my husband, would tell me what a great look it was. Even perfect strangers! Perfect male strangers! In just the last month I’ve had men walk up to me and tell me they love my hair and not to change it. They weren’t even old — maybe mid-40s or 50s!
Some people told me I was brave even though I wasn’t always feeling brave. From time to time when I had a bad day or a bad hair day, I would feel tempted to dye my hair black again. But the thought of having to do it every two weeks always stopped me in my tracks.
Now after two years, I have forgotten that the grays are even there. They are just a part of me and I don’t even think about it because I get so many compliments!
How to Dress for Gray
- Black clothing makes your hair pop
- Grays work well too — the monochromatic look is chic
- Reds and jewel tones also look good
Makeup for Gray
- Filling in your brows is more important than ever for bringing definition to your face.
- Lipstick becomes your best friend. A pop of red or deep pink is all you need.
- Lashes, whether fake or real, also brings focus to your eyes.
Tips for Growing Out
- Keep your hair short while it’s growing out to avoid the “white cap” look
- Getting a good, edgier style is the difference between looking bold or looking old
Have more tips for your silver sisters? Add them to the comments below.
Suity Liongosari grew up in Indonesia and moved to the U.S. where she graduated with a BS from Woodbury University in 1982. She joined Kreiss Design in Los Angeles before opening her own design company, Liongosari Design, in 1988. Thirty-four years after starting her career as an interior designer in Los Angeles, Suity continues to serve clients throughout Southern California from her offices on the Monterey Peninsula.