Tag Archives: gray

Questions Anyone?

A while back my friend Katie suggested I open up Beauty Dart for questions, Katie is a very smart gal so I’m (finally) putting her suggestion to action. I originally created this blog because I applied for a job giving beauty advice, unfortunately I didn’t get it, but I had such a good time answering the sample questions that I thought it would be fun to start my own discussions on beauty.

I used to work as a makeup artist, I have more cosmetics than I will ever need, I am always sampling and buying new products, I enjoy doing online research, plus I love to talk to people about their beauty routines and I have a sick love/hate relationship with the glossies mostly because I enjoy looking at pictures of pretty cosmetics. If I can’t help you with your question, I’ll find someone who can. So ask away! Questions on products, beauty, life, whatever, please don’t be shy—I’ll be nice I promise! Shoot me an e-mail at justinezwiebel@gmail.com, or drop a note in the comments anytime.

As a perfect way to get started, last week in the comments Corrie asked a question:

“I started going grey as a teenager. I’m almost 30 now, and I’ve got a thin stripe at my temple, and greys all throughout. I used to dye my hair as soon as I thought they were too noticeable, but about six months ago, I decided it would be the last time I put colour in my hair. I think it can actually look refined, especially when you see a nice, shiny streak in an updo. I’ve even thought of trying to enhance the streak a bit (like that X-Men chick), but I’m not sure how. Any suggestions?”

Corrie, I think you’re definitely right about gray looking refined. Stacy London of What Not To Wear rocks that gray streak and she always looks very classy. There isn’t too much information out there about encouraging or containing gray in certain areas. I’ve always thought once I go totally white I’ll leave a streak out and dye the rest, it seems like it might be hard to section off though, so I’ll have to experiment. If you have an area that is heavily concentrated with gray already, you could peroxide the hair around it to make for a more dramatic streak. You might try stressing yourself out or shocking yourself to turn your hair whiter, but that’s apparently an old wives tale, so don’t go inflicting trauma on yourself, gray hair is actually determined by genetics.

If you’re encouraging your natural gray, there are a bunch of shampoos and conditioners formulated to help gray/white hair look shinier and keep it silver rather than yellow—just don’t use them too often (just once a week) unless you’re going for the little blue haired old lady look. Try one of these:

Shimmer Lights Original Conditioning Shampoo, $8.99

Rene Furterer – Okara Mild Silver Shampoo, $23.00

Something else you can do to keep those grays in good shape is use a deep conditioner. I try to deep condition as often as possible (especially around my temples) because the grays are so much dryer than the rest of my hair, it helps keep those hairs from being wiry and gives them a smoother, glossier look. I like this one:

John Frieda Frizz Ease Deep Condition Reinforce Strengthening Triple Creme Masque,$9.95

I hope that helps a bit Corrie, thanks for the question! I will be on the constant look out for other gray encouraging/taming products for both of us.

I’m staying on this hair dyeing trend a bit longer, tomorrow I’ll be bringing you some reviews of semi-permanent dyes along with other hair dyeing tips. For those of you lucky people who are blessed enough to love your natural color and/or remain free of gray, well just think of these posts as informative—and here’s a picture of a cute fuzzy animal (a Loris?) if you were feeling neglected.

Awwww.

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Do you Dye?

My whole life I’ve had people casually say to me “you dye your hair right?” it’s usually more of a statement than a question, whether it’s friends, acquaintances or salespeople shilling products. It’s pretty insulting when people assume a part of you is fake, especially when it’s not, it makes you feel bad, like everyone thinks you’re a poser. People don’t seem to think you can have pale skin and dark hair naturally, maybe because of Dita Von Teese or Elvis. We do exist though, just like natural blonds or redheads, or size zeros, or straight teeth, I promise. Unfortunately in my case (and most of my family’s) that natural color soon finds itself streaked with silver, proving to the skeptics just how natural it is.

I found my first gray hair around age 15. I might have had them earlier, but I was in a punk phase so they were probably camouflaged by purple or blue manic panic.  After I found that first gray hair, bleaching and streaking didn’t seem as appealing. At that moment I decided to enjoy my natural color as long as I could, and then when I went totally white (somewhere around age 30) I would just dye my whole head purple, and I wouldn’t even need the bleach! I’d only just gone through puberty when i started graying, so I wasn’t panicking it was a sign of aging, maybe that’s a blessing. My first thought was actually The Fairy Rebel a book by Lynne Reid Banks, in which there is a girl with 20 blue hairs at the nape of her neck that hold magical fairy powers—if my gray hairs were imbued with magic I wouldn’t mind them so much.

I didn’t take much notice of my gray hairs for a long time, it was only once people started pointing them out to me as if I didn’t know they were there, or like they were shocked by them, that it started to bother me. Especially good was when someone would first ask about my natural color, and then follow it up by saying “oh yeah, you’re going gray already”, yup, thanks for pointing that out. Despite being sick of people’s interest in my grays, or awkwardly telling me how cool they were after putting their foot in their mouth, I was content to keep them until I saw them standing out in pictures, more and more obviously.

What people without gray hair don’t understand is that the color isn’t what is hard to handle, it’s the texture. Gray hair is twice as coarse, so when you go salt and peppery, those gray hairs stick out at funny angles, just to make sure people know they’re there. I eventually got self-conscious about wearing my hair anyway but down, and I stopped wearing a ponytail outside the house because someone would inevitably mention my gray hair to me. There were also the requisite visits by a colorist at every salon I went to whether I wanted them or not (god-bless my current stylist who kept the colorists away from me after the first time I told her I wasn’t interested). If my grays grew in sleek, perfect, contained streaks like Rogue from X-men or Lily Munster, I wouldn’t mind them, but gray hair rarely works that way. Whether the plethora of starlets with ironic gray hair know it or not, gray is harder to manage, harder to make glossy, and can be a general pain in the ass whether you want to cover it up or get it to sit right.

When I realized I didn’t want gray hair in my wedding pictures, I started putting a rinse in my hair. I wanted to look 26 in my photos, and I didn’t want the hairs on my head turning up whiter than my dress. So far I have no regrets, I had a hard time letting go because I worried I was betraying myself somehow. Now whenever someone knowingly tells me “you dye your hair” I  have to say “yes—but only a rinse, and it’s really naturally this color—I swear, I’ll show you my elementary school pictures!”.

Honestly though who gives a crap if I dye my hair or not? Lucille Ball wasn’t a natural redhead, neither is Christina Hendricks from Mad Men, and god knows that natural blonds are as elusive as unicorns—but if they can pull it off, what does it matter if it’s real or not? I always wished I could play with my hair color more, having dark hair makes it hard to experiment, I’m sure I would look natural with my black eyebrows and strawberry blond hair. Whether you dye or not shouldn’t be something you’re ashamed of, but we also shouldn’t assume anyone with a certain hair color dyes it either, we people come in an astonishing number of colors and combinations, there are endless possibilities, and even if it’s obvious that someone dyes their hair, mind you own beeswax, they probably look good!

Maybe one day I’ll let my hair go totally white, and I know when I do I’ll look exactly like Emmylou Harris (dreams can come true). For the time being though, I’m going to put a rinse in my hair each time I notice those little white strands sprouting from my temples again, because I’m just not ready for it yet—maybe after I turn 30, or maybe I’ll have my grand-kids come dye my hair in the nursing home for me, who knows?

So, what say you readers? Do you dye your hair, do you love your natural color? Hate it? Are you prematurely gray?

Have a great Thanksgiving tomorrow everyone!! Watch the parade, listen to Alice’s Restaurant, tell the people you love how awesome they are, and then eat turkey until you fall asleep—god I love this holiday!

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