Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Washing the Gray Out

I have gray hair. I have a lot of gray hair. I hate to admit it. I hate seeing it in the mirror. On the one hand, I'm only forty-two. It shouldn't be this gray. On the other hand, I am forty-two. It's natural to have some gray hair.
The fact that my hair is curly helps hide some of the gray. I've noticed when I blow dry it straight (or as straight as Florida humidity will allow) the gray is much more noticeable. I also cover a lot of it with a coloring shampoo and conditioner by Aveda. I started out several years ago with their Black Malva product. It covered the gray well, but it darkened my hair. I didn't even really notice it until others started commenting on it. My hair's dark brown anyway, but this made it black. My husband didn't like it either, so I started looking for something else. Aveda has a Clove shampoo and conditioner that's supposed to be for brown hair, so I started using that. I was pretty happy with the results until a few weeks ago. I found a family picture taken about four years ago, and I was shocked to see how much lighter my hair color was. So I started looking around for another alternative.
Some of you may wonder why I don't simply get it colored and be done with it. I won't get a professional color job for several reasons. One is, I can't afford it. Another is, I can't even get my hair cut on a regular basis. I don't want to go from almost completely gray back to dark brown every three months because that's how long it would take me between treatments. I'd like something a little more subtle.
So how about over the counter coloring? I've looked at them. I checked out advertisements and what they claim and they offer. I've even stood in the aisle and tried to find one that matches my hair color. Or--at least--the hair color it used to be. But I'm afraid. What if I do it wrong? What if it doesn't "take"? I knew a lady that colored her hair on a regular basis. One time she ended up with a dark purple tinge to her hair. Her beautician said that happens occasionally after using home products for a while. Terrific.
So the shampoo seemed to be the best solution. Only I'm darker than I want to be. Aveda's next lightest offering is Madder Root, which is actually for red hair. I don't really have much in the way of red highlights, but red does run in my family. Maybe it'll lighten the brown back to the shade it was before. So I gave it a try. Whereas the Clove conditioner was dark brown, almost black, the Madder Root is--orange really. That was scary. So I used it. I couldn't really tell much difference. After a week, I finally noticed that my hair seemed to be getting lighter. But then I took a real close look in the mirror. It's getting lighter all right, but it's not turning red or brown. It's turning gray! The Madder Root is not doing anything to cover my gray. I no longer have strands, or even threads. I'm not sure I even have streaks of gray. I have full-fledged gray hair. I felt older just standing there.
Today I went and bought some more Clove conditioner. I'd rather be too dark than too gray! And I think I'll make another trip down that hair coloring aisle. After all, millions of women color their hair every day! How hard could it be?
I hate dark purple.


  1. I am sitting here laughing at this, I did mine myself not long ago and my blonde hair became brown, so I did it again and it is now blonde again, BRASSY blonde. Going to try and fix it again tomorrow. If I don't quit it my hair will probably fall out and I wont have to worry about it!!!

  2. Okay, that does it. I'm sticking with the shampoo and conditioner for now. Black hair is better than ... ???

  3. Hi, did the Aveda black malva really hide the gray hair? I am thinking to buy it (just the shampoo) think it will prove useful?


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