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FEATURES Oct 11 2013 8:50AM

Moonbeams and Stars: Going Gray Gracefully...or Not.

by Hakikah Shamsiden,
Wellness & Lifestyle Coach; Space Alchemist at Shamsiden Coaching
My first gray hair showed up at 30.  A stressed out single mom, the stress came disguised as a tiny gray patch.  I colored my hair religiously so I didn’t give it much thought, covered it up and kept it moving. 
Fast forward 20 years.  In my late 40s, I promised myself I’d go gray at 50.  Well, at 50 I didn’t feel like a gray head and continued to dye my hair auburn. More and more I noticed my gray hair was resistant to dye so at 52 cut my 20 year old locs.  Once shorn even more gray popped through.
After my Big Chop, I decided to let the gray live.  I loved it.  I felt as if I’d entered a special club. Many of the women in my life that I respected, including my mother were silver; it looked so elegant.  I even created a Pinterest board, Silver is Sexy, dedicated to women with silver hair.  I believe gray hair is God’s natural hair coloring.  The gray hair creates a halo around your features, softening them.  It’s like having a photographer light you perfectly. 
Also, as a wellness coach, I realized dying my hair probably wasn’t the healthiest thing I could do, duh.  Henna wasn’t something I wanted to explore. I wanted to be free and natural, documented in my article, “True to My Hair and Myself”.
I spoke to a few women to get their perspective on ‘graying’: 
•   Wendy, in her 40s, loves her ‘moonbeams and stars’.
•   “I got my FIRST gray hair on my 50th birthday.  I had no doubts, only a sense of pride, I had made it... hey, I embraced my crowning glory of wisdom, my badge of honor.” said Vicki, 52
•   Diane (50s) said,“My hair began to turn gray when I was 16.  My Mom has been gray all my life and my younger sister now has gray eye lashes. Go figure. I plan on dying my hair.  I am one of those women who colors their gray!  Ain't shamed either!
•Gray hair has been given a bad reputation for a long time, and as women we have been told that it is ugly, makes you look old( the last thing we want to do) and the world surely does not promote it. - Ida 63 (began graying at 35-36)
I gave it a go for a year.   But instead of the  silver  afro I’d dreamed of, my hair was now a thick, shedding, tri-color mess. Ugh. I had a dilemma.  Sticking it out, I felt like I looked like I was letting myself go, but I also didn’t want to appear like I was holding on to my youth by dying it. I was becoming a slave to my hair which was the opposite of what I wanted.   I decided to cut it again and start fresh. 
Next year I will be 55 and will have moved  into the next chapter of my hair story, fully gray.   For me the process of going gray fascinates m. It’s a rite-of-passage into my wisdom years, one I embrace wholeheartedly


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