Friday, August 11, 2006

gray is (even more) okay

A few years back I wrote a column for the local paper about my decision to let my hair go gray. That column is posted on the internet - Gray is Okay! - and has been visited, read and commented upon more than just about anything else I have written.

Today I came across
an article in the New York Times that states that some studies suggest that use of hair dye "might slightly increase the risk of get lymphoma, a group of cancers of the lymphatic system."

This doesn't surprise me. As I state in my column,


Getting your hair colored is no picnic. In fact, I would put it right up there with getting your teeth cleaned as one of the least fun things upon which people voluntarily spend large chunks of disposable income. The process lays waste to the whole afternoon, the stuff makes your eyes water when it is applied and it smells bad - sometimes for days. As you sit there, you are saying to yourself (if you are honest) - "Something this vile cannot possibly be good for me." And yet you do it over and over - every 6 weeks or whenever the roots start showing. And you thank the stylist and add a generous tip as you make your next appointment.

Does this strike anyone besides me as just a bit ... weird?

The NYT article goes on to say,
"For those who view hair dye as the embodiment of their personality, youthfulness and attractiveness, the mere suggestion that the beauty treatment might be risky seemed to constitute a threat to self-image."

According to Clairol, 54% of American women between the ages of 13 and 69 dye their hair. I bet if they limited the survey to women 40 and older, that percentage would be considerably higher. And I would be very interested to learn what the numbers are on the other side of the fence -- how many men worry about their gray hair making them look old? Not very many, by my own observation.
Call me radical, but I think we women would have a better shot at being taken seriously if we spent less time and money in the beauty salon.

Update 9/2/06
Just found another article that reports on the astronomical amounts women spend on their hair - yikes!

Women spend years getting hair just right
LONDON, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- A British survey says the average woman spends more than $68,000 and two years of her life washing, cutting, coloring and styling her hair.

The poll of 2,500 British women was conducted by Boots in conjunction with the launch of a new lotion-based permanent hair-straightening kit that can be used at home, the Daily Mail reported.

Over two-thirds of the women said they prefer straight hair to a head of curls, and 48 percent of those polled said they regularly try to achieve poker-straight hair.

Forty-three percent of the women said brunette was their favored hair color; 33 percent would like to be blonde; and 12 percent said they want to be redheads, the newspaper said.

3 Comments:

Blogger Sam said...

I'd have to agree ... but how about that gal that went on the boat with us to look for the Roseate Spoonbill? I mean, talk about a Spoony red ... LOL. As for you, you wear your colors well, and if you showed up as a blond I ... jeez, I don't don't what to say, Sandy!

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that the NYT article also mentioned that the lead scientist in the study was planning on continuing to dye her hair. BTW, this is a link to a picture of the president of MIT. 54 and not a gray hair on her head to be seen.

http://web.mit.edu/hockfield/

6:44 PM  
Anonymous jill said...

Sandy, I can’t imagine you any other way - beautiful!
It’s no big surprise that I color my hair. I do it myself and it takes about an hour and coast me less than $10. I have a big motivation for doing so - I NEVER again want to hear while working with Thomas how nice it is to be able to "work together with your son" !!! I’ve heard this more than once by the way. Let me tell ya that can ruin your day fast.
Kudos to you for fighting the myth of unrealistic beauty standers. If only I were so brave.

8:12 PM  

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