hair project

I have decided to go gray. It sounds so simple, but as with many female struggles, it isn’t. People ask, “Are you sure?” The answer is, “No, I’m not…” but I have still made the decision. -April 23, 2022

May 25, 2022: From unsuccessfully veiled looks of disapproval to seeming indifference, the grays emanating out of my part feel like they are on fire and my self-consciousness weighs heavily.

July 10, 2022: As the weeks pass I find myself becoming more and more sure, and comfortable with my endeavor. I am no longer trying to hide my gray hair and there is something freeing in that. Not only that, I actually am loving the new growth. I notice more and more women with beautiful gray hair. Just today the woman in line in front of me was talking to the receptionist and they were sharing notes about their journey to gray and I happily announced that I was in the process of going gray. Seeing both of their beautiful locks, and their encouragement, gave me a bit more confidence. Plus this project has cemented my commitment as I continue to photograph my hair every time I wash it.

August 22, 2022: Someone asked the other day how long I had been growing my hair out for and I said it’s been at least 6 months. Then I came here to look at when I started and realized it’s been only 4 months. It feels like it’s taking forever. And, yet, I think about it less and less and forget sometimes to even be self conscious. I was going to shoot a concert and was in photos and didn’t even think about it. However, having said that, I am quick to tell people what I’m doing so they aren’t thinking “she needs to get to a salon.”

October 28, 2022: Wow, may hair is getting long. I’m getting it cut tomorrow to clean up the ends. It’s amazing to watch the gray infiltrate my color. It comes through the layers sometimes and I’m excited to see that it’s not all white-gray, but there’s some darkness there too. My cousin said that I look older, and I do, but then I guess I am older. It’s a little hard sometimes to let go of the youthful feeling my colored hair gave me, but it’s getting easier and easier. When I look back at the dark hair at the beginning of this journey it feels somehow fake. Kind of how I feel when I see myself wearing makeup. I’m looking forward to it growing out, or rather, in, completely.

December 5, 2022: I did get my hair cut and it doesn’t look very different thanks to Rick who cuts it. I wish the brown would be gone already but I’m not going to cut it out because I like my hair on the longer side. I’ve also had moments where I’m scared of losing the brown completely even though I don’t love the bleached out color it’s become. Speaking of the colors, I will have to adjust to those that are emerging. My hair has been dark brown for so long, and I though it was so before I dyed it, but it seems to be shades of black. Was that how it always was? I guess it doesn’t matter because it’s how it will be. Also, its weird when I tell people I’ve decided to go gray and their facial expressions says “OBVIOUSLY.” Some have said “You can always dye it again.” However, I can’t imagine going through this again. Oh, and, I got new glasses to go with the gray. I was going to wait but started wearing them already. Funny how people usually notice I got new glasses about 3 months after I start wearing them.

January 25, 2023: It’s come to my attention from working on this how much I wear the same shirts. My comfort wardrobe for weekends. Ok, weekdays too. Maybe that’s the theme through all this, getting comfortable with myself and this time in my life as it flies on by. I was surprised to pull up my hair for one of the photos and see lots of dark hair so I included that in this batch. I really have no idea what this is going to look like in the end. I’m getting sick of the “brown” ends but I remind myself it’s just temporary. Anyway, this is just a minor thing. I started reading a book about gratitude and it resonates because I have been feeling such gratitude these days for the people in my life and the places I get to go. I’m truly lucky. But this page is about the hair.

April 4, 2023: Today I am filled with frustration. The same way my hair won’t grow any faster there are other things in my life that won’t move faster either. It seems like when I am about to move forward something happens to stop that momentum and I’m back where I started. I know it’s temporary, as is everything, but today I’m feeling it. Even editing these photos and posting them took longer than it should have. Well… at least that is done! And, the weather is beautiful today so I’m going to get some fresh air and I still have time to get more things done today. And, more good news… since the weather is changing I will start to wear some different shirts in these photos.

June 19, 2023: Got my hair cut this past weekend and although it still has some dye at the ends, its getting closer to all gray. As it grows in I like it more and more. When I go back to the beginning of this page I find my hair to look weird, kind of fake. Meanwhile, a couple of well meaning people who have only the best intentions have told me about special shampoos for gray hair. While I’m sure those shampoos have advantages, part of why I’m doing this is to be more natural and embrace what I have and who I am. The particular sheen and shade of gray I sport on my head will not change anything. That reminds me of how I stopped wearing makeup many years ago and that didn’t change my life at all. Similarly, when I look back at photos where I was wearing makeup, I think it doesn’t look right. Part of me wishes I had stopped dying my hair years ago but I wasn’t ready. I’m glad I was ready last year. Wow! It’s been over a year… crazy.

August 21, 2023: Just looked back and saw that I got my hair cut the last time I uploaded photos. It sure has been growing. I mentioned that my hair looks fake. Recently someone I met looked at my facebook photo and asked if it was me. I realize it’s time to replace that. I have lots to choose from. I’m getting a bit tired of taking these photos every week or so but will stick with it. My gray has just become part of me and I don’t even think about it much anymore. Except when I note how healthy it feels.

November 15, 2023: I have become obsessed with watching live streams of women trying on and selling wigs. It is mesmerizing how each wig completely changes the model’s looks. When I originally decided to dye my hair I took some comfort knowing that I could always get a wig. I never did, but the thought of getting one for fun is intriguing. I wondered what you would say to people when you walk into a room looking completely different and one of the models had a suggestion for that. She said you could say, “I’m trying out this new look.” I realize how much I’m defined by my hair and the discomfort of walking into a room with different hair is daunting. I still may try it someday because it does look like fun. But, on the other side of fun, I have also been thinking about how lucky I am to even be able to continue this project. I wash my hair about once a week but I shower every day and think about how so many people don’t even have water to drink right now. Every day I think about those who don’t have what they need (for any reason).

January 18, 2024: Happy New Year! I can’t believe it’s 2024. I did miss one hair wash photo but I was away and couldn’t get it done. Anyway, it’s a sign that I am nearing the end of this journey, and this photography project. It will be strange to wash my hair and not have to think about getting the photo done. Another sign of the end of the project is an upcoming haircut. I have an appointment with a new hair stylist next week and I’m scared. I have been using Rick for the past I don’t know how many years but it’s too hard to coordinate it lately. It’s also time for a change. I will have one more shoot before the haircut so will update more then. I definitely don’t want it short but I think most of the color will be gone. Don’t worry though. Even after the project is done I will likely give sporadic updates. Oh, and one thing. I have been getting more compliments on my hair than ever before. Maybe there is something to keeping things natural.

January 24, 2024: Ok… a few more before the cut.

January 26, 2024: Morning and afternoon before and after the big cut! I loved my hair stylist, she did a great job! I’m so happy to have found someone close by who I like and look forward to going to in the future. Speaking of… all the color wasn’t cut off. She thankfully got my style and said that I wouldn’t be happy with my hair that short and she was completely right! The good news is that I think my hair is growing faster these days so it will be gone the next time for sure. There is about an inch left, but I’m still going to decrease the amount of shooting I will do.

March 26, 2024: Old habits are hard to break. No, really though, I’m going to be shooting less.