I took a journey to the dark side and I liked it.

I went cold turkey and stopped dying my hair eighteen months ago.

Tow-headed as a child, my hair darkened after I hit puberty. Like many women I fought back against nature. On my 16th birthday, I dyed my nondescript auburn locks a shade of honey blonde.

And just like that, I set in motion a cycle of monthly salon visits that continued unabated for decades.

Bottle blonde is a major commitment. 

Over the years I have been ash blonde, beige blonde, strawberry blonde and platinum. When I left the salon I’d look great, but as soon as a shadow of regrowth appeared I’d go running back to my stylist.

After 20 years of bleaching, my hair was not only fried, I had no idea what my natural color was anymore.

Would people even recognize me if I wasn’t blonde? 

I was tired of hair-induced angst — the madness had to stop!

With steely resolve, I let nature take its course.

A darker story.

As of today, I have eight inches of natural hair untouched by bleach. My virgin hair is darkish and falls to my ears. Ten inches of bright blonde highlighted hair hangs below my ears.

It sounds worse than it looks. 

Balayage hair, dark roots with blonde ends, is in vogue. In fact, there has never been a better time to grow out highlighted hair!

Why did I stop highlighting my hair?

Several reasons:

  • It’s about self-acceptance. My bottle blonde hair felt like an accessory I could never take off.
  • The never-ending visits to the salon cost a bomb and ate up my free time.
  • I want to be low maintenance — blonde does not align with this goal.

How does being natural feel?

I won’t lie — it feels strange. I hardly recognize myself in the mirror. But the stranger I see intrigues me. 

I suspect others have not even noticed the gradual change in my hair. But in my world, of course, it’s huge.

Any surprises?

Yes, I had expected my hair to be a reddish hue (based on photos from when I was a teenager). Instead, my color is between light brown and dark blonde. I guess with aging my hair color evolved. 

What I have learnt from growing out my hair color?

  • Hair grows slow. Much slower than I expected. 
  • The first 6 months were tough. I looked like a skunk for a while. 
  • The more I grow out my hair color, the better it looks. It’s evolved into an Ombré style which is very low maintenance.
  • My hair is less greasy. Less washing means less blow-drying and a healthier condition.
  • With less breakage and regular trims, my hair is thicker down to the ends. 
  • I wear less makeup. Bright red lipstick and a well-defined brow are all I need to look polished with my darker hair.

The hair police are out there. Ignore them.

Sadly not everyone has approved of my decision to go natural, most notably my hair stylist. 

I got a new stylist (a less judgy one) and — voila!

Problem solved.

I am more myself these days. 

My plan is to grow out the full length of my long hair over the next two years. So yes, I’m in this for the long haul.

To all the pesky hair police (you know who you are)  — Love me? Love my natural hair.

Thank you for reading!

Writing at the intersection of mind, spirit and creativity. My secret is to walk 10K daily to focus my mind and relax.
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Writing at the intersection of mind, spirit and creativity. My secret is to walk 10K daily to focus my mind and relax.
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