I’m going gray while I’m still in my 20s, and I’m having mixed feelings about it. Will I dye it? Will I just accept it as is? Is one choice more holy than the other? Ugh!

So, this all goes back to when I was 16 or 17. I plucked a silver strand of hair off my head, vowing that I was too young to go gray (as if I could control it), and I assured myself it had to have been a fluke. (P.S. I learned from some hairdressing friends NOT to pluck those suckers out as much as we might want to!)

Now, at age 28, I have a full patch of gray on the top of my head plus other grays sprinkled throughout, and it appears that I’m getting more grays by the day. My husband was the one who noticed my clump of silver strands this summer, so I had him take a photo and I gasped!

Providentially, I came across a quote in a bible study about gray hair later that week. Some more Googling revealed to me that there’s actually a lot of quotes in the Bible about gray hair (sidebar: I can’t wait for Father Mike Schmitz to cover those sections on the Bible in a Year podcast). It’s not surprising, though, considering that God knows how many (gray) hairs we each have on our head (Luke 12:7).

Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness.

Proverbs 16:31

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you

Isaiah 46:4

If I’m Being Honest…

So here’s the thing…I could pretend that I leaped for joy when I saw the gray and proclaimed that it was proof that I’m alive, but I didn’t.

Instead, I read up on what causes “premature graying” because as someone who likes to find the root cause, I wanted to make sure there wasn’t something I was doing that was bringing this upon me.

Mainly, I learned that the early grays are a result of genetics (thanks Mom and Dad ?). There was some literature on the role of stress on going gray early, and that spooked me a bit because I don’t consider myself to be an overly stressed person, and I take pride in really setting aside time for rest and prayer. Were these new gray streaks going to act as a warning signs to others that I must be stressed?

I wanted to welcome welcome my grays; I really did. I wanted to embrace aging and proudly keep my hair as it is to show that I could accept and love whatever the Lord did with my tresses. To pump myself up, I scoured the internet to find other women who welcomed their grays in their 20s and 30s. There’s a whole movement, actually.

Embracing my grays felt like the righteous thing to do. I thought I could inspire other women to not be ashamed of their grays and to not give in to the pressure to dye their hair. Here are all the things I told myself:

  • I should love the hair I’ve got
  • Money could be better spent on a million other things besides hair dye
  • It is vain to care about how my hair looks. Gray hair isn’t a medical condition or a physical malady, after all. 
  • Aren’t we as Christians not supposed to care what others think?

And you know what? None of those thoughts were helpful. They were judgmental, and I felt worse about myself having though them.

Maybe, you can see where this is going… A big part of me wants to start dyeing my hair! This desire felt “bad” and “wrong” at first and I tried to push it away. Thankfully, I realized the best thing to do would be to go to Jesus and be honest with him about my desires instead of just judging and shaming myself (something I’m learning a lot about through my Catholic life coach).

Since there is nothing in our faith that teaches we can’t dye our hair, I felt a sense of peace about my desire. I might even experiment with going a little darker or lighter. This might seem like such a trivial topic, but truly nothing is trivial to God. He cares about it all, and he won’t shame you for your desires.

Desiring Beauty

Another thing I’m learning from my life coach is that it’s good to desire beauty; it’s one of the three transcendentals that points us to God (the other two being truth and goodness). Who would want us to feel guilty about beauty? (You know who, but I won’t say his name.)

I don’t think women “should” feel ashamed if they want to color their hair. I also don’t think women “should” feel pressure to color their hair. Both decisions are possible for holy women of God. Both colored hair and gray hair is beautiful. Women with any color of hair can be saints!

Now, if you know me, you’ll know that I’ll be researching the heck out of hair dyeing products. I want to find products that are good for the environment/sustainably-sourced and don’t bring harm to the hairdresser or myself. Maybe this is a tall order, but with God all things are possible, right?

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