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Are You Authentic? Who Gets to Choose?

What makes you authentic and who gets to decide? I can guarantee you it isn’t someone else’s perception of what you should do or be. Nor is it another woman’s opinion of how you should look. This week I’ve run across a few instances of women justifying their personal choices, by taking swipes at other women. Comments and declarations that dig, judge and criticize. What’s up with that? Who is looking insecure when that happens?Does dying your gray hair make you less authentic? Only you get to decide that.

I’ve read several places this week that if you’re a woman who colors your gray hair, you’re not authentic. You’re hiding something or trying to look younger. You’re hoping to trick people into thinking something about you that isn’t true.

Does that mean I shouldn’t shave my underarms and legs or pluck my eyebrows and chin hair? Am I trying to fool people when I do that? How about when I wear things that make me appear slimmer? How far can you stretch that stupidity?

I’m not coloring my hair look younger. I’m doing it to improve my appearance. My gray hair is silver and it’s washing my complexion out. I use lowlights to add contrast and make me look better.

To me.

For me.

Because that’s what matters. How I feel about how I look!

If you want to go gray, bravo. It’s your choice and none of my business. Your choice does not make you more authentic than I am. It just makes you, you.

Come on ladies, let’s support each other.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

 

 

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73 Comments

  1. Great post because yes, I get the feeling there’s a group of people out there acting like the ‘hair police’! Oh for goodness sake as we age we should do as we darn well please! As in, if you feel washed out with hair that’s greying (like both of us I guess) you should carry on dyeing your hair. And if you want to have hair that’s bleached blonde, yellow, blue or as one of my friends in her late 60s is, a rich tomato red – go for it!!! I reckon it’s authentic to be yourself!

    1. Hair police is a great term! Let’s just all support each other!!

  2. Oh my! Yes! I just wrote about this. Truly we should just accept that we are all different and be happy about it. Life would be terribly boring if we all did and wore the same thing.

    bisous
    Suzanne

  3. Dear Jennifer

    Hello from England..I love your point of view on authenticity, for if we are not authentic we are not true to ourselves. I have non-descript mousy hair which I have had highlighted in blonde tones for 30 years. So expensive but well worth it
    I admire women who can go grey gracefully, if that is their authenticity, then Im behind them all the way.. What matters is how you feel, beauty starts inside

    I do apologise, I don’t often comment but some time ago you were talking about the perfect black fedora hat, and I promised myself I would get in touch when I found one.
    Well, last weekend I did!…it is by Biba,and perfect indeed.. I think you would approve

    …Also wonderful for making any hairdo look great 😉

    Very best wishes to you my dear
    Sally x

    1. It is all about what feels good for us. Individually. Please share the hat contact info!! I’m crazy about hats.

  4. When I was younger I use to care what people said about me but at this age I really don’t care. I am going to do what makes me feel good. Women that take a swipe at other women, are lacking in self love. This is a great post, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    1. You’re so right Lucy! They are the insecure ones. I no longer care either, but am shocked when women judge like that.

  5. Bluebooby says:

    I have never had anyone ask if I dye my hair. I do. I am also considering botoxing my neck…have heard it gets rid of the double chin. I do not understand the judge mental attitude of some women. Of course my attitude is “fuck ’em”. Love ya baby!

    1. I pity the woman who criticizes you to your face! You’re amazing. I’ll he watching your Botox experience. Taking notes. XXX

  6. I bleach my hair. But I’m very open about it. So I guess I feel authentic! For me, it’s a style choice.

    1. I love watching your choices. The red was pretty awesome!

  7. I became a blond when I was 14. I was inspired by the “Summer Bond” commercial and obsessed with the whole California surfing culture. I was born to be blond and I’ve never looked back.

    I turned 64 this weekend. I haven’t seen my natural hair color for 50 years!

    1. Sorry,meant to write “Summer Blond”.

    2. Many women haven’t seen their color in years. And that’s their choice. I wish I was that brave with hair color. I’d go blue 🙂

  8. For me, being authentic means I’m living in alignment with my heart and soul.

  9. Mary Wallace Poole says:

    I love that “give me strength” comment! Some (many?) women behave as though life is one giant competition with all the rest of us, and the more they can criticize and put others down the higher that puts them on some imaginary scale of perfection. Pulleeze – if we aren’t good to each other, who will be?
    Love your blog, Mary

    1. Thanks Mary. Some women haven’t progressed too far beyond high school competitiveness. And they’re the sad ones.

  10. On my last walk with my father he said to me: “you know the most amazing thing about your mother?”
    I expected something profound or profound in his mind. He said: “she’s never had a gray hair.”

    I remembered how when she first began dying her hair we’d have to run around putting the boxes in neighbor’s trash cans (taking it out was his one home responsibility aside from taking care of my sister and I a day or two a week)
    Then she went to a hair stylist.

    She kept no secrets from him but that one and I wasn’t going to spoil the fantasy. So I smiled and said “yes it’s amazing.” (She was very beautiful.)

    i dye my hair simply because I know I wouldn’t look good with gray hair

    1. Beautiful story! Really sweet.
      In the end, if we don’t like how we look with gray hair, we’re fortunate enough, not to have to suffer with it. It’s our choice.

  11. The Philadelphia Inquirer had an article today in the style section about grey hair and how it’s becoming a trend to let it be. I wanted to go grey and my hairdresser told me I would never be completely grey and he didn’t recommend trying to make it happen. So we played around with more blonde.
    At our age, I feel it’s important to be real, but that doesn’t mean we should stop doing whatever it takes to feel good about ourselves. If coloring your hair is what makes you feel good DO IT! If getting back into a size 6 were as easy as coloring my hair I would jump at the chance!
    b

    1. It’s a fun trend. But again, doesn’t work for me. I’m graying so slowly I’ll be a grizzled mouse color for 30 years!!
      Not my idea of attractive. For me!! So I’m not going there.
      Size 6? LOL!

  12. Jennifer, I am with you. Each woman has to do what she wants to make her feel good and I judge no one..Grey, white, pink hair..to each his own. I don’t agree that if you dye you are not being your true self. My true self has mousy brown hair and invisible eyelashes. I do what I have to to feel good and I don’t care what others think. Miss you, xo Kim

    1. Love you darlin’
      Xx

  13. I’m glad I didn’t see the articles on dying gray hair as not authentic.

    My 90 year old mother to this day has something negative to say about everyone’s hair. Usually in public. I fully expect her to rise from her coffin, turn and look at my older sister and I and pronounce “when are you girls going to do something with your hair.”

    For decades mine was either “too brassy” or “dishwater”. My hair is super straight. I was blonde child and kept it that way for nearly 40 years, and then went to highlights. After 20 years of highlights I let it go when I lost my hairdresser. To everyone’s surprise my hair is now mostly brown, I thought it would be predominantly gray. Now mum wants to know if I dye it this “mousy brown”.

    Life with my mother has taught me to mind my own business when it comes to personal appearance. And that’s how I raised our daughter.

    1. Your Mom sounds like a tough gal. Not easy to have as a mother. I had a grandmother like her. Sounds like you did your daughter a service.

  14. I would have hoped we’d have outgrown those mean girl jabs behind us in high school. Not only do I color my hair, but I’ve gone to a lot of trouble to tweak the color to a shade that looks best on me. I dress for me, wear makeup for me and decorate my house for me. If I’m any more authentic and transparent about my feelings, you’ll be able to use me as Saran Wrap! XOXOX, Brenda

    1. You’re the very best Brenda!! XXX

  15. Love this! I would love to go gray – just because I’m tired of the time & money I spend in my stylist’s chair. My mother had beautiful salt & pepper hair for years then went totally white & was lovely. I have mousy brown hair with lots of gray. Not pretty. So, it’s highlights & lo-lights for me!

    1. Doing what makes you feel good is all that matters. Good for you Cathy!!

  16. I agree with Andrea. It is all about the woman who makes the comment. I love my grey hair however do use highlights to lift and even out. Some of it is in the luck of the gene pool into how and when we go grey and how it works with our skin tone.

  17. Elizabeth says:

    I freely admit that I am hiding something – my gray roots!! I have had red hair since I was 18 and I love it! Even when she knew she had only days to live, my mother asked me to color her hair one last time so she could still feel attractive.

    If there are people who judge me for coloring my hair, they can have at it. I’ve got bigger problems to deal with. Like deciding whether or not to get gel nailsl

    Cheers!

    1. You rock! I adore your attitude Elizabeth. Thank you for sharing.

  18. annie vanderven says:

    women we are our worst enemy, who is making others in charge of how we feel, think etc…? what has happened to INDIVIDUAL rights? we are not sheep…. we want grey, go grey, we want to colour our hair, colour our hair…. The critics really have nothing to do but being very insecure about themselves!!!

    1. I completely agree. They’re showing their own insecurity.

  19. Oh, Please…..who is telling us not to do the best for ourselves at each age….this certainly is ‘french’ if you will…..I love my Mother, but I really didn’t learn from her how to treat myself well, or take care and enjoy it…(old school…and of course I am 73), but I only really began to learn how to take care of my face and body in my 50’s and I seem to learn more all the time…and enjoy it.

    Love yourselves Ladies, and enjoy the whole process, health, fashion at every age, and indulging in good skin care, face and body

    1. Such good advice Barbara! Women need to enjoy and love themselves. Perhaps then, they can allow other women to do the same.

  20. I started to turn white at 18!! Lord knows the money I spent throughout my life dying, low lights, high lights….one time my hair turned blue from the bleach on too long and a toner!

    (long before punk!!)
    when I moved to Montecito; I could not make the trek to Pasadena (my hair guru for 37 years now); so I let it go!! He bleached the hell out of all the dyed part to match the roots…and it was painless!!! I get compliments all the time! It was the right move for me!!

    I judge no one! Decide for yourselves! Also I take no swipes at women! I feel sorry for women who do that to other women. For shame!

    1. I’ve seen your hair and its stunning. Your choice. Your beauty!! Good for you.

  21. I’m grey all the way, but I don’t care what other women decide to do. What interests me is smashing the stereotypes of what is beautiful and sexy.

    As long as you’re happy in your own skin, and you’re not driving yourself crazy chasing the elusive dragon of youth, then dye, don’t dye, grow it, shave it, whatever – it’s only hair!

    1. “Dragon of youth” is a wonderful expression! It’ll eat us alive if we let it.

  22. It’s really sad when women are judgmental and not supportive of each other (and sadly it happens (in subtle and not-so-subtle) ways all the time, regardless of age I think). And it really is always about them, somehow they are not that convinced by their own choices and have a lot of self doubt I think… Yet, it can be very upsetting to those who are criticized (even if we try very hard not be bothered).

    I visited my aunt over the holidays, and we talked about how silly it is that women are told at a certain age that they shouldn’t color their hair. She said, “I’ve been coloring my hair my entire life, and now I’m supposed to stop. That’s just crazy!” And I agree with her. Of course it’s everyone’s choice, and it entirely depends on each person.

    1. It’s so interesting to hear your Aunt’s perspective. I often wonder if this is because we are now “so enlightened”!

  23. I love your words…..I follow several blogs for women over 50 and a few for younger women and I’m always amazed at how free some folks feel about sitting in judgement.

  24. I decided to “go grey” and I’m very surprised at how threatening some women find this.
    I agree with you, whatever we decide to do with our own selves is a personal choice. If I want someone’s opinion, I have the ability to ask them

    I am also surprised , that as we age some women are not being supportive of one another

    1. It continues to surprise me that women our age are so insecure, they need to criticize others, in order to build their own confidence. It annoys me and saddens me.

  25. Well said Jen! I simply cannot understand the desire to criticize or be negative while examining the choices of someone else. All these decisions are strictly personal. We should be empowering ourselves and others to make the authentic choice-whatever it is. Feeling confident in our individual choices is where the real power lies.

    I got up at 5:30 am on Monday to color my silver roots before work. My hair looks shiny and fresh–I’m not ashamed to say. For me it’s the right choice now.

    Love, love this post!
    Bravo!
    xx, Heather

    1. You, my friend, are the best. Thanks Heather. XX

  26. Oh, I do love you! And your powerful voice. I’ve been coloring my hair for years and I could care less what other people (women) think of my choice to do so. It’s not as if we’re trying to hide something or run from something or not be authentic, it’s exactly as you stated, we’re simply continuing to improve ourselves.

    1. Many thanks! xx
      I love and appreciate all women’s choices. I just get torqued when other women take cheap shots at us.

  27. Cherrie Lucas says:

    I have a white chunk right in front that was becoming impossible to dye….white roots would begin to show up within three weeks and I was beginning to arrange my social calendar around my salon visits!! So, a little over a year ago I let it go to see just what my grey situation was, and then I decided to not do an allover dye job, but to put in hi-lights to blend my white & grey with the rest of my head……..What a relief!! I now get my hi-lights touched up every couple of months and NEVER worry about those white roots again….and I get tons of compliments!!!

    1. And it’s what you love Cherrie! Good for you. I’d love to see it.

  28. Give me strength. That kind of judgement reminds me of girls who used to criticize me for wearing make-up in university…because I guess I “needed to wear it.” We’re all authentic…such a meaningless word isn’t it? In that context anyway.

    1. Totally Sue!! I can’t believe they said you needed to wear it! Women never cease to amaze and disappoint me sometimes.