Unlike seasons, gray hairs don’t come and go. They come and staycation. I could never evict my unwanted tenants unless I tweeze them out of my scalp one by one. And that’s exactly what I did. Before I turned 23 a few months ago, the grays kept a paparazzi-low profile. I knew they existed but they lurked from beneath layers of hair. Then, the silver strands stampeded my mane grounds—some were lone soldiers, while others formed camps around my head. A few of the short to mid-length ones would stand tall, as though saluting their counterparts. I’m a dark brunette and straight-down-the-middle part kinda girl so when the ghoulish grays perked up and out from my head like antennae, I freaked the funk out. Not to mention the Cruella-like streaks that showed when I’d wear my hair up in a topknot—not okay in my book.
Was I aging at the speed of light? Maybe a certain food I was eating fueled the grays’ growth? My hormones, it must be my hormones, I thought. I was utterly embarrassed by their pesky presence, especially at events in the sunny So Cal light of day. Once, when a few wiry hairs in an assortment of sizes decided to dance all over my ‘do, I hurriedly held both hands over my scalp to hide them from my boyfriend, hoping his peepers wouldn’t catch a peak. No, not even his eyes were to see them.
Complaining to a coworker about my crisis, I came across a solution. She said that she read in a beauty magazine that the quickest fix to my problem was, actual shocker, a Sharpie permanent pen. Affordable, accessible, and easy to use? I jumped for jolly joy at the thought of the genius idea. From that moment on, you could find a chiseled black Sharpie marker in my bathroom, my glovebox, and sometimes my purse. Silver hairs, sayonara—it worked like Houdini’s hands. The Sharpie-covered strands lasted about two washes, and I only washed my hair once a week, which means making my grays get gone with the wind required minimum maintenance. Amen.
There came a point, though, when every other morning as I was getting ready for work, I’d spy an uncovered gray and reach for the Sharpie. Don’t get it twisted—my fondness for this magic eraser pen wouldn’t land me a gig on True life: I’m Addicted to Sharpies, but I used it often. Thinking it would be the civilized thing to do, I put the permanent pen to rest and graduated to gray concealer sprays and pens—you know, products that are actually made for your mane and not a marker board *judging myself*.
As much as these products work, I stopped letting them get the best of me and started embracing gray hairs. Sharpies, root concealer sprays, gray coverage crayon sticks—I ditched them for my natural state, soldier-straight silver strands and all. We forfeit our flaws and feign or seek perfection. Cover your pimples, tweeze your brows, hide your grays—or not. If it makes you feel fierce, do it till death. Not bye-Felicia-ing my gray hairs used to make me feel fugly and old and witchy and downright insecure. I can’t promise I’ll never not reach for the Sharpie or the sprays again, but for now, letting them frolic makes me feel fierce.