I found my first grey hair at age seventeen, with a predictable degree of disgust. For a few years I experimented with as much hair colourant as any young woman, veering from almost-blonde to darkest-brown, with a rather risque peroxide and mulberry streaking period sometime in the 90s when I was a hair model for a girl I worked with. I found, like many young women, that dyeing your hair all the time really screws it up, and the only way back to nice hair (for me) is to grow it out, which takes ages. So, I haven't dyed my hair for years, and I have to say that I've enjoyed having hair in my 'natural' colour - generally brunette: darker brown at the roots, with degrees of sun-bleaching about the ends which may or may not in some lighting conditions look a bit reddish. And grey, of course. They've been multiplying happily ever since that first grey at seventeen. Scrutinising this photo of me and Ollie the other day prompted me have another look at the back of my head with the aid of two mirrors. As you do.
Now, I started loving my greys years ago. As a twenty-four year old I'd been introduced to a girl, only just older than me, who had developed a strong grey streak in her fringe, and she was rocking the look. I was in deep admiration of her grey streak, and it changed the way I felt about my own regrowth. I thought that, over the course of a (hopefully long) lifetime, a girl really only has a short time to enjoy her natural hair colour before it goes grey, and chances are it'll be grey a lot longer than any other colour it ever was. So, I chose to enjoy. I'm sure some women can dye the hell out of their hair and suffer no adverse effects - not me. I'm not saying I'll never hit the bottle again, but for now, no.
Anyway, I'll be forty next year, something that I can scarcely believe. Another thing I can't believe is this little snippet about long hair care which I've only just discovered. I had thought that my hair had a 'maximum length' (for me, about mid-back), where it just wouldn't get any longer before shedding and breakage and regrowth somehow cancelled each other out. Then recently - a revelation. I don't remember where I read it, but it was about how you get water out of your hair. I've always been a bit of a 'throw hair forward, cover with towel and scrub the blazes out of it' type of girl, and it turns out this could be the cause of my problem with (ahem) breakage. I feel so dimwitted about this. Apparently long hair needs to be treated gently! Huh? Squeeze the water out! NO scrubbing with a towel! NO! Such a simple thing. WHO KNEW!?