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beauty & aging

A few weeks ago, I was in the process of straightening out my curls and waves with my hair straightener. I was separating out a large section from around my temple and behind my ear when I saw something a little different. Several hairs... about 10 or so... seemed MUCH lighter than the rest of my brown hair. I leaned over the bathroom counter to push my head closer to the mirror. "That's strange, I haven't had highlights in years," I thought to myself. The texture of those hairs was a little different, too. Thicker than the rest. I took one of the hairs and gently wrapped it around my index finger a couple of times. After I confirmed its firm placement, I gave it a good yank, pulling the hair out of my head straight from the root. I unwrapped it, straightened it out between the fingers of my two hands and looked at it intently.

"You've got to be kidding me," I said to myself out loud. 

Yes, indeed, my friends. That hair was as grey as the Portland skies in the wintertime.

I couldn't believe it. I really, honestly, could NOT believe that I had grey hairs already. And not just one, but several grey hairs. My heart started to beat a little faster. My mind went racing and I couldn't stop thinking about it for days. I was obsessed over the fact that I had grey hairs growing on my precious scalp, amongst the rest of my hair that everyone has always complimented. 

"I'm only 27 years old. I'm too young for grey hair," I told myself over and over again.

I immediately made a hair appointment with Jena, my beloved stylist with whom I trust my locks of shiny brown goodness. I was going to see her in a few days' time. Good timing, I needed a hair cut anyway. 

In those few days in between, I thought deeply about my new discovery. I thought about why I wanted to color over the grey... my proof that I'm getting older. I'm not sure why, but something about coloring my hair... I didn't feel right about it. So, I gave in to my gut instinct and changed my appointment from a cut AND color to just a hair cut. 

Even though they were much shorter after the implementation of my sassy new haircut, the grey hairs were still there... both on and in my head. Why was I obsessing about this so much? 

A week later, Erik and I went to have dinner with our friends, the Nelson family. Kurt and Donna are an amazing couple. They've raised two grown kids who are close to my age, and Donna recently fought and won a battle against breast cancer... albeit after a double mastectomy. 

We were sitting around their dinner table enjoying an amazing pasta dish and good red wine. Donna was holding Rowan - talking to him and snuggling him. Rowan, of course, reached for a fist-full of Donna's grey, shoulder-length hair. She chuckled at him and opened his fingers to release the hairs from his grasp. 

In the middle of this little moment, Donna looked at Rowan through her cute green-framed glasses with a smile and said, "Hey there, don't take my hair out! I've earned every single one of those grey hairs!"

We all chuckled, but my mind was already turning its wheels.

What if, instead of being so afraid of the grey, we actually took a different posture towards aging and beauty? Things would be radically different, wouldn't they? The beauty industry would never embrace such a thing, nor would Hollywood. If it doesn't make us look younger & more beautiful by the world's standards, it's not a good thing. Even though I had a loving mother who always told me that real beauty was held in my heart, I was not isolated from the Cover Girl ads, or the Victoria's Secret catalogs, or the Pantene Pro-V commercials. The idea that beauty was held strictly in my appearance had dug its heels into my mind over the course of several years.

What if we allowed something else to define our beauty? 

Instead of coloring our hair to cover up the proof of inevitability, why not embrace it? Why not think about earning every one of those grey hairs? 

Donna has raised two amazing kids of her own. She's maintained a phenomenal marriage to a great guy. She's taught & molded hundreds of children in public schools. She battled and won a fight against cancer. She has lived life, and she has lived it fully! Donna has absolutely earned every single grey hair on her beautiful head.

I haven't lived as much life as Donna, nor have I accomplished nearly as much as she has. But I'm only 27 years old. But, I have survived a lot in my short lifetime. I've come a long way in 27 years! 

Instead of hiding it with semi-permanent color, I'm going to embrace the grey. 

I'm proud to say that at the tender age of 27 years, I've earned a few grey hairs of my own.


I saw this video at a women's event at my church. Take a look, and tell me what you think. 


  1. Nish, thanks for talking about this issue. Beauty is such a difficult and painful area to navigate as women! It's so easy to believe a lie. I don't want to look back on my life and wonder why I wasted so much time thinking a lie.

  2. Oh, you spoke my heart. I have a beauty post in my head about beauty and aging that seems to be bouncing around rather than pouring out! I find true, worthy beauty in that which is authentic. I think many of us do in our hearts. Why don't we allow that to spill forward? Lovely post.

  3. LOVE that you posted this video - thanks! (for what it's worth, I'm 33 and have a few gray eyebrows! )

  4. Really appreciated this post and video. Have you seen this other Dove video???

  5. I really like what the Dove campaign has been doing, it is very difficult for many young girls to accept who they are as to what they "think" they want to be. I however, just have to cover the grey's. Yes I have earned every one of them, and there are many, I just dont like the look of them... sad state of affairs! Maybe I should practice what I preach....

  6. Okay, was getting ready to post for the giveaway, and saw this...What a great thought is this. If it makes you feel good color it. If you feel good gray, go for it. Either way, let's not judge each other for it...I embrace every gray hair as I search for each one to color...haha! It's not that I dislike growing older, in fact, I love each year more than the next, but gray makes me feel I lost my "sparkle" (the necklace I'm choosing!). That $9.00 bottle of dark brown makes me happy. By the way, I do the eyebrows too :) Am I living a lie? Nope, I'd tell anyone who's that blue box at walmart for nine bucks! I say do what makes you happy and what makes you feel good. The older I get, I realize it's not about what other people think...

  7. loved this post. so glad i found your blog! :)