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  • Writer's pictureMicki Bare

Shades of gray...and platinum

About a month ago, on July 3, I went to my first hair appointment since March.

When I sat in that seat facing the giant mirror, four inches of natural hair growth stared back at me. The pandemic unveiled my true colors. What I thought would be white was actually a combination of silver, gray, and a darker version of the dark blonde/brown I naturally sported in my 20s.

I was intrigued.

But let's back up just a bit. Not long after my March 2020 pre-pandemic hair appointment, I needed to submit a head shot for Talkabook. My son, a filmmaker who's handy with a camera, took lots of photos. I selected one for Talkabook. I selected another for my Zoom profile. This is my pre-pandemic persona:

Micki Bare Pre-Pandemic Head Shot
Pre-Pandemic Persona

In addition to color pigment in my locks, my hair was relatively short. As the weeks and Zoom meetings passed by, my hair kept growing and growing.

When new, completely different hued hair erupts from one's scalp, one must get creative with hair styles. At first, a little root-cover powder worked well. Then bumping my hair up a bit while blowdrying was required. Then I started doing that zig-zag part thing to try to blend some of the outgrowth with the faded color in my ends. Eventually I gave up:

Outgrown gray, shaggy hair
Shaggy, Root-Heavy Pandemic Hair

On July 3, I could've simply had my hair cut and colored just like I always did before we learned to work social distance, wear a mask, and quarantine into 90 percent of our everyday conversations. That's what most people I know certainly did.

There were several nagging considerations that made the decision a difficult one. First, I found that I liked the monochromatic strands that were emerging from my scalp. Secondly, Mother Nature has reiterated brutally that nothing is guaranteed in life and we must always be prepared for change and adaptation. Lastly, I've been counting my blessings a lot lately, and gosh darned it, I found that I like and appreciate who I am, gray outgrowth and all.

My masked hair stylist (who happens to also be one of my best friends) knew exactly what to do. I love that about her.

Platinum highlights with foil at the salon
Foil and Processing at the Salon

I kept the length, sans scraggly and split ends. My stylist then pulled out some of the old color. Then, after that processed, she put in some platinum. Then, after that processed, she pulled through steel toner. She also sent me home with shampoo specially formulated for gray and platinum hair.

It will take a year or so of trimming and toning, but in certain light, my hair already looks much more natural.

My gray hair selfie
My July 4 Hair (selfie taken while making potato salad)

And instead of appointments every 3-4 weeks, I only need to go every 6-8 weeks. And while you might think that's a win, it does have a downside. My stylist is one of my best friends. So instead of hanging out at the salon as much, we're just going to have to hang out more at Zimmerman Vineyards or on our porches instead—once the pandemic is no longer a threat.

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