My Rebel White Hair: the Gandalf Upgrade

Two days ago, I found a solitary white hair.

I reported this on facebook, and someone gave me the best compliment: 

“You’re upgrading, just like Gandalf!” 

Granted, I’m not a huge LOTR fan. But I saw all the movies, and I read The Hobbit. And I know that when Gandalf the Grey returns as Gandalf the White, he is far more powerful and wise. He has fought, died, and returned. 

I like that!

At 20, I had started noticing grays. I didn’t pluck, but I did battle them at the salon. For the last 12 years, I’ve waged an increasingly futile war against these sneaky tresses which refuse to conform. They continually outnumber me. 

At 30, I declared myself a “Silver Fox,” at my birthday- making it the theme. I wore silver, and invited my guests to wear silver. I wore a stick-on silver mustache. But I still didn’t give up trying to bully those silvers into submission. They are stronger– the color holds for less time, if at all. These silvers appear in more prevalent places. 

There’s no ignoring them anymore.

Thus, I am ready to accept the Gandalf Upgrade analogy. It feels like a victory!


From Amee the Gray to Amee the White?

Possibly. In my case, it’s the death of my illusions of being able overthrow nature. My vanity no longer demands conjuring for appeasement. 

Yes, it’s sad as well. I’ve loved my dark hair. It was almost black, as a child. Now it’s mostly a softer brown– warmer. But it’s not going to stay dark forever. 

The truly insidious thing about silver and white hairs isn’t just the lack of color. It’s that they refuse to conform. They are kinky, untamed, and prone to standing up at stupid angles at the most inconvenient times. 

But that’s aging for you. It’s not giving a damn anymore. It’s accepting the practical over what used to be more important: style, fun, beauty. 

Aging is accepting your worth lies in knowledge, not image.


I suspect it’s going to take a long time for me to truly look “salt n’ pepper,” since my strands are still hidden enough that most people don’t notice them unless I point them out.

Those surreptitious silvers. And now at least one rebel white hair. 

Why would I voluntarily admit to their existence? Because I’m often mistaken for being five to 10 years younger– mostly because I’m petite. I suspect it’s also because I favor bright colors and simple costume jewelry. In those instances, I enjoy cracking a joke and pointing out my silver streaks, saying, “I earned ’em!” 

Was it just a trick of the light? Is it really silver? Even if I have one white hair, I find that pretty rad. I like the idea of leveling-up, even if it seems superficial- hair follicles.

I may change my mind about this later, but for now, I’m content to stop spending money to change my hair color. Instead, I’m embracing the organic changes. These colors are being bestowed to me by time, and by my own inner chemistry. 

Bring it on.  I don’t feel pressure anymore to play the hair color facade. 

At this point, it’s all my natural color. A warm brown. And since I’ve stopped dying it, I notice the texture is better. My hair is softer, shinier. 

For a long time, people would comment on my hair colors. I experimented a lot, without breaking into primary or punk colors. From cranberry red to goth raven, to bold butterscotch and fire-engine red chunky highlights.

I may not look exotic anymore… but I do look like me. 

And that is exactly what I want, at 32. 

I’m letting God do my hair color. 



2 comments on “My Rebel White Hair: the Gandalf Upgrade

  1. I’m with you. I’ve never died my hair and I’m interested to see how it looks with more and more silver! I have a friend a few years older than me and her dark hair is highlighted (naturally) with silver. It’s so pretty! I feel like natural hair color is much more in style these days, at least in the hippie circles I run in 🙂 I’m sure you look great. And you can battle Sauron!

  2. Thank you periodistalibre! Glad we’re both enjoying our silver strands– I bet yours looks fantastic! And I agree, natural color is always better– hippie or not! 😉 I will think of you next time I’m challenged substantially. Bring it on, Sauron! I’ve got my Gandalf Updgrade.

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