When I’m An Old Lady I Shall Wear Purple Hair

Author Credit: Ann Brenoff

Millennials may be eagerly dyeing their hair gray, but post-50 women are going in quite the opposite direction: Meet some badass ladies who are rocking purple, blue and every other color under the sun. Why? Because they can, seems to be the short answer.

And lest anyone think older women are just catching up with a trend, we’d note that best-selling author Amy Tan has long been a fan of wildly colored streaks in her hair, although she told The Huffington Post that three months ago she embraced silvery blue and has stuck to it, as shown here:

Tan, 64, author of The Joy Luck Club and countless other best-sellers, was very forthcoming about why she goes bold. “[I] didn’t do it to make a statement, but [it] comes across that way,” she said in a Twitter message to Huff/Post.

“To hell with ‘aging gracefully.’ I’m doing it for myself. It’s fun.”

She added, that she also does it by herself! No colorist involved. Her wildest foray was the time she went vivid purple. “I experiment and do it myself. Men, women, young, old dig it.” And, she adds, a big side benefit is “My hair is much healthier, thicker. Hair dye is harsh. What I use is not like hair dye.”

Tan’s advice: “You have to find the color shade that suits your skin tone and your wardrobe. I tried many colors. Silver blue is the winner.”

She also believes that “It’s easier to complement white roots then cover them up. Painting takes a few minutes on a white canvas, no bleach necessary.” We like the idea of our hair as a canvas!

Here are some other ladies who are totally rocking the colored-hair thing!

Marcia Kester Doyle, 56, Pompano Beach, Fla.; author-writer who blogs at Menopausal Mom:

“I colored my hair these unique shades because it sends a clear message — that a woman my age is still allowed to be FUN. I spent too much of my life trying to fit the mold and please others. Now that I’m older, I do whatever I want and worry less about what others think. My new hair color makes me feel younger, confident and sexy. At our age, we shouldn’t have to worry about what others think. Life is short — enjoy the ride.”

Erika Kerekes, Condiment Queen and CEO of Not Ketchup:

“I was 48 and had just put ‘dye hair pink’ on my ‘Things to do before I turn 50’ list. I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it. My older son, who was 16 at the time and is very sensible, said ‘I don’t love it but it’s your hair, so good for you.’ My younger son, who was 13, cried as he told me how much he hated it and how embarrassed he was. And my husband totally shut down — would not talk to me, would not walk next to me or sit next to me at a school concert that night. He would not Use His Words. At 5 a.m. the next day, I texted my stylist and told him I needed to come in and have him dye it back. Marriage is compromise. I compromised. The moment it was brown again my husband was fine and back to normal.”

Jeanne Uelk Champion, 52, mother to three, photographer, craftswoman:

“I’ve been disabled for almost nine years with a painful spinal cord injury. I did this ‘touch of pink’ about two years ago and just tried teal blue. To me, it meant that I was finally living for myself. I’m not conforming to the Soccer Mom persona. I’ve been through tough, painful times and I needed to do this for myself. It was very empowering.”

Stacie Strong, 54, works in a local used book shop near her Lapeer Michigan (pop. 8,700) home. Bakes and sells cookies and babysits her grandchild:

“I let my hair color grow out to my natural color — brown and going gray. But it started to feel a little frumpy and a bit old. I was in a rut. I had wanted to try fun colors for years, so I thought, ‘You know what? I will dye my hair on my [own] terms.’ And I loved it! Some of the responses I got was, ‘Is there a reason, like a fundraiser or lost bet, that you did that? Aren’t you kind of old for that?’ And my favorite: ‘I hope I’m that cool when I get old!’ Made me LOL.”

Also, look closely at the photo and you’ll see Strong also has a pierced nose!

Tracey Hornung, 56, Appleton, Wisconsin:

“Mine is not too wildly crazy, but it is two colors, and normally it would be mousy brown gone over mostly to gray. I do something a little different every time. I like it. Jazzes things up a bit! Maybe if I had that GOOD silver gray like some women get I would keep it. Maybe. But I don’t so I go to my gal and she does her magic!”

Marcia Ford, book author, speaker, self-proclaimed misfit:

“That’s me standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona. My hair looks pink in that one, but it’s the lighting. I’ve only done purple. The first time was in 2008 to promote my book We the Purple, but the reaction I got was so overwhelmingly positive that I’ve just done it for fun since then. Only once have I noticed women my age scoffing at me. Many have thanked me for giving them the courage to dye their hair an unusual color.”