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Ask Sherry: How do I deal with errant grey hairs?

You asked, and I am answering every Friday once I have enough questions!

You can ask any question using the form here.

What are you getting for Little Bun’s preschool teachers?

A child-sized lasso, and a strong bottle of moonshine with a note that says: Good luck!


No really, probably chocolate. Really nice chocolate. I thought over the years what to give teachers and asked many, and chocolate is a universally accepted and happily regifted gift if need be.


  • Religious reasons — Muslims for instance, cannot eat certain foods or drink alcohol; chocolate is a safe gift and you never want to presume anything
  • Allergies — Okay so chocolate has nuts in it, but buy the stuff that is nut-free if you even think they may be allergic or have someone like that at home
  • Easy to share — They can give it to other colleagues to share because you can’t possibly buy a gift for EVERY teacher who interacts with your child, so if you buy a huge box for each of the main teacher(s), they can generously share with others around them who do help on a daily basis
  • Easy to re-gift — if they cannot eat it or don’t want to for any reason, they can easily re-gift it to someone as it is completely wrapped and ready for re-distribution

I have thought about gift cards but unless you know their hobbies you cannot presume to know where they would actually shop. I know teachers who always get Indigo / bookstore gift cards but surprisingly find it hard to spend the money.

Even a Wal-mart gift card is not really classy (?) albeit practical, and some people have very VERY strong feels against Wal-mart, so you don’t want to start any political situations.

Also, gift cards mean you need to go to the store to find something to spend it on; and what if the store you choose is not near them?

Something like Shoppers Drug Mart is quite universal here in Canada, so that would be the safest, easiest gift card to give (lots of things to buy for them).

You also don’t want to then stress about how much to give. Is $20 enough? $50? What are others giving? Are we being rude? Stingy? … there’s too much tied to a dollar amount that is very stress-inducing.

Then you could give bath products, or things like that but what if they hate perfumed products? Or the scent you chose? Or just don’t use those things because they’re not organic and full of things you’re trying to avoid (like me).

Too risky.

Do you have gray hair? If so, how do you style your hair for work? I’m getting more and more grays and find it harder to look polished for work… Help!

I hate hate hate that women can’t rock grey hair and look polished. I am not saying we should feel bad and become feminist martyrs and go all grey, but I just HATE this double standard in society.

I see PLENTY of grey-haired men, bald, wrinkly, and no one cares about how they look at the office, but if a woman of the same age has grey hair or “lets herself go”, we get harpooned. WTF.


As for the grey hair thing… I am lucky *knock on wood* that I don’t seem to have many greys yet. I certainly have way more than when I last had my pictures taken (they are literally starting to shine in photos like beacons of aging light, beaming out from my hair), and are slightly more noticeable but it isn’t really that bad. I’m still being mistaken for being a “miss” and in college.

The thing about grey hairs is that once you start, you kind of can’t stop. Well you CAN, but …. you also can’t, if you know what I mean.

If you continually dye your hair to be one colour (no matter how pretty or natural it looks), it will end up looking very strange as the hair grows out and you have

(A) Grey roots that get steadily greyer and greyer as you age…

So it looks like a big chunk of GREY as a stripe across your scalp unless you do at-home touchups before going to the hairdresser

(B) If you decide one day to just go natural…

… it will be quite a shock to everyone around you to see your hair one day all one colour then.. all grey. Quite brave actually, but still, a shock.

My French sister-in-law used to just leave her hair grey but she recently dyed it some strange orange-y blonde (she’s a natural blonde), and it looks stranger than when she just had grey hair.

(C) You have to continually dye your hair or go to the hairdresser

I am currently struggling with this issue because I don’t have that many grey hairs yet, and … yet I know it is coming ( I SEE THEM!! )

I haven’t decided if I want to just leave it grey, or if I want to dye my hair.

Now, I’m a brunette so… it sort of affects what I plan on doing:

If I leave it grey, I think I’d like to see if I can find some sort of way to make it shinier, or something. I feel like blondes have the one-up over brunettes in this sense because blonde hair blends better with grey and white than with brown.

If I decide to dye it (sort of leaning towards this one as I am quite vain), I am looking into natural hair dyes (at least, the ones that don’t stink as much), and I have found that walnut shells apparently dye your hair dark brown quite nicely, and another option is henna or coffee grounds!

I suspect the white hairs will soak up the colour of these items, but as you are not stripping your existing dark brown hairs to make them white so that they can absorb the colour readily.

Unfortunately, where this leaves us is that… yes, for women, having hair coloured in a false youthful shade / tone, makes you look more polished.

I do not know a single woman here in the office save for ONE who has left her hair to go grey naturally.

Her face still looks very youthful but she does look (in comparison), older than the other women of her age. In contrast, a very unfair contrast I might add, the men look more distinguished (WTF, I have a stupid coloured hair bias for men and women that I cannot seem to eliminate in my head due to my upbringing).

If you don’t want to be the one making groundbreaking strides (maybe when you’re retired or 70?), then I would look into more natural hair dyes, and definitely keep a stock of touch-ups at home to dye your roots every 2-3 weeks until you can make it to a hairdresser.

I already cut my own hair at home, so to think about going to the hairdresser for a dye job every month or so, makes me very sad. I need to find a DIY option but for now, the sands of time have been kind.

(I’m also trying not to stress out and eat better to help keep my hair brown).

How long was the longest continuous period of time when you stayed at home full time with your child between contracts, and did you like it? Also, how old was your child at the beginning of that period?

I think about a year… I remember staying home when my son was about 2 years old, and going back to work shortly after he turned 3.

Did I like it? Hmm…. I think it depends. Here’s what I loved and hated about it.


I got to see him every day.
Literally we were joined at the hip 24/7 and he was so happy to be with me, knowing that he wakes up in my arms, and goes to sleep in them, Mommy Mommy Mommy 24/7. I loved seeing his face, cuddling, etc. I took him to the park almost daily, I really felt relaxed and free.

His learning exploded
I got to teach him how to read, do his numbers… it was in this period that his letters and words just exploded. By the time he went back to daycare (which we now call “preschool”), he was already reading small words here and there. Now, about a few months in, and with constant practice and encouragement to “read to or for Mommy”, he is reading small sentences and books. He of course doesn’t know ALL the words he is reading all the time, but he is building a good sense of how the word should be said based on its letters. I’m quite surprised and amazed. He is really starting to turn into a bookworm like I was when I was a child (LOVE!).

I got so much time off
I got time off to do all these other projects, like write two books, do DIY projects like stud my clothing, or make my own necklaces, and basically shore up on a TON of blog posts that I am still using that will help take me to the end of the year and give me a “break”. I read SO MANY BOOKS it was crazy, and so incredibly awesome.

No income coming in.

It’s why during near the end of this break, I was climbing the walls. I was trying to save on EVERYTHING and the stress was mounting somewhat, financially speaking. I really felt like I had to try and stick to a $1000 monthly budget and it was starting to drain my energy. As for the blog, the blog barely pays for its own maintenance (did you know all of these plugins and apps now want monthly subscription fees? WTF), and after fees and so on, I’m happy to barely break even considering what I have pumped into this blog for its redesign and coding mistakes in the past few years that I am now finally “paying off” the debt of to myself.

I saw him 24/7.
No break, although I must admit that during that time, I also didn’t take Mommy Time Off on weekends (how dumb of me), and that somewhat contributed to the hating it. If I had taken time off every weekend or just left him at home at nights while I went out to the lobby to just read a book alone, I think I would have been much happier and well-adjusted.

I was bored.
Mentally BORED. I have a Type A Alpha personality if you haven’t already noticed. I need mental stimulation that blogging and jewellery-making cannot fulfill. Why did you think I wrote two books? I WAS BORED. BORRRRRRED. This is why I love to work. I’m a beast when I’m busy, and that’s kind of how I like it. I like being mentally challenged.

In short, loved and hated it. I sort of need a part-time job in the meantime, or some sort of balance, at least to give me a mental challenge of talking to adults and interacting with them, but also THE MONEY. THE MONEYYYYYYYYYY.

Still have a burning question?

You can ask any question using the form hereΒ and all of my previous Ask Sherry posts are here.


  • Domonique

    I love this week’s post.

    – For my boys’ teachers each year, I bought blank cards, added a photo of them from my mobile sticky-film printer, decorated it with washi/paper tape and stickers, and wrote a personalized message for each teacher. They loved it!

    -I just turned 28 in November and I have three grey hairs. I rock them. I look 15, so grey hair is a sign of wisdom and maturity and people stop carding me when I order alcohol at a bar.

    – I’ve been home with my three boys since April when my last contract ended. I took Spring/Summer off and haven’t found a contract that fits yet. I love/hate it for the same reasons you do. Namely, because I don’t have a partner who helps with the boys means finding daycare for them and that I have ZERO alone time. Like Little Bun, learning has exploded with my oldest. He just started elementary school and completed reading 100 books in 3 months as opposed to the whole school year. He’ll most likely be moved ahead a grade or two next year.

    I love these posts!

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      What a great idea! πŸ™‚ I may steal that for next year.

      You only have 3? I have at least 30 now lol but they are still well hidden…

      I’m glad you love the posts πŸ™‚ I’ll keep doing them as long as questions keep coming in. Little Bun’s learning is really going far and I’m thrilled.

  • Mia

    Gray hair can look great. One of the most stylish women I work with actually has naturally graying hair. She keeps it in a really chic bob and looks really edgy and sophisticated. I think it sets off your eyes if you have well-groomed brows and dark eyes.

  • Becca

    I have very dark (almost brown hair) and going grey happens early on my moms side (grandmother completely grey in her early 20s!) but not so much on my dads. I have a few grey hairs, but its nothing that a partial highlight every 3-4 months at the hair dresser can’t fix. On a teacher gift note, as a teacher, gift cards to coffee shops are also a much loved gift! My students got me chocolate and coffee last year and it was heaven!

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Well for me for instance, I hate coffee and I really don’t like going to random coffee shops, I only like specific places to drink TEAS because I hate coffee… and for chocolate, that’s a nice simple gift to give that can be eaten or re-gited at least!

  • Lori S

    Due to Game of Thrones (GoT) character Daenerys Targaryen who has platinum hair – the new thing in Seattle is to have platinum/gray-ish hair. Usually in an ombre scenario going from white to gray or vice-a-versa. It can be aging on women who are very young but if you have a cool-toned complexion, it can look good.

    For naturally gray/white hair to look good you need to rinse it with a “bluing” agent to get the best out of it, according to my friend who is completely white/gray-haired.

    I’m naturally blond so mine don’t show yet but when they do come in I will likely die my hair because I’m vain about my hair. πŸ™‚

  • Anne

    I love salt n pepper hair, both on men and women.
    I used to have wheat coloured hair, but it changed into a kind of a mousy brown when I turned 30. After a couple of years I got some gray hairs, then had highlights. Not so much to hide the gray, but to be blonde again – and to match my eye brows, especially during summers! Now I have my natural hair: more and more of gray, but I love it!

  • Mia

    I think the default gift around here for teachers tends to be a Target gift card (there’s a lot of Targets in my area, even in the city and they sell everything) or Amazon gift card.

    • Mia

      Boxed chocolate is a good gift though! Consumables are always easy to share.

      My good friend is a teacher and every year she has a really fun white elephant gift exchange–except we do not bring gifts, all the gifts people steal and trade are things her students give her that she just has too much of. So I know not to get teachers these things. Mugs, bath and body stuff like lotions and soaps, coasters, and candles are common at these. Even if it’s nice stuff, she just gets too many with so many kids in her class and years of teaching. Also, decorative Christmas stuff–she’s Jewish.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      That’s true, a great gift card is amazing and a good idea.

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