Recently I’ve seen a few stories, articles and social media posts about an issue that affects us all, yet for some seems to be almost taboo – women and grey hair.
Thankfully, I’ve started noticing over the past few months that there is a movement happening behind the scenes and it’s gaining momentum. There are whispers starting up and I can feel we are on the edge of a full-blown rebellion.
More and more I’m seeing posts from women who are embracing their natural greys and ditching the dye in favour of a more natural look – and I could not be more excited!
Its always puzzled me that when a mans hair starts to change with age, words such as ‘distinguished’ and ‘Silver Fox’ are bestowed upon them. Yet for women it’s more like ‘Old Grey Nag’.
There seems to be a societal prejudice against women who choose to forego the hair dye and rock hair that is of more silvery au-naturale tone.
Why are we conditioned to believe that grey haired men are confident and sexy (hello George Clooney!), but grey haired women are old spinster types who have ‘let themselves go’ and probably own at least 10 cats?
And why is that silver hair that comes from a hairdresser’s bottle is on trend, yet we are told never to let the silvers that sprout naturally from our own hair follicles (for free might I add) aren’t to see the light of day because it means we are old?
I’ve seen a few posts recently in social and business groups around this topic and there always seem to be the same comments each time:
- “I would love to have the confidence to let the grey show…but I can’t”
- “I would never stop dyeing my hair while I’m in business because I feel grey hair is unprofessional”
- “I can’t wait to be old enough to get away with the grey look”
Very rarely does someone pipe up saying they want to dye til they die. Usually, we are all waiting for the ‘right time’ to just let it all go and rock the grey. But who dictates the right time?
A documentary has been released in the US called ‘Grey is the New Blonde’ and it tells the stories of women who have decided to let nature do her thang and embrace the grey. They talk about how they’ve lost friends and been treated differently by those around them, but mostly it talks about finding a new found inner confidence at finally walking away from the dye.
Its a subject close to my heart as I think back to a 16 year old brown-hair young girl who had her first grey hair not only discovered, but pulled out and displayed quite publicly, in the middle of a Year 12 Science class.
It was less than a year later that I dyed my hair for the first time and it continued for the next 19 years as that first grey hair quite quickly turned into more. Having naturally darker coloured hair meant that a new dye would look great for about a week before the sneaky greys started appearing down my centre part line.
Then when it felt like I was up to an 80% ratio of grey hair regrowth, I decided to make a change and started reaching for the lighter coloured dyes instead. Over the course of a couple of years I went through the journey that is going from dark to blonde… and back to dark because I missed it so damn much, then back to blonde again when I realised once and for all that it was never going to work.
So I kept my hair a shade that wasn’t always the best (it naturally throws copper tones so even ash tones went yellow), but it was light and blended the grey regrowth enough to cut back on the dyes. I wasn’t winning any Best Hair of the Year Awards, but for my stay-at-home-mum status it was good enough.
I started going longer and longer between dyes and felt myself more reluctant to cover up the regrowth, but I would always end up reaching for the box of dye after a few months.
Then something happened. I was researching how one goes about donating hair to a charity that makes wigs for kids with cancer. Part of the requirements is that the hair is a certain length and is ALL natural hair. This meant that if I was ever going to go through with this, not only would I make a commitment to give up my short hairstyle, but I would also quit the dye completely.
Showing a little bit of regrowth is one thing, but going all the way that’s another thing completely. Was I really ready? I had no idea, but at least I could give it a red hot go!
So it’s now been over a year since my hair has seen anything other than a short trim, and early 2018 was the last time my hair was touched by dye.
AND I FEEL AMAZING!
It didn’t always feel great though, I must be honest. I even have a supermarket box dye sitting in the bathroom after a particularly bad day where I was feeling old and haggard and almost gave in.
Now though I’ve reached the point where the grey has come through enough that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I know that the colour of my hair does not define who I am, how old I am (or feel!), or my value as a woman.
As my hair grows I’m finding something else I’m excited about too – my hair is soft! And my hair hasn’t been soft for as long as I can remember. I’d endure long hairdressing appointments listening to the stylist remark about how coarse and stiff my hair was, or try not to cry as they lectured me about how neglected my hair must be.
Now I know that all along my hair was just waiting for me to stop abusing it with chemicals every 4-6 weeks!
Yeah, I might still be a bit frumpy and there’s days where I do feel old and haggard BUT that’s because I’m a stay at home mum running two businesses and keeping little humans alive.
On those days, the grey hair is actually the BEST thing about me. For the first time in my adult life I not only like my hair, but I now LOVE my hair!
I should probably add here that I am only 36 years old – I’m still young. Some would say too young to have grey hair on purpose.
But I cannot WAIT to be a fully grey haired woman because you know what? I’m going to ROCK.THAT.SHIT.