Maybe it’s time to stop tackling those silver roots and get ready to show off your new natural shade!
We are all products of our environment and early influences. I remember being 10 years old and reading an article in the newspaper about a former Miss India named Nafisa Ali. There was a picture of her (aged 35 at the time) that accompanied it and I looked at that photograph and thought to myself “What a beautiful woman.” Even at the age of 10, what stood out to me instantly was her grey hair. I had never seen a woman who wasn’t “old” (read: 75 plus) with grey hair. I knew in that instant that I was never going to cover my greys, even though all the women in my family did. I wanted to embody not just the physical beauty of Nafisa Ali, but the confidence to carry that grey off, just like she had in that photograph.
This piece is by no means a judgement of women who choose, or don’t choose, to colour their hair. I have always maintained that what a woman chooses to do to her body is her decision and her decision alone. For me, being attractive has less to do with how you look and more to do with how you feel about yourself. Confidence is attractive. So, whatever gives you that confidence is what will make you attractive not just to yourself, but to others as well.
Making The Decision
My personal journey with choosing not to cover my grey was multifold. The silver hairs really started coming through when I turned 30. I had just had a baby and was going through everything a first-time mother goes through (fluctuating hormones, unbelievable physical change and sleep deprivation). Plus I was feeling a loss of self, having a child feed off me 24/7. Looking back now I barely recognise my 30-year-old self. I felt like my body was not my own. It didn’t look anything like it did pre-pregnancy and it certainly didn’t feel like it belonged to me. Instead, it belonged to this adorable little cherub, who was completely dependent on it. The one thing that I did have control over though was how my hair looked. So, I almost immediately went and chopped it short (very short) and felt brand new. This also fed into my resistance to cover the greys, which had less to do with appearance and more to do with acceptance. I was getting older and greying is just another physical manifestation of age. I didn’t want to cover the greys up because, to me, that meant not accepting a natural phenomenon that my body was going through.
It also irked me greatly that all the George Clooneys of the world were being swooned over, while their female counterparts would instantly be considered geriatric the minute they decided to go grey. Grey-haired men are celebrated and are considered to have come of age, while women can be made to feel old, haggard and unkempt.
Change and acceptance don’t come overnight, it takes years. And it starts with us. Going grey isn’t making a feminist statement – it’s far from that! It’s as organic as you getting wrinkles and cellulite. Stereotypes of being old if you are grey are just that – stereotypes. The more women start embracing and wearing their grey, the more acceptance for this natural phenomenon will grow. Like with anything else, all it takes is that one person to do something different for generations below to say “She did it and looks great, so why can’t I?”
It’s about setting a precedent so that women don’t feel the need to conform and instead choose to go with their gut if they wish to. I have clients who hate the sight of their greys and that’s perfectly fine, they are clear about what they like and what they don’t. However, I also have many clients who would go grey in a heartbeat, but have held off because they are scared of what others around them will say.
I am one of the first people to tell you that early greying is the pits because the hairs are wiry, stick out and look messy. But there are ways to gradually work towards incorporating those greys into your existing colour, instead of committing yourself to a lifetime of root touch-ups every six weeks. Every person is different and has different needs, and hairdressers are well equipped to customise ways to help you meet your goals. You don’t have to rush out and cover up your greys immediately. I know many women end up doing this because they are unaware of the options, which is why we want to educate you on the many ways you can tackle grey instead of just getting an all-over colour.
Read more: Top Makeup Tips For More Mature Skin
What To Consider
If you are thinking about taking the plunge and embracing the grey, here are some things to think about.
- How much does the grey bother you personally? If your answer is anything more than 50%, then don’t do it as chances are you won’t like it.
- What are your reasons for thinking about keeping the grey? If you can’t bear the maintenance of covering it, chances are you are ready. If you are still happy to commit to regular colouring, then you are probably good to continue covering your greys for a few more years.
- How supportive is your family around you? Husband, partner, mother, children etc. You should talk to them about it clearly, so you know where they stand. If they are on board, great! However, if they aren’t, you need to be mentally prepared to block out their comments until they get used to the new you, which could take around six months.
Your hair can be an integral part of how you feel as a person. Every woman who has gone through dramatic change (e.g. having had a baby, post a divorce or breakup, having lost their job etc.) can testify to this. Making a bold hair decision is symbolic of going through a change on the personal front. It’s about shedding the old and embracing the new. Having new hair is liberating and shows how brave you are to actually step out of your comfort zone and do something you never thought you were capable of doing.
If you have ever considered it, please spend time feeding your brain with visuals of women who are owning their greys, because the more you see how amazing it can look, the higher the chance of you wanting to do it yourself is. Remember that whatever you choose, grey or no grey, you are beautiful because you are comfortable with the way you look!