Growing Grey Gracefully?
Do you think about going grey? I think amongst most of the women I talk to, it’s an issue that crosses a lot of our minds. In a world obsessed with good looks, youth and beauty, going grey is seen as the sign that you are maybe getting a little less attractive or desirable in the modern world.
I went to visit my Great Grandma last week, she’s 93. Up until a few months ago her hair was always coloured and set and never a grey or white hair was permitted. Due to a recent injury which has meant she is less mobile, she has had to give in to her natural hair colour and has gone pure white. And do you know what I thought the very first time I saw her? Just how stunning she looked with it. How the white hair suited her so much better and made her look more natural, attractive and warm.
For as long as I can remember my Mum has meticulously dyed her hair. From brown to blonde. At the weekend, she self consciously made a comment about not looking at her roots when I saw her as you could see (a hint of) grey. I had in fact not even noticed.
Because as women we are taught that grey or white hair is not attractive and undesirable. When we start to grey or show our age, popular media portrays us as past our best or withered. Have you ever seen a Hollywood heroine with grey hair? No, me either. And yet my husband who is now sporting some nice patches of grey in his beard just shrugged when I mentioned it, replying I’m 41 what do you expect. I can easily conjure images of Hollywood heroes who are applauded for their sexy ‘salt and pepper’ locks. Yes, I’m looking at you George Clooney.
Fast forward another couple of days and I was having lunch with a couple of Mum friends and they too were discussing grey hair. They have darker hair than me, one does dye her hair and another was deciding whether to dye hers or stay natural as the grey hairs were beginning to lightly show through.
Then there’s me, for the first time last year, when I was pregnant, I started to notice a few of my own grey hairs beginning to show. I’m quite fair, so at the moment they’re not really noticeable, but trust me they’re there.
It got me thinking about what I am going to do. I highlight my hair at the moment anyway, just because I like to. But as I get greyer and with the prospect of turning 40 next year looming ahead of me, I know that there will be a time that the highlights won’t cut it. Then I began to wonder if I cared? Would I dye my hair all over like my Mum, touching up the roots every 3 weeks or will I just give in and let the grey show through?
To be honest I’m leaning towards the latter. I’ve never been one for spending lots of time on my hair. When the world was trying to get theirs poker straight in the noughties I mainly carried on with my waves. I’m lucky if I manage to get my hair cut and coloured every 3 months and if it’s warm enough to let my hair dry naturally, all the better. Also, as I get older I am fed up of trying to be something I am not. My hair isn’t straight and actually I like it the way it is, I like it long I don’t care if I get older if people think I should cut it. I am focusing now on clothes I like rather than are on trend, and quite frankly heels have been relegated to the back of my wardrobe because I just do not have the patience for sore feet.
We live in a crazy world where people will spend hundreds of pounds to get their hair dyed grey, but it’s just not ok to be that colour naturally. Where men are sexy, but women are old. This is another example of the topsy turvy sexist world we live in, where women must strive to be something they’re not in order to achieve success. You can look amazing for your age, but heaven forbid you actually look it.
So as I embrace myself for who I am, I think that I will eventually let the silver show through, because quite frankly it’s nothing to be ashamed of.