I wasn’t sure where to begin with this post, It feeks like such a huge topic and I knew I could write for days which would be really dull!
So I thought I could start with me at the age of 17 (not the image above I assure you- that was a time before selfies!) This was the time when I first saw a considerable amount of not grey but pearly white hair.
By 22, there was more than a scattering…and honestly I felt more than embarrassed I was completely mortified!
Where and how I was living in my early twenties didn’t provide me with even the remotest possibility of embracing my early dealings with my ever increasing silvery locks. I mean it didn’t even cross my mind as an option.
So I dyed it, and then some more and more and more.
As time went on and I reached my late twenties, the condition of my hair was just grim! I could snap the ends of my hair off, the dye and constant use of straighteners (I also fought my natural curls!) had made it so brittle, the layers of dye so absolute there was no healthy virgin hair left underneath.
Through my early thirties I really started to begin to get to know myself a little more, my style started to develop and eventually aged 36 – with more grey than colour showing through every two to three weeks, I decided to grow out the grey.
Years of research, constant thinking about it, what it may look like, what would people think…what would the people I KNOW think! Would I look old, ugly, unattractive? I got to the point that none of these was great enough to stop me, I wanted to give it a try.
I have to say I also found the support of an amazing hairdresser. With her support and a lot of patience, it took me just under a year to grow out my colour. I had dared myself to have conversations a dozen times before with my hairdressers, tentatively broached the subject only for it to be shut down. The attitude amazes me still, not so much shock on their faces, but the same resolute “not an option” mentality I had myself had ten years before. The right person to really hear you really boosts your confidence, or having the ability to be assertive when sat in the chair – a skill I have never aquired
When I googled ‘grey hair’ these were the terms that came up..
‘frosty, silvery, snowy”
Not too bad right, wait for it…
“ancient, broken down, exhausted, getting-on, impaired, senior,wasted”
All these terms associated with “going grey” – that’s nuts! Not even a “wise or dignified” type synonym, that I could cope with!
This whole journey has been bigger than I realised, not only through my own personal journey of self image and how I see myself as a (fairly!) young women (add into this pre – conceived ideas about a women in her late thirties without children) but the bigger view of negative image of women with grey hair and the seemingly enevitable link with being on the decline.
I’ll write more about this seperately as it’s a whole topic on it’s own, but in a nutshell, how we percieve men as “silver foxes” to be even more handsome and mysterious, intelligent and desirable than there previous selves. Yet I, at 37 with shiny grey hair, in great condition, happy and without coming across as a total ego, not a total troll, has been recieved with shock, being told I am brave, incredibly over familiar questioning by complete strangers and “comforting” words of reassurance that I am indeed, lucky it suits me. *
*Also an interesting side note to say that all of the above comments and stigma came from other women, also perhaps conditioned in the same way?
My natural hair colour, silvery white with my previous super dark brown peeking through, has been viewed as a condition I am bravely facing rather than, well just my hair!
I am still adjusting to my new colouring, being naturally very fair skinned I am now re-learning the colours that suit me and make up that brightens me.
Mentally however I am very proud of my myself for taking the decision forward and pleased with my hair and day to day, I don’t think about it being different anymore. My only feeling now, is that I wish I had been less concerned with what people may think and had found the courage to do it years before.