Two years ago, I shared with you my decision to let my silvers shine. I was still at a point where there wasn’t a lot to cover up and I could have easily walked into a salon and asked for that magic wand that would make me completely raven again.
At the time of writing that article, I hadn’t dyed my hair in 13 years when I got red and blonde streaks in my otherwise black hair. (Yeah, I don’t know. I call it my PB & J look). But after Baby number three, when I was about 35 years old, the sprouts started showing up here and there. And they didn’t stop.
In the beginning, reactions to my silver strands mostly fell on the side of, “Why don’t you dye?” I either swatted these questions away like pesky flies or launched into a full-on explanation about why I didn’t feel the need to colour my hair. Last week, when a woman in my fitness class complained and grumbled that her hair was doing the same thing as mine (white in front, darker in the back), I simply smiled and said, “I love my silvers.” Because that is the simple truth.
These days, the silvers are all throughout my head, more noticeable when I put my hair up, and definitely lighter in the front. I do not look like I am slightly delayed on my next root touch-up – I am obviously past that. I believe I look as purposeful and as comfortable as I feel. And since I last wrote about this, I have noticed an entire movement of women embracing their 50 shades of grey.
In the fall, I was added to a Facebook group called Gray & Proud; this is an online community of about 22,000 members from all walks of life, in their 20s and beyond, who are embracing their natural looks. And it is inspiring! I’ve read confessions from women struggling after divorce, wondering if their grey hair makes them ineligible for dating again. I’ve read inspirational quotes about beauty and aging. And I’ve read tips on makeup and clothing colours that make our silvers pop!
I wanted to share with you why our sisters are forming that Silver Strands Society I was hoping for two years ago, so I asked the group why they weren’t dying their hair and got an overwhelming response within minutes.
Here are doue big reasons why women are letting their natural colours shine:
This word dominated the comments section. Freedom from the time spent in a salon. Freedom from having to book appointments around life events. Freedom from spending large sums of money every two to six weeks. Freedom from the disappointment of a colour job gone bad. Freedom from the stress of not meeting other people’s expectations regarding how they should look. Women were saying to heck with it all – there are better ways to spend one’s time and money, and far better ways to spend one’s mental energy.
Women piped up about their health concerns regarding the chemicals involved in hair colouring. For some women, the a-ha moment came after a battle with cancer. Other women pointed out that they work hard to keep physically fit and eat well; they didn’t want to counter that with chemicals being soaked into their scalp. Jamie Lee Curtis, who recently brought her icy white hair to the red carpet at the Golden Globes, stated in this interview with Everyday Health: “The epiphany came when I was sitting in a hair salon thinking, What the eff am I doing putting a chemical on my head that burns?”
Many shared that their hair was starting to frizz or fall out from years of dying, and once they quit they noticed healthier hair growing in. Someone even mentioned the health of the planet regarding the chemicals being washed down the drain.
Women of all ages announced that they are letting their greys grow in simply because it is who they are. Society associates grey hair with getting old and washed out. But for these women, it’s an opportunity to love themselves, live with grace, and show their gratitude for another year around the sun. Many shared stories about loved ones who passed away too soon, and they felt that embracing their age was showing gratitude for the privilege denied to some. Authenticity has been quite a buzz word for several years and now it seems it is shining brightly on the heads of many.
“Because I can.” A simple but profound response. This message goes deep into society’s expectations of women to look a certain way. In contrast to the ‘never-aging’ look prescribed for women, is the acceptance of men who become ‘silver foxes’ or who are deemed sexy even when bald. Why is it that men can rock a salt-n-pepper look but women can’t? Well, these women are saying, actually we can. One of the comments came from a woman who started noticing the grey hair trend on social media and it felt to her like a big permission slip to do what she really wanted to do with her hair.
Whether their reason is a cheeky ‘free highlights’ or a bold ‘freedom to be me’, I love seeing so many women living their best life in all their gorgeous shades.