What was your reaction to your first grey hair? If you were anything like me it was to run, not walk, to the nearest salon and demand they cover it up. But I got to the point where I was fighting a losing battle. The silver was coming through quicker than I could disguise it and the weekly ritual of plastic gloves, dye splattered towels and breathing through the stinging scalp pain was getting old - as I was, clearly.
It was time to do something bold and brave – embrace my grey!
If you’re considering embracing your grey here are a few tips to make it a little easier.
Find Your Silver Sister Heroine
There are lots of fabulous silver sisters out there - Helen Mirren, Jamie Lee Curtis, Yasmina Rossi, Vogue’s Fashion Director Sarah Harris. Or look for non-celebs who inspire you. I discovered Lauren Stein from How Bourgeois while scrolling through #greyhair images on Instagram. Maybe there’s someone at work who inspires you, or a member of your family. Fill your mind (and your screensaver) with images of fabulous women pulling off a rocking silver head of hair.
Join A Supportive Community
Going grey isn’t always easy. There will be days when you want to give up. I joined the Gray and Proud Facebook group when I embarked on my hair transition but there are others that might suit you better. Curly Silvers, Silver Foxy or Going Gray & Lovin’ It are just some of the wonderfully supportive and helpful groups out there. When you join you’ll realise you’re far from alone.
Consider Different Styles
The transition is hard at times. It’s potentially 18 months of bad hair days. So consider different styles to feel good about your hair. Some people go for a short crop although others, like me, prefer to keep the hair longer during the process. Pulling the hair back in to a side ponytail or wearing flowers, hairbands or other accessories in the hair shows the rest of the world that you’re doing this on purpose. And it makes you feel good too.
Invest In Some Cover Up
The first few weeks of silver may look like you’ve just forgotten to go to the salon. There are great cover up powders available to help you through this early stage. After a month or two you may decide it’s not worth it but these can be a lifesaver at the start.
You will hit a wall at about month 4 or 5. If you cut your hair short at the start it will now be at a rather awkward length. Growing out a crop or a pixie can be as tough as growing out the dye. If you left your hair longer you now have a full-on Badger look. Cover Up won’t cut it anymore and no amount of styling and re-styling is going to disguise the stripe. This isthe time to get a good haircut so that the style itself is cool and sexy and to lean on your online community who’ve all been there.
Change Your Products
Most hair products will be bad for grey hair. They contain chemicals that will yellow your locks and dry your hair out.
Touch of Silver is available at most supermarkets. White Hot is excellent and available online. Lauren Stein has just produced her own range called By The Way Your Hair Looks Fabulous. Experiment with what works best for you and ask your community for advice too.
Ignore The Naysayers
Our culture is hardwired to think of grey hair as a negative (on women. On men it’s totally acceptable). When I told my very best girlfriends I was going to go grey they warned me not to. My black curly hair was my trademark, and Iwould look old, they told me. Well, now my silver hair is my trademark and I don’t feel any older.
Most people react negatively because what you are doing feels threatening to them, like going vegan or cutting out carbs. They feel like you’re expecting them to do it too. You’re not. This is personal to you and your own opinion is the only one that matters. Which brings me to...
Question Your Fears About Ageing
I realised that dying my hair was an attempt to fool myself and other people in to believing I wasn’t ageing. Of course I was! We all are.
In order to really embrace the change in my appearance I had to accept that I was getting older and that this was not a crime. Instead I decided to love the fact that I was no spring chicken, that I had experience and gravitas, that I knew my own mind and that I could rock whatever hair I wanted, including grey.
Going grey emboldened me. It gave me more confidence. It felt rebellious and grown up all at the same time. That’s not to say it was easy.
Some people don’t fully transition to grey on their first attempt. That’s fine and might mean you aren’t completely ready. Others go grey and then opt to go blonde or pink or blue after that! Other women will dye their hair until the day they, um, die. All power to them. Just remember that, if you feel like now is the time to ditch the dye there are thousands of Silver Sisters out there (and plenty or brunette, redhead and blonde sisters too) cheering you on!
Blaire Palmer is a coach, author, conference speaker and podcaster. She works with people at a crossroads, providing inspiration, support and practical tools to help them make bold, “big gulp” decisions. You can find out more about her personal journey, listen to the podcast and sign up to her programmes at www.abrilliantgamble.com