Embracing shades of grey

This is the article I should have written. The one that I started writing on 12 April and never got round to finishing. And now Camilla Palmer has written it for me. Far more articulately than I could have written it. In Fade to grey: why women should stop dyeing their hair, a piece she wrote for the Guardian, she quotes Anne Kreamer’s myths about going grey –

About how you’ll look old. About how you’ll look as if you’ve let yourself go. About how you can never have long hair again. About how you’re invisible. About how you’ll kill your career. It’s simply not true.

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Of course, our hair matters. It’s a significant statement about who we are. But why are women who make the decision not to disguise the true colour of their hair judged so vehemently? Going grey naturally for women of a certain age – actually, women of any age – is considered to be admitting defeat. Women who ‘let themselves go grey’ are considered to be either brave or mad.

Yes, I can vouch for that from personal experience. It’s been a tough few years. Not that I would ever go back now. I have been set free from the tyranny of roots and whatever prejudice I have faced, and there has been some, has been entirely worth it. But I have been treated differently because of the colour of my hair, there’s no doubt about that. As older than I am. I am often mistaken for being my kids’ Grandma. It’s been tough for them too. But whenever I feel insecure about it, I have a look at a picture of Melissa McBride – who I think is beautiful. And who is grey.


My friend Susan has had a more positive experience of going grey –

I’ve been dying my hair since my late teens because I didn’t like my natural mousey hair. I loved to experiment with bright colours (mainly reds) & it just became part of who I was & what I did. About 3 years ago I noticed the greys a lot more & that I needed to dye it more often. I talked about growing it out but was discouraged by family, friends & the hairdresser. When Abi told us she was pregnant last year I made the decision not to dye my hair throughout her pregnancy. A bit strange I know but I thought I would set myself that challenge (just to see how grey I would become) & because I’d set myself a target I was stubborn about it & it made me feel good! It’s not fully grey yet but I love it & I find I suit different colours now especially blue. Other people’s reaction have been positive in fact a few people don’t believe that this is my natural colour. I don’t think I’d dye it again as I’m happy with it & my hair is in great condition now. As for getting older in general I say embrace it, don’t give up, try new things & try not to get stuck in a rut. Experiment with clothes, styles & colours, cosmetics & hair styles and don’t forget to laugh.

Hope this helps X

zoe 3And my nephew’s wife, Zoe, is of the next generation. She’s a fashion photographer and blogger in Berlin. She’s stunning and stylish – and she’s going for the grey! People like Zoe need to be encouraged and applauded. She is paving the way for a more natural beauty. An acceptance that hair colour does not define who we are. It’s what we do with who we are that matters.

So if you want to carry on dyeing your hair because you love it, then by all means, carry on. But don’t feel that you have to. That you have no choice. There is a choice. There is always a choice.


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