The other day reserving some books at my local library, I came across this book about silver hair. I wasn’t particularly interested in the topic that very moment (not that I hadn’t thought about it countless times!), but I thought it could be interesting for my mum, so I reserved it.
It turns out, my mum didn’t even want to look at it, she firmly stated: “I hate grey hair and that’s not for me“, period. As she completely rejected the idea, I became even more curious about it, so I ended up reading the whole thing in a couple of days.
Today’s post is not my common post, presenting issues, solutions and providing recommendations, because I haven’t been through the whole thing, I am in my late thirties and I have almost no grey hair, but what I do have experienced is the fear about it. The thought of grey hair can cause a lot of stress and insecurities for many of us, so today I am just exploring the topic and introducing the book in case any one out there is interested.
Women cultural fear
Like many women out there, I grew up in a culture where grey hair was never welcomed – unless you were +80 years old. The only woman in my family who had completely silver hair was my grandmother, the rest of the women all dyed their hair and they were truly mortified of showing their grey roots.
Through most of my life, I have always seen grey hair as an unwelcome invader, the enemy to beat – and you can’t blame me. Grey hair has usually been linked to words like premature ageing, lack of self-care/laziness. In other words, negative connotations and grey hair commonly go hand in hand unless you are a senior (then you’re allowed to have grey hair!!!!).
For many women, the social pressure is just too much, specially growing up in families where colouring the hair is not only the norm but the expectation.
In recent years, things have started to shift a bit because silver hair is now trendy. Actresses and singers are now colouring their hair in silver/ash colours, so now it is somewhat cool to have grey hair. Still, I think many of us continue seeing grey hair as a problem we have to fix, it is quite ingrained!
I don’t want to be a slave of my hair
Since I was in my early twenties, I have received plenty of unsolicited advice about my hair, but as the different trends have come and gone, I haven’t changed my mind: I don’t want to dye my hair unless I need it!
I still have my natural hair colour, but this decision has nothing to do with me not liking the colours or in most recent years the environment, to be honest my main concern has always been: I don’t want to become a slave of my hair.
I really don’t enjoy going to hair salons, I love the end-result like seeing my new haircut, but I don’t like spending my time going there, it has always been a chore. Also seeing my mum colouring her hair every 4-6 weeks, always worried about the next time she had to cover her grey hair, the inconvenience of the process, the horrible smell of the chemicals among other things, always made me reject the idea of experimenting with my hair colour.
Health and the environment
In the last decade, as I have become more interested in the environment and living more naturally, I’ve become even less interested in dying my hair for fun.
The amount of man-made chemicals in those products (specially conventional ones) has always terrified me, I have never liked the idea of putting this stuff on my scalp. There seem to be mixed results when it comes to studies confirming the health risk of applying these products to our scalps, but I personally prefer to go on the safe side. If European Countries are actually banning ingredients from hair dye products due to concerns about potential cancer risk, it can’t be a good sign.
From the environmental point of view, as with personal care products (and medication) these chemicals are washed down the drain, some persist water treatment and end up in local waterways harming the environment. Also it takes resources to manufacture those products and they generate waste that continue filling our landfills.
To dye or not to dye
So, you could think that by now I would be convinced that I don’t want to dye my hair, but not so quick, that’s until these two words appear in the picture: Grey Hair!!!!
In the past few years, as I have been getting one or two grey hair in my crown, I have been thinking a lot about the topic.
Certainly I know that if I decide to colour my hair, I wouldn’t be using conventional hair dyes, so I’ve been running through the alternatives in my mind, from using henna based products or organic/natural dyes (which only have around 5% of conventional chemicals) to trying some highlights to camouflage grey hair. It is amazing how we are conditioned to this stuff.
When the time comes, will I be happy to embrace it? or will I succumb to the social pressure? unfortunately I don’t have an answer yet. As much as I want to believe that I will just let it be, the question continues to be: to dye or not to dye!!!!
Silver Hair a Handbook
This is the book I read recently from Lorraine Massey. I found it very refreshing and honest, as it encourages the transition presenting stories from many women who decided to take a leap of faith and embrace their natural hair colour.
It is funny, because as I read the fears from these women, I could totally relate to the peer pressure, family expectations, social stereotypes and so much more. I also read stories from women who started getting grey hair when they were teenagers and they had to deal with all that burden from a young age.
It was an interesting read. If you trying to get some inspiration and want to give silver hair a go, then this is probably a great one to try. I will probably re-read this book in the future, when I need to revisit this topic.
At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong, we are all in different journeys, for some this decision will come very easily while for others will take a while. The important part is to have a closer look at our beliefs and be open to new possibilities.
“Mind is a flexible mirror, adjust it, to see a better world.” ― Amit Ray
That’s it for today. Let me know in the comments below, Do you dye your hair? or Do you embrace your natural hair regardless of the colour? Can you relate to some of these fears?
Thanks for reading.