Have you been dyeing your hair for decades? Do you see your regrowth three days after covering it? Has it ever crossed your mind what is actually going on under there? Are you constantly perusing Pinterest pinning images of women who have embraced their silvers? Does your head itch with the constant use of chemicals? Have you tried lowlighting, highlighting, bleaching, and going blonde? Well this might be something you want to read. Yes, there are millions of stories, blogs, Facebook pages, Pinterest boards devoted to showing you how it’s been done before by hundreds of other women. No, scratch that – thousands of women – no, scratch that – hundreds of thousands of women – nope, let’s make that millions of women around the world embracing their silvers. Once we’re past that “certain age”, we really shouldn’t have to worry about what other people think. I think we should be setting an example for our sisters and daughters that we aren’t afraid of embracing age and with that change. I could write a book about why we started dyeing hair, why we continue to dye our hair, and why so many women are resistant to changing that. But I won’t; instead I’ll focus on why we want to stop instead of why we continue to do it.
WHY – No longer having to worry about your regrowth being seen. I know mine kicked in three days after it was covered right there in the corner of my right temple – so white it was vivid against the dark brown hair dye. – Your body, like mine, will thank you for not exposing it to the chemicals we use to achieve covering our silvers. So much over so many years just cannot be good for us. – Your pocket will thank you; it is entirely unfathomable how much we pay over the course of a year to cover our silvers. A simple dye job is expensive enough but once you go down the road of becoming a blonde you can x that by 10. – Contrary to popular old wives tales – embracing your greys won’t make you look older! It will make you look younger. Our skin tone changes as we age, and our silvers actually enhance our skin and make our eyes pop. For those that peruse those Pinterest boards, you know you’ve seen this over and over again. – The “Granny Grey” hair trend is one of the most popular hair trends, EVER! Yep, think about it, if millions of young women are torturing their hair into a state of greyness, then why are we continuing to cover our naturally grey hair? It’s aspirational, isn’t it? I’m a member of many “grey hair” groups, so I’ve seen thousands of transitions and I can tell you in all honesty, there are only two ways to go. You can cut it all off into a pixie and watch it grow from there. Or, you can just cold turkey it with a demarcation line. HOW – The Pixie. Yep, that was my option! I shaved down to a number three and went from there. Some people call that brave, but I didn’t think so. I had worn my hair short for years because it was easier to hide the regrowth. – The Demarcation Line. For me, this is a brave choice because you will have a solid line denoting where you gave up the dye. Many women do this to a point then cut it short once there is enough regrowth. – Highlighting/Lowlighting. I’ve seen this work successfully only a few times. It is a slow process to weave through natural color and requires an expert colourist to do it properly. Your hairdresser may recommend it as the best option for you, but remember if you have been spending money at the hairdresser for decades then many of them won’t want to see your spend with them per annum dip. – The Blonde…ing. Yes, I tried this! It cost me an arm and a leg and essentially my blonde was warm and my silvers cool, so it just didn’t work for me. There are hairdressers out there that can do it right but as per my point above – lots of money and still a chemical approach. – It is also important for me to note as you embrace this journey that you keep your hair in tip top condition, get plenty of trims along the way, and keep it styled and tidy as much as you can. Part of other people’s judgment about grey hair is that it can look very witchy, so don’t give them fuel for the fire. BY THE WAY – You might notice your silvers turning yellow over a period of time. This can be due to hard water or pollutants in the air. You can safely use a purple shampoo or mousse now and again to lift the yellow out. Just don’t leave it in there for too long. – If your hairdresser isn’t supportive of your choice to change, then guess what? Find another one who will support you. You can use those Facebook support groups to find one in your area, just put out an S.O.S. It’s simple. – There is no shame in going back. I’ve seen many women transition to a point, then cave in. Peer pressure, family pressure can make many of us go back to the dye bottle. I’ve read some pretty sad stories of judgment over the nine years I’ve been grey. Why is it ok for men to be silver foxes, yet women get to be “old and grey”? Beats me, I don’t know. As a model who embraces age myself, I’ve been trolled many times over my hair. Yes, about its color but more so, now it is very long, about its length. Many people hold outdated opinions on how older women just shouldn’t have long hair. That long hair is best worn on younger women. I have never read a reason why this should be the case. Just another one of those old wives tales people hang on to. So, I say, let’s get with the times. If you’ve ever wanted to see what lies underneath the hair dye, NOW is a pretty good time to lift the bonnet and take a look. Plenty of inspiration out there for you to do so. Best of all, there is so much support from other women all over the world doing the same thing. Remember, there is no shame in going back if you get halfway through and decide it’s not for you. I do have to share that it will be quite some time before you really see what’s going on. I would say get it to a bob length before you go making any decisions to revert. I also have to tell you that most of us are what I call a “Top Deck” meaning that most of the silvers are on the top of the head and dark underneath so silver is rarely evenly spread all over unless you are very very grey. And, there are those out there who will be disappointed they just don’t have enough silvers to make an impact. Nevermind, one thing is for certain, we’ll all get there in the end.
Mel Brady, 55, is a senior Australian based stylist with over 30 years experience in the industry. A few years ago, her silver hair led her to take a confident stand in front of the camera to show her peers that women over 50 were represented youthfully in advertising. Today, she is not alone in this. Thousands of older women have taken the same stand, their voice and imagery ring out all over the world. In late 2017, Mel founded Embrace Age, a website and blog devoted to sharing how she and other women have shed the shackles of judgement to show there is nothing to fear in aging, but much to be thankful for. Follow Melinda on Instagram, Subscribe to her blog www.embraceage.com.au, and visit her styling website.