If you have ever watched sitcoms from the 1950's, you have likely noticed how different women over 40 looked from their modern counterparts. Yes, these women wore dresses to do housework and seemed to perpetually don an apron, but the thing that truly set them apart was their gray or graying hair. Nora Ephron explains that in the 1950's only 7% of women in the U.S. used hair color. Today, the vast majority of women opt to hide their silvering manes under a coating of dye. Yes, our culture has conditioned women to believe that youth is supreme and signs of aging must be cleverly concealed. But the tide is shifting.
The Gray Movement
Something is happening in salons across the continent and beyond. Women are opting to ditch the chemicals and, instead, embrace their whitening locks. And the evidence is everywhere.
Instagram's @grombre celebrates gray hair and the women who sport it and boasts over 210,000 members. Youtube videos like 5 Going Grey Don'ts have thousands of views. Celebs like Jessica Biel and Katie Holmes have both been spotted on the red carpet donning silver strands.
There appears to be several reasons for the gray hair movement. For some, it is the twenty-first century equivalent of burning one's bra. After all, society has permitted men to grow old gracefully. In fact, many graying males like George Clooney and Matt Leblanc have been labelled "silver foxes." And a Match.com survey showed that 72% of respondents think that gray hair on men looks distinguished, while on women it simply makes them look old. Perhaps, today's woman is tired of adhering to a double standard that is so unfair.
Women are also looking for ways to return to nature by eschewing products that contain dangerous chemicals and adopting healthier lifestyles. And nothing screams out "hazardous" more than basting your head in hair dye every four weeks. Veronica Sophia Robinson, the author of several books and a proponent of embracing one's greys, warns that hair dye increases your chances of getting ovarian cancer by 75%. That sobering number is enough to make anyone re-consider coloring their hair.
The gray hair movement of 2015 also greatly aided in shedding the stigma surrounding silver strands. Young movers and shakers like Kelly Osborne, Lady Gaga, and Pink sporting grey locks with confidence has elevated this once maligned hue to star status. Plus, few have aged more beautifully that the white-haired Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep, or Jamie Lee Curtis.
How to go gray
If you have decided to go gray gracefully, first of all, congratulations. Yay, you! Now that you've got your happy dance out of the way, your next step will be to discuss your plan of attack with your trusted hair professional. They can help you to ensure that your transition is as painless as possible, better ensuring that you are able to see your goal come to fruition.
And no matter how much you want to cling to your pre-grey shade, resist the temptation to pluck! On the upside, it is untrue that if you pluck one gray hair, three will grow in its place. That is simply a tale told by those mysterious "old wives." Phew! But, it can damage your precious hair follicles and even lead to your hair not growing back. Instead, check out some of these less harmful options.
According to katiegoesplatinum, there are three major options. The first is just letting your hair grow in and simply keeping up regular trims until the transition is complete. This, however, is only for the extremely patient or those who are not adverse to sporting the two-toned hair look for a while. Adding in long layers, particularly if they are tousled, can also help the grays blend in.
The second is the most extreme—going for a buzz cut and letting your hair grow back in. While this may seem drastic, this look does highlight the eyes and bone structure of the face.
The third option—and for many, the most comfortable—is the pixie cut. Depending on how short you are willing to go, this can greatly cut down your transition time. If you originally opted for the first option and now have very long roots, this may be the perfect time to opt for a pixie.
And no matter what length you choose to go for, you can always go longer by adding some hair extensions.
Your goal may be to give up hair dye and embrace your natural grays, but you do not have to go completely cold turkey. There are ways to ease yourself in to becoming comfortable with you new hue. Lindsay Loo, a Wella Master Colour Expert from New York City, recommends stretching out the amount of time between colorings—usually an extra two weeks. This gives you a chance to see if you are happy with what is happening with your hair. If you like it, let it grow out. If you don't, explore another option, even if that means returning to your dyed hue.
If you've ever seen this word tossed around and wondered what the heck it is, we've got you covered. "Balayage" is a hand-painted hair coloring technique that uses long, sweeping strokes to apply a lightener to your strands. It works beautifully during the transition to grey as it helps your greys blend in with the rest of your hair, making them much more inconspicuous. Balayage is also very low maintenance and, as an added bonus, it means you won't have to lose your wonderful length. Plus, thanks to balayage hair extensions, you can make your mane thicker or longer or both.
Special Care for your Gray Hair
Grey hair does require a certain amount of special care—although these products come with a far cheaper price tag than any attempt to conceal your grays. And, in most cases, it simply means swapping out existing products for new ones.
While silver locks are stunning, they can sometimes develop a yellowish tone. To keep your silvers from turning brassy, it is a good idea to use a purple shampoo and/or conditioner. Yes, you read that right. Purple. By adding violet tones to your greys, you can brighten up your mane and keep it crisp and cool.
Gray hair also tends to be dryer and more brittle than other shades, so it is extremely important to opt for products that enhance nourishment and are sulfate-free. You may even want to introduce deep-conditioning treatments, hair masks, and natural oils like argan or coconut oil. And remember, styling tools that use heat can also rob your hair of much-needed moisture.
If one of your favourite things is perusing your local cosmetics department, here's some good news. You get to go makeup shopping. Yay! Yes, now that your hair lacks an official colour, you will need to add colour through your cosmetic choices. You can now opt for that more dramatic eye shadow application or that bright red lipstick you've always wanted to try. According to Image Consultant, Marian Rothschild, you will want to accentuate your eyes and brighten up your lip color. See, going gray can be fun!
And if you're opting for that delectable crimson lipstick, maybe you'll want to get that red sweater you've been eyeing for a while. All those beautiful vibrant hues looks fantastic with silver locks.
If you're tired of slathering toxic chemicals all over your head and paying exorbitant prices for the honour, it may be time to protect your health and your wallet. Women across the globe are increasingly welcoming their gray locks and it is the perfect time to join them. So grab your purple shampoo, your trusty hair extensions, and your "Gray Hair, Don't Care" tee and usher in a whole new you—a confident, comfortable-in-her-own-skin, silver-haired vixen.
And here are some fabulous women proudly sporting their glorious grays. Perhaps, you'll find your perfect style inspiration.
15 gray hair looks we love
1. Natural curls, natural grays
2. Long and layered
3. One length lob
4. Short and wispy
5. Grey locks with a pop of colour
6. Sleek and silver
7. Icy gray
8. Grey balayage
9. Grey hair with lowlights
10. Salt and pepper hair
11. Short, voluminous layers
12. Peekaboo grey
13. Soft, natural curls
14: Short kinky curls
15. Grey pixie
Written by: Kimberley Laws