It’s been a year since I last dyed my hair. After a few years of being blonde I had my hairdresser take me as close to my natural hair colour as possible – dark brown – and from there, I’ve let my hair do its thing.
The grey hair had been peeking through consistently since my late teens, and at 35, I decided to let them grow.
I declared my intention on Instagram and on this blog, “I’m not sure I’m ready to embrace it fully (or forever), but I want to try it on for size.”
I gave myself an out.
And recently, I’ve been thinking about taking that out.
But in me slightly contemplating dying my hair again, I’ve been hit with big guilt. Does this mean I’ve failed at embracing my age? Does this make me less of a feminist?
Grey hair has become a trend. Women of all ages are courageously letting their grey hair grow. We see hashtags like #gogrombre and #silversisters become mini-revolutions in their own right.
This is about more than hair.
Samantha Selinger-Morris recently wrote, “the trend is as much about self-esteem as aesthetics”.
A friend of mine has spent many months letting her grey hair grow. What started as a stripe of re-growth has become long flowing grey locks. But she told me that if she was really honest – she’d still be dying her hair. Fortnightly hairdresser appointments became unrealistic for her, let alone the financial aspect of upkeep.
On the Instagram account @grombre – dedicated to celebrating grey-haired women of all ages – every choice made to go grey was different. But what it took for all of those women to stay grey was just one thing – radical self-acceptance.
Which made me realise that perhaps, that was one internal muscle I needed to strengthen.
It takes more than avoiding your hairdresser to continue on this silver path. It takes devotion, and courage, and an ongoing commitment to loving yourself and your decisions.
My friend Julie told me, “the growing out stage is not always pretty or neat. In fact it never is.”
Life isn’t always pretty or neat. Ageing isn’t linear. We move through phases in our lives with exhilaration one minute, and trepidation the next. We change our minds, we experiment, we learn ,we grow, and then we repeat it all again.
Am I less of a feminist for considering dying my hair again? No. Feminism is about choice. What I do with my body and life, and how I do it is my choice, and only my choice. My guilt has been pacified.
Any decision to cover or keep my grey hair is less about giving a middle finger to the patriarchy, and more of a decision to fully accept myself – in whatever way that may be.
Ultimately, we all have to do whatever it is to make us feel like our most beautiful selves. That could mean choosing grey, or botox, or not shaving our armpits, or wearing make up, or to wear no make-up at all. The definition of “most beautiful self” will be different for all of us.
What matters here is the self-acceptance, and accepting the decisions we make. Not because we’ve done them to please anyone but ourselves.
Have I dyed my hair? Not yet. Will I? I’m never say never. The strength it took for these women to stay grey is inspiring. I want a piece of that self-acceptance pie.
For now, I’ll work on loving each and every silver strand. Because covered up or not, it’s still there.