Since the age of 45 I have had a full head of silvery grey hair. The freedom of having ditched the dye is a big deal, but an even bigger deal for me is to be my authentic self. In midlife I have found the inner confidence not to worry about what other people think or be bothered by the archaic idea that grey hair is for the elderly.
But my transition to grey wasn’t particularly smooth. I first attempted to ditch the dye a few years earlier but gave up under the pressure of a looming job interview and the fear that I would be rejected based on my hair colour. As it turned out, my two interviewers were both much younger than me, but I did get the job. I’ll never know what would have happened if I had turned up with a head of silver roots. Maybe just the same outcome … maybe not.
Transitioning the second time round, my husband and my son both protested loudly when I announced my intention to stop dying my hair (just as they had done first time round). There were loud calls of “you’re going to look at least ten years older” and “people will tell you that you’re brave but what they really mean is ‘it looks bad'”. But I was so sick and tired of the endless six-weekly hairdresser visits, the stinky chemicals being poured over my scalp and the ongoing expense, that I ignored them completely.
Since completing my transition I have heard many other women complain of unsupportive family and friends when it comes to their decision to stop dying, and my best advice is to ignore them and do what the heck you want. It’s your hair after all. Ironically, once my hair was fully transitioned my most vocal dissenters did a complete 360 and became my biggest supporters. Such is life.
My hair has been slowly turning grey since some time in my late twenties. The process seemed to gain momentum in my late thirties after a traumatic period of grief. By the time I decided to take the plunge and transition fully I was close to 90% grey.
Having endured six months of grey roots with my first transition attempt I chose to chop it short into a pixie the second time round. I found this so much easier. The whole transition was complete in just a few months. Then I started the long process of watching it grow back again. I didn’t have my hair cut for nearly two years and really enjoyed watching the new colour evolve. I grew it so long I could put it up in a bun for the first time ever in my life. I’ve since had it layered and cut to shoulder length which lets the natural wave do its thing much better. I’ve always found long hair a bit of a pain to manage but it was fun to try for a while.
I’m loving everything about my new silver grey hair. I’ve had more compliments on my crowning glory than ever before in my life, and everywhere I go people seem more friendly than they ever were before – and they always remember me! Apparently a midlifer with silver hair is so much more memorable than the same person with dyed blond hair. Something to do with standing out from the crowd I guess. Mainly though, it just feels great to be natural and authentic, to be me.