As a nation, we Britons spent more than £200 million a year on hair colourant – much of that used to cover up grey.
So what is it about going grey that, as women, we find so terrifying? The question is, of course, rhetorical, because we know the answer; grey hair has for decades, centuries, been the most visible and obvious sign of our loss of youth. It is nature’s way of telling us – most obviously and noticeably – that we are no longer young, and it is hardly surprising that when it happens, many of us turn to the hairdresser and the tinting brush or the foils.
In her book, “I Feel Bad About My Neck”, the late screenwriter and novelist Nora Ephron wrote: “What has transformed women’s lives in our lifetime is not feminism or aerobics. What has kept them in the workplace is hair dye.”
The perception, in other words, is that “grey” equals “old” and if you are grey, you have no place in the workplace.
But suddenly, the grey tide may be turning with Hollywood A-lister Demi Moore allowing a few grey hairs to show. Moore, 53, has long been known for her age-defying looks including a fit and toned body that could easily belong to an 18-year-old and that long mane of very dark brown hair. For Moore to be seen out and about in Hollywood with grey hairs on show is a big switch for the star of Ghost, Indecent Proposal and other hit movies. In 2010 she said: “I don’t dye my hair, but I do have a few grey hairs that I pluck out.”
And Moore is not alone in Tinseltown: Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lopez and Kourtney Kardashian have all recently “outed” themselves as having some grey hairs.
Sandi Goddard, 62, managing director of marketing agency Goddard Delaney told The Times about her decision to dye her hair: “I look a lot younger than I am, as I’m not very wrinkly. So when my hair started to go grey I just wasn’t ready for it.
“Maybe at 80 I’ll go grey again but I can’t see when I’ll really be comfortable with it. I tried to go au naturel a few years ago, but hated it and my husband admitted afterwards that he was relieved when I dyed it back.”
Former Cosmopolitan editor, author and columnist, Linda Kelsey, writing in the Daily Mail about an experiment to stop tinting her hair and allow it to go grey, explained that it failed, ultimately, because she felt “this fear of being unwomaned. A sense that somehow I will be stripped of my essential femininity, that no man will ever again find me attractive and I will spend the rest of my life as a sexual recluse, invisible to the opposite sex.”
If you are thinking of going grey, it is vital to keep in mind that if your colouring is “cool” – i.e. you suit black, silver grey, clear brights and “cool” pastels – you will look fabulous with silver grey hair. If on the other hand, your colouring is warm – i.e. you are a blonde, redhead or have lots of red lights in your dark hair – you should keep on tinting, highlighting or low-lighting.
Diana Lewis Jewell, a former marketing Director at American Vogue and author of Going Gray, Looking Great! offers great advice on her website about making grey hair look fabulous: “Nothing looks more ‘grandma’ than frizzy grey hair. Even if you love a completely natural look, and have some curl or kink going on, you’ve got to really control the frizz. It looks dry, because it is, and it doesn’t reflect light at all. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to wear your hair stick-straight. Even wavy or curly hair can have a smooth appearance, if it shows curl definition.”
Jewell also encourages those going grey to think of the grey in a lateral and more positive way: “Just as we don’t say ‘yellow’ for blonde hair, we don’t have to say grey. Giving your grey a new name – platinum. pewter. sterling, snow or silver – is more than semantics. It implies an attitude about grey, an acceptance of its natural beauty.”
At SoSensational, we don’t say don’t be grey; we say if you suit grey, let it grow, and if you don’t – keep dying! What do you say? You can let us know in the comment section below…
[su_button url=”http://www.sosensational.co.uk/grey-debate-glad-grey-gutted-grey/” target=”blank” background=”#6c20b1″ size=”7″ center=”yes” radius=”0″ icon=”icon: arrow-right”]Read more about The Grey Debate[/su_button]