I’ve used these two images to demonstrate a major change that’s happened for me over the last few years. I’ve dyed my hair since forever. Granted in my twenties it was usually to reflect fashion and was anything from blond to red to brunette depending on the mood. I clearly remember the first time I dyed it with permanent dye. I was at college, and it took so long that I had to miss a lecture! In my thirties, the hair colour became a little more conventional, but with a different purpose; covering the grey. I was gutted that I had grey hair – I was so not ready to be ‘old’. It was only ‘old’ people who had grey hair, yes? I felt so self-conscious when my roots were on show, and it had a huge impact on my self-confidence. When I thought about why this was having such a major impact, I realised that my hair had a major impact on my self-image. Not just the colour, but the style, cut and length. This has been documented through history with links to a woman’s femininity, identity, freedom, beauty. And, don’t get me started on the number of adverts on TV designed to make us buy a multitude of hair products and dyes as we’re somehow inadequate and failing without them. There are also many cultures who value hair very highly, sometimes meaning that it is only to be seen by the woman’s husband.
In the end, during my forties, it became an ever-decreasing circle of feeling confident when I’d just put a colour on, but then within a few days despairing that the grey was showing through again. A few times, I stopped with the colour, thinking I’d just let the grey grow through, but always chickened out! And, there were a few weird results with dye (both at the hairdresser and at home); there were definitely orange tones amongst them – a colour I’ve seen described as ‘blorange’. Then, I discovered the spray on colour above – and it was a life saver for years!! Even with the grey growing through, I could disguise it easily!
Eventually, enough was enough, and earlier this year, I decided it was time to stop. The fashion for silver hair helped – could I really be in fashion with my grey locks? I also discovered the hideous number of chemicals in hair dye that I was absorbing through my scalp and the amount of time I spent deciding what colour I needed, finding it, then actually putting it on was way more than it should have been. And, ultimately and probably most importantly, I felt it was time to acknowledge the real me. I’m not against using makeup or cosmetics, but it was time for my hair to become real.
Interestingly, my hair dresser wasn’t a fan of the decision, and still can’t believe that I’ve stuck with it. Having said that, she fully supported me and helped by styling it so the remains of the colour was cut out as soon as possible and so it still looked modern. My partner wasn’t so sure either. He’d always with brown hair (or variations on that theme). My close friends were extremely supportive and have been very complimentary with the finished result. You might say, ‘well they would be, wouldn’t they?’, but my friends are the type who would tell me what they think!
So, now the silver shampoo is my best friend to bring out the best grey in me! And, it’s a no to hair dye. Not quite ready for a pink or blue rinse yet, but watch this space!!